Snack Markers: A Snack Time Idea.

I am a sucker for neat utensils,as long as they actually work and make sense to use anyway.

These bright snack markers from Vacu Vin, for example. I found them on a sale rack in my favorite tea shop and picked them up with ev’s snack and tea times in mind.

We use them whenever we have children over. I love them for toddlers as they must take care with the semi-sharp prongs and practice fine motor control with those sweet little hands.

This little friend has that down pat!

our little friend using a snack marker

our little friend using a snack marker

Toad in the Hole

My sister often cooks this clever version of fried egg and suggested I prepare the dish for ev. And I am quite happy she mentioned so as ev just loves the whole deal.
In fact, I believe she would eat this for breakfast every morning if I never made pancakes!
I’m quite sure there are many ways to call this fried egg, but toad works just fine for us.IMG_0430

Burro e Parmigiano

Today, I shared this recipe with a friend so here I’ll share with all of my friends!
This pasta dish is ev’s favorite. If I remember right, she brought it as school lunch for three consecutive weeks. At which point, she told me she didn’t like “mac ‘n cheese” anymore. Really, maybe you are just a bit tired of it!

In any case, this is such a simple recipe, there’s really no need to make the boxed stuff. I’m pretty sure I use the same effort with this quick recipe as I would the box. This has to be the simplest Italian dish I know. In fact, the Romans like to say if your wife serves this pasta she was up to no domestic good all day! Can I say simple one more time!

Of utmost importance, however, is the cheese. You must use Parmigiano Reggiano. No other will do.

  • pasta (save some water when you drain)
  • butter
  • Parmigiano Reggiano

Cook the pasta, drain, and save the water. Stir in the butter, the Parmigiano and a splash of pasta water. You’ll know how much to use.

our lunch's leftover

our lunch’s leftover

Buon Appetito!

Borscht: Russian Beetroot Soup

Soup graces our dinner table at least twice a week. I find it to be one of the easiest, tastiest ways to pack nutrients into one healthy dish.  To open my email and find a Russian Borscht recipe from a dear friend warmed my day. (I believe this is the real deal as she’s from Russia) Reading this recipe in her own words felt like we were side-by-side in her kitchen, over tea, chatting about good food and simple recipes to feed our children.

I wish I still lived near my friend to borrow the potato that's missing. My beetroot was yellow making a light broth.

Put the beef (cubes or on the bone) in a pot and cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook until tender .

 Once the beef is tender, add shredded cabbage and small potato cubes

In the frying pan, fry onions and carrot, add beetroot grated on a big grater. Once cooked, add can of chopped tomatoes (or peeled fresh tomatoes) and cook for further 5 min.  

When the cabbage and potato are cooked, add the fried onions, carrots and beetroot into the pan & cook for 5 more minutes on low heat. Then cover & let rest for 5 min.  

Serve with a teaspoon of creme freche and fresh chopped dill.

P.S I don’t always use beetroot. The result is just as nice, but the color is a bit different. You can make a vegetarian option without any meat.

With cabbage and beetroots still plenty in the markets, Borscht will be our soup of the week until spring fully blooms.

This recipe is tasty and cozy, one that makes you feel at home. I hope mine gets a Russian wink of approval!

Lentils: As Winter Ends and Lent begins

The big round table central to papa’s parents’ flat in Rome changes like the seasons. Lentils appear in clay bowls with fall, and their hearty soup warms the pancia (tummy) all through winter’s cold nights. We are now cooking up our pantry’s last lentils until next fall.

The little pulses make a humble lent fare too.

I find the earthy, grainy flavor of lentils tough to balance. My mission tonight was savory lentils. This is how I proceeded:

2 fat garlic cloves smashed under a knife and sauteed in olive oil

225 g small green French lentils mixed into the oil until heated; stir to avoid stick or burn

1/2 of a large fresh tomato or scoop of canned or splash of passata mixed in until hot

add a splash of white cooking wine and cook until wine smell disappears

add 1 liter of water, a large rosemary sprig and a few cracks of black pepper

bring to a boil then gently simmer until lentils are just tender

salt generously just before lentils are cooked

let stand until warm before serving to let flavors settle

serve over polenta (recommend polenta meal to the instant one. sautee garlic in olive oil then cook according to package adding a rosemary sprig)

 grate Pecorino Romano cheese over the top.

I’m not sure this dish is chef approved, but ev especially enjoyed tonight’s winter dinner farewell!