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I am a great lover of herbs. I love them fresh, I love them dry and I love them finely grinded. Most of the time I buy fresh herbs and if possible or needed I freeze them. I also love it when my mom shares her herbs with me. She plants mint, sage, dill, parsley and camomile in her garden and then either air-dries them or hangs them up in her attic to preserve. Finally, I am a big fan of powdered herbs. A friend of mine, Anna, a very lovely Italian lady, once gave me a tiny little jar of some fantastic and aromatic eco herbs. She bought them in Castellina in Chianti, a small Tuscan town. A couple of years ago, she spotted a nice man selling those beautiful colorful jars at the local food market. Since then she regularly buys his great aromatic powdered herbs. Last April I went to Castellina in Chianti and met the same “herb farmer” who makes his products himself at his biological farm. I absolutely love his “rosmarino” (rosemary)! It smells fabulous and if you add a dash of it into your dishes (soups, pasta, meat, etc) – gosh – you will feel the difference! Anna told me never to touch these powder herbs with fingers but to use the end of a teaspoon. For the best result, you should add the herbs at the end of cooking. If you ever plan to go to Tuscany, don’t bypass Castellina in Cianti. I’m positive, if you find my herbalist, you will return home with at least two of his charming jars.

Here is my rosmarino:

powdered herbs rosemary

by Asia(Jo)

Here is the herbalist’s movable market stand:

donkey farm

by Asia(Jo)

My mom’s herbs:

dry herbs

by Asia(Jo)

Finally a very quick recipe – it tastes delicious if you enhance the falvour with those Aroma Da Cucina Del Chianti.

Baked potato chips

Serves 2

You will need:

2 large baking potatoes

3 garlic cloves

2 fresh rosemary springs, leaves picked

2 fresh thyme springs, leaves picked

sea salt

black pepper

olive oil

a dash of Rosmarino “Aroma Da Cucina Del Chianti” (optional)

by Asia(Jo)

by Asia(Jo)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 200 ℃. Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes (don’t overcook them, they should be half cooked yet easy to cut). Drain and slice the potatoes. Arrange them in the ovenproof dish or baking tray. Add the garlic, fresh herbs and a couple lugs of olive oil. Sprinkle everything with some sea salt and some freshly grinded pepper. Bake the potatoes for aprox 35 – 45 minutes, depending on your oven. Towards the end, take the potatoes out of the oven and dust them with the powdered rosemary. Return to the oven for the last few minutes. Serve hot.

Happy Eating Everyone!



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I’m not a big fan of sardines but this recipe is really nice and easy to follow. I made it last Friday and absolutely enjoyed the softness of fresh sardines and the delicious stuffing of anchovies, capers and spinach. The dish works well as a starter or as a main course, served with homemade potato chips and peppers slowly cooked with tomatoes. It is also a very good recipe for a dinner party; prepare it in advance and impress your guests with a plate full of fabulous flavours and colours.

The only thing you have to make sure, is to ask your fishmonger to take out the main fishbone from each sardine you are getting, unless you don’t mind doing it yourself but then be careful not to tear off too much flesh.

Remember, sardines are rich in heart healthy omega 3, very inexpensive and they are perfect for frying, grilling and roasting.

Enjoy this richly flavoured meal!

Stuffed Sardines

Serves 4                                                                                                                          

You will need:

12 sardines, washed, emptied and boned from the centre

1 egg

100 g spinach, cut into stripes

2 teaspoons capers

4 anchovy fillets in oil

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

50 g breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon onion, chooped

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper

fish mix (dry herbs)

wooded toothpicks (optional)

Preparation:

Chop together the anchovies and the capers. Stir in the breadcrumbs and a little salt and pepper. Mix the spinach with the egg, onion and parsley; add to the above mixture. Stir well to mix all the ingredients throughly. Season lightly the fish with salt and pepper and fish mix (dry herbs). Fill each of the sardines with the stuffing, secure with toothpicks and place them in an ovenproof dish. Pour over the oilve oil and cook for aprox. 15 – 20 minutes. Serve hot with a glass of fresh, fruity, light withe wine.

(Recipe source: The Taste of Italy by Lebain & Paireault, 1989)

by Asia(Jo)


by Asia(Jo)

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