Steak Sandwich


This is a  steak sandwich with an olive, hot pepper pickle, a smear of red pepper sauce and served on a whole grain bun. You can use a small amount of meat and pound it thin to create lots of little pieces of meat, then fill your sandwich full of olive salad or giardinera and sweet pepper sauce.

That’s a good sand-weeg!



You will need:


  • 1-2 top sirloin steaks – sliced and pounded very thin
  • 1 tsp Tuscan/Italian seasonings
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp  chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • breadcrumbs 1 cup
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Giardinera make it from scratch or buy a jar of hot peppers and mixed vegetables and then add some  chopped olives
  • nice buns


Roasted pepper sauce


  • 1 tomato
  • 1 small jar roasted peppers 125 ml
  • 1 onion cooked in oil until sweet and carmelized
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan





Step 1: take a top sirloin steak and slice it into thin steaks. I normally slice it into a few pieces, then I flip the steak onto its side and slice it carefully against the grain to get a very tender piece of meat. It is a decent cut so even if you slice it with the grain and pound it, it will still be good. I got about 18 slices of meat out of two small steaks.



Step 2: in a small bowl add pounded meat, Tuscan or Italian seasonings, chopped rosemary, thyme and parsley. Add pepper, lemon zest and a few tbsp olive oil. Set aside.



Step 3: create a standard breading station. Breadcrumbs with dry mustard, Italian seasoning, dry oregano and lemon pepper. Flour with salt and pepper mixed in and eggs beaten. You add the meat first to the flour mixture, then to the egg mixture, then to the breadcrumbs.  Place breaded meat on a tray so they do not stick together. In a wide pan shallow fry meat in olive oil (just enough to come up the meat halfway) You may have to do this in batches. Place cooked meat on tray and sprinkle immediately with salt and pepper. You can keep these warm in the oven or you can re-heat them in the oven hours later.



Step 4: in a food processor add jarred hot peppers, hot pickled vegetables and some olives. Pulse a few times. You still want the mixture to be chunky. Remove to a small dish.



Step 5: add ingredients for red pepper sauce to food processor (I don’t even wash it out from the vegetables you just made) Pulse until pureed.



Step 6: assemble your sandwich and eat. I had some leftover artichoke dip and I also added some to my sandwich. YUM.



You could certainly add some tomatoes and lettuce etc.. the point is you have lots of vegetables and a bit of meat.











Orange Amaretto Ricotta Cake


This is a ricotta cake that is almost like a cheesecake. I have used orange zest and Amaretto soaked raisins with the rich ricotta and mascarpone filling. Served simply with a few orange segments and some powdered sugar. It makes a delicious treat.


You will need:


  • 1 –  425 gram/1 1/2 cup container of ricotta cheese – strained to remove liquid – 30 minutes
  • 10 Amaretti cookies – crushed makes 1/4 cup crumbs
  • 1/3 cup raisins – chopped
  • 3 tbsp Amaretto liqueur like Di Sarrono
  • 1 tbsp softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone  – room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 of a stick) – room temperature
  • 1/4 cup fruity olive oil – I used Terraliva from Italy
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • zest from 1 orange


Step 1: drain the ricotta for at least 30 minutes to remove some of the liquid.



Step 2: crush amaretti in a plastic bag to form crumbs to coat the pan instead of flour. They are so dry you can do this with your hand.



Step 3: chop raisins and pour over DiSarrono liqueur to soak. I also microwave for 25 seconds to soften and allow DiSaronno to infuse.


Step 4: take an 8 inch spring form pan and line bottom with a sheet of parchment paper. You just lock on the spring form right over the bottom lined with the paper. Butter bottom and sides generously. Sprinkle with the cookie crumbs to coat. Set aside.




Step 5: in a food processor add ricotta and mascarpone and puree until smooth. 30 seconds.



Step 6: in another bowl add sugar, butter and olive oil. With a hand mixer beat until smooth and fluffy, 1 minute.



Step 7: add eggs



Step 8: add creamed ricotta and citrus zest. Mix until incorporated. Add sifted flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until just incorporated.



Step 9: fold in raisins and liqueur by hand.



Pour into prepared pan and bake on a tray to avoid any leaks or spills. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes or until lightly browned. If you bake in a water bath you will avoid potential cracks but, if it doesn’t matter just bake on tray.



serve with orange slices and powdered sugar or Amaretto sweetened whipped cream.






















Leek and Artichoke Soup


This is a delicious, hearty soup without using meat. It is best when you have access to beautiful fresh artichokes but, you can substitute frozen if you don’t want to bother cleaning them. I love this kind of soup for dinner with bead and some good olive oil. What more do you need!


You will need:


  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic – chopped roughly
  • 2 leeks – cleaned and sliced
  • 2 potatoes – peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 tsp hot chili flakes
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 4 fresh artichoke hearts – cleaned and sliced
  • 1 tsp wild fennel pollen (or crushed fennel seeds)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 cup cauliflower or broccoflower – broken in small pieces
  • 1 litre chicken broth plus 2 cups water



Step 1: get a large bowl of cold water and squeeze a lemon into the water – you can throw in the whole lemon after. You need to place the cleaned artichokes into the water as soon as you have cleaned them to avoid browning/oxidation. Remove all outer leaves until you reach the soft leaves around the heart. I slice all around the bottom of the artichoke rough base and stem. Take a grapefruit spoon and scoop out the fuzzy choke in the centre. If you are having problems you can slice it in half to expose the choke and cut with a pairing knife. Cut the small cleaned heart into thin slices and put in lemon water while you clean the rest. You will waste much of the artichoke so don’t be alarmed.



Step 2: clean and slice leeks, chop garlic, peel and chunk potatoes and break cauliflower into bite size pieces.



Step 3: in a large pot add olive oil and garlic, leeks, potatoes, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Stir and cook 5 minutes on medium.high heat.


Step 4:  then add lemon zest and juice.



If you can’t find fennel pollen just substitute with some crushed fennel seeds.



Step 5: add artichokes, wild fennel pollen, thyme, cauliflower, broth and water. Let come to a boil and immediately turn down to simmer gently 30-40 minutes until all vegetables are soft and buttery.



Enjoy with fresh bread, an extra squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.



Herbed Halibut and Steamed Broccoflower


Just because you are eating alone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat well!


This was my perfect lunch for one today. You can easily double the recipe for two.


You will need:

  • 1 Halibut steak per person or any whitefish you enjoy
  • 1 cup of broccoflower per person (or cauliflower)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 spring onion – chopped fine
  • 1 tsp fresh Italian parsley – chopped fine
  • 1 tsp fresh basil – chopped fine
  • 2 -3 tbsp olive oil – I used a Lucero Ascolano which is fruity – more oil to drizzle over plate
  • 1 tsp wild fennel pollen (or a few fennel seeds ground)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice – more to squeeze over finished dish. (about 1/2 lemon)
  • salt/pepper to taste


Step 1: wash and break your broccoflower to bite sized pieces. Steam for 5 minutes. I like it to still have a bit of crunch.




Step 2: clean a nice piece of fish and chop into chunks. I have used halibut.



Step 3: chop parsley and basil and spring onions.



Step 4: zest lemon over fish and add some wild fennel pollen if you can get it or crushed fennel seeds if you cannot. The fennel pollen has a beautiful floral and liquorice scent and flavour. I also add my beautiful olive oil to marinate the fish delicately while the pan heats up.



Step 5: add the fish and spring onions to a medium hot pan and cook a few minutes on each side. Add salt and pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice.



Serve with the steamed broccoflower, another squeeze of lemon juice and a final drizzle of good olive oil. Sprinkle parsley and basil and add salt and pepper if it needs a bit more.











Fettunta – FE-TOONTA  which means “oily slice” in Italian is the simplest form of Bruschetta – BRUE-SKETA. Fettunta is Tuscany’s version and was  a way to savor and taste the new year’s olive oil. A slice of  toasted bread, rubbed with a peeled garlic clove, then doused  in glorious olive oil and sprinkled with some sea salt and I like it with some fresh cracked pepper to bring out the peppery flavours in the olive oil. You will be amazed at how wonderful this simple bread can be! I have used three beautiful oils that are from Umbria, Campania and Sicily. The colours and flavours are so completely different and truly delicious!


You will need:



  • some sliced and toasted baguette or rustic country bread
  • exceptional olive oil – get some fresh new oil! I have used Madonna Del Olio, Domenica Fiore and my favourite Mandranova Nocellara
  • flaked sea salt
  • pepper




Step 1: slice and toast some crusty bread.



Step 2: rub the entire side of a  crostini (toasted bread) with a raw clove of garlic 1 or two times (not more!)



Step 3: drizzle a generous amount of exceptional quality olive oil on bread. The oil can be from any region you like as long as it is fresh and you love the flavour. Sprinkle some sea salt and cracked pepper. Enjoy.



Look at how gloriously green the Mandranova Nocellara is!!






Lemon Artichoke Tapenade

This is a great alternative to an olive tapenade. It makes a great spread or dip. I love it on sandwiches or simply on toasted slices of French bread. It is made with artichokes, lemon, garlic, parsley, Parmesan and good olive oil. I used a Mandranova Nocellara oil from Sicily which has a very green taste and some say it tastes of artichokes so I thought it would be a perfect compliment here. This recipe is quickly made in a food processor and you can even use canned artichokes.

You will need:


  • 1 can 14 oz. whole artichokes in water – drained
  • 3-4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 4-5 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 large clove garlic – roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1/2 lemon zested and juiced – organic if possible because you are eating the zest.
  • good olive oil – I used Mandranova Nocellara which is a fresh, green and bold oil.
  • salt/pepper to taste

Step 1: gather all your ingredients.

Step 2: in a food processor add artichokes and pulse 5 times. Scrape down sides and pulse once more. Remove to a small bowl. I prefer my tapenade to be course in this case however,  if you want it smoother than continue to process until it is the texture you like.

Step 3: add parsley, basil, garlic, capers and lemon zest and juice. Process until minced fine.

Step 4: add basil mixture to the artichokes. Grate cheese and add to bowl. Stir in olive oil. Mix ingredients. Add salt and pepper and taste. If you feel you need more seasoning or lemon adjust.


Serve on toasted bread or use as a spread on a great sandwich. I even had enough to place in a small jar and keep for a few days.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

This is a wonderful hearty salad. It is a perfect lunch that will keep you satisfied for the whole afternoon. It has tuna and beans and lots of fresh crunchy vegetables. The dressing is fresh orange juice, apple cider vinegar and lots of fantastic olive oil to balance the citrus. You can easily replace the orange for lemon and use the quantities as a guide. If you prefer more tomatoes add them, if you  want to add some avocado feel free.


You will need:


This is perfect for two people but you can easily double for a larger group.


  • 1 can of good quality tuna – mine is a wild caught sustainable variety
  • 1 14 oz. can of cannellini beans – strained and rinsed with cold water.
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced red or yellow pepper (or both!)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 stalks celery -thinly sliced – I also chop some of the tender yellow leaves
  • 1/2 apple – sliced thinly
  • 1/2 English cucumber – peeled and sliced
  • 2 spring onions – chopped fine
  • 2 cups of soft buttery lettuces – to serve as a base for the salad to go on top.
  • 1/2 orange juiced – equals 1/4 cup juice
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil (use more to finish) – I used TerraLiva from Sicily, Italy
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (beans need salt!)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • squeeze of lemon on top to serve.


Step 1: gather all your ingredients.Use quality ingredients find what is fresh. Invest in good oils and vinegars they will last and they make a big difference! In a large bowl add your drained tuna and your rinsed beans.


Step 2: Chop the red onion, the sweet peppers, Italian parsley, celery and celery leaves, apple, English cucumber and spring onions. Add each item to the bowl with beans and tuna.


Step 3: add orange juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix and taste it and if it needs more salt and pepper or oil add it.



Serve on top of the buttery salad leaves with a squeeze of fresh lemon and another drizzle of olive oil.

Chili Cumin Carrots


These are just a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet with a nice finish of lime and cilantro. I love them and I used very young thin carrots so they cooked quickly.



You will need:


  • 10 skinny carrots- peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp cilantro – chopped fine


Step 1: peel and slice carrots.



Step 2: gather all other ingredients. Chop cilantro and lime.



Step 3: place olive oil, carrots, chili powder, hot pepper flakes, cumin and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes on medium/high heat. Stirring or tossing regularly to prevent burning.



Step 4: add honey, water and lime juice and cover cooking another 5 minutes on medium.low. You will need to check them once you hear the water evaporate and the oil start to sizzle again.Taste them to see if they are as crisp or as tender as you like them or to adjust salt/pepper. You may need to cook them another few minutes or add a bit more water depending on the size of your pieces.



Serve with a bit more lime and some fresh cilantro.







Lemon Pepper Kale Chips


I was inspired by Becky Rosenthal’s recipe for Kale chips . I made mine with some different seasonings and you might be pleasantly surprised at how easy and delicious these are! Big Pete snacked on them all weekend and he is pretty picky. Mine have a great lemon, garlic and pepper flavour added to a bit of olive oil.


You will need:

  • a bunch of Kale – I used Tuscan and Red- stems removed and ripped in small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil


Step 1: wash and remove stalks from your Kale. I used two different varieties but, you can use the kind you prefer. Tear into smaller pieces. They will also shrink  when baked.



Step 2: dry your Kale on a clean towel.



Step 3: pour on some olive oil. Toss with your hands so that Kale is coated with oil. Sprinkle on salt, pepper, lemon pepper, grated lemon zest and granulated garlic. Try to sprinkle seasonings so they are  spread as evenly as possible. Place on a large baking sheet in one layer if possible.



Step 4: bake in a 350 degree F oven for approx 15 minutes. Check on them halfway and remove any really crunchy ones early if necessary. You are looking for the Kale to be crispy and crunchy and the toppings make these a nice crunchy alternative to chips.


You think it sounds weird but just try them!!







Chocolate Olive Oil Mousse



With a few ingredients you can create a simple but gloriously rich dessert. It has the beautiful chocolate and vanilla flavours blended with a hint of Almond liqueur and the smoothness of the olive oil and whipped cream. You can top with some almonds and serve with some fresh raspberries and don’t forget a pinch of sea salt.


You will need:


  • 1 cup best quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (190 grams) or good quality chopped chocolate
  • 1/2 cup best quality mild fruity olive oil – I used Greek Parthena
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla paste
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 tbsp DiSaronno Almond liqueur
  • 2 tbsp sliced almonds to top
  • sprinkle of Maldon sea salt





Step 1: in a large measuring cup or microwaveable dish add chocolate chips and microwave in 20 second increments until liquid. Remove the chocolate after each 20 seconds to stir. It took 4 times at 20 seconds to melt my chocolate and after the last increment I had to stir for a few seconds to melt the last bits of chips that had any shape.


Step 2: add olive oil and stir well to combine with chocolate. Place in fridge to cool down while you whip the cream.



Step 3: in a large bowl add cream, vanilla paste, sugar and Amaretto. Whip until stiff peaks.



Step 4: when chocolate has cooled (this takes like 5-10 minutes in the fridge) add to the whipped cream and fold in until mixed.



Step 5: spoon in or add mousse to a Ziploc bag cutting off one end and squeeze your mousse into pretty serving dishes.



Sprinkle a few sliced almonds on top and a sprinkle of sea salt  to finish. Place plastic wrap on top and let set at least 1 hour to several hours in the fridge. Add some fresh raspberries or strawberries and this is a decadent and very easy dessert.