Posts Tagged 'Italian food'

My New Best Friend, The Breadstick.

 

It started about three weeks ago, thanks to Pizza Hut and their ‘Free Unlimited Salad Bar’ with any main meal.  I tried the breadsticks they have on the salad bar and they are beyond delicious, I don’t know what’s in them, but they are.  One thing lead to another, and  I found myself in the nibbles aisle of Morrissons, buying breadsticks.  It occurred to me, while sitting in Pizza Hut, eating half a Stuffed Crust pizza to myself, that they could be a valuable slimming aid.

On those occasions when food is too long a time away, and your whole body is pulling you towards the cupboard where the crisps and chocolate biscuits are, I now get a breadstick instead.  They average around 19 or 2o calories per stick, depending on the brand, and 0.something (a trace) grams of fat.  Basically, they’re quite healthy, but fill you up nicely.  Think of how many breadsticks you could eat, and still be having less fat and calories than a packet of crisps.  It’s a lot.  Also, they’re delicious, and don’t taste of fat like crisps.

So far I’ve tried two brands; Morrissons healthy eating ones, and Morrissons Italian range.  The first, being packaged as low fat and low calorie but actually containing exactly the same as the others, weren’t as nice.  They didn’t have much flavour, and tasted (ironically) slightly of oil.  The Italian breadsticks are lovely, and very satisfying.  I’m going to try as many as possible, and will keep you posted.

By the way, they go lovely with a cup of tea.

 

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15 Minute Green Bean Risotto In Three Easy Steps.

To celebrate National Vegetarian Week, knowing how challenging  it can be for vegetarians to find diverse and tasty food to cook at home, that’s ready in fifteen minutes, I’ve decided to share some recipes.  Most of the things I cook are tried and tested favourites, that I make week in, week out, but some of them, like tonight’s, are spur of the moment experiments. First up, a delicious green bean risotto that’s ready in three steps, in fifteen minutes tops.

I normally make mushroom risotto, and I have to say, I’m pretty bloody good at it.  The reason I make it well is that I love it so much, cooking mushroom risotto is a passionate experience for me.  When you cook something you love, you add that little bit of a special spark.  However, I didn’t have any mushrooms in the house tonight (which very rarely happens), so I decided to use what I had in, which turned out to be green beans and Arborio rice.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Arborio Rice (About two handfuls per person/serving).
  • Green Beans
  • Tablespoon of Butter
  • Garlic (I used garlic purée)
  • Mustard (Dijon has a nice tang)
  • Sea Salt and Pepper
  • Stock Cubes (Two per person)
  • Boiling Water
  • Cheese (I favour cheddar)
  • Three glasses of white wine (optional, but it makes a big difference).
STEP ONE: Beans
Into a hot pan, stir the following: Tablespoon of butter, tablespoon of garlic purée, tablespoon of mustard, salt and pepper.
Stir the green beans into the mixture, which will come together into a paste.  Sizzle the beans until they are soft. I used them straight from the freezer, but thawed out a little bit, for maybe half an hour.
STEP TWO: Rice
Tip: The rice you need is called Arborio, it’s an Italian risotto rice.  Don’t try and use Basmati or pillau, it won’t work.
Once the beans are cooked and soft, stir the rice into the mixture.  It’s vitally important that every grain of rice is coated in the butter, otherwise it won’t cook properly.
Once you’ve coated the rice, you can pour the wine in, but this is optional.  While it isn’t vital, it does give the risotto a more delicate, shaper flavour.  After the wine, or missing it out, it’s time to add the stock.
Put the stock cubes in a jug or pan and pour the boiling water over. I find OXO vegetable, or Knorr are great, but the best is Bouillon.
Make sure the stock cubes are dissolved by giving it a good stir.  Once it’s ready, cover the rice and beans with stock.
Allow the rice to absorb the stock, while simmering.  Keep stirring, but stop and allow it to bubble up by itself every couple of minutes.  Once the stock has been absorbed, pour some more in.
You’re waiting for the rice to be completely soft.  Keep testing a piece, if there’s still a little bite in the middle, it isn’t ready.
This should take about ten minutes, perhaps a little more.  The main thing is to do it right.  Just keep stirring and keep having a little taste of the rice, until it’s soft.
STEP THREE: CHEESE
Once the rice is cooked, add the cheese.  You can either add it into the pan, so that it melts into the rice and becomes gooey and golden, or you can just add it into the bowl when you serve, so that it keeps a bite to it.  Either way is good.
I favour a trusty Cheddar, possibly because I’m not very adventurous when it comes to cheese.  You can use whatever you like.
I don’t grate it, just crumble it in, so that it stays in lovely, delicious, oozing blobs.
And that’s it! All you have to do now is dish it up and enjoy the fruits of your hard work (well, not very hard).
You can serve it with salad, roast potatoes, bread, garlic bread, anything you like.  Even just on its own, it’s delicious.  I enjoy mine best in the garden, in the sun.
I hope you enjoy cooking and eating this dish.  If you give it a go, please do let me know how you get on.
Happy Cooking, and HAPPY NATIONAL VEGETARIAN WEEK!
 
 

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Sylvia Plath said; "Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences". My aim in life is to find things and people to love, so that I can write about them. Putting words together is the only thing I can see myself doing. This blog is an outlet, and I hope you enjoy reading it. Please feel free to comment on posts, or contact me by the special e-mail I've set up (vikki.littlemore@live.co.uk) with your thoughts.


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The New Remorse, Oscar Wilde.

The sin was mine; I did not understand.
So now is music prisoned in her cave,
Save where some ebbing desultory wave
Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
And in the withered hollow of this land
Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave,
That hardly can the leaden willow crave
One silver blossom from keen Winter's hand.

But who is this who cometh by the shore?
(Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this
Who cometh in dyed garments from the South?
It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss
The yet unravished roses of thy mouth,
And I shall weep and worship, as before.

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Music I Love (In no particular order, except that The Smiths are first)

The Smiths,
The Libertines,
The Courteeners,
Nina Simone,
Oasis,
Pete Doherty,
Gossip,
The Kills,
Amy Winehouse,
Arctic Monkeys,
Rod Stewart,
The Doors,
The Rolling Stones,
Etta James,
Babyshambles,
T. Rex,
The Jam,
Morrissey,
Guillemots,
The Kinks,
Jack White,
The Deadweather,
David Bowie,
The Winchesters,
The Cure,
Kaiser Chiefs,
The Kooks,
The Twang,
Kings Of Leon,
Pulp,
Blur,
The Housemartins,
The Ramones,
James,
Robots in Disguise,
The Klaxons,
Kate Nash,
The Raconteurs,
Regina Spektor,
Aretha Franklin,
Stereophonics,
The Contours,
Dirty Pretty Things,
The White Stripes,
New York Dolls,
Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
The Clash,
Style Council,
Velvet Underground,
The Horrors,
The Cribs,
Reverend and The Makers,
The Subways,
The Wombats,
Foals,
Elle S'appelle,
The Troggs,
The Beatles,
Echo and the Bunnymen,
Florence and the Machine.

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

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Will it ever be alright for Blighty to have a Queen Camilla?

One less tree from our window each day


Vikki's bookshelf: read

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
1984
Twilight
Of Mice and Men
Pride and Prejudice
The Hobbit
The Da Vinci Code
Lolita
Tipping the Velvet
Wuthering Heights
The Picture of Dorian Grey and Other Works by Oscar Wilde
Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Irish Peacock & Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde
The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman
Moab Is My Washpot
The Bell Jar
The Other Boleyn Girl
On the Road
Brideshead Revisited
Revolutionary Road



Vikki Littlemore's favorite books »

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