Hot Days, Cold Food

watermelon granita

watermelon granita

It is so hot in Rome that we choose the gelateria on our once, twice, thrice daily visits according to the shadow/sun ratio of the route to get there.

And sometimes, we just have to stay at home and eat one of these:

melon granita

melon granita

chocolate sorbet

chocolate sorbet

watermelon granita unveiled

watermelon granita unveiled

These are all so easy to make. For any granita, you just need any ripe, real fruit. Puree, add a tiny bit sugar (do this even if your fruit is very sweet, sugar helps with the crystallization of the granita) and a little bit lemon or lime juice. Mix and put in the freezer. For a granita you absolutely don’t need to mix it in between, just before serving, take it out and scrape with a (stable!) fork to obtain the fluffy mountain of cold goodness. Of course you can add alcohol, herbs, just be creative!

For the chocolate sorbet, I used David’s recipe (via Smitten Kitchen). Serve with some pistachios, hmmm!

These were not the only ice creams and granitas in my kitchen. I also adapted David’s Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream (via Cafe Fernando). Just mix a can of condensed milk, one can (use the milk can) of strong espresso, add the fabulous cajeta you have in your fridge (I omitted the ground coffee as I dislike the gritty texture), mix and put in your freezer. You will have to mix this every couple of hours to get a nice, smooth ice cream without ice crystals.

Another great quick ice cream was fig ice cream. Boil a pound of figs with some brown sugar, grated lemon peel and some juice and a dash of homemade vanilla vodka. After it cools, mix it with 250 ml of cream, add some more lemon juice and freeze, as above, working it every once in a while with your stick blender. Serve with little pieces of candied orange peel!

And here are some tips for making very quick ice cream from none other than Harold McGee!

Keep cool!

melon granita - scratch with a fork!

melon granita - scratch with a fork!

Eat Fish Week: Trout Strudel

I will be on an island all week, and a bad conscience has been nagging all the time. Have so much stuff to blog about but so little time. So here you are: my folders give enough material for a whole fish week. You won’t find exact recipes for anything, just an idea of what I threw together. It is meant to inspire you. And if I find a begging comment about some real recipe when I come back, I might think about it!

trout strudel

Let’s get fancy. This is the signature dish of an Austrian restaurant I used to love and have already written about. Used to, because last time we were there with some blogfriends, the experience was less than stellar and I am not very keen on taking my hard earned money there soon. But this dish, it is really good. So I researched and found this recipe online, it was authorized by the cook himself, but it wouldn’t work. Believe me, I am not a novice in the kitchen and I can notice and fix broken recipes, but this one, no. So no recipe here, not even a source, but just an inspiration: Make a strudel, fill it with a farce of mushrooms and a piece of fresh trout fillet. Let me know if you have a great experience!

inner life

Excuse the bad picture, it was sooo late as I was finally done with this un-obeying recipe!

Eat Fish Week: Tuna Steak

I will be on an island all week, and a bad conscience has been nagging all the time. Have so much stuff to blog about but so little time. So here you are: my folders give enough material for a whole fish week. You won’t find exact recipes for anything, just an idea of what I threw together. It is meant to inspire you. And if I find a begging comment about some real recipe when I come back, I might think about it!

Tuna Steak with Vegetables

This is the only way tuna should be eaten, except for raw: cooked rare, very rare. I buy thick slices, marinate them if I have the time (here with three-color peppers and soy sauce) and then braise them very quickly in a hot pan. Important point is to get the tuna to room temperature before frying, so that the inner parts won’t be cold. Serve with stir-fired vegetables. Yumm!

Eat Fish Week: Anchovies

I will be on an island all week, and a bad conscience has been nagging all the time. Have so much stuff to blog about but so little time. So here you are: my folders give enough material for a whole fish week. You won’t find exact recipes for anything, just an idea of what I threw together. It is meant to inspire you. And if I find a begging comment about some real recipe when I come back, I might think about it!

anchovies casserole

Yes, I use my oven a lot. I find it very convenient to put something in the oven and then forget about it for some time. This “casserole” here consists of some butterflied anchovies (you could use sardines, too) on a bed of asparagus (hurry up, this is the last week to enjoy asparagus!) and adorned by some cherry-tomatoes on the vine. About butterflying small fish: as said yesterday, let the fish monger do it!

Eat Fish Week: Pasta With Fish

I will be on an island all week, and a bad conscience has been nagging all the time. Have so much stuff to blog about but so little time. So here you are: my folders give enough material for a whole fish week. You won’t find exact recipes for anything, just an idea of what I threw together. It is meant to inspire you. And if I find a begging comment about some real recipe when I come back, I might think about it!

Pasta, alici, arancio

Here are two fishy pasta favorites, that I offer my fish and pasta-loving husband again and again. The first one (above) is the recreation of a pasta dish we had years ago in Alessandria up north, of all places. We were so intrigued by the combination of anchovies, (blood-) orange segments and mint that I had to tinker at home to find the right combination. My advice: Let the fishmonger butterfly the anchovies for you, it can be done at home but takes such a long time (and not everybody is willing to do this bloody job!).

pasta melanzane spada

Another favorite pasta combination, this one we picked up in Sicily: Eggplants, swordfish (in times of dire I have made this dish with almost any readily available fish-fillet and it works always!) and, yes, mint again. Try this!