Easy olive paste snacks

Sfogliatine con pesto di olive 
These easy olive paste snacks made from puff pastry are great finger food to be served instead of grissini and tarelli in the cocktail hour.

Olive paste served with tarelli or grissini makes a great snack, but if you have got 10 minutes to spare you may impress family and friends with a plate of ‘homemade’ snail snacks or ‘sfogliatine con pesto di olive’.

The snack can be prepared from frozen puff pastry and ready-made olive pesto, and no one will be able to tell the difference, but why take short-cuts if you like to run a marathon? Both pastry and olive paste can be made from scratch, providing at least an hour’s free entertainment in the kitchen.

For the pastry
1 packet of frozen puff pastry
200 g flour
100 g cold butter
1 egg

For the filling
1 glas of Italian olive pesto
150 g black olives
100 olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp capers
2 anchovies
4 cloves of garlic
1 small pepperoncino chili
1 spring of fresh rosemary
1 spring of fresh sage
1 spring of fresh thyme

Mix flour with a little salt.
Cut the butter into the flour and mix till it resembles fresh bread crumbs
Make the butter and flour into a dough with the egg, adding a little water if necessary.
Place the dough in a plastic bag and leave it in the refrigerator, while you prepare the olive paste.

Remove stones from the olives. (Most black pitted olives contain colouring chemicals, which isn’t nice)
Blend the olives to a nice paste with olive oil and lemon juice
Add capers, anchovies, garlic, chili and herbs and blend some more. (This pesto tastes so much better than the pre-fab version – especially when served with bread and eaten without baking or cooking)

(This is where you unwrap the pastry and open a glass of olive paste, in the quick version)
Dust the table with flour and roll out a thin oblong sheet of pastry
Spread with olive paste and make a roll
Cut the roll into slices with a very sharp knife.
Place the slices on baking paper and bake for 10 minutes in the oven (220°C/425°F), until they are crisp and golden.
Let the rolls cool off on a wire rack before serving.

Other snack food recipes to serve with easy olive paste snacks 

Pastry with spinach and feta

Fried egg and bread dumplings

Wrinkled potatoes with chili and garlic dip

Homemade potato croquettes

Cheese in puff pastry

Italian quince pie recipe

Crostata di cotognata
Quince pie recipes present a marvellous solution to the problem of having too much quince marmalade or cotognata for one extended family to stomach. One pie can easily absorb 4-500 g of marmalade and the result is refined and delicate and not at all as perfumed as I would have feared.

If you have not been blessed with extraordinary amounts of cotognata, you might use another kind of fruit compote, mincemeat or marmalade, if it is not too sweet.

If you have only got raw quince, and want to prepare your own cotagnata, try cooking the fruit with half-and-half sugar. In vain, I have tried to lure the cotognata recipe from my Italian friends, but for one thing all their measures are approximations, and second they are not that strickt about the ingredients either. Some would never use anything but quince and sugar, while others add figs, grapes and other mature fruits that happen to be close at hand. It’s all a matter of taste.

400 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsb salt
1 organic lemon – rind
120 g sugar
150 g cold butter
2 eggs

500 g cotognata (or other fruit puree)

Mix all the dry ingredients for the pie dough. Add the cold butter and cut it to pieces in the flour. Rub the ingredients together until they resemble fine bread crumbs.
Add the eggs – one at a time – and gather the dough in two balls. If is seems too dry, add a drop of cold water.
Put the dough in a plastic bag and leave it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Grease an oven-proof tart pan with butter. Place the bigger of the two dough balls between two pieces of cling-film (this really saves time and annoyance), and roll it out in a circle that can be used to line the pan.
Spread cotognata evenly on top
Roll out the other dought ball between two pieces of cling-film. Cut it into strips and use the strips to decorate the pie.
Bake the quince pie for 40-50 minutes in a pre-heated 175 degree C (350 F) oven until golden brown.

Other sweet ideas like this quince pie recipe

Apple cake with walnuts and amaretti

Peach dessert recipe

Sweet rhubarb pie recipe


quince pie recipe

Photo of original tiramisu

Original Tiramisu Recipe

Weekends promise a sweet allowance, and why not rediscover the pull-me-up classic of the 80s, Tiramisu.

Fresh orecchiette with tomato sauce

Orecchiette con pomodoro e ricotta dura
Orecchiette with tomato sauce ia a traditional Puglian recipe based on a few basic ingredients mixed with lots of love and care.

It is amazing how much time and energy, you can invest in a simple dish like orecchiette with tomato sauce and grated cheese, but both orecchiette and ricotta dura are puglian specialities that can be quite hard to obtain, unless you stocked up on these basics before you left the region. Therefore you either have to prepare the orecchiette yourself or use substitutes, in which case the dish can be ready to serve in a matter of minutes.

‘Orecchiette’ means ‘small ears’, because that is what the look like, and they are made by preparing normal pasta dough, rolling it into long rolls, slicing the rolls in small sections, and shaping them with a knife. Add final touches by inserting the thumb into each pasta

Ricotta dura is alternately known as ricotta secca, ricotta stagionata and ricotta salata, depending on where you are or who you ask. It is a hard cheese as opposed to the soft fresh ricotta, and if you are looking for a replacement use parmaggiano (parmesan), Grana Padano, pecorino or another cheese that can be grated.

350 g orecchiette (or farfalle)
250 g skinned tomatoes – preferably the small pomodorini
Olive oil<
Fresh basil (dried basil can also be used)
4 tbsp ricotta dura

Heat the oil in a small pan. Fry the tomatoes for a few minutes before you turn down the heat, and leaves them to simmer for about ½ hour. Regulate the taste with salt and dried basil.
Heat up a large pan with plenty of water and bring it to the boil. Add a fistful of salt along with the orecchiette. Cooking time for home made orecchiette is about 10 minutes depending on how long they have been left to dry, i.e. shorter for freshly made pasta and longer for pasta that has been prepared days ago.
Drain the pasta when al dente and serve with tomato sauce, grated ricotta and fresh basil leaves.

Other dishes similar to orecchiette with tomato sauce

Creamy mushroom pasta sauce

Walnut sauce for pasta in less than 10 minutes

Pasta with squash and saffron

orecchiette with tomato sauce

Mixed bean salad

Mixed bean salad

The beauty of a mixed bean salad consists in its versatility, economy and high nutritional value. And some mixed bean salads are also a pleasure to eat.