Last autumn my boyfriend and I spent a couple weeks driving around Italy in the region of Umbria (central Italy, a bit south of Tuscany / Florence). One of our favourite things to do when travelling is to experience the local flavours, and where better to do that than in Italy, right?
In order to be able to better bring those flavours back home we decided to spend a day following a cooking workshop. We spent several hours learning how to make different types of fresh pasta and ravioli as well as my boyfriend’s favourite dessert, panna cotta.
During a break in our cooking we spent a bit of time sitting out on the terrace, sipping some proper Italian red wine, and enjoying our teacher’s homemade bruschetta.
We didn’t get to make bruschetta ourselves as our teacher insisted it needed to rest overnight to allow the flavours to come together. However, I did pick up some valuable tips for this seemingly simple dish that has allowed me to recreate it at home!
The main tip was to not include any fresh garlic in your bruschetta mixture as it can easily overpower the other flavours. Instead, slice a clove of garlic in half and rub the cut side on your toasted bread before loading up on the bruschetta topping. It was a total game changer and I definitely recommend trying it yourself!
3 medium tomatos, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 tbsp (15mL) fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp (15mL) olive oil
1 tsp (5 mL) apple cider vinegar
pinch each of sea salt & pepper
2 garlic cloves, halved
In a medium sized bowl combine all ingredients except the garlic cloves and mix well.
Allow to sit for several hours or overnight for the flavours to develop (you can use right away if you want, of course!).
On a slice of freshly toasted bread, rub all over with the cut side of the garlic clove.
Load up your bread with the tomato mixture.
Sometimes I need to push myself to consume potatoes in any form other than fries! I love making sweet potato fries in the oven, but occasionally I need to change it up. Enter these hasselback potatoes! Their specific structure means you can get lots of flavour deep into the potato!
They’re pretty straight forward to make, and you could always play around with the different herbs or spices you use to suit your main dish.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 360F.
Wash the potatoes and peel if desired. Slice the potatoes in roughly 0.5cm (¼ inch) slices being careful to leave around 1cm (½ inch) at the bottom uncut. Place potatoes cut side up in a lined baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Using a silicon cooking brush (or alternatively a spoon), spread the mixture generously over the potatoes, pushing the oil into the cuts of the potatoes. If necessary, use your fingers to push the garlic into the potato.
Bake potatoes in oven for around 45 minutes or until insides of potatoes are soft and easily pricked with a fork. (Timing could differ depending on the size of the potatoes and the thickness of the slices you made.)
Serve up as a side with your main dish!
Despite its long cook time, this red cabbage recipe is pretty quick and simple to prep and absolutely delicious as a side with almost any meal!
As a bonus, this recipe does freeze well, and since it makes quite a lot I would definitely recommend dividing off some portions to freeze and enjoy later on!
Why I love red cabbage:
concentrated source of polyphenols which are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory
excellent source of vitamins B6, C & K
very good source of vitamins B1 & B9 (folate) and minerals manganese, copper, & potassium
good source of vitamins B2, B3, B5 and minerals choline, phosphorus, calcium, selenium, magnesium, & iron
good source of fibre
Spiced Red Cabbage with Apples
1 head red cabbage, chopped
3 apples, cored, peeled, & diced
3 tbsp (45mL) white wine vinegar
2 tbsp (30mL) maple syrup or honey
1 tbsp (15mL) butter or ghee (or coconut oil if dairy-free)
½ tsp (2mL) cloves
½ tsp (2mL) cinnamon
¼ tsp (1mL) nutmeg
¼ tsp (1mL) sea salt
¼ tsp (1mL) pepper
Pre-heat oven to 150C / 300F.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the chopped red cabbage with salt & pepper. In a small bowl, combine the cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In a large, oven safe casserole dish, spread half of the red cabbage mixture. Layer on top half of the diced apples and sprinkle half the spice mixture and 1 tbsp of maple syrup.
Repeat with a second layer with the remaining cabbage, followed by the apples, spices and remaining 1 tbsp of maple syrup. Pour over white wine vinegar. Dot top of dish with butter.
Bake covered in oven for 2 hours, stirring mixture every 30-40 minutes.
Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Also freezes well. Re-heat on a low temperature until warm.
This refreshing, tropical salsa is one of my favourite to have alongside seafood, or even chicken or pork!
It’s pretty simple to make, and you can even prep it ahead of time since the lemon juice helps the mango and avocado keep their bright colours, longer.
This recipe is also include in my free Real Food Reset sample meal plan! Head over here to grab the full thing.
In a bowl, gently mix together all the ingredients until well combined.
Enjoy alongside seafood, chicken, or pork!