A Taste of Summer – Olive Oil

Welcome Summer! It’s been so long and I’ve missed you so.

Summer as a season doesn’t exist here in Ireland, it’s a short mishmash of pleasant days, with fleeting moments of blue sky and sunny heat before grey clouds threaten picnics and frighten away outdoor gatherings. We persevere and wear shorts regardless!

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Stuffed Courgette with Whole Wheat Couscous

In a spectacularly productive ‘lazy Sunday’ I made a whole bunch of things from the odds and ends around the kitchen, one of which I’m most proud is this one – stuffed courgette, with whole wheat couscous, garlic, Parmesan and fresh herbs. Doesn’t it just look lovely! I’ll get these roundy courgettes again, even if it’s just for this kind of dish, because it looks good, because I’m eating with my eyes just as much as my stomach.

Stuffed c 1

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Tomato and Chickpea soup

For that post-Christmas roundy feeling, there’s nothing like a hearty bowl of soup for dinner – filling but light, and always satisfying. I made this after coming back from a few days away with family for the festivities, so, fridge empty, I went in search of tins to make a warming bowl of goodness. And, hey presto, a soup was born. It’s based on a Marcella Hazan recipe (from a book I got for Christmas); please do read some of her recipes, they’re hearty, uncomplicated, dare I say it, ‘rustic’ type of Italian dishes that I love. And I’m sure you’ll love them too. This soup is a tomato, chickpea and optional tiny pasta combo, with some added stock, rosemary and olive oil, nice served with some Parmesan-style cheese, should you have some in the back of the fridge, or even the rind will do, adding it to the soup but removing it before serving. Or no cheese, too, that’s okay. You decide.

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Basic Tomato Sauce

This is always a good recipe to have up your sleeve – it relies on a few ingredients you’ll have in the cupboard, it’s very handy for those days when you’re waiting to get paid and have little or no funds for fancy pants foodstuffs and it’s also a very versatile, base sauce you can change and dress up for all kinds of dishes. Taken from the Silver Spoon, a.k.a. my go to book on Italian food, it couldn’t be simpler (unless you bought a jar ready-made, because life happens and sometimes this is the best thing for long days away from the kitchen.) Continue reading

Pasta with tuna, tomato, capers and black olives

It’s a cold December afternoon and, lucky me, I’ve a day off work, I can cook my lunch. I like taking my time with these things, even if it’s just to appreciate the fact that I can taste my food, and not rush to get out the door on time or to take out the rubbish or do another load of washing or… you get the picture. Slowing down, in general, helps me re-focus on the important things, like food.

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Stelline in Brodo – Dinner Express


To calm down that restless inner child feeling that insists in having dessert for dinner, I give myself soup with tiny star-shaped pasta called stelline. It sounds cute and tastes nice, it’s uncomplicated and puts a smile on my face. Any small pasta shape would work here; raid your cupboard, there’s a chance you’ve some orzo, quadratini or filini behind a family size box of breakfast cereal or a wall of tinned tomatoes.

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