Food for Happiness 

Instead of crying my eyes out because my ‘volpino’ is back in the UK, I decided to have some “me” time in the kitchen and try something new! This is how it was

Pasta Al Pesto di Broccoli

weekend!!!

I have seen the recipe in the Giallo Zafferano website http://www.giallozafferano.it/ and thought it sounded really ‘yummy’…

and fortunately my thoughts were proven right!!

My evening started with the perfect aperitif:



Aperitif for one

I then moved on to the preparation of the pasta:



The Ingredients





Preparing the broccoli pesto

The preparation was neither time consuming not tedious…and the final product was delicious…



Pasta al Pesto di Broccoli

…and delicious food makes me happy 😊



Food for Happiness

You should try it sometime😉

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Eid Mubarak!

It’s been 1 year and almost 3 months since my last post! I’ve been wanting to write for a while but just didn’t know where to start. On May 13th 2013 I was celebrating a new job! Well… since then I changed job yet again, got engaged and married in less than a month, relocated to Doha, Qatar, moved twice while in Doha…

Needless to say throughout all these life events food and cooking has always been present!

And then yesterday happened and I knew exactly how to break my loooooooong silence!

I cooked a 3 pan meal ONLY for me!

3 pan meal only for one...guess I really am a blue collar foodie...or else just really enjoy eating my own food (how modest!)

Risotto con Zucchine. 3 pan meal only for one…guess I really am a blue collar foodie…or else just really enjoy eating my own food (how modest!)

I relocated to Doha by myself. My MOST WONDERFUL husband, Oreste Majeli, is still living in our place in London. He does come to Doha every month which makes of me a very fortunate person!

When I relocated, back in November 2013 I started cooking almost straight away…it’s part of me and was important to make me feel more settled! Two things were VERY important: cooking and finding a good gym! And I got both!

I started shy I must admit…cooking only for one…hummm…not the most exciting thing! But baby step by baby step I found not only I wanted to cook simple meals but also more complex ones even if it was ONLY for me. And yesterday I found myself cooking a risotto involving a three pan preparation – I was extremely pleased and proud of myself!

Below are a  few shots of my “Food For One” meals:

Healthy Ramadan time lunch!

Healthy Ramadan time lunch!

Smoked Salmon sandwich.

Smoked Salmon sandwich.

Spaghetti con Zucchine

Spaghetti con Zucchine

 

Roasted Salmon.

Roasted Salmon.

Polpetonne

Polpetone

 But there’s nothing like having the company of my better half for dinner though…

Roasted Whole Sea Bass with Oreste at Kempinski - one of the first meals at the new place

Roasted Whole Sea Bass with Oreste at Kempinski – one of the first meals at the new place

Oreste eating roasted chicken and his most favourite salad :)

Oreste eating roasted chicken and his most favourite salad: carrot and courgette!

… and obviously, the company of friends!

My first Risotto Milanese at Kempinski with Maria, Mila and Itza.

My first Risotto Milanese at Kempinski with Maria, Mila and Itza.

Me and Itza, my Roomy!

Me and Itza, my Roomy!

Happy tummy...Happy and beautiful gals!

Happy tummy…Happy and beautiful gals!

First official dinner party at the M&T household with Ioannis, Max, Nolene and Itza

First official dinner party at the M&T household with Ioannis, Max, Nolene, Candice and Itza

Bruschetta Caprese

Smoked salmon mousse.

Smoked salmon mousse.

melon, rocket and mozzarella skewers.

Melon, rocket and mozzarella skewers.

Memories of a GREAT dinner party with GREAT people!

Memories of a GREAT dinner party with GREAT people!

And now that I broke my silence I shall be sharing good food, good wine, wonderful moments more often…

Inshallah!



 


The very good and the … not so good!

I really wanted to cook last weekend!

I wanted to celebrate with Oreste the start of my new job

I also wanted to try different recipes…

So…

I came across with “The Not so Good”:

Pan-fried scallops with parsnip purée & pancetta crumbs

Pan-fried scallops with parsnip purée & pancetta crumbs

I’ve seen this recipe on the Good Food magazine a while ago and really wanted to give it a go. It fitted perfectly in last weekend plans so ‘I went for it’ for our Saturday dinner. Although it sounds and looks delicious…wasn’t so much! Basically was a bit of a disappointment. When I say this it means I won’t be doing this recipe again! Don’t get me wrong, was edible and with plenty of flavour…but we really didn’t feel the ingredients were a good combination. We also felt really full and unpleased!

I was so incredibly sad 😦

I had to make up for “The Not so Good” so the disappointment would go away and the celebration would be a PROPER celebration!

I did!!!

Let me introduce you to “The Very Good”:

"Spiedini di Pollo" aka Chicken Kebabs

“Spiedini di Pollo” aka Chicken Kebabs

MUCH more like it!! I was a very happy Joana on Sunday’s dinner 🙂

Very very good recipe! I came across it on the Giallo Zafferano website and can just recommend it! Simply delicious! It is what you see: pieces of chicken breast wrapped in smoked pancetta and rosemary with courgette and mushrooms. I could go on and on and on… but just let me tell you we were extremely happy AND pleased with these ‘spiedini’ AND I most certainly will be doing this again AND do look forward to cook it for friends!

So…

I’m happy I can share with you “The not so good”

Extremely happy I can share with you “The Very Good”

And even happier I have no “Bad and Ugly” to show you 😉

And so it was last week…

Tuna Steaks with Cucumber relish

This was our midweek treat! Quick to prepare, healthy and delicious!

Tuna Steaks with Cucumber relish

Tuna Steaks with Cucumber relish

Friday Night date

Myself and Oreste had a special date on Friday: We made fresh pasta together for the first time! Very amusing especially because the whole time we were in bickering mode 🙂 The end result was a delicious plate of homemade pasta with prawns and a fantastic ‘homemade’ date!!!

The start!

The start!

The volcano

The volcano

The perfect dough

The perfect dough

The resting

The resting

The extension

The extension

The quick drying

The quick drying

And the final result:

Homemade Tagliatelle with Prawns

Homemade Tagliatelle with Prawns

And to finish the week…

Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus Risotto

Coteau de la Biche - Vouvray Sec

Coteau de la Biche – Vouvray Sec

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipes on Demand!!!

New Year…New You & Me!!

New resolutions…New objectives…New challenges…New beginnings…

I have one wish!! I wish to engage with my fellow viewers and followers!

Sooooooooooooo, I came up with the idea of Recipes on demand!

Joana's Signature Cheese Cake

Joana’s Signature Cheese Cake

Meaning I will only describe recipes you ask me to!

Carbonara

Carbonara

Spaghetti with Courgettes

Spaghetti with Courgettes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But don’t worry! I will keep posting as before, sharing with you great moments with fantastic food and fantastic wine 🙂

Cep Risotto

Cep Risotto

Truffle Risotto

Truffle Risotto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And if you want to make something you see you only have to drop me a comment here and ask for it!

Ti-Ra-Mi-Su

Ti-Ra-Mi-Su

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As per the wine, I’m afraid I can’t give you the recipe for it (I wish I could!!!) but if you live around London I can certainly tell you where to look for it 😉

Coteau de la Biche - Vouvray Sec

Coteau de la Biche – Vouvray Sec

Amarone della Valpolicella

Amarone della Valpolicella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deal???

 

 

 

Remember Remember the best of November…

Autumn is a season full of earthy, rich, intense flavours!

I’m aware the season is gone (!), but certainly couldn’t go on without sharing it with you. So without further ado here it is from me to you:

Nothing more earthy and flavoursome than fungi! So every autumn we celebrate autumn or better even, The Fungi Season at the M&M’s table,  with two delicious risotto recipes: the delicious Truffle Risotto (‘Risotto al Tartufo Bianco’) and the equally delicious Cep Risotto (‘Porcini Risotto’).

We started November with a magnificent Truffle Risotto!

Truffle Risotto

Truffle Risotto

The preparation started the previous day with a trip to Borough Market. I love Borough Market! And do recommend ‘Turnips’ to shop for Truffles and Ceps!

Got the gorgeous White Truffle and left it in the rice for 24hours so the truffle flavour was slightly more intense. We had the mouthwatering risotto the following day at dinner. The last ‘touch’ just before serving is to shave the truffle on the top of it! As per the wine the choice was easy: the world award winning red ‘Poliphonia’ from Alentejo, Portugal!

White Truffle and Carnaroli Rice

White Truffle and Carnaroli Rice

Last 'touch'

Last ‘touch’

Poliphonia

Poliphonia

'Risotto al Tartufo Bianco' at the M&M's November 2012

Truffle Risotto at the M&M’s November 2012

And that’s how we celebrated the fabulous ‘Tartufo Bianco’

With such an excellent start there was only one way to close the month:

Cep Risotto

Cep Risotto

As previously the preparation started the day before (a Friday) with the quick visit to ‘Turnips’ at Borough Market. I was gobsmacked this time: their ceps that week were HUGE! Really really BIG! See for yourself the picture below, and trust me, I chose the smaller one! (Mushrooms on steroids?!?!).

After carefully clean the giant Cep I then sliced it and cooked it to add to the rice.

Once again the italian recipe was served with a Portuguese wine! This time I decided to go further north in the country and have the ‘Porcini Risotto‘ with the dry, full-bodied and fruity ‘Duas Quintas‘ from Douro.

Porcini Mushroom

Porcini Mushroom

Sliced Porcini

Sliced Porcini

Cooking the mushroom just before adding to the rice

Cooking the mushroom just before adding to the rice

Porcini Risotto and 'Duas Quintas'

Porcini Risotto and ‘Duas Quintas’

And that’s how we celebrated the fabulous ‘Porcini’!

And so we will:

Remember remember the best of November!!!

Welcome Home Cartman!!!

Saturday, 12th of May!

Oreste had been waiting for today the whole week! His new motorbike, Cartman, was going to arrive at 11am and he was extremely excited.

A celebration dinner was in place!

My day started incredibly early: I got up at 5.30 to go to Billingsgate Market. Good thing I had two friends to go with me, Qun and Ale, otherwise would have been incredibly difficult to get up 🙂

I love to go to Billingsgate. The variety of fish is fantastic and the prices are a lot better than in the supermarkets. Every time I go there I have an urge of buying every single thing I see!

‘Oh…look at those clams – I can do that clam risotto that I’ve been wanting to make for a while… or Oh…fantastic monkfish…I can do that amazing Moroccan recipe with monkfish and prawns marinated in a chermoula sauce and then skewed and grilled…’

Today the winner was a fantastic 1.2kg Wild Sea Bass

 

As soon as I’ve seen it I knew exactly what I was going to cook:

Sea Bass in sea salt and herbs crust.

From Billingsgate to my place to clean up the fish, task that I find quite amusing! Particularly the part of scaling it: if you’re not carefull there will be flying scales all over the kitchen – eheheh

Cartman arrived at 11:30am. Oreste was thrilled!

Oreste and Cartman

Cartman is indeed a beautiful motorbike!

After a light lunch Oreste took me for my first ride! We actually had to go and pick up Leia, my scooter and Cartman’s new and little sister, from servicing and get rid of a few scratches at The London Scooter Body Shop http://thelondonscooterbodyshop.co.uk/ in Islington. This workshop is excellent and if you have a scooter I truly recommend it – Dave is the sort of person that really cares and likes what he does… and I feel Leia is in very good hands whenever she needs special attention.

My first ride in Cartman proved to be not only a wondeful experience but also very useful.

At around 19:45 I started preparing our dinner.

First thing was to prepare the crust / dough with sea salt, herbs ( a mixture of basil, parsley, rosemary and sage), flour and egg whites:

I then divided the dough in two halves, rolled it out into two similar parcels making sure the sea bass would fit in between them.

After making sure the fish was well enclosed, it went to the oven for approximately 45 minutes.

While the sea bass was cooking I prepared the balsamic vinegar sauce and the spinach.

 

45 minutes later the sea bass was ready….

…and our meal was served!

 
 

 

I decided to have it with a Vouvray Sec! I haven’t tried this specific one but knew it would go very well with white fish…and it did! The combination was perfect. As usual my favourite sommelier at Nicolas did not disappoint me 🙂

 
 

Coteau de la Biche – Vouvray Sec

And that’s how Cartman was received by the M&M family! Welcome!

My 5 a day…or maybe not!

There’s nothing more pleasing than a good dish of pasta after a 5k evening run after work!

I’ve always been very active! But running wasn’t really my thing.

Almost 3 years ago we moved into our first own flat! We belong to the fortunate group of people whose building has its own gymnasium – and that’s when I started thinking about running!

I started by running a mere 10 minutes at about 8km/h on the treadmill and believe me…I was nearly out of breath! At this point I would think:

Not my thing – going to swim!

But then in March 2010 I decided to do my first 5k Race for Life. Training was a must. Slowly slowly 10 minutes became 20 and then 30 and then 40 and after approximately 45 minutes I was able to reach the most wanted 5k for the first time!

I did the 5k Race for life in Hyde Park on a sunny saturday morning in May with a colleague.

Joana's 5k Race for life 2010 - Hyde Park

We got to the end in 43 minutes!!!

And that’s when I got really into running!!!

Now I could run 5k everyday! And the only reason I don’t is because I participate in other gym activities: I do Pilates once a week and join the group classes when I can. I am also learning ballroom and latin american dance at The London Academy of Dance (www.thelondonacademyofdance.com) which I absolutely adore and strongly recommend!

So, I don’t run 5k a day but AT LEAST once a week, and time allowing, twice or 3 times. I can do it now under 30 minutes – my best time was just a bit more than 26 minutes. Occasionally I reach the 10k!!! I always have to be listening to the right music and at the moment my preferred speed is 10 k/h – at this speed I can keeeeeeeeeeeeeep running…just like Forrest 🙂

And there’s really nothing more pleasing than a good dish of pasta after a 5k evening run after work!

Obviously after running 5k one DOES NOT want to be cooking for a long time. So my preferred two pasta dishes after running are pretty quick to make: Spaghetti with Courgettes and Carbonara!

Spaghetti with Courgettes

Carbonara

Both, as I said, are pretty quick to make, very very pleasing and most importantly MAKE ME HAPPY 🙂

You should definitely try it 😉