I’ve developed some sort of obsession for this lovely asparagus and egg salad. I could easily enjoy it on a daily basis without getting bored. It’s quite amazing how some simple ingredients, combined together, can create something so majestic. This hearty salad doesn’t take more than 15 minutes and it tastes divine. The steps are very easy, you blanch the asparagus to preserve its vibrant color, you toast the almonds just to enhance their flavor and you boil the egg to your likeness. You dress these ingredients with a velvety mustard and scallion sauce and you devour the dish without regrets.
Ingredients (for 2-3 servings):
- 500g asparagus
- 50g ricotta (I used a drier variety)
- 20g almond flakes
- 2 large eggs
for the dressing:
- 1 scallion, finely chopped (1 Tbsp)
- 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 Tbsp walnut oil (or any other mild-flavored oil)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- salt to taste
- Trim the asparagus. Cut about 7 cm from the end of each asparagus and peel the asparagus using a vegetable peeler.
- Blanche the asparagus. Bring to a boil 2l of water and add 1 Tbsp sea salt. Cook the asparagus for 2 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the ice bath by adding 1 cup of ice to a bowl filled with cold water. Carefully remove the asparagus from the boiling water using a spatula and immediately place it in the ice bath. Let it cool completely and place it on a paper towel.
- Eggs. Place the eggs in the same pot and let eggs boil for 10 minutes. Drain eggs, let them cool in cold water (use the same bowl you used for the asparagus) and peel them.
- Almonds. Brown the almonds in a skillet, on medium heat. Set aside.
- Scallions. Wash the scallion and chop it finely using a sharp knife.
- Dressing and assembly. Prepare the dressing by mixing in a medium bowl chopped scallion with the mustard and honey. Drizzle the oil, making sure to whisk continuously. Add the lemon juice and stir. Add the asparagus (cut into 2 – 3 pieces), almond flakes and ricotta cheese. Stir gently, season with salt and garnish with the eggs (cut into quarters).
- Leftovers. Place the leftovers (if any) in a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Challah is a braided bread made traditionally in the Jewish cuisine. This spectacular bread has a golden-brown, shiny crust and a airy and pilowy slightly sweet interior. It’s more than possible I’ve made challah more than two dozen times, in fact I bake it each and every time I want to surprise my guests. Beside the wow factor, this bread surprizes with its amazing taste as well.
Besides the usual ingredients, such as flour, water, salt, yeast and sugar, this bread is usually enriched with vegetable oil or melted butter and eggs, which give challah a golden color and an unmistakable richness. These ingredients also allow this bread to remain soft for several days. If you’ve never tried to make challah before, I encourage you with all my heart to give it a try!
Ingredients (for a 45x15cm loaf):
- 630g all-purpose flour (22 oz)
- 225ml lukewarm water (8 oz)
- 1 satchel active dry yeast (7g)
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (30g)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (8g)
- 55ml vegetable oil (2 oz)
- 4 egg (2 egg + 1 yolk for the dough and 1 egg for the wash)
- 2 – 3 Tbsp poppy seeds
- Activate the yeast. In a small bowl combine water, sugar and yeast and let aside for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the mixture should be frothy.
- Form the dough. In a large bowl sift the flour and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture (point 1) and the oil, 2 eggs and 1 yolk and mix with a wooden spatula. Add the salt and continue mixing until you form a ball.
- Knead the dough. Bring the dough on a floured working surface and knead it for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the dough should be smooth.
- Let the dough rise. Place dough in the bowl, cover with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes (or until doubled in size).
- After 90 minutes, place the dough back on the working surface and knead vigorously to knock out the air bubbles.
- Form the ropes. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Elongate each ball of dough with your hands until you form a 45cm rope. Proceed the same with the rest of the dough.
- Braid the loaf. For a six-rope braid, I’ll leave you below the step by step pictures, as well as a gif.
- Preheat the the oven at 180°C / 350°F (gas mark 4).
- Place the loaf on a parchment paper-lined tray. Cover with a clean towel and let it rise for about 45 – 60 minutes.
- After about 1 hour give the apply egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
- Bake it in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Place it on a wire rack and let it cool down for about 30 minutes before slicing.
I love everything that remotely resembles to bread, but if I’d have to choose between a slice of bread and a bun I’d choose the latter. And I have 2 main reasons:
- I’m the “crust” type of person, the crunchier, the better.
- I’m incapable of evenly slicing a bread. And I’ve tried. A lot. And don’t get me started on the cake-slicing topic.
These being said, I think I found the perfect buns. They are dense without being tough and they have a wonderful crunchy crust. Oh, I almost forgot the best part. These buns are made in 40 minutes.
Ingredients (for 10 Buns):
- 250g strong white flour (+ extra 10g for kneading)
- 25g beaten egg (1/2 egg)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 120ml lukewarm water (36-38°C)
- 35ml Tbsp olive oil
- 15g granulated sugar (I used packed brown sugar)
- 1 envelope active dry yeast (7g)
Lascute (quadratini / quadrucci in Italian) are the adorable small pasta that my grandmother used to make when I was a child. They are nothing else but some tiny squares with 5 mm side length. They are so delicious in chicken soups, tomato or bean-based soups. They are really easy to make, they require just a few things: some flour, salt and eggs. You also need a rolling pin, a sharp knife and some spare time. I like to make a large batch and I dry them overnight. Once nice and dry, they last for weeks.
For this pasta recipe I use all-purpose white flour, chicken or duck eggs and Himalayan salt. Chicken eggs make some delicious homemade pasta, but duck eggs simply elevate the dish. Duck eggs are higher in fat, compared to chicken eggs, which improves both the texture and the taste of the pasta. Also, duck eggs have a higher yolk to white ratio than chicken eggs, which provides a more vibrant color to the final product. Continue reading Lascute (homemade square pasta)
I’ve been testing quail egg recipes for quite a while and I include them almost daily in my diet. I serve them for breakfast, lunch or dinner, as appetizers, main dishes or even desserts. They are so versatile, nutritious and they are also, given their size, ready in no time.
Quail egg salad is simply mouth-watering. It’s ready in less than 20 minutes, it’s smooth and velvety and it’s a true texture and flavor symphony. Homemade mayonnaise gives this salad its creaminess; homemade mayonnaise is so inexpensive and definitely more delicious and nutritious than the store-bought version. For this salad I boiled the quail eggs for 3 minutes, I chopped them and I combined them with scallions, celery and homemade pickled cucumbers. I flavored the salad with Dijon mustard, parsley, lemon zest and chili powdered. Three tablespoons of mayo, salt and freshly ground pepper and the salad was ready. Extremely easy and over-the-top delicious! Continue reading Quail Egg Salad
Naan is an oven baked flatbread made with yeast. These flatbreads are by far my favorite kind of flatbread. They are so easy to make, the ingredients are always in my pantry, they look so adorable, but also these beauties are extremely delicious. This flatbread is so elastic, soft and airy, with a lovely buttery and toasted sesame seed flavor. It is such a rustic bread and yet so sophisticated. The technique is quite simple and the active part takes no more than 20 minutes. The passive part, the part when the dough rests or rises is the most challenging part, if you will. It takes about 2 hours to rise, so this recipe isn’t the most suitable if you are in a hurry. But if you have some time to spare, trust me, the result is so rewarding and surely it is worth waiting every minute. Continue reading Homemade Naan
I grew up in a meat-lover environment and the thought of a meatless lunch was simply unbearable. I try really hard to break the chain and I try to include in my family’s diet as many fruit and veggies as possible. It’s been a while since I’ve discovered this delicious zucchini and feta patties and I tend to make them once or twice a month. They are so simple to make, you just mix some basic ingredients, you form 12 balls, you flatten them and you bake them in the oven at high temperature. This way, the patties have a crunchy crust and a soft, almost creamy center. This being said, this delicious recipe has quickly become my summer “must-make”, and I hope it will become yours, as well! Continue reading Baked Zucchini and Feta Cheese Patties