Friday, 10 May 2013

Roma by Fellini

This is my favorite movie of all time. As some of you may know, I am obsessed with my city Rome, and this movie perfectly incorporates all the things I love about it, mostly regarding its people.
There is an amazing scene which takes place in an outdoor 'trattoria', there is a mix of food, people yelling and singing, all seen through Fellini's 'northener' perspective. The whole movie is the impression Rome had on him when he first moved to the capitol as a young adult.
This clip is a mix of some of the funniest scenes from the movie, the first one being from the oudoor restaurant. For those who speak Italian the clip will be more funny.


Monday, 6 May 2013

Linguine ai Gamberetti

I love seafood of any kind combined with pasta of any shape, and while I deeply miss the delicious dishes from Italy, I try to recreate them as best as I can here in London. Last week I posted the simple recipe for Pasta with Tuna, and this week I will give you another simple and quick recipe involving seafood: Pasta with shrimp.

Here is what you need (for 2 people):

200 gr Linguine (Spaghetti will be ok as well)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2  tablespoon white wine
Some cherry tomatoes
Chopped Parsley
Half a pack of Shrimps

Put a pot of water to boil. When it is boiling throw in the pasta.
In a separate pan, let the garlic cook until golden with some olive oil
Add the chopped tomatoes and let cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the shrimps and let cook until pink. You should let them cook until they have a 'C' shape, if they start to cook into an 'O' shape, that means they are overcooking.
Add the white wine.

When pasta is ready, drain and add to the pan with the shrimps. Mix everything together on a low heat and add the parsley.
You can then drizzle a bit more olive oil and some hot pepper flakes if you want to make it a bit more spicy.

Buon Appetito!

Monday, 29 April 2013

Una vita Difficile

Directed in 1961 by Dino Risi, this one in particular is one of my absolute favourite scenes of Italian cinema.
A young couple is casually invited to eat in the house of a family which supports the Monarchy, on the night of the Referendum of the Italian Republic.
Everyone is seated and the food is being served, we see the royals serve themselves one olive while the young couple fills their plate with 'pasticcio'. As soon as the results are announced, with the fall of the Monarchy and the rise of the Republic, the hosts lose their appetite and leave the couple alone at the table.
Alberto Sordi turns towards Lea Massari and asks: 'What should we do? Should we leave?', and she answers: 'Let's eat first and then we leave!'
The waiter walks in with a bottle of champagne and the couple eats on the notes of Mameli's Fratelli D'Italia.
This is a great moviw and a fun way to see Italy's history, everyone should watch it, here is the clip of the famous dining scene:

Monday, 22 April 2013

Pasta al tonno (with a twist)

Whenever there is no time to shop and there is the need to make a meal from whatever I have sitting in my cabinet I resort to the simple and quick Pasta al Tonno, in other words pasta with tuna.
Most people will always have a can of tuna and a pack of pasta (Italians will for sure) sitting in their pantry so this should be easy for everyone.
While I usually use Tuna to make this dish, this time I didn't have a can of tuna but I had a beautiful box of Mackerel I had brought back from Italy a while ago. This works just as well, if not better.
The thing I love about this pasta dish is that you cook the sauce while the past is cooking, meaning that it all takes about 5 minutes!

Here is this simple recipe:

(for 2 people)
1 clove garlic
some cherry tomatoes
1 can tuna
200 grams of pasta (I prefer a shorter shape)

-Boil a pot of water
-Chop up the garlic and let cook until golden
-Add the cherry tomatoes (cut in half) and the can of tuna (drained)

-You can add a drop of white wine to the sauce

There are many other ways you can vary this recipe, here are just a few things you could add if you like or have them sitting around:

Black olives
Lemon Grind

Buon Appetito!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Sophia Loren and 'La pizza fritta'

Here is a clip of the beautiful Sophia Loren making pizze fritte in the alleys of Naples. Directed by De Sica in 1954, the movie is composed of 6 different episodes. In this episode which is called Pizze a Credito Sophia Loren and her husband have a stall were they sell 'pizze a credito', meaning you could eat right away and pay when you had the money "mangi subito e paghi tra otto giorni'.
I love this scene, I love Naples, and I love Sophie Loren!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Tuna Steak on a bed of Swiss Chard

     I haven't been eating any red meat for a while now, so I have started buying more fish. I have also started going to a gym that is right next to an amazing fruit and vegetable shop, so when I finish my workout I can't resist coming back home with bags full of fruit and vegetables. One of the things this shop has that I hadn't really noticed anywhere else is Swiss Chard. So I decided to combine the two.
Since the Tuna is best left simple, I decided to add something to the Chard: cherry tomatoes, capers,
and black olives.

For the Swiss Chard:

1 clove of garlic
10 tomatoes
tablespoon of capers
tablespoon of pitted black olives

- Cut the garlic in small pieces and let cook in a small pot until golden
- Add the chard (sliced into pieces)
- add some white wine to make it more wet and tasty
- When the chard starts cooking down, add the tomatoes, capers and olives
- Stir and let cook

In the meantime cook the tuna in a pan (with some olive oil) for about 1 minute on each side. When ready put it on top of the chard and enjoy!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Riso Amaro (1949)

One of my favorite movies, directed by Giuseppe De Santis. It's the story of the 'mondine' who travel North towards the rice plantations in the Po Valley.
The word 'riso' in Italian means both rice and laughter, and within the movie has both meanings: bitter rice and bitter laughter.
There isn't much food in the movie apart from large quantities of rice, this is one of my favorite scenes where Silvana Mangano and Vittorio Gassman dance the boogie-woogie.


Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Pasta with Squash

The other day I was feeling experimental and since I have never cooked anything with Squash and barely use my oven, I decided to do both.
I had no idea what to do with the Squash until I remembered my mother often makes a pasta dish with Squash as the main ingredient for the sauce. So I phoned her up asked for the recipe and added just a couple variations.

Here is the recipe (for 2 people):

200 gr pasta (short shape is preferred)
1 small squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
oil and salt
fresh goat cheese
fresh basil

Turn on the oven to about 200-230c
Place the cut peaces of Squash on a baking sheet, drizzle oil, salt and pepper on top, and mix them around using your hands. Leave the squash to cook until the outside is brown and inside is soft, turning the pieces over at least once.
In the meantime, bring a pot of water to the boil and throw the pasta in
Put the cheese, basil and squash in a bowl, throw the pasta in with a bit of its cooking water (remember to save some to make the sauce creamy!)
Mix all together

It is better to use a softer cheese because it will melt and make the sauce more creamy, I made the mistake of using one that was a bit too hard, but it still turned out delicious!
If you think the pasta turns out too sweet, you can add some hot pepper to give it an extra punch.


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Domenica d'Agosto

The clip I would like to share today is from the movie Domenica d'Agosto directed by Luciano Emmer in 1950. Shot mostly at the Lido di Ostia, its the story about a crowd of people from Rome who decide to spend their one day of holiday at the beach. Its a comedy and a good opportunity to dream about how different the 'beach experience' used to be compared to how it is today. My favourite scene is the family lunch at the beach because although some things have changed, Italians still love and continue to eat a big lunch at the beach. Even if it's 40 degrees outside, you can't say no to a plate of pasta.


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Liver cooked Sophie's way

Ever since I was a little kid I have loved all food. I would try and eat anything, and that includes liver and all the other innards.
Most people think they are gross and don't want to be anywhere near them, but I love them.
So I had some liver in my fridge and decided to cook it without looking at a recipe, just making it up along the way. And so I came up with Liver a la Sophie. It's quite simple and might even exist already, but I like to believe it's my personal one.

So here is what you will need:

200 gr Chicken livers 
1/2 white onion
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons dry white wine
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
fresh mint leaves

Put some olive oil in a pan and let the onions cook until golden.
Then add the liver and let cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the butter, and as soon as it has melted add the wine.
Let cook until they loose that pink colour on the inside.
Add some mint leaves and the lemon juice towards the end.
Add some mint leaves for garnish if you want to make it look pretty!

My personal touch was the mint and the lemon, I don't think I've ever had it with those 2 ingredients before. Enjoy!

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Food and Cinema

I have been very busy working and trying to finish my final year of university by writing a good dissertation. Of course my dissertation is going to be about food, and more specifically about food in three different periods of Italian cinema. I want to explore how the food in these movies represents Italian culture at the time. I have been watching a lot of great movies, and thought I might share a clip each time I watch a new one.
The last movie I saw is Campo de' Fiori by Mario Bonnard, released in 1943. The main actor is Aldo Fabrizi (brother of Sora Lella), who plays a pescivendolo (fish monger) in Rome's market Campo de' Fiori. Fabrizi was know for his passion of food in real life, and there are a few good food scenes in the movie. At the start of the film he gives a customer a recipe for fish so she can impress her guests at the table, and later on he prepares a fish soup to try and impress the woman he is infatuated with. It wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but it entertained me! I am looking forward to watching lots more movies, posting many clips, and hopefully write an amazing dissertation.