Meatballs in tomato sauce

Meatballs in tomato sauce

For the meatballs:
250 g minced beef
250 g minced pork
100 g soybean hulls
1 egg
1 big onion (or 2 medium size)
4 cloves garlic
handful of chopped parsley
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary (chopped)
salt & pepper
homemade spice mixture (optional)
3 tbsp. breadcrumbs
lard for frying (or oil)

For the sauce:
olive oli
2 tbsp. plain flour
1 medium onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
2,5 dcl (1 cup) homemade tomatoes sauce (or 1 can pelati)
1 can pelati
handful of chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. indian curry mixture

Soybean is optional; it adds moisture without altering the meaty flavor. Add 1 cup of boiling water to the hulls, cover and drain after few minutes, let it cool. In a pan sauté the onion until golden (add some water, cover, low heat, 7 minutes), add garlic, homemade spice mixture, and sauté one minute more. Let it cool. Add all the ingredients to the meat (meat, soybean, onion and garlic mixture, rosemary, parsley, egg, breadcrumbs) and mix well with your hands. If the mixture is too moist, add some more breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. I like them to be a little more seasoned.
Form small meatballs with your hands. And lay them on a plate covered with breadcrumbs). When the plate is full, cover with transparent foil and refrigerate for at least 45 min.

In a large skillet add lard and bring to high heat. Fry the meatballs until golden. Let them drain on the kitchen towel. Pour out the excess fat, and sauté the onion until soft and golden, add garlic and fry for one minute more. Add the curry and flour and mix well until the flour is lightly golden. Add tomatoes sauce and pelati, mix well and cook 10 minutes. Use hand mixer or blender to make smooth sauce. Bring to boil, add meatballs and cook for 15 more minutes. Serve with spaghetti.

Good for brain: The Magnificent Veal feet soup

The first time my mother served this soup; my brother and I were freshly in our teen years. His blue and sparkling eyes looked at me full of disgust, they were saying this is definitely the worst soup in the world. I agreed, slimy, gelatinous texture, strong flavor.

Few minutes later after a short but spicy argument with our mother we were obediently eating f**** soup trying not to think about the new entry on our You must eat that and I do not want to argue Menu. This soup was here to stay.

After a full year of cooking only macrobiotic, low fat, almost no meat, fresh and raw my mother decided that going to extreme is not good for her and that her blood type 0 deserve meat diet. At the time we were visiting and consulting several alternative experts regarding her MS diagnose and one of them convinced her that the veal tendons contain something (I completely forgot what) very good for brain synapse recovery.

25 years later I adore deep, slimy and meaty flavor this soup has. Despite the promise my teenage brain made not to ever eat this soup when I grow up I cook it regularly.
Never say never.
These bones are not easy to find; I have to pre order them from my butcher. Antonio cooks them privately at home and like to eat them but he’s not keeping them in the shop because nobody buys them.

2 veal feet (skinned, no hoof)
2 small onions (halved)
2 clove garlic (crushed)
1 carrot (whole)
few black peppercorns
some parsley
small piece of celery root
8 – 10 cups cold water
The Magnificent Veal feet soup

Combine all ingredients in a large pot; simmer on low heat for at least 2 hours (1 hour in a pressure cooker). Strain the soup. Remove the tendon from the bones and cut in bite size pieces. Cook in some soup pasta, mix in tendon parts and sprinkle with fresh parsley. You can feel how your gray brain cells are growing:-)

veal feet

Grilled T-Bone Steak

Grilled T-Bone Steak

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup  soy sauce
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 beef t-bone steak (good enough for 2)

In a large container combine all the marinade ingredients, add steak and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at east 24 hours, turning as often as you can. T-Bone steak marinade

After a day, drain and discard marinade.

Grill steaks, over high heat for about 5 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a meat thermometer should read 145 degrees, medium, 160 degrees, well-done 170 degrees).
Grilled T-Bone Steak

Grilled T-Bone Steak on open fire

Cut the steak in thin strips and generously splash with olive oil.



Vietnamese Noodle Soup

3 cups chicken stock
1+1/2 chicken breast (cubed)
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
4 tbsp. fish sauce
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 small chili (chopped)
1 tsp. muscovado sugar
165 ml (like 3/4 cup) coconut milk
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 spring onion (sliced)
2 tbsp. chopped peanuts
150 g rice noodles (cooked)
1 tsp. sesame oil
white pepper
bean sprouts (blanched)

Add turmeric, fish sauce, garlic, chili, sugar and coconut milk to the stock. Bring to a boil, add cubed chicken breast and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add sesame oil and peanuts.
Assembly – place rice noodles in a bowl, add some bean sprouts, cover with soup and garnish with spring onion.

Beef tenderloin with barbecue gravy and gnocchi

400 g beef tenderloin
splash of olive oil
1 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. mustard seeds
2 tbsp. black peppercorns

In a mortar crash mustard seeds and peppercorns add salt and mix. Rub the tenderloin with the mixture. Heat the pan, add olive oil and pan sear the meat 5 minutes on each side. Remove the meat from trepan and let it rest of 10 minutes until you make the gravy.

gravy preparation
1 small onion
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup cream

In the same pan add chopped onion and fry until golden. Deglaze the pan with the wine and add bay leaf and thyme. Cook until the wine reduce and then add cream. Cook for few minutes on low heat until the cream reduce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. remove bay leaf and thyme steams. Mix with immerse blender.

Cook the gnocchi. Potatoes – ricotta – semolina flour gnocchi are great choice!

Cut the meat, add gnocchi and pour the gravy over it.

Beef Stew with light gnocchi

500 g beef stew meat (cut into 2×2 cm chunks)
1 kiwi
1 chorizo sausage (cut into bit size pieces)
4 red onions (chopped)
3 carrots (cut into bit size pieces)
4 stalks celery (chopped)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
2/3 cup red wine
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
2 cups of water
spring of thyme
splash of olive oil

Mash the kiwi fruit and spread all over the meat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. After this marinade the meat is softer. Remove from refrigerator, wash and pat dry the meat with kitchen towels.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and caramelize the meat. Remove the meat from the pan and add chorizo, fry for several minutes, remove and add onion. Sauté onions until soft and add garlic, celery and carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add fennel seeds, sauté for one more minute and add tomato paste. Also sauté until you feel the smell of tomatoes, for about 1 minute. This will remove staleness from tomato paste and fennel seeds.
Deglaze the mixture with red wine. Add bay leaf, thyme and water. Bring to a boil and cook on low heat partially covered for 2 – 3 hours, until the meat is super tender. If necessary add more water.

Light gnocchi
400 g potatoes
200 g ricotta
100 – 150 g semolina flour
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
1 egg
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 egg
pinch of nutmeg

Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender. Drain and mash them, Allow them to cool. Pass ricotta through a course sieve into potato, then add remaining ingredients, season to taste and mix until combined. Divide dough into smaller pieces and roll each on a lightly floured work surface to a 1.5 cm thick cylinder. Cut into 2 cm lengths.
Cook, in batches, in a large saucepan of boiling salted boiling water until gnocchi float to the surface (1-2 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon, add to the beef stew.

No deep frizzing for this gnocchi! I have frozen half of the gnocchi I have made and plan to use them next week. And next week came and the sauce was ready, we were hungry and I put the gnocchi in boiling water, and they just dissolved. Next time I’ll use half of the ingredients, which is more than enough for lunch and light dinner for two.

New cookbook Beef mussaman curry

600 g stewing beef steak (trimmed off fat and cut into bite size chunks)
2+1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup coconut cream
3 tbsp. homemade mussaman curry paste
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. muscovado sugar
4 tbsp. tamarind juice (tamarind paste mixed with warm water)
6 green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 potatoes, around 225 g (cut into bite size chunks)
1 big onion (cut into wedges)
1/2 cup rosted peanuts
fresh coriander

Pour the coconut milk in a large heavy bottom pan and bring to a boil. Add the beef and reduce the heat to low. Partially cover the pan and gently simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the beef is tender.

Transfer the coconut cream in a separate pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly (5 minutes), until separates. Stir in the mussaman curry paste and cook on high heat for 2 – 3 minutes, until fragrant and thoroughly blended.

Stir this mixture with beef and simmer for further 4 – 5 minutes.

Stir in the fish sauce, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, potato and onion wedges into the beef curry. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked.

Add roasted peanuts, cook for 5 minutes more.

Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander and rice.

Chicken, mushroom & barley soup

1/3 cup barley (rinsed and drained)
2 tbsp. butter
1 large onion (chopped)
1 large leek (sliced)
4 cups homemade chicken stock
1 cup cooked chicken meat leftovers
200 g small shiitake mushrooms (quarter)
1 large carrot (chopped)
1 tbsp. fresh oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
spring onion to garnish (chopped)

Bring a pan of water to a boil. Add the barley and cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Skimming any foam and impurities from the surface. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the leek and cook for another 4 minutes. Stir in the stock, then drain the barley and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
Add the chicken, mushrooms, carrot, oregano and bay leaf and cook covered for another 30 minutes.
Remove bay leaf, garnish with spring onion.

Rustic Spring Rolls

1 cup chicken breast fillets (chopped into small pieces)
4 dried Shiitake mushrooms (soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, drained and finely chopped)
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp. ginger (grated)
1/4 cup  bean sprouts
2 large spring onions (finely sliced)
1 small carrot (julienned)
1 tbsp. oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
sea salt
ground white pepper
1 tbsp. sunflower oil, plus extra for deep-frying
rice paper wrapper (10 -14 pcs.)

Heat a wok until smoking and add 1 tbsp. of oil, then add the chicken and mushrooms and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Season with 1 tbsp. soy sauce and five-spice powder, remove from the wok and set aside to cool.
Wipe the wok clean with kitchen paper. In a bowl combine ginger, bean sprouts, spring onions and carrot, then add the chicken and mushrooms and season with the oyster sauce, 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce, sea salt and ground white pepper. Stir well to combine.
Gently moisten wrapping paper. Add filling (around 2 tbsp. per wrapper) and roll.
Heat the wok over a high heat and fill the wok to a 1/4 of its depth with oil. Gently lower the spring rolls in and deep-fry for 2-3 minutes, or until golden-brown. Drain on kitchen paper.

Ok they are not a winner when you look at their presentation side. Anyhow we were licking our fingers after every bite.