Seafood Saturday…

Living in the pandemic requires one to compose a set of routines to stick to to have at least some certainty in what’s coming. Over past weeks, I thought I might try to commit to a Saturday cooking adventure every week and I will have to master a new recipe each time with increasing level of complexity where possible…

I also do enjoy creating a meal of few courses at least once to take time to enjoy both cooking it and serving it. This week my plan was to create a chicken dish. However, we passed by our local market to find a fish monger and I decided that fresh wish is that what we are going for this time! I never cooked few things, among them scallops, oysters and tuna steak. Given how expensive this fish can be, I certainly did not want to risk spoiling it…

Yet, I bought a tuna steak and thought why not! To accompany it, I have got mussels to start, crab pasta for the first dish and also prepared a Mediterranean style sauce to go with tuna.

My husband is not a big fun of fish so it was another challenge for me: to create something he might also enjoy 🙂

I cheated a little with the starter, getting prepared mussels from M and S. However, in my defence I must admit that we do not have a proper fish monger in town and I almost never ever seen fresh mussels on sale in the UK, which is great pity given how delicious they can be..

For pasta, I’ve got al dente spaghetti with cooked crab that I lightly warmed up with a bit of olive oil, white wine, lemon juice and lots of parsley…Finally, for my tuna, I cooked gently chunks of juicy tomatoes with garlic and onion, adding then plenty of parsley and basil…Then later, after cooking my tuna I further cooked the tomatoes in tuna fat, white wine and pitted olives with a little bit of capers to add a little fishy taste….

And the main beauty…

While I can sense that my husband wasn’t particularly impressed with first two dishes given their simplicity, tuna really has taken his mind away! So, for that, it was a definite success 🙂 I am not afraid of tuna steaks anymore and guess what, I may even brave myself for scallops next time…

Once again, having three dishes and taking our time to enjoy had made such a difference! I first prepared mussels and while we eat those, my pasta was cooking for a second dish. When pasta was finished, I then prepared tuna steaks. Just a note, that the tuna steak sauce was prepared first and then crab before I started on mussels. Even though you do have to leave the table to prepare dishes it doesn’t feel that rushed and you can take a little break to enjoy a glass of wine in between and look after each dish properly. By the way, we have been again reminiscing of Sicily and wine was a proof to that 🙂

Italian dinner for a weekend and our Sicilian nostalgia…

This weekend is our first since we came back from our holiday in Sicily. Quite privileged to be able to runaway for a week, we enjoyed it fully with walks, swims and eating (as well as cooking!). For me, one of the best way to go back to a place is to eat the food I once eat there…

On our second visit to Sicily, we treat ourselves to a cooking class with Maria and learnt how to cook few very traditional dishes like panelle, homemade pasta alla Norma, Sicilian meatballs and Genovese.. We spent quite a few hours in the kitchen before we can eat these delicious bits and I could not wait to be back and recreate some of it in our home in Lancaster.

What’s more, I came across a mouth watering recipe from Parmigiana Whisperer and was convinced that the Italian dinner it is that I am cooking this Saturday!

Trattoria Buttitta - Picture of Trattoria Buttitta, Bagheria - Tripadvisor
Hidden gem of Bagheria (Sicily) beautiful food and peo

For the start, I made simple bruschetta, because why not 🙂 And for primo, I tried to recreate a very simple dish that we had in one of Bagheria’s trattorias which was light and delicious, namely Aglio e Olio.. Simply slice some garlic, and cook gently until soft with some olive oil. Add finely chopped parsley, a bit of chilli flakes to taste and mix with al dente spaghetti and add a little bit more of olive oil if you want… I made a little pan to leave some space for our secondo 🙂

One of the best if not the best pre-made tomato sauce…

And for secondo, we recreated the meatballs (polpette) with a little bit of a twist from Maria’s recipe, adding some pine-nut and raisins to the mix…

I then proceeded with beautiful recipe from Parmigiana Whisperer, using a tomato sauce that we brought from Italy…

And here there are, beautiful meatballs… Thank you so much Parmigiana Whisperer!

We thought we’d have some leftovers for Sunday but nope, we finished it all and accompanied it with red wine that we also brought from Sicily.

Highly recommended 🙂

We certainly felt like back to our travels. Important as well for me was to slow down after I finished cooking. I often rush to prepare table, eat so fast that I barely enjoy my own creation… Taking some time to finish off in the kitchen, lay out the table, sit down and talk makes such a difference…

In this colder days, creating a meal of few dishes felt like one of the best thing to do to warm up. I also really love the idea of primo and secondo and can say that meatballs taste so much better when presented as a separate dish.