Tag Archives: mozzarella cheese

#lowcarb Italian feast with #shareGalbani

#lowcarb Italian feast with #shareGalbani

gioie della tavola – the joys of the table

Italian Meatballs #lowcarb

The Italians know best when it comes to food and family. As a nation, their history, their customs and their love of family seems to have been forged around the dinner table. There is something so unique and so special about their traditions that I often feel that somewhere in my heritage or a previous life I must have been part Italian. When it comes to food, there is simply nothing better than sitting around a table with friends or family sharing a day filled with good food and wine – just like the Italians do.

Family

Being on low-carb food regimen (…yes we are still going strong), you may think that preparing an Italian feast may prove a little tricky with all the pasta, gnocchi, bread and the likes. But as I gleefully found out that with the right cheese in hand and a touch of creativity, you can make a three course feast that is as good as any Italian mamma’s lunch.

Low-carb pizza
For starters, I had to create something that in a way imitated bread or pizza. I made a low carb base from cauliflower topped with generous pieces of Galbani’s fresh mozzarella. The cauliflower base was both crispy and extra cheesy, and the topping of salty pancetta mixed with the scented basil provided the perfect ‘antipasto’ for my Italian feast. Click here for how to video!

Low carb pizza

Cheesy meatballs with tomato sauce
Moving onto the main dish, I know that nothing beats a good, homemade Italian meatball served on a bed of pasta. I added grated Galbani mozzarella cheese to the meatballs. Instead of pasta I replaced this with zoodles. For those not in the know – and watching their waistline, zoodles are uncooked strips of zucchini and the perfect healthy replacement for pasta. Just ask your local supermarket for a supply as most stock them these days.

Low carb spaghetti and meatballs

Pears and figs with honey and lemon scented mascarpone
For dessert I kept it simple with whole pears and figs poached in a cinnamon and vanilla syrup. I flavoured the Galbani mascarpone with a dash of lemon juice. The fresh fruit paired brilliantly with the lemony mascarpone; it was subtle yet a little tangy.

Pears-and-figs-with-lemon-scented-mascarpone

It was a special and delightful kind of feast…and such a beautiful way to celebrate with friends and familia.

Saluti.

Low-carb pizza
(makes three small pizzas)
800 g cauliflower
3 large eggs
30 ml parsley chopped
250 ml (1 cup) Galbani mozzarella cheese, grated
75 ml (+- 1/3 cup) parmesan, grated
2.5 ml salt
2.5 ml ground black pepper
9 slices pancetta, crispy fried
250 ml (1 cup) Galbani fresh mozzarella, torn
15 tomatoes on the vine
olive oil
handful fresh basil
handful rocket
maldon salt

Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Chop cauliflower up in smaller pieces and blitz into a “rice” like texture in the food processor. Place cauliflower into a big bowl and cook (uncovered) in the microwave for 10-12 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave. Once cooked, allow to cool for a few minutes. Scoop cauliflower into a cheesecloth or clean dishtowel and squeeze as much liquid out as possible. The more liquid you get out, the crispier the pizza base will be. Put the cauliflower back into the bowl and add the eggs, parsley, grated mozzarella, parmesan, salt and pepper and mix well. Divide mixture in three to form three basis. Pat dough down into a baking pan on a sheet of baking paper. Make sure not to make your bases too thin. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.
Take out and add the pancetta, mozzarella and tomatoes. Pop it back into the oven for a further 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Give it a good drizzle of olive oil and finish with some basil, rocket and maldon salt.

Cheesy meatballs with tomato sauce
Meatballs
500 g mince
1 onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
170 ml (2/3 cup) Galbani mozzarella, grated
1 egg
handful of finely chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, grated
5 ml salt
2.5 ml pepper
5 ml psyllium husks (you find this at any good grocery store)
Tomato sauce
200 ml extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, whole
handful fresh basil
900 g Rosa tomatoes
salt
black pepper
Zoodles
500 g courgette noodles, cooked as per packet instruction (I prefer it raw)
olive oil
handful of Galbani mozzarella, grated

Mix all the meatball ingredients very well together, form into golf ball sizes. Set aside
Add the olive oil, garlic and basil leaves to a large pan. Heat very slowly on low-medium heat – we want to infuse the oil with the garlic and basil. Infuse for about 5 minutes –don’t burn the garlic. Add the tomatoes, turn up the heat to about medium high and cook for +- 20 minutes without the lid. You will see the tomatoes will start to burst open and infuse with the olive oil. Season generously with salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Add the meatballs and cook another 20 minutes or until done. Stir carefully now and then but don’t break meatballs. Scoop courgette noodles in a large serving bowl and top with the meatballs and sauce, finish with a drizzle of olive oil and grated mozzarella.

Pears and figs with honey and lemon scented mascarpone
3 lemons, zested and juiced
250 ml honey
3 cinnamon sticks
seeds of one vanilla pod
1 L water
6 pears, skin on
18 small fresh figs, skin on
250 ml Galbani mascarpone
pinch of salt

Place the lemon zest, honey and cinnamon sticks, vanilla seeds and water in a pot and bring to boil. Add the whole pears to the boiling liquid and turn down to simmer. Let it poach until the pears are soft (about 45 minutes). Switch off the heat. Add the figs for only three minutes to the hot liquid. Transfer the fruit into a serving bowl. Continue cooking the liquid until a thin syrup. Discard the spices and pour over the figs and pears. Mix the mascarpone, the juice of the three lemons and salt together (I used all the juice, but taste till you like the it). Serve dollops on the fruit.

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chicken #parmigiana without the parmesan

chicken #parmigiana without the parmesan

chicken parmigiana

This is one of those crowd-pleasing dishes and it’s also very easy to make. Chicken Parmigiana is normally made with breaded chicken and with parmesan cheese. As I had neither breadcrumbs nor parmesan in my house when I wanted to make this, so I simply left them out. It turned out just as delicious.

My version of chicken ‘parmigiana’ … without parmesan
(Serves 4 )
30 ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can ( 400g ) chopped tomatoes
handful fresh basil, torn
1.25 ml salt
1.25 ml freshly ground black pepper
4 chicken breasts, skinned and flattened
salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 slices mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Add the olive oil and garlic to the pan and just heat until the garlic begins to dance in the oil. Do not fry the garlic. Add the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper and simmer for 7 minutes. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper and fry in olive oil until brown. Place the chicken in a baking dish, spoon the tomato sauce over the top and finish with a slice of mozzarella on top of each piece of chicken. Bake for about 35 minutes and serve with pasta or a green salad.

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fried caprese sandwich + antonia carluccio

fried caprese sandwich + antonia carluccio

SONY DSC

{10th wedding anniversary}
The other day was our 10th wedding anniversary (I am still in disbelief that we have made it so far 🙂 ). Rick was not at home for our anniversary this year (he was on a golf trip!!) but he did leave a beautiful card and a gift for me. The gift was Antonia Carluccio’s latest recipe book, The Collection. A beautiful book and thoughtful gift.

{mozzarella in carrozza}
Paging through this book I found an interesting dish … Mozzarella in Carrozza or Fried Mozzarella Sandwich. Antonia served it with tomato sauce. I decided to make my own warm tomatoes on the vine and to add basil – so it became became a fried caprese sandwich. I also added a bit of butter to my olive oil when frying. To be frank it was as the Italians would say … bellissimo!!

{antonia carluccio}
“Originally from Naples and generally from Campania, this dish has spread all over Italy and is to be found mostly in bars as a lunchtime snack, It is delicious when freshly made and still crisp”. – Antonia Carluccio, The Collection

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

 

fried caprese sandwich + antonia carluccio
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 150g baby tomatoes, on the vine
  • 1Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 slices of bread
  • 2 thick slices of mozzarella cheese (I did not use buffalo mozzarella because I find it a little too wet for this kind of dish)
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • salt
  • 100 ml milk
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
Instructions
  1. Add the 1Tbsp of olive oil to a pan and slowly fry the tomatoes on the vine for about 10 minutes. Turn them around half way. When done, set aside.
  2. Place a piece of mozzarella, a basil leaf or two and a large pinch of salt between two slices of bread.
  3. Dip the sandwich firstly in the milk (do not let it soak – just dip the bread), then dip in flour and lastly into the egg.
  4. Heat the olive oil and the butter over medium heat and fry the sandwich on both sides till golden brown. This takes about 8 minutes.
  5. Serve hot with the tomatoes and some fresh basil.

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tomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it up

tomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it up

tomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it uptomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it uptomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it up
I made a tomato pasta sauce with well-renowned and fabulous Nina Timm at her home earlier today. What an honour and absolute delight to meet and spend a day with this amazing woman! Yip, she is the wonder behind the much followed www.my-easy-cooking.com blog. We laughed, we cooked and shared so many stories from our past and talked about the thrills of living in today…. I will be chatting to her tomorrow on her RSG radio broadcast between 9 and 10 am and share what we did today. I am so inspired and so alive … Nina I thank you for one of the best days of my life and to cooking up many more memories in the future!

Back to the sauce … I am a freakishly mad about tomatoes. So obviously my most favourite pasta sauce is a tomato-based sauce … made from fresh, ripe, juicy tomatoes that brim with flavour. I read about this method to make tomato sauce a few years ago in a magazine – unfortunately I cannot remember or find the magazine between the thousands of foodie magazines lying around in my house – please try this, it is definitely the most delicious tomato sauce you will ever taste!!

Variations you can add to the tomato sauce + remember always sprinkle generously with shaved parmesan!

  1. Cut chorizo sausages in slices and add – this makes it a rich and spicy dish.
  2. Bacon (+ chilies optional) – everyone loves bacon! Adding a somewhat smoky flavour to your pasta.
  3. Meatballs – you can make this on Sunday and just add in the week to your pasta dish.
  4. Lots of fresh chopped chilies – simple, yet always deliciously and one of my favourites.
  5. Capers + olives + anchovies + chilies – my absolute favourite!
  6. Any seafood – prawns, calamari, fish, mussels – add them to the tomato based sauce at the end of the cooking process – let it simmer through for 5 minutes – taste for seasoning again after you have added any seafood.
  7. Fresh herbs (basil, parsley) and lots of rocket – mix it with the sauce – yum.
  8. Roasted vegetables + olives + capers + crumbled feta – these produce lovely Mediterranean tastes.
  9. Artichokes, creamy feta cheese + sprinkle of dry oregano (use the oregano very sparingly).
  10. Fresh slices of buffalo mozzarella + sprinkled with smoked Maldon salt .

 

tomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it up
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 900g Rosa tomatoes
  • 200ml Olive oil – good quality (I know this sounds a lot but the tomatoes burst open to combine with the olive oil, garlic and basil - and creates the most amazing sauce )
  • 8 Garlic cloves – peeled but kept in whole segments
  • Handful fresh Basil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 150 – 200g Fresh parmesan cheese – shaved with potato peeler
  • 500g Penne pasta (or spaghetti)
Instructions
  1. Add the olive oil to a large pan / pot and add the garlic and about one handful of torn basil leaves. Heat the oil very slowly on low-medium – we want to infuse the oil with the garlic and basil. Infuse for about 5 minutes – please don’t burn the garlic.
  2. Add all the tomatoes, turn up the heat to medium high and cook for +- 20 minutes without the saucepan lid.
  3. You will see the tomatoes will start to burst open and infuse with the olive oil.
  4. Season generously with salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Please be sure to taste when you season!
  5. Just before serving, add the rest of the basil and sprinkle generously with shaved parmesan
  6. You can use the sauce just as is or see the 10 variations above you can add at the end for an interesting twist.

 

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