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Easy Zucchini Ricotta Cakes

zucchini-ricotta-fritter-0132 I had very little expectations about this recipe. I was 85% sure the recipe wouldn’t work, the ricotta wouldn’t be firm enough to bind the ingredients and, in the end, the patties/fritters would crumble and take apart in the pan. I was mentally prepared for the disaster.

zucchini-ricotta-fritters-0096 It worked, instead. Against all the odds.

Was I just lucky? No. It seems that mixing the right amount of ricotta, eggs and breadcrumbs can lead to one of the best recipe for zucchini cakes that you’ll ever have.

zucchini-ricotta-fritters-0105 To my great surprise, I could shape spoonfuls of the zucchini batter into 3-in. (diameter) patties with hands without leaving any ingredient behind. Without shouting in my head “Why the hell did I start making this?”, I mean. A question that I happen to ask myself almost every time I leave the more familiar field of pasta-based recipes.

zucchini-ricotta-fritters-0120 Seriously, this recipe is very easy. I find it more complicate to describe! After carefully dropping the cakes onto the sizzling pan and waiting a couple of minutes for each side to become firm and golden, it’s all about eating zucchini cakes with a melt in your mouth texture, creamy but not in the heavy way.  I believe that along with a side, these fritters would be a perfect addition to a healthy quick lunch.


Are you a ricotta lover like me? What’s your favorite ricotta-based recipe?

Zucchini Ricotta Fritters

Yield: 7-8 fritters


  • 2 medium zucchini, washed and thinly cut into sticks
  • 1/3 cup ricotta (drained)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 to 1 cup panko breadcrumb (depending of the consistency of your ricotta)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon zest from a lemon


  1. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini (cut into sticks), ricotta, egg, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir well, then stir in the breadcrumbs just until incorporated. Let the batter rest for 20 min in the fridge.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil until shimmering.
  3. Shape spoonfuls of the zucchini batter into 3-in. (diameter) patties with your hands (careful, if you make them too thin they will break apart). Working in batches, add the patties in the pan with 1-2 tablespoons of oil. It is easier to flatten the patties with a spoon while in the pan, so you can try to flatten a little more at this point.
  4. Fry over moderately high heat, adding more oil when necessary, turning the patties once, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Drain the fritters on the paper towels and serve right away, with lemon wedges.

Quinoa Enchilada Bake

enchilada-bake-0564 Sometimes before writing a blog post I have clear in mind what I am going to say. Those are the times when I  forget my original writing objectives and go off track, though.

Before I forget, I’d better write now want I want to tell you today:

1) Happy 4th July. I know, it’s late now.  While you enjoyed a beautiful independence day (you’re all Americans, right?)  here in London we celebrated the first and last day of summer of the year with temperatures rising up to 27 degrees.  I wanted to tell to all the celebrating Londoners to keep calm and drink tea. In fact, it’s already colder and rainy now. We can put summer behind us (and of course drink hot tea).

enchilada-bake-0546 2) This week I proved myself that I can overcome my limits. I run 2 km in 13 minutes. Yay! It helped looking myself in the mirror while running to check what my body was actually doing. The mirror told me a story of a red-faced girl trying not be defeated by sweat and short breath. I could run a bit longer after seeing myself in that desperate conditions. Simple as that.

3) This week I also proved myself that I can be a troll. A real troll, “a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people”.  Not that it was my intention. Whatever, I become a troll and now I am going to tell you how.

enchilada-bake-0544 The “accident” took place on Instragram, which is my favorite sharing platform together with Pinterest. I like double-tapping on my tablet screen very much. It’s because of all the fantastic food bloggers that are out there to share awesome shots of their recipes (one day, I’ll tell you about my favorite ones). Anyhow, let’s get to the this troll story now.

I really appreciate the work that this great and popular food blogger does, however I couldn’t help but writing a comment to her pic of a whole lamb roasting on the grill. That was a WHOLE animal, head and big eyes included. I left a comment, just on impulse, to say that the image was disturbing to mey. In my defense, you need to know that I also included the word “sorry”. Something like “sorry I can also see the eyes of this animal…it is not yummy”.

quinoaenchilada-0537 Afterwards, she kindly replied to me to explain that is something normal for meat eaters. I understand that. I’m not a nazi-vegetarian and I have already come to the terms long ago with the fact that we all have have a different perceptiveness of what is right or wrong, yummy or not yummy. I am sorry I could not reply her back since the image disappeared from her profile.

Now, I’m using the blog to apologize with her. But I also want to take advantage of the “querelle” to speak about meat. A few facts that, believe me, MATTER. They do not matter because it’s me to report them – after all I’m just girl that can be stupidly upset by the sight of a carcass. They matter because they involve us and the future of our earth.  Stay with me 2 minutes more to see what I mean 🙂 enchilata-quinoa1-0528 These are a few FACTS and STUDIES about meat (published by Matt Timms in the Magazine “The new Economy”):

“Global demand for meat in 2020 is projected to be more than double what it was in 2000, as changing macroeconomic conditions spark a so-called food revolution in lesser developed country.

Currently, 40% of the Earth’s land surface is dedicated to keeping us fed, and 3/4 of that is used not for grains, fruit or vegetable but to house livestock.

Livestock farming accounts for approximately 8% of the world’s total water use, and UN studies have recently found that methane emissions from livestock equate to as much as 14.5% of all human-caused green houses gases – an astounding proportion.

Cell Metabolism showed that animal protein-heavy diets result in a much greater risk of cancer (equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes a day), heart disease, kidney stones and asthma.”

OK, I’ve done with SERIOUS things for today. I swear, I’m not going to be a troll anymore (well, at least I’ll try. I think I have a “troll gene” hidden somewhere because I’m Italian). Stay healthy and active, my dear friends!

Quinoa Enchilada Bake


  • 4 big tortilla wraps.
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed,diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I used canned corn)
  • Juice of 1 small lime
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 1 (7.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (I used Parmesan)
  • Enchilada Sauce:
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil,
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour,
  • 1 teaspoons chili powder,
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano,
  • 1 teaspoon cumin,
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder,
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar.


  1. Cook quinoa in water in a medium saucepan over medium heat according to the directions on the package. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil, add the onion and jalapeño. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers, and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the lime juice chili powder and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside. In another pan cook the black beans with salt and olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  3. Prepare the Enchilada sauce. I made my own sauce cooking for about 15 minutes 2 cans crushed tomatoes with tablespoons olive oil, all-purpose flour, the spices and brown sugar.
  4. Place 1/4 cup vegetables, beans, quinoa and corn in center of a tortilla. Roll tortilla and place into large casserole dish. Repeat for remaining tortillas.
  5. Pour enchilada sauce on top of enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until heated through.

Baked Gooey Soba Frittata and a Bite of World Cup

soba-frittata-0028 The World Cup Adventure is already over for Italy. What about your football team?

OK, let’s not pretend I am a “true” football supporter. It’s just all about my origins, I come from a country where football is printed in everybody’s genes, easy to enjoy and cathartic for modern men just like a beer on Friday after work or the reassuring idea that someone will sooner or later iron that pile of wrinkly shirts for you.

Now, the reason why I share with you the incredible news of Italy crashing out of the World Cup, is not so much ’cause “my team” was beaten by other teams not so great on paper or because I’m tremendously sad about not having excuses to leave the office early, but rather because of the “carnivorous way” the Italian experience ended.

soba-frittata-0043 Have you read the news? The very much esteemed Uruguayan footballer Suarez took advantage of the proximity of his mouth to the shoulder of the Italian defender Chiellini to bite him. I have no reason to believe that he wanted  to turn into Dracula, I conclude that Suarez must have been very hungry.

In my humble opinion, he would have been delighted by this baked omelet that I made out of Soba noodles, cheese, mushrooms and eggs. A dish I adapted from the traditional Neapolitan recipe of “frittata di maccheroni”.  But I can’t be 100% sure since investigations to ascertain the cause of the accident leads to Suarez strongly craving for some meat at the moment of the bite. Nobody told him that Chiellini’s shoulder is notoriously unappetizing. With plenty of grass on the field, vegetarianism would have been a better choice for him.  🙂


Soba Frittata


  • 185 gr soba
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 slices of mozzarella cheese (cheddar or any other cheese that melts is fine)
  • 5-6 button mushrooms
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil


  1. Cook Soba noodles into boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes. Once noodles are cooked, transfer them in a colander and rinse well under cold running water to get rid of the starch.
  2. Cut the mushrooms in thin slices. In a large bowl beat eggs with grated cheese, salt and pepper. Add noodles and mushrooms to the egg and cheese mixture and mix well.
  3. Coat a small-medium baking pan with oil and transfer the noodles+eggs mixture into it.
  4. Bake at (190°C, 375°F, gas mark 5) for about 10 minutes.

Quinoa Sushi with Peppers, Shiitake Mushrooms and Feta Cheese

quinoa sushi-0650 Cough cough.

My battle against carbs slipped into the background of my concerns since I fell sick early this week. An annoying cough and high temperature forced me to bed. The only good thing about being sick in bed is that angels in your life reveal themselves to take care of you and grant your wishes. I’ve been extremely weak and with very little appetite. At some point the only thing I would eat was sushi. Who knows why Sushi and only Sushi.

quinoa sushi-0676 So I got to eat sushi in bed and I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

Now call me picky and extremely fault finding but my sushi was good only until I tasted the sugars in it. Isn’t Sushi rice supposed to contain Mirin only?  You can’t imagine what I found inside my sushi, instead. Sugar, Molasses, Honey, Maize Starch… the list of strange ingredients was surprisingly long.

quinoa sushi-0686 As soon I felt better (at least able to get up) I visited my kitchen to make my own sushi. I did not have rice but Quinoa so I prepared these delicious (the feta cheese is sooo yummy), cute and healthier (Quinoa is really good for you) rolls. If you think that making Quinoa sushi is not a piece of cake, well, let me tell you you’re wrong. I made and shot these sushi rolls when my head was still spinning and my body still ached. And I got it right! No sugar for me, this time.

p.s. I had Quinoa spread all over me and my kitchen, in the end. The grains do stick like rice does, making the preparing process a bit messy. Be prepared to see a few grains escaping from the roll. It’s not a big deal, though, something that even a inpatient (and sick) cook like me can copy with.

quinoa sushi-0736

Quinoa Sushi with Peppers, Shiitake Mushrooms and Feta Cheese


  • 3 sheets of nori
  • 170g/half a cup of quinoa
  • Half yellow pepper, sliced
  • 5 sticks of Feta cheese
  • 6-7 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar (optional)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • Soy sauce and wasabi


  1. Cook Quinoa in boiling water for 15 minutes, according to instructions. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes (to prevent Qunoa from melting the nori)
  2. Stir in 3 tbsp of the rice vinegar (optional).
  3. Prepare the fillings by slicing the pepper, feta and mushrooms.
  4. Lay the nori sheets on a rolling mat and spread a 3rd of the quinoa on them, leaving a 1 inch gap at the top.
  5. For the first roll, place a 3rd of the feta cheese, peppers and mushrooms in the middle of the Quinoa.
  6. Roll the sushi roll. Repeat for the other nori sheets.

Watermelon and Peach Agua Fresca

water-melon-juice-0599 It’s been almost a week that I (almost) don’t eat “empty carbs” (on Monday I had a dinner out in a Neapolitan pizzeria. Little exception). I am determined to take a break from eating my favorite foods (aka pasta and bread) as a sort of experiment: I want to see if I can get my body accustomed to a different and more diversified diet. Carbs are  fundamental nutrients in everybody’s life. It would be a huge mistake to totally ban them.

We all know that not all carbohydrates have same benefits, though. Whole-grain foods provide fiber, vitamins, and many other nutrients that we cannot find in a yummy dish of spaghetti (what a great injustice).  What I am escaping from is the empty carbohydrates, I mean sweet things, sugary drinks, cookies, white bread, those delectable foods that offer no nutritional value, they just fill you up and that’s about it.

water-melon-juice-0612 Here is why even for my drinks I never ever use sugar (carbs are processed and turned into simple sugar by the body, eventually). I stopped sweetening my coffee a couple years ago. It was the very first step I made to “move” my preferences towards more natural  ingredients and appreciate the flavor of each single food. Coffee must be bitter, green tea must taste like grass an earthy drink, fruit juice must only come with sugars naturally occurring in the fruit. Also, I’d rather eat more fatty foods like avocado rather than buying low fat products that manufacturers made palatable by replacing fat with sugars.

Last but not least, I try to drink more. Whenever I have time I make a refreshing aqua fresca,  a drink that’s supposed to be made by simply mashing the fruit with a fork or masher before adding the water. I cannot stop adding to it a pinch of laziness (which is so part of me!) and make everything in a blender. One day I will win my battle against empty carbs and start considering to fight against my indolence. Not now, though… one step at a time.


Watermelon and Peach Agua Fresca


  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup watermelon (rind removed), seeded and chopped
  • 2 peaches
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Ice cubes (optional)


  1. Cut the watermelon into cubes. Peel the peaches and cut into small pieces.
  2. In a blender combine water, watermelon, peach and lime juice for about 1 minute.
  3. Pour through a strainer into a pitcher, forcing through most of the pulp. Chill at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve with or without ice cubes.

My very first “personal” cocktail: Southern GingerBread Cocktail

sc-0196 When I first started blogging I was an undergraduate student in Italy. Back then I was just trying to experiment with my writing (in Italian), there was no social media involved, just me and my thoughts. My second blog “arrived” when I moved to London and started nurturing the idea of writing in English. I knew I could not express my “random thoughts” in a language I was not confident in so I needed a topic.

Cocktails. I chose to write about cocktails (at that time, I also wanted to be a bartender). I was jumping from a personal diary stuffed with poetry (kind of) to a booze-based blog. Last Monday, when I attended a cocktail class arranged by Southern Comfort (celebrating the launch of  a new website!), I thought about the connection between the beautiful art of making cocktails and my passion for writing. It’s all about handcraft job: you need to choose your ingredients (words) carefully and be as creative as you can.

sc-0274 I can’t tell you how much fun I had attending the class! The venue was a dim and elegant bar  in the heart of Soho, an area of London I particularly love because of its touch of quirkiness and variety of good restaurant and bars.

I was given the opportunity of preparing a cocktail as professional bartenders do, guided and instructed by them to create something personal from a wide selection of ingredients available. For a chance to win a mug that looks just like my face (!) I then submitted my cocktail recipe to the new Southern Comfort website. That was a fun moment of the evening too.

But let’s go back to my cocktail, now. I only knew I wanted a fresh drink with character. Because I HEART cocktails with character, if you know what I mean. Considering that Southern Comfort is one-of-a-kind blend of fruit, spices and American whiskey, I decided not to dilute my drink in soda or in sweet fruit juice. What I came up with?

southern-confort-0301 Gingerbread and lime. Southern Comfort comes with  a 35% ABV and is best served long over ice with lemonade and a squeeze of lime. Therefore, my cocktail could not miss a generous splash of lime juice. After adding citrus notes to the whiskey, I subtly sweetened and boldly spiced it up with a touch of ginger. The bartender who was helping me with the proportions, suggested me to add eggs. Eggs?!?!?! Have you ever watched the movie “Cocktail“, starring a very young Tom Cruise? Not that kind of egg, luckily, but egg white power (I have never heard of before).

Oh boy if it worked. Honestly, I made myself the best cocktail I had in a while (getting close to my dream of being a bartender :)). When I was writing my little cocktail blog I used to replicate popular recipes but this time I created my very own personal recipe! A little moment of glory. Can I dare you to make a better cocktail than the one you can see below? Try my gingerbread drink and if you feel creative enough to challenge this and other cocktails, enter the competition,  maybe also sharing the drink  on social media using the #whateverscomfortable hashtag  (the most popular drinks will be shortlisted for a chance to win).

Good luck!

Stay Comfortable. Drink Responsibly


Southern Gingerbread Cocktail


  • Southern Comfort, 50 ml
  • Ginger-bread syrup, 10 ml
  • Lime Juice, 25 ml
  • Cubed Ice
  • Egg white, powder


  1. Pour the whiskey, the syrup, lime and egg white into a cocktail shaker filled with cubed ice. Shake well. Strain into a glass (I used a short glass, see pic above).
  2. Fill the glass with cubed ice and garnish with a slice of lime (a gingerbread man cookie will work too).

How to Make Sushi Rice on the Stove

sushi-0087 Even though I consider myself a fan of Japanese food (I am fascinated by its culinary perfectionism), I’ve long been unaware of how to cook simple Japanese dishes, from noodles to sushi. Going to a restaurant has always been the only way to taste Japanese food for me. What made me emerge from this unbearable state of ignorance and try out Japanese recipes at home?

I started craving for some vegetarian sushi. Now, even if you live in the most amazing European capital (aka London), for this kind of craving there’s no solution (at least not many options). Here is why I purchased those cute – and scary at the same time – sheets of seaweed-red-algae technically known as Porphyra-P. yezoensis-P. tenera (argh), and so on so forth…

sushi-0177 One day I was in the most popular British bookstore called Waterstones. It was around lunch time and I was there to spend my lunch break looking for inspiration on how to write acknowledgments (at some point in my life I’ll need to say thanks in black and white). I bumped into this elegant cookbook by Harumi Kurihara. She wrote her acknowledgments section in such an exquisite and simple way that I felt like dedicating all my lunch break to the book, not only paying attention to the food photography (which is sadly the first and sometimes only thing I do when I open a cookbook) but also lingering on her writing. How to make sushi rice on the stove is the first thing that caught my attention. At the end of my lunch break I knew that making Japanese rice without a rice cooker was possible and easy (as to writing effective acknowledgments I am still in deep water).

That is how I got the inspiration for my very first sushi rice made from short grain rice and by using my “everyday” pan. It’s a never failing recipe, as proved by the fact that I managed to get it right at the first attempt (a rare event for me). I turned sticky rice, which I prepared following to the letter the recipe below,  into perfect sushi rice just by mixing it with sushi vinegar or Mirin, a Japanese rice vinegar mixed with salt and sugar. The secret for the authentic Japanese rice is unveiled below. As you can see, with this rice I made the vegetarian sushi I could not eat otherwise in the restaurants (I’m not writing here about the sushi recipe since I believe you would need a video to make sense of the directions).

sushi-0180 p.s. I know, this blog is mostly based on Mediterranean recipes. Can you trust me when I write of Japanese food? Well, this is just an infallible Harumi’s recipe..


Sushi Rice


  • 300g (2 small cups) of Japanese Rice or short grain Rice
  • 350ml of Water
  • Medium size sauce pan with a lid
  • 80ml of Sushi Vinegar (Mirin)


  1. Rinse the rice by adding water to a bowl then gently stirring the rice with your hand. Pour the water away keeping the rice in the bowl with your hand. Repeat at least 3 times (you want the water to be clear, eventually).
  2. Add the rice and 350ml of water to your pan and put on the stove until the water boils. When it starts boiling, turn down the heat to minimum and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes, make sure to keep the lid on the pan at all times.
  3. Once it has simmered, remove the sauce pan from the stove. Mix the rice and vinegar together and leave it to steam for a further 10 minutes.

Sunday Foodie Likes

Portici, Italy, August 2013


Happy Mother’s day y’all! Hope you’ll spend a nice Sunday with your loved ones. Today London is rather chill with a dull grey sky – I got to stay in bed under the blanket all day long :). If you’re going to have a relaxing and lazy Sunday like me, you might find time for these links below. It’s just the best I stumbled upon this week.


I used to hate cauliflower. Then I saw this. A totally different veggie appetizer.

Wide Legged Striped Soulmate Pants. I should be cool enough to put this on instead of… OK, that’s totally another story 🙂 .

Time for a classic Horchata, even after Cinco de Mayo.

Huevos Rancheros Bake, Bakers Royal style.

A Margarita with a twist. Best original recipe of the week. Bold combinations.

Can you guess what an almond-ella is? It’s (yum)^10.

When I saw this I WOWed and wowed. I’m still wowing!

This is THE LUNCH. Because Shiitake rocks. Always.

Best food photography of the week. The winner is….. Rhubarb, Grapefruit and Thyme Cocktails!


Strawberry and Lemon Agua Fresca with a shot of Cachaca

agua-fresca Happy Cinco de Mayo! How are you going to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla ? I’m in London, where all the cultures and nationalities meet. Sure, the British capital is not the obvious choice for Cinco de Mayo celebrations, but it’s one of the few places in the world where every community finds its space, so I’m pretty sure that somewhere in the city a large group of Mexicans and Americans are holding streamers and balloons in red, white and green – the colors of the Mexican flag.

strawberry-lemonade-0154 I’m going to spend my day at home (it’s bank holiday here). No fajitas, enchiladas,  guacamole, salsa or jalapeno poppers for me today. The sky is finally bright and the fresh breeze heralds a milder season. I just feel like squeezing the sweet juices of  perfectly ripe strawberries into a fierce drink with a splash of one of my favorite spirits – Cachaca, the distilled liquor made from sugarcane juice. That’s how it goes for me today. And you?


Strawberry and Lemon Agua Fresca with a shot of Cachaca


  • 1-lb. fresh, ripe strawberries
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Cachaca (or tequila, white rum, etc..)


  1. Hull and puree the strawberries mixed with the sugar. Keep in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, then pass the puree through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.
  2. Place the puree, water, lemon juice in a blender and blend until frothy. Serve very cold over ice in a glass and add a a shot of your favorite liquor.

Sunday Foodie Likes


Hello folks, top of the morning to you, how ya goin?

This is my very first Sunday post and me learning the slang. Useful English words and expressions, move away!

I am right now impulsively drawn by slang and urban language. Last week I was in Italy to spend some good family time (with my sister, in the pic above) and realized that nothing sounds more funny and uplifting to me than a joke in Neapolitan. In Napoli we even boast a restaurant that based its fortune on the local slang: the owner welcomes you with funny slang expressions and the waiters take fun of the customers. From Neapolitan language to English slang is but a short step.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress with the language (by the way, have you got something to share with me?). In the meantime let me start off this Sunday column here to share my TOP exceptional foodie likes. Likes other than the slang.

A wonderful Springtime pasta dish with sugar snap peas.

This is what I call wholesome snack.

I cannot resist something called Worlds Best Cake.

Can this be my breakfast everyday? It should be.

Oh, but this energizer amazing smoothie should pop up for breakfast too.

Colorful and healthy, I like you so much roasted carrots + rice w/ zingy turmeric broth.

This is sweet apotheosis and deification of a cake.

You love mango. You love margaritas. Hold on to your hat and sip this fabulous Mango Margarita.

Thai sweet potato nachos, love love love it.

Sexiest carrots ever on a bed of ricotta. Yum.