SLOW FOOD – but not so slow!
Wow there are so many dietary issues floating around today, that I sometimes wonder how we could possible replicate our ancestors dishes with what is available today. Perhaps we can’t but we can certainly make a huge effort to improve our eating habits and stop ‘bolting’ through our meals! Viva SLOW FOOD & its founder Carlo Petrini! It HAD to be an Italian who picked up on the madness of fast food and introduced Slow Food. Unfortunately Carlo has now moved on, but the movement has made it’s important mark and still attracts thousands of clever food lovers. I wouldn’t go anywhere in Italy without their wonderful yearly edition food guide which you can pick up at ANY corner Edicolo (newsagent) in Italy on your way in. it will guide you to the best hidden eateries all over Italy without having to mortgage your house! Food and eating it is one of the essential things that keep us alive on this planet and certainly the most enjoyable. There should be NO excuse for it to harm us. Yet when we look around at increasing allergies and diseases created by bad diets, wrong foods and careless eating addictions… It is a crime and we should all be doing our best to improve our eating habits to enjoy better health, not to mention tastier and more scrumptious food!
One of the best ways to achieve this is to start in your own kitchen. Learn to cook delicious food, the Internet is packed with amazingly good recipes and simple too! you will see all those packaged & processed foods disappear slowly from your pantry. They will be replaced by wonderful whole foods that are fresh, nutritious and delicious!… which people tend to steer away from simply because they have no idea what to do with them and no time to do it! And because you are a modern day clever bunny, you will also sort out what works for you time-wise. Not everything has to take 10 mins to prep but also shouldn’t always require 3 hours!
Here is an Amazing Pasta Dish and also yummy as a gluten free dish for me cause I am gluten intolerant… but feel free to chose a delicious durum wheat pasta. This recipe will take you no time at all. I developed this after years of watching and learning different pasta cooking methods on the Amalfi Coast. My son’s grandfather Adolfo Bella was a great lover and cooker of ‘reduction’ pasta, meaning you add the raw pasta to your almost cooked pasta sauce or in his case, legumes! His specialty was Pasta with fagioli- beans or ceci – chick peas or lenticchie - lentils. He was a great believer in the pressure cooker and would toss in all the ingredients together ( you know how long those legumes take to cook? FOREVER! – but not in the pressure cooker). Into the pot it would all go (except the pasta) for an hour or so then at the end he’d simple take off the lid and stir in the pasta for 10 – 15 mins at the end. Genius and unbelievably good. See Amalfi Coast Recipes for all the above recipes. but I prefer a good ol’ solid iron pot. The pasta absorbs all the delicious flavours of the ingredients and if the water runs out before your pasta is ready, just add a bit more boiling water, but not too much until the pasta is cooked. This leaves you with an incredibly creamy, tasty and scrumptious dish.
Choose a wonderful seasonal green vegetable with a bit of body………..not a floppy one. Brussels sprouts are fabulous if you like them and they are in season….the baby ones are to die for.! I love my mandolin and would shave a few veggies into a bowl & toss in some garden leaves while preparing this dish. Dress it with good quality extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt and munch away while you cook your pasta. The best time to eat a raw salad is just before a cooked dish.
Reduction Pasta – 30 mins prep time.
250 gms of pasta ( I use Olive Green Organics gluten free pasta) a mix of spaghetti and penne is best for this dish OR your favourite wheat pastas, a mix of several types of pasta is perfect and give this dish body and texture
Finish off with a great espresso!
I find coffee a great digestive after a meal. I think all the ‘milk’ we add to coffee in Australia has ruined our ability to create a decent ‘espresso’. Crowds are sipping cappuccinos and lattes after huge lunches of meat or fish! – yuk! what a nasty combination in your tummy. In Italy a cappuccino is only served for breakfast and generally the only ones that come out of a bar after 10am are for the tourists.. Being allergic to dairy has taught me over the years to appreciate a great espresso!………but first I have to find one. I head to Haberfield in Sydney where all the Italians kill for a good espresso. I go to Papa on Ramsay st for a decent espresso but also to gaze at the amazing pasties. OR I’ll go to Randwick Sydney where I can find an excellent espesso at Parc coffee shop http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/70/751696/restaurant/Sydney/Parc-Cafe-Randwick OR Ruby’s in Queen’s Park just around the corner. http://www.rubysdiner.com.au/ Generally I find Espresso here bitter and quite invasive. The espesso I get in Italy is smoooooth and rich and does not require 3 teaspoons of sugar to make it palatable!
My son, who is an excellent barista tells me that the type of coffee you grind for an espesso and a cappuccino SHOULD be quite different. The cappuccino coffee being stronger and slightly more bitter ( which becomes softer when the milk is added) ………can often give you a nasty bitter espesso! So if you know where to get a great espesso near your place, I’d love to hear from you. Lets make a list of great espressos in Australia…NOT best cappuccino, or latte, or flat white, cause they are really…a dime a dozen!
Lunch on the Run – 10 mins prep time.
I am always flat out at lunchtime but lucky enough to be able to prepare my own lunch. So I know what I am getting but it needs to be a fast prep! I want something mouth watering but don’t have hours to kill. Good quality sustainable canned fish are perfect. I love sardines and mackerel! Best brands are: FISH4EVER & also GOOD FISH, both can be found is good health food stores. Buy a nutty delicious bread ( I have sauced some excellent bakeries in Sydney who produce appetising grainy gluten free breads). Some fermented veggies – most health food store sell them but go to this link to make your own mouth watering probiotic fermented veggies It is super easy and fast and just basically makes itself over a five day period. Avocado is a must! Fresh tomatoes, herbs and if you are passionate for mung beans like me to add that ‘crunch’ , then this is where they go!
A can of sustainable good quality sardines or mackerel
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
mung beans to taste
fresh raw spinach leaves
1 tablespns of fermented veggies (sauerkraut)
1 small avocardo & 1 small tomato.
fresh lemon juice pepper and salt
Are you ready for a 5 mins feast?
Toast your bread till super crunchy. Smother both pieces with half an avocado each. Top with thick slices of ripe tomato then layer with fish (as much as you like!) Now add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. then top with mung beans and spinach leaves with a dollop of fermented veggies Lastly add pepper and salt to taste and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Be generous, let it topple over, doesn’t matter. These flavours together are killer good!