As you may have gathered from some of the recipes that I’ve put up so far I am a big fan of Mediterranean style food and recipes – specifically Italian (with bits and pieces from elsewhere). This is something that has happened fairly recently. I’ve always been a huge pasta fan (and probably always will be) but up until a couple of years ago it was always pretty standard stuff like spag bol and carbonara.
In fact I’m not sure what’s happened or why but I’ve started to find myself quite drawn to Italy in general – not just watching programmes about Italian cooking but also about the country’s gorgeous scenery and its history. You might think that really isn’t that strange but I am not a lover of the sun or of hot places – I hate being too hot, I don’t enjoy the summer (even here in the UK where it rarely gets to a temperature you could describe as HOT).
Truth be told I am generally a much happier and nicer human being in the autumn or winter. I’ve never even been anywhere really hot! The hottest I can remember is a school trip to France when I was about 15. It was June or July and there was a heatwave – it got up to around 30 degrees Celsius (that’s about 86 Fahrenheit) and I genuinely thought I would expire!
But part of this newly developed love for Italy is their food. I mean I’m sure the Italians have their flaws (because we all do) but what can be so wrong with a culture that is so family and food-centric!
It’s not just the love and passion that they put into their cooking but the availability of fresh local ingredients – herbs, vegetables, cured meats and seafood. Is there anything more exciting to someone who loves to cook than a bounty of fresh ingredients straight from the ground, sea or fields to cook and create recipes with?
This new love has inspired a lot of change in my cooking and eating habits. I was probably a bit late to the party but better late than never. Things like capers, fresh basil, feta, olives, mozzarella, parmesan, prosciutto and chorizo have made their way onto our weekly shopping list and our food tastes a whole lot better for it. Plus it was so exciting to discover and start cooking with this whole new array of ingredients!
So now I have joined all the people who dream a little dream of living in Italy. For me though it’s a dream of living somewhere where there is fresh fish for dinner – from the sea to your plate within hours. It’s a dream of spending the day making your own fresh pasta and a dream of eating it for dinner with a sauce made with olives, fresh basil and lemon juice – all grown fairly nearby. Maybe even a dream of living in Sardinia – known as a “blue zone” where people live the longest.
But sadly that is destined to remain a pipe dream at least for the immediate future. So I am focusing some of my energies on creating some recipes to give me a taste of that lifestyle- just until it starts to creep closer to being a actual possibility.
So here is one of my first attempts. Quiche may not be a Italian thing but this crustless quiche is packed with sunny flavours and freshness that definitely evoke thoughts of Italy and the Mediterranean. I think that served just slightly warm with a simple salad dressed with some olive oil and fresh lemon juice, it definitely has that feel good factor – whether you have it as a taste of the sun on a wintery day or for lunch on a hot day when you don’t want to be in the kitchen.
As with all my recipes I’ve made this a few times to get it ready to share – tweaking and experimenting. I always make sure to buy a multipack of peppers so that we have extra because as well as using them in meals, we have them in tuna mayo for sandwiches. It surprised me to realise that if there’s peppers left over it’s always the green ones. I think it’s because they are not as sweet or juicy as their friends. Having said that I’ve found with this recipe – although not specified in the ingredients – red, orange or yellow peppers do work best both in terms of flavour and colour but if you only had a green pepper it would still work.
If there’s one thing I like in a recipe it’s flexibility – can I change ingredients out and mess about with it? Can I start making it, realise I don’t have X,Y or Z and substitute something else without too much drama? And the answer with this is a resounding YES! Stick a bit of diced aubergine in, use some leftover mascarpone or ricotta instead of the low fat cream cheese, use up that last bit of chorizo that’s been lurking in the fridge, try some different herbs – you may take away a bit of the Mediterranean-ness but I’m sure it will still be delicious!
So as always please do let me know what you thought (or about any changes you made that worked well) in the comments section or by using the Contact me form. Enjoy! DDxPrint