Giant stuffed shells – with spinach and ricotta

shells 2

 

This year I will be spending quite a bit of time in Italy, mainly because I am going to a few Italian weddings with the Man this summer. And yet it is nothing compared to the amount of travel he is doing, thank god for low cost flights!

Can’t complain though, it is a wonderful country to visit, and this year we will attend weddings in Tuscany, Sardinia and Abruzzo, all 3 lovely regions.

And the good thing is that we always get some sort of return on investment on our tix to Italy! As I think I mentioned before, whenever we go and visit my boyfriends’s family, we always come back with a suitcase full of food. This time: prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, ricotta cheese and some conchiglione (giant pasta shells).

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Clementine cake – with whole clementines

Clementine cake

 

As you saw from last week’s post, England is under water these days. And what is the best thing to do while watching the rain from the window? Have a piece of cake and a nice cup of tea of course!

I bought a few bags of clementines this winter, and we ate them all pretty fast but the last one just seemed to stay there untouched. I think it is because by February we were both quite bored of clementines. So last week I decided I just had to do something about it and began looking for a few recipes using clementines.

This recipe from Nigella Lawson immediately piqued my curiosity. It uses a whole boiled citrus fruit, rind and all, and seemed to receive pretty good feedback. I felt like I had to try it right away..and I was not dissapointed!I was worried it could be too bitter or just really weird but it is a wonderfully moist, dense and very flavourful cake. It is also gluten free and butter/oil free, which does not hurt.

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Simple Thai Noodle Soup

Thai soup

 

My parents are currently on holidays in Sri Lanka, and thanks to technology they are sending in touch and sending pictures of their trip in paradise. If you live in the UK, you will know that we are currently flooded due to heavy rains and a lot of wind… so not exactly enjoying great weather. A bit of warmth and sunshine from Sri Lanka is thus most welcome, and it made me think of making this soup, with whatever I had in my pantry.

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Carrot cake with honey-cream cheese icing

Carrot cake

 

We are getting closer to Valentine’s Day, and though carrot cake is hardly a recipe specific to that day, this one is in a way. I baked it for my colleague Rachael who got engaged last week (hence the heart on the icing). Congratulations to her!!! I offered to bake her favorite cake for the occasion, and a carrot cake is what she requested.

I had tried baking a carrot cake before, using a random online recipe, and it had not turned out great. But I had much better results this time, using my faithful Clandestine Cake Club cookbook as an inspiration, and a bit of imagination.

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Shepherd’s Pie – with rosemary and butternut puree

Sheperd's Pie_LRLovely dinner with friends yesterday, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending the whole afternoon cooking and chatting with the man. As it has now been exactly one year that I live among the Brits, I thought it was the perfect occasion to try a very traditional dish, and one that creates quite a bit of culinary debate. See, I used to think that Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie were just two different names for the same dish. But as I was recently told:

“A shepherd’s pie is made with LAMB!
A cottage pie is made with BEEF!”

I have learned on the Jamie Oliver forum, that the cottage pie was made when they slaughtered the old milk cow that every cottager kept for dairy foods. And the reason for the lamb version being called shepherd’s pie seems now obvious: ever seen a shepherd tending flocks of cows?

By the the vegetarian version is a Gardener’s Pie..which, again, makes absolute sense.

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