Monday, 31 October 2011

On The Road To Recovery At Last - Normal Service Will Resume Soon

I can't believe I've been sick for so long; for more than two weeks I've had some kind of virus, which just would not let go of me. I know I'm great company but really, enough is off with you! No really...look, there's the door...sod's over between us!

I want to be out running, not running a temperature. I had to miss my first-ever race on Saturday...I wasn't best pleased, especially as I wasn't even well enough to drag my sorry carcass to the sidelines to cheer my teamsters on. On the plus side, it was fantastic to hear that they ran faster than ever before...probably because they didn't have to keep pace with me. And by pace, I do in fact mean shamble!

Anyway, I had Swine Flu earlier this year and apparently it can take ages for the body to fully recover, and of course, while it is doing so, I'm vulnerable. Whether this has had any bearing on how sick I've been, I have no idea...but it's a distinct possibility.

Cute little thing though, isn't he? He's from Giant Microbes.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Recipe/Ricetta - Calamari Con Mozzarella e Peperoncino

I love calamari; I love it breaded and deep-fried, and served with a fresh garlic mayonnaise dip. I love it in a seafood risotto, or in a not-too-spicy chilli and tomato sauce, served with pasta. I've never stuffed it though, so a few evenings ago, I had the idea of stuffing it with mozzarella, coating it in breadcrumbs, and then frying it off for a couple of minutes to get a nice crispy coating but without cooking the squid too much.

I was languishing in the bath, watching GodSlater on my laptop (I have a speaker system set up in my bathroom, which I can hook my laptop up to, thus enabling me to watch downloaded TV - it's generally the best way to get me to pay attention, otherwise, I'm doing something else while the TV is on)! Anyway, I digress....I was watching GodSlater cook his prawns in chilli sauce, when I thought, "Oooh, that looks like a fab idea - I'm going to try that with some calamari!"

Which I did. And they were nom.

So thank you Nigel; once again you have inspired my culinary adventures!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Sweaters for Penguins!

I have The Plague. For certain. I know this must be true because I am sneezing, there is goo running from my nose, and I have swellings on the front of my chest.

Oh, OK then, I have a lurgy....but it's horrid, and it jolly well hurts. My appendages feel leaden, and I am all wibbly-wobbly...not in a fun timey-wimey kind of way but in a, "Oh dear gods, I cannot stand up for more than five minutes" kind of way. On the plus side, I'm 4lbs lighter than I was at the beginning of the week; however, I suspect that it won't last once I'm eating properly again. I may have blown apart the 'starvation mode' theory I hear so much about on MFP! Ha ha!

So what has this got to do with penguin sweaters? Well, I could sit and watch Waking the Dead DVDs, or I could play on Pinterest. I could read, or I could get all sweaty with my LoveSprite (heheh!). In fact, I've done all these things (except play Assassin's Creed - my head hurts too much for that) and now I'm bored with it all. I must therefore be very ill because I never get bored! So I'm now going to watch Mad Men DVDs and be productive at the same time! Since an important part of my mind is somewhere in a field in Hampshire (10 points if you can tell me which song that's from), I don't want anything which is going to be too taxing...and I want something which will knit up quickly because I fully intend to be better by tomorrow. So, Sweaters for Penguins it shall be!


Saturday, 15 October 2011

Recipe/Ricetta - Quinoa and Cheese Patties

This is another great recipe which I found on Pinterest. It's from Linda over at Eating Well, Living Thin According to her description, this recipe originally used rice, not quinoa. I've not tried it with rice but my lovely friend Chrissy has, and assures me it works very well. One to try then!

I discovered that Linda's recommended amount of salt was far too much for amato mio's and my tastes, so I've reduced the amount by 50% for the quinoa, and have completely omitted it from the patty mix itself. I also made the patties thinner than Linda recommends, for no other reason than that was just the way they came out! However, having the slimline versions meant that they got completely 'lost' inside a wholemeal burger bun, and overpowered by the tomatoes I'd put in too! The second time we had them, I served them on a bed of green leaves, with some sliced raw pepper, half an avocado each, and a little of my maple and mustard dressing, which worked perfectly.

Friday, 14 October 2011

For the good of all womankind....

... please pass this on to all your male friends, relatives and lovers...and gosh, even your male colleagues, the pizza delivery boy, and the milkman!

1000 Things Men Don't Know About Women

The following are just a few of my favourites (and believe me, it was really difficult to narrow them down):

Monday, 10 October 2011

Recipe/Ricetta - No-Bake Nutella and Oat Cookies

I love Nutella - I make no secret of this fact. In Venexia, some of the gelaterie (which also serve crepes) have jars so large, I could almost fit my head inside. Perhaps fortunately, I've never actually bought a jar that big!

I found this recipe through Pinterest; it's from a great blog called Megan's Cookin' (where she also has some really fun Hallowe'en recipes!). I've changed the quantity of sugar that Megan states in her original recipe - after making these cookies, I found that 300g was just too much...I am of course, the only person in this house who has this opinion! Other than that (the stirring, and the bit at the end), I make no claims upon this recipe!

These cookies are really filling, and probably better, healthwise, than shop-bought ones. And of course, they are great to make with children because aside from the actual melting of ingredients, the kids can pretty much do all of this themselves. If you are going to make these with children, I suggest that you put the oats into a large mixing bowl and add the molten choc mix to the oats, rather than adding the oats to the pan - it just makes things a bit safer!

One last thing - they may look at first glance to be less-than-diet-friendly but trust me, one is really all you need (unless you answer to the name, amato mio, and live in my house)!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Recipe/Ricetta - Cardamom Pecan Praline

This another really simple, yet wonderfully delicious recipe. Be warned however, it is incredibly more-ish, so you may want to make a little extra!

Not only is this praline delicious as a topping for ice cream, creamy puddings, or something like my baked figs, it works really well as an appetizer before a meal.

I apologise for the terrible photos!

Recipe/Ricetta - Prawn, Mango and Avocado Cous Cous Salad

This salad is simplicity itself, yet full of taste and nutritional goodness. It's also something you could get your children involved with - even very young children are capable of making the dressing, and then mixing the whole lot together.

You could actually eat this by itself and still have almost all the nutritional requirements for a meal, but I love to have it with something very decadent such as my baked figs. Try it for yourself and see what you think!

A word about cooking scampi (prawns/shrimp): I can't tell you how long to cook yours for because we all like them cooked differently; I like mine quite well-done but some like them almost raw. Some of the fish merchants in the pescheria di Rialto like to eat them raw - they claim that it's the best way to taste them. One or two even go so far as to say that the prawn is tough like a man, and the shrimp is sweet like a woman! I have never tasted raw scampi, so I just take their word for it!

Recipe/Ricetta - Fichi al forno con scalogno caramellato e Dolcelatte (Baked Figs)

Well, it's been far too long, hasn't it? Fortunately for my bank balance, I've had quite a bit of freelance work come my way recently; however, unfortunately for my blog, it's meant I've had very little free time.

I also haven't had much time to experiment in la cucina - that's not to say I've been idle; old favourites have been trotted out....and by that, I do mean old favourites. For example, I have very fond memories of the shepherd's pies my mother's mother (my English Nan) used to make me, as I'm sure, do my children of the ones I used to make for them, but we don't eat meat in this house, so I used Quorn instead, and it turned out wonderful! If anyone is interested, I'll happily blog the recipe.

On the few occasions recently when I've had time to play, I've had mixed results; from the positively orgasmic (or mouthf**k as one friend declared!), to the running-around-looking-for-the-fire-extinguisher-because-I'd-gone-overboard-with-the-harissa! (Hey, I'm half-Venetian, not Moroccan!)

So today, we'll have mouthgasms; I'll blog the fiery Moroccan Not-Meatballs another day!