Sunday Cooking With Crys: Seppie e Piselli

I still find the odd moment to cook for myself and so, in celebration of my boyfriend finally finding a decent source of frozen fish in this town, I decided to make a comfort food favorite of mine: Seppie e piselli, or cuttlefish and peas.

First of all, I feel I need to emphasize the difference between the various cephalopods that make in onto my plate. I know that many people flinch away from the word “cuttlefish”, but in reality they are very similar to calamari (a.k.a. squid), just smaller, more flavorful and more tender.

Cuttlefish have a rounder mantle, containing a calcium-based internal shell called a cuttlebone. Squid belong to a different order of cephalopods, have a longer mantle, and only a thin plastic-like internal shell, made of chitin, called a pen. Another cephalopod that finds its way onto Italian plates are totani, which are in the same order as squid, but have no common name in English as far as I can tell. Of course, the king of the cephalopods is the octopus, but cooking those is worthy of a seperate post for another time.

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Healthy Sunday Cooking With Crys: Tortini di Verdure

While Italians are not exactly known for their vegetarian dishes, they do eat a lot of vegetables compared to many other cultures. Because of this, you can come across dishes that are vegetarian by accident.

I tend to prefer these “accidentally” vegetarian or vegan recipes to ones that I will often see on veggie/vegan blogs, simply because they are not designed to imitate non-vegetarian dishes. I don’t want to eat a vegan steak, because it is never going to taste anywhere near as good as a real steak, and distantly reminding me of real steak on my plate just makes me frustrated and craving for the real thing. Dishes that happen to be vegetarian or vegan, on the other hand (like those vegan cookies I’ve told you about), were designed to be perfectly delicious all on their own, rather than pale imitations of something else, so I find them much more appealing for it.

Today, I’ll be giving you two tortino recipes, which is literally translated to “small cake”. However this is something of a bad translation, as cake implies flour. When we say tortino, we really mean something in the shape of a cake, but they often more closely resemble souffle, or flan.

Tortino recipes can be either salty or sweet, but today I’m going to talk about two recipes that are salty, and made with vegetables. These make filling and low- calorie snacks, but also good and different appetizers for vegetarian guests (neither of these are vegan though, vegan tortini are coming in another post).

Here, I’ll give you the recipe for a zucchini tortino, and for a cauliflower one.

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Sunday Cooking With Crys: Lamb Korma

It’s the season of lamb, so I decided to make a great korma recipe that I came across and modified over the years. It’s a recipe I enjoy also making for others because, while you can still taste the lamb nicely, the spices and sauce also mitigate the gamey flavor that lamb can have, so it’s great for guests who do not particularly like that flavor.

While I have modified it to make it a little less fatty though no less flavorful, one thing I strongly suggest against is messing with the spice combination. There is an art to combining spices in Indian cooking, one that I have not get managed to learn, so that the spices come together and taste like something different, and more, than their individual components.

So, having said that, here is my recipe for lamb korma.

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Sunday Cooking With Crys: Romanian Lamb

For this Sunday’s Romanian cooking spree, I decided to make two lamb dishes from the excellent lamb sold in Turkish shops here in Germany. One is a ciorba, a soup that precedes almost every Romanian meal, whether it is winter or summer. There are many different kinds of ciorba, but this one is a classic cabbage and lamb variety. The other is a simple yet delicious lamb and potato stew. Neither of these recipes look like much, but you would be surprised at how combining very simple ingredients can result in a more complex flavor than you would expect from just reading the recipe.

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Sunday Cooking With Crys: Diet Tip Of The Week (III)

It’s that time of year, so for this week I want to talk about pumpkin. I, like many people, generally only like to eat pumpkin in a sweet context, but recently I’ve been finding recipes for salty pumpkin dishes that are actually pretty awesome. Pumpkin is very filling, high in fiber and much lower in calories than sweet potatoes, in fact if you follow Weight Watchers, pumpkin has 0 points.

Today, I’m making a creamy, spicy pumpkin curry, for which I have a vegetarian and a fish variation.

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Sunday Cooking With Crys: Bombe

Those of you who follow my Sunday recipe posts might have noticed that my “one complicated/fun recipe a week” scheme is involving a lot of desserts lately. This week, I was convinced that I was going to make something savory… but then I came across this video on facebook.

Those are bombe, which literally means bombs in Italian. I’m going to have to make bombe.

Bombe are the Italian spin on the American creme-filled doughnuts, or the German krapfen. However, as you can see from the video, the most common fillings for bombe are either custard or nutella.

For those of you who do not speak Italian, the translated recipe is below the fold, as well as my recipe for custard, which was not included in the video.

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