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spinach, garlic, olive oil and chili recipe

Italian Food and Flavours 

Spinach, garlic, olive oil and chili recipe

This Spinach, garlic, olive oil and chili recipe from Le Marche is simple to prepare but the flavours work so well together and the crisp garlic adds a surprising and delightful contrast to the spinach as well as the bite of the chili that this dish will not go without comment. This  makes a good lunch dish or will work as a starter or as an accompaniment to roast or grilled meats.

Spinach, garlic, olive oil and chili recipe

Ingredients:

fresh spinach, about 500g , enough for a side dish or starter for 4, washed and de-stalked

two cloves of garlic crushed and chopped coarsely

olive oil 

2 fresh sliced and 3 dried chilies chopped , add more or less depending on your preference

salt pepper

Method:

Pop the cleaned spinach in a pan of boiling water until it wilts, drain in a colander, as soon as you can, squeeze the water out of the spinach and chop coarsely. In a high sided frying pan, a wok is perfect, heat a good splash of olive oil – not your best and when smoking, fry the garlic and dried chilies until the garlic is golden brown and crispy. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and keep to one side, add the chopped spinach with care – there will still be some water with it and it will spit together with the fresh chilies. quickly toss the spinach in the flavoured oil to coat and heat through, a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and add some more – good quality olive oil and toss again, then serve topped with the reserved garlic.

While the recipe here is for spinach only you can use the same method for spinach with other spring greens but most other green leaves need slightly longer cooking and they should be blanched separately from the spinach as the spinach water will flavour other leaves.

 

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Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia

Italian Food and Flavours

Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia

The best thing about baking this bread is the aroma of rosemary and garlic which fills the kitchen. I use rosemary straight from my garden and at this time of year only the freshest new growth from the ends of the stems. Rosemary is so versatile and can be added to many dishes such as roast chicken,  roast potatoes and vegetables. I add loads when making a stock and also add it to soups. It’s aromatic and beautiful and I wouldn’t be without this herb. Being blessed as I am with an Italian herb garden full of rosemary, I can pretty much rely on it to flavour my food all year round. At the moment it is a purple flowered bee heaven, but it is the fresh green sprigs I pick for culinary use.

Rosemary was the first herb that I wanted to plant in my Le Marche garden as it never thrived in my English garden. ‘Rosemary for remembrance’ they say and I do have a treasured memory linked to this herb about a lady who lived in my house many years ago. She sadly passed away last year but during our first weeks here, she would pass by, take my hands in her hands and kiss me on my cheek, then lead me around all the trees and plants she had planted twenty or so years before. On one such visit she openly scoffed at my small pot of rosemary I intended to plant somewhere. I needed no understanding of Italian as she led me a few paces down the road to a huge bush she had planted herself. The locals, she told me used to walk down here to pick sprigs to flavour their homemade proscuitto. Although I have indeed planted more rosemary I always use her plant in cooking as it grows in full sun and seems particularly aromatic.

Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia
A rustic but aromatic bread, perfect for tearing and sharing
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Ingredients
  1. 350ml luke warm water
  2. 3 tbsp olive oil
  3. 650 g bread flour or Italian 0 flour
  4. 2tsp salt
  5. 2tsp sugar
  6. 2 7g sachets yeast
For the topping
  1. Extra virgin olive oil
  2. 2/3 garlic cloves
  3. lots of rosemary sprigs
  4. sea salt
Instructions
  1. Add to your bread machine in the above order and select dough function.
  2. Or mix by hand into smooth dough and allow to raise covered for an hour or so.
  3. Knead the dough until smooth, then roll out to fit a large baking tin. It is a very springy dough so needs some pulling and stretching to shape.
  4. Leave to rise for 40 minutes.
  5. With your knuckle make dents all over the surface.
  6. Sprinkle with salt.
  7. Spread a few cloves of mashed garlic all over and then brush on lots of extra virgin olive oil
  8. Finally push the rosemary sprigs into the dough.
  9. Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for approx 25 minutes, until lightly golden.
Notes
  1. Slice into strips, triangles or simply tear and share with others. Add halved cherry tomatoes with the sprigs of rosemary if you wish.
Cooking Holidays Italy http://www.italianfoodandflavours.com/
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A herald of spring in deepest November..

Italian Food and Flavours

..spring peas are pushing upwards towards the winter sun and with them the reminder that the cold weather is soon over and outdoor living will be upon us again..including of course fine dining and delicious dishes of spring vegetables cooked as only the Italians know how.
One of Fabio’s preferred dishes using fresh peas is a combination of crisp newly picked broadbeans, melt in the mouth peas and the intense earthy flavours of young artichokes cooked to perfection with herbs and just a splash of the local white wine. This makes a simple but gratifying anti-pasto or contorno that would impress even the most die-hard “foodie” in your life.
Of course you will have to wait for Spring to sample this delicacy other than with your imagination. If your tastebuds have been woken up from hibernation by the thought of sweet young peas, a winter alternative using the frozen remainders of a bumper crop could include tender pea omelettes or a puree of peas, garlic, fresh new olive oil and your favourite herbs in which to dip chunks of toasted crusty bread in front of a roaring log fire….
Watch this space for a profusion of mouth watering recipes using the simple but high quality ingredients that the Italian countryside is renowned for.

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