August 30, 2009

a light at the end of the tunnel

There is a light at the end of the TunnelImage by lonesome:cycler via Flickr

I have been MIA lately due to health reasons and it's been driving me insane. But now there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

The tendinitis in my right forearm has evolved from a dull roar to a piercing scream, preventing me from typing anything more than a couple of words at a time.

I had lost all hope of anything working when I was referred to a wonderful doctor of Chinese medicine. While the treatment itself is quite painful, my arm is finally healing.

Thanks to everyone for your support and I am really looking forward to being back soon!!!

August 16, 2009

rice with shrimp and mushrooms

This month's Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Olga of Las Cosas de Olga and Olga's Recipes and was an awesome Spanish rice with mushrooms, artichokes and (in my version) shrimp.
After the complexity of last month's challenge I was a bit anxious about what might be in store for this month. The tendonitis in my right arm has been excruciating lately and is keeping me away from the computer and the stove. I thought I'd have to pass on this month's challenge but this recipe kept calling out to me so finally I decided to give it a try. It was so simple that I was able to make it with one hand, literally!
The recipe starts with a sofregit or sofrito - tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic and spices cooked down into a luscious paste - which is then used to flavour the rice. The original recipe calls for cuttlefish but I have never been a big fan so I used shrimp instead.
Thank you Olga for an amazing recipe - it is just what I needed this month and I will come back to it again and again! You can find the recipe and photos from the talented Daring Cooks here.

August 3, 2009

ciambottola: traditional italian summer stew

Ciambottola, a traditional summer stew from the region of Campania, has been a staple in our household for as long as I can remember.

Despite our atrocious weather this summer, my mum's garden has begun to bear fruit and it looks like she will have a bumper crop of zucchini. True peasant food at its simplest, ciambottola takes full advantage of the fresh produce available at this time of the year.

While you can certainly make this with supermarket zucchini, it is so much better with farm fresh, which are so much more fragrant and delicious. Redolent of tomatoes, fresh zucchini and basil, it fills the house with the intoxicating aroma I associate with lazy summer days as it bubbles away on the stove.

Ciambottola is so ubiquitous in Campania that the traditional ingredients vary from town to town and each cook has her own favourite recipe but the constants are zucchini, potatoes and tomatoes. Some like it more soupy, others prefer it to be more like a stew. I'm in the latter camp and this is my version.


Serves 4 - 6

3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
2-3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes
10-15 cherry tomatoes
5 leaves of basil
salt to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add, in layers, the potatoes first, then the zucchini and finally the tomatoes. Add 3/4 cup of water, salt to taste and tear the basil leaves over the top. Do not stir.

Cover and bring to a simmer, lower heat and cook on a slow simmer until the potatoes are tender (approximately 15 minutes). Stir all the ingredients together and serve with crusty bread and grated parmesan cheese.