Posts Tagged “recipes”

A traditional-style muffuletta sandwich consists of a muffuletta loaf split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated olive salad, cheese (mozarella and/or provolone) and charcuterie (salami, ham, porchetta, anything really).

The signature olive salad consists of olives, roasted red peppers, hot pepperoncini, diced with the celery, cauliflower and carrot found in a jar of giardiniera, seasoned with oregano, covered in olive oil, and allowed to combine for at least 24 hours.

THe breat is described as being somewhat similar to focaccia, but different in that it is a very light bread, the outside is crispy, and the inside is soft. At a pinch, any good crusty bread will do!

120g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
500ml (2 cups) whole milk, warm to the touch (110-115F/40-45C)
100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
1 pack active dry yeast
625g (5 cups) flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

180g (3/4 cup) butter, softened
150g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon

115g (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
125g (1 cup) powdered sugar
30g (2 tbsp) butter, melted
30ml (2 tbsp) whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Generously butter two disposable foil pie/cake pans.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together warm milk, melted butter, and granulated sugar. The mixture should be just warm, registering between 100-110F/37-40C. If it is hotter, allow to cool slightly.

3. Sprinkle the yeast evenly over the warm mixture and let set for 1 minute.

5. Add 4 cups of all-purpose flour to the milk mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.

6. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

7. Preheat oven to 350˚F/180˚C

8. After 1 hour, the dough should have nearly doubled in size. Remove the towel and add an additional 3/4 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Stir well, then turn out onto a well-floured surface.

9. Knead the dough lightly, adding additional flour as necessary, until the dough just loses its stickiness and does not stick to the surface.

10. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 1/2-inch thick. Fix corners to make sure they are sharp and even.

11. Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough.

12. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Press the mixture into the butter.

13. Roll up the dough, forming a log, and pinch the seam closed. Place seam-side down. Trim off any unevenness on either end.

14. Cut the log in half, then divide each half into 7 evenly sized pieces (about 1.5″/4cm thick each).

15. Place 7 cinnamon rolls in each cake pan, one in the center, six around the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.

16. Remove plastic wrap. Bake the cinnamon rolls in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

17. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together cream cheese, butter, vanilla, whole milk, and powdered sugar, until smooth.

18. Remove the cinnamon buns from the oven. While still warm, drizzle evenly with frosting.

Fresh ricotta&spinach tortellini
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Balsamic vinegar
Mozzarella balls (cubed feta would also work)
Italian seasoning
Red pepper flakes
Sliced salami (or whatever charcuterie floats your boat)
Roasted red peppers, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Fresh basil
Artichoke hearts, drained and chopped into bite-sized pieces
Green olives

In a large pot of boiling water, add 1 tbsp. olive oil. Cook tortellini according to package directions until al dente. Drain and transfer to large bowl. Season cooked tortellini with salt and pepper. Add balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil and mix to combine. Set aside.

In a small bowl, add mozzarella balls, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Mix to combine and set aside.

Assemble skewers by layering one piece each mozzarella, salami, roasted red pepper, tortellini, basil, artichoke heart, and green olives.

Spoon about 1 cup of coriander-lime rice in the center of each tortilla. Top with 1/2 cup carne asada, 1/2 cup shredded romaine lettuce, 1/4 cup grated cheese and 1/4 cup salsa fresca. Add a dollop of sour cream/yogurt if desired. Fold bottom edge, then sides; roll up.

Burritos can be served cold, at room temperature or warmed in the microwave if desired.

Carne Asada

1 kg flank or skirt steak
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 limes, juiced (about 2 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed (if have whole, toast and then grind)
1 jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 bunch fresh coriander, leaves and stems, finely chopped (great flavor in the stems!), about 1/2 cup

Marinate the steak: Whisk to combine the olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, black pepper, and cumin in a large, non-reactive bowl or baking dish. Stir in the jalapeño, and coriander.
Place the steak in the marinade and refrigerate for 1-4 hours or overnight (if using flank steak marinate at least 3 hours).

Remove the steak from the marinade. Lightly brush off most of the bits of cilantro (do not brush off the oil).

Grill the steak for a few minutes only, until well seared on one side (the browning and the searing makes for great flavor), then turn the steak over and sear on the other side. Lower heat and cook to rare/medium.

Place the steak on a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Use a sharp, long bladed knife to cut the meat. Notice the direction of the grain of the meat and cut perpendicular to the grain. Angle your knife so that your slices are wide and thin.

Salsa Fresca

2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes (500-750g), stems removed
1/2 red onion
2 serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño chile (stems, ribs, seeds removed), less or more to taste
Juice of one lime
1/2 cup chopped coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of dried oregano (crumble in your fingers before adding), more to taste
Pinch of ground cumin, more to taste

Start by roughly chopping the tomatoes, chiles, and onions. Set aside some of the seeds from the peppers. If the salsa isn’t hot enough, you can add a few for more heat.
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse only a few times, just enough to finely dice the ingredients, not enough to purée. If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely dice by hand.
Place in a serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Let sit for an hour for the flavors to combine.

Cilantro lime rice

2 Tbps olive oil
1 1/2 cups basmati long grain white rice
2 1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of one lime
3 Tbsp lime juice
1 cup lightly packed chopped coriander, leaves and tender stems

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium high heat. Add the raw rice and stir to coat with the olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice has started to brown.

Add water, salt, and lime zest to the rice. Bring to a rolling boil, then cover and lower the heat to low to maintain a very low simmer.

Cook undisturbed for 15 minutes (check your rice package instructions), then remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

Fluff the rice with a fork.

Transfer the rice to a serving bowl. Pour lime juice over the rice and toss with chopped coriander.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 cup milk
1/5 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.

Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.

Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter until well combined.

Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.

Frost cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

Notes: The cake batter will be very thin after adding the boiling water. This is correct and results in the most delicious and moist chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted!

Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

1.5 cups butter, softened
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
5 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.

Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.

Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute.
Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.

Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.

If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup pancake mix (see below)
4 egg whites
Butter, to serve
Syrup, to serve

Mix together the egg yolks, sugar, milk, and pancake mix in a very large bowl until it is smooth with no large lumps.

In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form when lifted.

Carefully fold the egg whites into the pancake batter, until just incorporated, making sure not to deflate the batter.

Grease two 3.5-inch metal ring molds and set them in the middle of a pan over the lowest heat possible. Fill the molds about 3/4 of the way full with the batter, then cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, until the center of the pancakes are slightly jiggly.

Release the pancakes from the bottom of the pan with a spatula, then carefully flip them over, making sure not to spill any batter inside.
Cover and cook for another 5 minutes, then serve with butter, syrup, and assorted berries!

“Instant” pancake mix

6 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (check expiration date!)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix.
Use the mix within 3 months.

130 ml milk
100 g cream cheese
100 g butter
8 egg yolks
60 g flour
60 g cornstarch
13 large egg whites
130 g granulated sugar
Parchment paper
Powdered sugar, to serve

Preheat oven to 320°F/160°C.

In a small pot over medium heat, whisk the milk, cream cheese, and butter until smooth. Remove from heat and cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth, then slowly drizzle in the cream mixture, stirring until evenly combined.

Sift in the flour and the cornstarch, whisking to make sure there are no lumps.

In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until you see soft peaks when lifting the mixer up from the egg whites.

Gradually add the sugar while continuing to beat until you see hard peaks when lifting the mixer up.

Take about 1/4 of the egg whites and fold them into the egg yolk mixture, then repeat with the remaining egg whites until the batter is evenly combined.

Place a 4-inch parchment paper strip around the edge of a 9×3-inch cake pan that is already lined with parchment at the bottom. If you are using a springform pan, make sure to wrap the bottom and sides completely in foil, twice, to prevent any leakage.

Pour the batter into the parchment-lined pan and shake to release any large air bubbles.

Place the filled pan into a larger baking pan or dish lined with 2 paper towels at the bottom. The paper towels ensure that the heat is distributed evenly along the bottom of the pan. Fill the larger pan about 1-inch with hot water.

Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce the heat to 280°F/135°C, and bake for another 55 minutes, until the cake has risen to almost double its height.

Remove from oven, and carefully, invert the cake onto your dominant hand and peel off the paper. Be extremely careful, the cake will be hot. You can also invert the cake onto a plate, but this will cause the cake to deflate more.

Sprinkle the top of the cake with powdered sugar, slice, and serve with strawberries while still warm!

Gin is a neutral spirit flavoured with botanicals. The easy way to think about it is vodka with added flavours. An EU definition states that gin is a juniper-flavoured spirit drink (where juniper must be the predominant taste) and must be a minimum of 37.5% ABV. There are further stipulations given, but these apply to specific types of gin: distilled gin, and London Dry Gin. So, to be a gin in its simplest form the spirit has to be at least 37.5% and it has to taste junipery.

Whilst most commercial gins use distillation to extract the flavour from the botanicals (with or without steeping), it is possible to produce a tasty gin without taking the final distillation step. It’s technically called a compound gin, and it’s therefore more than possible to make your own gin in the comfort of your own home. Hurrah!

One thing to note though, if you don’t re-distill your gin won’t be perfectly clear. But it’ll still taste like gin, which is the important bit! The colour of your gin will depend on the botanicals you use, but is generally going to have an yellow or amber-orange hue. I’ve heard that you can put it through a Brita filter if you want to remove some of the colour. Or you can stick it in the freezer, then filter through muslin cloth which will lighten the colour a little. But as I say, whatever the colour, the stuff will taste like gin, so I’ve never bothered! And if you’re going to go down the Brita filter route, I wouldn’t run it through too many times, as I’m sure it’ll take some of the flavour of the gin, and therefore your hard work, away with it.

What you’ll need

a glass receptacle to infuse your spirit in. A bottle or a large glass kilner jar or similar should do it
a 750ml bottle of base spirit
a sieve
a jug
a funnel if you’re messy

Base spirit
Remember I said the easy way to think about gin is vodka with added flavours? You’re going to need some vodka as your base. Don’t go for the cheap nasty stuff, buy a decent vodka. If you wouldn’t drink the vodka as it is, why would you use it as the base for your fantastic home-made gin? It’s not worth your effort.

The best thing about making your own gin, is that you get to choose the botanicals, and the ratios of the botanicals, that are going into your gin. There are hundreds of options available, more than is possible to list. Other than juniper, you can put whatever you want into the spirit, however I’ll start with the more traditional botanicals in detail to give you a good idea of where to start. The descriptions below apply to the botanicals once distilled, however they’ll give you some indication of what to expect if you add them to your compound mix:

First up the ‘holy trinity’, pretty much all gins include:

  • juniper berries – think of the taste of gin, and that’s the taste of juniper. It gives pine notes, some pepperiness and some say lavender flavour to the spirit. Traditionally dried juniper berries are used in gin production as the oils are more concentrated, and they’re easier to get hold of and store.
  • coriander seed – complex citrus notes with hints of sage which amplifies the peppery finish of the juniper.
  • angelica root – helps to marry the flavours and imparts dry woody, earthy and musky notes.

Other commonly used botanicals include:

  • liquorice powder (root) – softens and sweetens the gin
  • orris root – binds the flavours of the other botanicals together
  • orange peel – candied orangey citrus notes
  • lemon peel – adds fresh citrus notes and a crispness to the gin

Onto quantities. As a guide, for a bottle of spirit I’ve the following ranges:

  • juniper berries – 20-25g
  • coriander seed – 8-10g
  • angelica root – 2-3g
  • liquorice powder (root) – 1-2g
  • orris root – 1-2g
  • orange peel – 1-2g
  • lemon peel – 1-2g

You can use either dried or fresh citrus peel. Fresh will give brighter citrus notes than dried, but shouldn’t be left to infuse for too long, so you might want to add this nearer to the end of your infusion. Also, if you’re using a bottle for infusing make sure the pieces will easily through the neck once they’ve swelled a little in the bottle. Keep a chopstick handy too for getting them out!

Bear in mind the points I noted earlier about the characteristics of each of the botanicals. You can manipulate the quantities shown if there’s a certain style (bitter, citrus, sweet e.t.c) of gin that you’re looking to create. However the general ratios should remain the same – lots of juniper, then corriander, then anjelica, with little amounts of everything else.

Also be aware of the fact that alcohol is a great extractor of flavour, so don’t add too much of any of your proposed botanicals, even if you really like them, a little goes a long way, especially for the stronger flavours! You can always add a little more as you go – as you’ll be trying your infusion every so often. Making gin is TOUGH right?

The above are just a few of the most commonly used ingredients, other options open to you in terms of botanicals are listed at the end of the post if you’re needing further ginspiration…


  1. Weigh out your botanicals.
  2. Pour the botanicals (minus any particularly punchy ones) into a clean sterile bottle (sterilise with boiling water).
  3. Top with your chosen vodka.
  4. Leave for 24hrs to infuse in a cool, dry place. Have a taste, it should be starting to taste all junipery and ginny – hurrah!
  5. Add any remaining botanicals to the mix, or if there’s a particular flavour you want more of, add a bit more of that botanical! Leave to steep for a further 12-24hrs agitating the mixture at least once.
  6. Taste, and once you are happy (longer does not mean better, beware of over infusing) use a sieve to filter out the botanicals, If there is still sediment you can use a coffee filter, muslin or cheese cloth to filter again.
  7. Leave to sit for a couple of days. Re-filter out any sediment that settles.
  8. Run through the brita filter/freeze if you want to, with further filtration as necessary.
  9. Bottle your gin.

Note: if you’ve left it a little too long and the gin is too strongly flavoured, you can always dilute with more vodka, unless you’ve left it for weeks and it’s stewed like tea!

Other botanical ideas:

almond – sweet
anjelica seed – musky and hoppy
cardamom – spicy
cassia bark – bitter and cinnamon
cinnamon – sweet and woody (use sparingly)
ginger root – dry and hot spice (careful it’s powerful!)
grapefruit – clean citrus
nutmeg – warming sweet spice
cubeb berries – spicy peppery pine
rose petals – floral
You can also add things like lavender, chamomile, rose, rosemary, sage, whatever you like, it’s your gin!