Guess who's coming for dinner

It was one of those stormy weather nights in Rome, when a bunch of girls decided to gather together, strictly in food happiness mood. The whole idea was to get out of that muggy weather, and so the recipes followed.

At first it was herbs & spices scouting, since they are essential to any italian recipe, as twisted as it might be. Aromaticus was of great help, with its wide selection of potted herbs. The girls took on the role of both food investigator and interpreter veeery seriously, in full witch project swing.

Evaporated the tiresome of the city in a glass of good talkative wine (please see the denomination below for more euphemistic reference), we got on with the job, which entailed fish filleting, avocado trimming and mango cube cutting. The outcome was a fresh, delightful summery supper which can be prepared in less than one hour. Must try it to believe it. So, why not giving it a go yourself? It's food happiness time.

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Piquant Prawn Cocktail (4 persons)

Ingredients:

  • 150 gr.  mayonnaise
  • 
1 tbs chilli sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus leaves to serve
  • Salad leaves, shredded
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 
36 raw peeled prawns

We started with the rosé sauce by mixing together mayonnaise, chilli sauce, lemon juice and half the lemon leaves in a small bowl that we then set aside.

We simply divided the salad leaves among the serving dishes, then added small cubes of avocado and the freshest prawns. We finally decorated each dish with dressing and topped it with lemon leaves before serving.

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Risotto Minicakes (4 persons)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 20g butter
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 
1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 1/4 cups arborio rice
  • 
1/2 glass white wine
  • 
4 glasses of vegetable stock
  • 2 tbs of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in cubes
  • 
1 bunch of basil leaves
  • 2 eggs, lightly beate
  • 
140 g mozzarella cheese, cut into 2cm cubes

The whole thing about risotto is that mouthwatering creaminess that comes from simply following the instructions below. First, we heat mix butter and oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. After a couple of minutes add leek and garlic and cook until soft. It will now be the turn of to insert rice. It is essential to keep stirring it for 3 minutes until well blended with leek mix. Next, add the wine and increase heat to high. After 3 minutes wine will fade away, it will then be the turn of the stock to be added to the rice mixture. Depending on the rice instructions, cook it for a total of maximum 14 to 18 minutes. Then add some more butter to cook until creamy!

At the end of the process, add together basil, zucchini and spinach to the rice assortment and whisk well. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 220°C. Grease a 6 x 3/4-cup capacity muffin forms. Half-fill muffin holes with rice mixture. Place a cube of mozzarella on top of each. Cover with remaining rice mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until set. Serve with

Sole with Mango (4 persons)

Ingredients:

  • 2 mangoes, cleaned from skin
  • 4 (800g) sole fillets
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 80 gr. parsley, trimmed

Cut mango into dices and place the mixture into a bowl in the fridge to rest.

Finely slice the lemon. Cut 4 large squares of baking paper. Arrange lemon rounds in the middle of each sheet of paper. Place fish, skin-side down, onto lemon rounds. Spice up with salt and pepper. Wrap the soles firmly in baking paper.

Preheat oven to 220°C. Bake your fish for 10 minutes.

While the fish is cooking, mix together lemon juice, extra virgin oil, sugar, parsley, and salt and pepper in a screw-top jar. Shake well to combine. Pour over the mango sauce. Arrange the  fish on serving plates with the risotto minicakes and just delight yourselves.

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White Chocolate & Rosemary Tartellette (4 persons)

For the almond sugary pastry:

  • 90 g all purpose flour
  • 50 g almond flour
  • 60 g icing sugar
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 room temperature egg

For the white chocolate ganache with rosemary:

  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 120 g of good quality white chocolate
  • 90 vegetable cream
  • 10 g honey

For the tomatoes gelly:

  • 120 g of diced tomatoes
  • 35 g of sugar
  • 1 g of agar agar

The almond sugar pastry is easy to make, by simply creating a fountain with the flour, in the center of which we put the butter (cut into small cubes and not too cold), the sugar and the pinch of salt. Make sure you mix with your fingers until reaching a lumpy consistency, then add the egg and knead with your fingers until well blended. Work the dough with the palm of the hand and wrist (not much though so that it stays light enough). Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for more than an hour (if you keep it for several hours make sure to get it to room temperature before rolling it out).

This easy to do recipe only needs a “night before detail”, simply follow it and it will be a success! The night before leave the rosemary to infuse into the vegetable cream inside the fridge. Upon cooking time, bring the cream to a boil without the rosemary but with the addition of honey, then dissolve in the white chocolate.

In a saucepan, melt the tomatoes with the sugar and bring them to a boil; then add the agar agar to cool and mix with a mixer. Let it cool for a bit. At the time of service blend it again, if it's too thick add a little water.

Line the tart molds with a layer of fine pastry. To obtain a fabulous base, fill the tart molds with legumes, and cook them at 180° for 10 minutes in the oven. Cool the tarts in the freezer for about half an hour. Then get them out of the freezer to pour in the white chocolate ganache, then let them cool in the freezer again for 15 minutes before serving time. Decorate with the gelly tomato sauce and rosemary.