Category: Recipes

Pesto Bites

Pesto Bites 1

When I first conceived of this idea, it struck me that what I had in my mind was very similar to the Provencal specialty known as Pissaladière, except that the traditional topping of caramelized onion is replaced with Pesto (in this case my own homemade Pesto Piccante)

Initially, I thought of doing a single, large, rectangular ‘bread’, but then I decided to make individual, round ‘bites’ as you see pictured above … [ Continue reading “Pesto Bites”

Pasta Vitello Puttanesca

Pasta Vitello Verde 1

I purchased some nice thin veal cutlets in my local store just the other day and one of the uses I planned was for a pasta dish something like a Puttanesca (but with veal added). I only had green olives, rather than the black sort I usually use, and I also happened to have some nice fresh Basil that I thought might make a nice addition. Altogether, my creation departs quite a bit from most Puttanesca recipes, but it is close enough, I think, that the name still applies … Continue reading “Pasta Vitello Puttanesca”

Ratatouille with Pancetta Wrapped Prawns

Ratatouille with Pancetta Wrapped Prawns

This is the third recipe I have presented using  my home-made Ratatouille as a focal point. Her, the Ratatouille is served warmed, rather than at room temperature, as a ‘bed’ for some large shrimp wrapped in Pancetta. Bacon could also be used, but the pancetta is more delicate and goes nicely with the shrimp. As a single Antipasto, a bit of buttered fresh bread, or oil-drizzled grilled bread would be a great accompaniment…  Some lemon slices on the side would be nice too.

Pesto Piccante

Pesto Piccante 1

As I had some nice fresh Basil on hand, I wanted to put together a Pesto, primarily for use as a pasta sauce. I also wanted to do something a little different than the usual Genoese style with garlic and pine-nuts and I decided to use green olives and green Jalapeno for a tangier, spicier result. The name I came up with, Pesto Piccante, has, it turns out already been used before and , when  I searched the name on line I found  some (mainly commercial) productions that are tomato based, and look very much to me like Italian variations of Salsa.

Well, screw it … I am going to use the name anyway … Continue reading “Pesto Piccante”

Spicy Red-Braised Pork Belly

Spicy Red-braised Pork Belly 1

In her book Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A sweet-sour memoir of eating in China, Fuchsia Dunlop devotes part of her book to her travels in Hunan province, the birthplace of Mao Xedong, and she presents us with a recipe for a dish said to be a favorite of the Chairman himself, and which she calls ‘Chairman Mao’s Red-Braised Pork-Belly’.

I have discussed the Chinese cookery technique of ‘red cooking’ (or ‘red-braising’)before,  and have even posted several recipes in that style over the years. Today, I am presenting a dish that is inspired by Ms. Dunlop’s recipe, but which departs from it through the use of different seasonings. In addition to dried chilies, Ms. Dunlop uses Star Anise and Cinnamon…  I have replaced the dried chili with a Chinese Chili Paste and then omitted the other two spices for Fennel Seed and Black Cardamom, along with some dried orange peel, thus giving the dish a bit more of a slant towards Sichuan, rather than the Hunanese original … Continue reading “Spicy Red-Braised Pork Belly”

Basil Carbonara

Basil Carbonara 1

I am not providing a formal recipe for today’s post as I hadn’t intended to do a post at all. Rather, I bought some Whole-wheat paste to try for the first time and I decided on a ‘Carbonara’ sort of dish. I had some fresh Basil on hand and I thought it might be an interesting addition. It certainly turned out to be just, and so I decided to share…

Basically, I prepared the spaghetti is usual. While it was boiling I sautéed some bacon and, before it started to become crisp, I added a little slivered onion and let it brown. I made the basic Carbonara ‘sauce’ by beating an egg with a good helping of coarsely ground black pepper, and some grated Parmesan Cheese. I also shredded some of my fresh basil.

Once the onions were nicely golden, I added the drained pasta and sautéed for a minute or so. Finally, I took the pan from the heat, added the egg mix and the basil, tossing quickly to coat all the pasta. I served it hot with a little extra cheese. I really enjoyed this and, next time, I will likely use a bit more basil…

Ratatouille Bruschetta

Ratatouille Bruschetta

Today, I am illustrating a use for home-made Ratatouille that is a something of an Italian-Provencal fusion. Quite simply, it is little more than the delicious Provencal relish piled atop Italian Bruschetta.

Usually, Bruschetta is drizzled with olive oil (and it can be delicious with nothing more than this other than ‘scrubbing’ the grilled bread with a piece of raw garlic). Here, though, after grilling my slices of Baguette style bread in a ridged grill pan, I spread them with butter and it allowed it to melt before adding the Ratatouille. This made for a lovely snack and would also be a terrific Antipasto as part of a larger meal…

Taiwanese Pickle

Taiwanese Pickle 1

This little appetizer is my take on a dish I had a while ago at a Dim Sum restaurant in Ottawa. It was described on the menu as ‘Taiwan Pickled Vegetable’ and was chiefly cucumber with just a little red bell pepper and slivered ginger. I am not sure about the ‘dressing’… these were obviously salt-macerated ‘quick pickles’ and they were quite sweet, only a little sour, and had just a faint touch of chili heat… Continue reading “Taiwanese Pickle”