Friday, June 13, 2014

Gnocchi di ricotta

This recipe was a cinch. It took no more than ten minutes to prepare and under three minutes to cook.
I served them with pesto, because I always keep some in the fridge for emergencies but - if you want to keep things simple - I think they would be great with a fresh, quick, summery tomato sauce and lots of basil or even just butter, sage and Parmesan cheese (and maybe a sprinkling of poppy seeds for extra crunch?).
If you are looking to make something a little fancier, these will taste great with pretty much anything. A tomato-based seafood sauce, a slow-cooked ragu, zucchini and saffron come to mind, but there is so much more you can do with them. Just be creative! 
Look at the concentration and tension in that little left hand!
Back to our dinner, or even further step back.
The fact is, my four year-old has been going through a bit of a phase  lately and has been acting up a little, so I have been making an effort to spend some quality time alone with him. 
His sister is a true companion to him and he would be happy to be with her and follow her around all day long (sound familiar sis?). However, despite being a caring older sister, she has a personality that matches her charm and looks, so I feel like he sometimes needs some space.

Also, the last month of school saw me spending a lot of time with her in the kitchen doing homework and preparing for tests while he played in his room or hung around the kitchen table waiting (and making me feel guilty).

So, that is how I got the idea to cook with him one afternoon while my daughter was out at a girlfriend's.

Maybe yielding a sharp knife during,  ... let's call it an 'undomesticated phase', doesn't sound like the right approach. But I can assure you that, naturally under my close supervision,  it was exactly what he needed: it made him feel like a big boy and not just the baby brother.  
End of story: he had fun (and was extremely proud throughout dinner), I had help, and the family enjoyed a good meal.
Perfect solution.
End, end of story: did the meal serve its purpose, magically turning my son into the calmest, most obedient of children?  No, certainly not. Just yesterday his kindergarden teacher told him off. But I am more than happy to keep making these in order to reach my goal ;o)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Nun, Taste of Middle East



I just can’t seem to get back to a normal pace of things.
I have gone to bed more than once in the past weeks thinking “finally tomorrow I have a couple of free hours to finally post on my blog” and then something unexpected happens at work, or the kids’ social life takes over as usual and it just doesn’t happen. For the same reason, things have not been particularly active in the kitchen lately either (or on FB, IG, Twitter for that matter), so now that I have finally gotten around to writing something, it is lucky that I had these pictures of a great little place we discovered recently sitting in a folder waiting to be published.
It is not a fancy restaurant. It is not even a restaurant per se, and it does not serve Italian food, so it will mainly interest those who live in the city (because no matter how delicious Italian food is, and it is, we are allowed to sometimes crave other cuisines, n'est pas?) or tourists that have had one too many plates of pasta, if that is even possible. 
There are three reasons that make it noteworthy, the first being that it is pretty much always open (Tuesday to Sunday, 12:00-23:00 - or 11:00pm)... refreshing given that so many places  in Milan close between lunch and dinner. The second being that it is cheap. The last, but not the least, being that it serves all those Middle Eastern staples that I often crave, homemade and fresh .