Sunday stew

This hearty stew is perfect for Sunday lunch but nobody forbids to make it on any other day of the week. I used bell peppers, zucchini and carrots but mushrooms, root vegetables or even potatoes would be fine in it. Depending on the cut of your meat, it will take from 2 to 4hrs to cook but it is so worth your while.

prep time 20 min     cook time 2-3h
ingredients for
  • 1,2 kg beef chuck (or brisket), cut into cubes
  • 1 dl (1/4 cup) flour
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into large pieces
  • 1-2 onions, quartered
  • 1-2 zucchini, cut into thick rounds
  • 1 celery stick, cut into large rounds
  • 3 carrots, cut into thick rounds
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • glass of red wine
  • small can (125g) of tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • fresh parsley, rosemary and thyme, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

1. Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Toss the beef with the flour (do not flour the beef until you are ready to brown it).

2. Coat a large, wide pan or Dutch oven with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add the flour-coated beef to the hot pan in batches and in a single layer making sure you do not over crowd the pot. Sear on all sides until the beef turns golden brown. Remove the seared beef to a plate and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

3. Add more oil to the pan or Dutch oven if needed. Add the onions, peppers, carrots, zucchini and celery and sauté for about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 – 2 minutes. IF you want your veggies to remain crunchier, add them only for the last hour of cooking.

4. Add the red wine and bring to a boil scrapping the bottom of the pan to release the brown bits. Cook on medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato, rinse the can and add to pan. Return the beef to the pot with all the collected juices. Add water (just enough to almost cover the meat). The veggies release water while cooking. Add salt, pepper, herbs and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer and cover the pot.

5. Let simmer  covered at lowest heat for 2h. Depending on the cut of your beef, it may take longer.

6. Serve with potatoes or rice.

Farfalle pasta with broccoli and pancetta

Most of my pasta recipes are really simple, fast and easy to make. This is no exception. Just a few ingredients, 15 minutes and you have yourself a delicious pasta dish.

prep time 5 min     cook time 15 min
ingredients for 2
  • 180 g pasta of your choice – I used farfalle/bowties
  • 150 g broccoli, blanched
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 100 g pancetta, diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • peperoncino (optional)
  • grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Clean and blanche the broccoli in salted water for 2 minutes unless you have some already in the fridge.

2. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, leave it always al dente.

3. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large pan over medium high and add  onion and peperoncino, if using, and let cook for a few minutes before adding pancetta.

4. Add broccoli florets, cook for a few minutes over high heat.

5. When the pasta is cooked, add the pasta to the pan and mix thoroughly with the condiment.

6. Serve hot with some grated Parmesan on top.


Creamy curry lentil soup

Curried lentil soup makes a great choice for a meatless lunch or dinner. It is full of flavour, healthy and easy to make.

prep time 10 min     cook time 45 min
ingredients for 4
  • 300g (1,5 cups) lentils, rinsed and picked
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1,2-1,5 l vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • thyme
  • a few slices of grilled rustic bread

1. In a large pan or soup pot warm oil over medium heat. Cook onion carrot and celery, stirring often, about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, sauté for 1-2 minutes then add curry powder and sauté for another two minutes.

2. Stir in broth, lentils, potato. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover the pot, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are soft, about 25-30 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

3. Remove from heat and using  immersion blender, blend the soup to your liking either very smooth or a bit coarse . Check the salt.

4. Ladle the creamy soup into your soup bowl, add the bread and a little bit of fresh thyme.


Fresh veggie salad with grapefruit

I love spring for many reasons, mixed salads being one of them. It is still soup season for those chilly nights, but when the sun is out and start warming I start craving salads. This veggie and fruit salad is one of my favourites. It is perfect for a light lunch which leaves you full of energy.

prep time 15 min
ingredients for 2
  • 1 bag (125g) baby spinach
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled, pithed and sliced
  • 200g button mushrooms, halved
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced or cut into cubes
  • 1 avocado, cut into cubes
  • handful of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and chopped walnut
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamico
  • salt
  • fresh thyme

1. Toss lightly all the ingredients in a serving bowl or platter.

2. Mix the olive oil with balsamico and add salt. Pour on top of the salad.

3. Add seeds and fresh thyme and serve.

tip: you can add a small can (125g) of chickpeas for your protein


Penne pasta with broccoli rabe and sun dried tomatoes

I love the combo of slightly bitter broccoli rabe (cime di rapa or friarielli) and sweet sun dried tomatoes, but if you can’t find broccoli rabe, you can substitute it with broccoli. Not the same thing but a valid alternative.

prep time 10 min     cook time 15 min
ingredients for2
  • 180g penne pasta
  • 350g broccoli rabe
  • 10-12 sun dried tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • grated Pecorino
  • peperoncino (optional)

1. Trim and rinse the broccoli rabe and blanche it max 5 min in boiling salted water. Keep the water and boil the pasta in it according to the instructions on the packet.

2. In a large pan warm oil over medium high and cook garlic and peperoncino, if using,  for 2 minutes.

3. Slice or dice tomatoes and add to the pan and cook for a few minutes. Add broccoli rabe and cook for  5 minutes adding a few ladles of the pasta water one at a time. Add some salt.

4. Drain the pasta 2 minutes before it is cooked al dente and toss it in the pan with the sauce. Serve immediately with grated Pecorino.

tip: you can add 2 anchovy fillets to the pan with garlic and peperoncino


Bean salad

This salad is a fantastic side dish but can also be served as a light lunch. Full of nutrients and healthy protein from the legumes and feta.

prep time 10 min
ingredients for 4
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas
  • 1 can (400g) beans
  • 1 red onion, diced or sliced thinly
  • 7-8 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 125 g cherry tomatoes
  • small cucumber, diced
  • a few artichoke hearts, pickled or in oil
  • 10 pitted olives
  • handful of dill, parsley and basil
  • olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper for the dressing
  • 150 g feta, crumbled

1.  Place all the ingredients except the feta and the dressing in a serving bowl.

2. Mix 5-6 tbls each of olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar, add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the salad and mix carefully. Add more dressing if needed.

3. Add crumbled feta and mix lightly.

4. Place in a fridge for 15-20 min before serving.

tip: I used red beans mainly for color, but you can use any beans of your choice


Italian sausage and veggie soup

This sausage and veggie soup is definitely  a main course and not a starter. It is hearty, healthy and full of flavour. You get all in one: protein, grain and veggies.

prep time  10 min     cook time 25 min
ingredients for 4
  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage, cut into thumb size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 250g broccoli florets
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon peperoncino flakes or seeds
  • 1,5-2l vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1  can (400g) diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch chopped kale
  • 150-200g rice, barley or small pasta
  • handful of chopped fresh basil
  • salt and black pepper
2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the red peppers, zucchini, broccoli florets, bay leaf, and peperoncino. Cook about 3-4 minutes.
3. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, and rice and cook 12-15 minutes, then add the kale and keep cooking for a few minutes. Stir in the fresh basil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the sausage pieces and heat until warm. Remove the bay leaf and serve. If using barley or pasta, check the cooking time.

tip: you can make this soup vegetarian by using vegetable broth and omitting the sausage.

tip: grated Parmesan cheese adds yumminess to this soup.

FOR A GLUTEN FREE ALTERNATIVE:  use appropriate pasta


Yogurt snack with fresh fruit

snack for 1     mix in a bowl
  • 125 g plain Greek yogurt
  • 30 g granola or muesli
  • a handful of sliced strawberries
  • 1 kiwi sliced
  • a handful of blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Mix chia seeds beforehand in the yogurt or in other fluid to make it gel-like.

Mix everything in a bowl and enjoy!