Panzanella (insalata con pane e pomodori)

(read in English)

Mi piacciono tantissimo le ricette in cui puoi utilizzare cose come il pane raffermo, o le banane troppo mature, o quello che resta quando fai le bevande vegetali in casa – non è soltanto un bellissimo modo per essere più creativi in cucina, ma è anche ovviamente una maniera per ridurre gli sprechi. La ricetta che troverete qui sotto è un esempio perfetto: un’insalata di pane raffermo e pomodori tipica della Toscana… semplice ma ricca di sapore! Io ormai l’ho preparata talmente tante volte ed ho sperimentato così tante varianti che sarebbe impossibile ricordarle tutte – ma per questo post ho deciso di soffermarmi su una versione un po’ più classica. Condividi una foto con me su Instagram se decidi di provarla, sono sempre curiosa di vedere le vostre creazioni in cucina! Chiara x

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Panzanella (insalata con pane e pomodori)

Ingredienti
(2-3 porzioni)

  • 150 g pane di pasta madre raffermo*
  • 500 g pomodori maturi
  • 1 manciata di basilico fresco
  • 1 1/2 tbsp aceto di mele (o di vino)
  • 2 tsp timo secco
  • 1/2 tsp pepe nero macinato
  • circa 2 tbsp olio extra vergine d’oliva
  • un pizzico di sale

Taglia grossolanamente il pane raffermo (non importa la dimensione esatta dei pezzi, perchè in seguito comunque si sbriciolerà) ed in una ciotola abbastanza capiente mischialo con acqua, aceto, metà del quantitativo indicato di olio, sale, pepe, e timo. Combina il tutto mischiando con le mani e creando dei pezzetti di pane più piccoli, poi aggiungi i pomodori tagliati a pezzetti ed aspetta almeno 10 minuti prima di servire (in questo modo darai un po’ di tempo al pane per inzupparsi con il sugo dei pomodori). Aggiungi il basilico ed un filo d’olio giusto prima di mettere in tavola la Panzanella

Un’ottima variante: aggiungi una mozzarella di bufala (circa 125 g)

*non deve essere per forza di pasta madre, ma è l’opzione che risulta più buona. Ti consiglio anche di scegliere un pane integrale.



Vorresti iniziare ad avere uno stile di vita ed un’alimentazione più sani, creando anche una serie di abitudini che possano diventare parte della tua vita d’ora in avanti? Non sai esattamente da dove iniziare? Clicca sul link qui sotto per fare il primo passo:

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Barley Salad with Courgettes and Blue Cheese

(read in Italian)

Do you sometimes cook with barley? Do you know that barley has a good content of beta-glucan? Yes, the same fibre that you can find in oats! Beta-glucan is a glucose polymer (polysaccharides) found in the cell walls of cereals and other food (for example yeasts, seaweeds, and some mushrooms like shiitake or reishi – it’s also found in other foods in smaller amounts).

The positive effect of grains like barley and oats on cholesterol has been associated with their content of soluble fibre. The beta-glucan structure is different based on the food source (so they are for example soluble fibre in cereals and insoluble in yeasts.. the power of chemistry!). Taking good care of yourself through your food and lifestyle choices CAN BE EASY AND ENJOYABLE.. You just need to give it a go!

Below you’ll find the recipe for a salad with barley, courgettes, and blue cheese – I have used a cheese that has easily become a favorite in my house: Young Buck, a delicious raw milk blue cheese made in Northern Ireland. You can check it out if you’ve never tried it or do a little bit of research until you find your own favorite!

Chiara x

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Barley Salad with Courgettes and Blue Cheese

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 120 g barley
  • approx. 340 g courgettes
  • approx. 40 g blue cheese
  • 1 small handful of alfalfa sprouts (or your favorite sprouts)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds (crushed in a mortar)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small handful of fresh mint leaves
  • a pinch of black pepper

Cook the barley according to the instructions on the package. When it will be ready, simply rinse it with cold water and drain well. While you wait for the barley to cook, you can prepare the other ingredients: cut into small slices the courgettes and cook them in a pan with a little bit of olive oil for 1-2 minutes – you can also decide to divide the courgettes into two parts, then cook some of them and leave the remaining veggies raw (to get the best results, I’ll do this only with small, fresh and crunchy courgettes). Once the courgettes will be cold, place them in a large bowl with spices, dried thyme, lemon juice, barley, cheese, and extra virgin olive oil. Mix well all the ingredients and set them aside in the fridge for approx. 10 minutes. Add the sprouts just before serving and top your bowls with some mint leaves.



Would you like to start having a healthier diet and lifestyle, but also start building lifelong healthy habits? Are you ready for a change but need some help to get started? Click on the button below to take the first step:

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Kale and Basil Pesto

(read in Italian)

Summer means plenty of fresh basil available.. and what a better way to use it than making pesto? I like the traditional one with cheese and pine nuts, but I get bored easily so I always like to get creative and try new food combinations. This recipe calls for basil, kale, and pumpkin seeds: the taste is a little bit different obviously, but it’s rich in flavor and pairs well with a slice of sourdough bread or some pasta.

Let’s briefly talk about kale! Are you among kale lovers or not? Kale has been one of the most trendy healthy foods around for the last few years, but honestly, if you don’t like it, there’s no need to force yourself to eat it! There are many other nutritious veggies that you can include in your days. I honestly love kale and is usually a weekly staple in my grocery shopping – I mainly use it in salads, oven-baked chips and, obviously, pesto!

Kale is a member of the cabbage family, rich in vitamins like C, A, K, B6, but also minerals like magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium. Among vitamin C and beta-carotene, it has other compounds with antioxidant activity, like flavonoids and polyphenols (antioxidants are important compounds that help us working as a protection from the effect of oxidative stress and free radicals – so, for example, they may help us dealing with inflammation and aging). Kale contains also some compounds that may help us to lower the cholesterol levels in the body. Sounds like a mighty little plant, right?

Interesting studies:
Antioxidants and kale
Binding of bile acids by kale (for cholesterol)
Kale and postprandial glucose level

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KALE AND BASIL PESTO

Ingredients

  • 100 g pumpkin seeds
  • approx. 40 g basil, stems included
  • approx. 150 g kale
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • approx. 100-120 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp capers (optional – delicious variation inspired by a post from Green Kitchen Stories)

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a pre-heated oven at 150°C for a few minutes, just until they start to turn golden. Wait until they are cold to add them in the blender, with the lemon juice and a small part of the basil: it’s better to add basil and kale in small portions – blend for a few minutes, pausing from time to time and scraping the walls. When your ingredients will be finely chopped, start adding the olive oil in portions. You can adjust the amount of both oil and lemon juice to your preferences. Store in the fridge in a closed jar for a few days with a thin layer of olive oil on top (just to keep the top covered with oil).



 

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Cecina or Farinata

This is a typical Italian simple recipe (originally from Tuscany and Liguria, but you can find it in other parts of Italy as well). Just a few basic ingredients, paired together to give you this tasty result – great eaten straight from the oven, or reheated, or even cold. It’s a versatile food – good as snack, or paired with a salad/soup for lunch, or as part of a savoury breakfast… why not?

Continue reading “Cecina or Farinata”

Healthy Summer Skin

Recently, I was talking about vitamins, the sun, and melanin on my social media pages. So, I have decided to write this Summer-themed blog post. It’s an interesting topic, ’cause sometimes you actually tend to forget that food is not just a fuel to keep you running all day long. You can make the right choices and get the most out of your meals, in terms of keeping your body and mind healthy, or in terms of helping you with mood swings, skin health, energy levels, concentration, digestion, etc. Let’s talk about a few tips to help your skin and shine from the inside out!

Continue reading “Healthy Summer Skin”

But…what do you eat in a day?

If you had the chance to check my social media pages, you know already a little bit about myself and what I usually eat. What you see there is real food from my kitchen and I hope that sharing those pretty pictures will inspire many of you in taking the first step toward a healthier lifestyle. We all need a little bit of extra motivation from time to time, right?

Well, I have decided to put together this blog post because quite often I get questions from my clients about my diet or what I eat – it’s difficult to talk about a “typical day” because I like to change and I get a lot of inspiration from my weekly grocery shopping. Sometimes, I have to adapt my meals to the daily schedule or I have to put together something nice when there are just a few things left in the pantry – that’s life! But no matter what, there is always a “healthy but tasty” leitmotiv within my days.

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of misconceptions around a healthy lifestyle.. like thinking that healthy food is tasteless, that being healthy means just eating boring salads, that paying attention to your health and well-being means having a lot of restrictions and limitations. Nope, you can choose a healthy lifestyle and eat tasty, delicious food that looks good and also makes you feel great.

Morning:

I usually start my day with a few glasses of water, followed by a cup of green tea or herbal tea – in this case, the day started with 2 glasses of water and a cup of fresh ginger tea. Then, yoga practice and breakfast with a porridge made with oats, water, cacao powder, cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, tahini, and a kiwi.

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Mid-morning snack:

Changing your snacking habits is one of those really useful steps to stay healthy every day. We often tend to overeat with snacks thinking that is fine because the main meal was just a salad – especially when we are stressed or busy, it’s easy to keep snacking and don’t realize what you’re actually putting in your mouth (and how much), because you don’t see it all together on a plate. I know that because I have done it myself for years! But let’s go back to my day: the snack was a pretty pink smoothie with a peach, strawberries, almonds, milled flaxseeds, and water.

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Lunch:

A nice salad with marinated mushrooms, radishes, and green beans. I had approx. a double portion of the salad that you see in the picture. This was paired with a spicy frittata and a piece of what in Italy would be called “schiacciata” – it’s basically a flatbread with some olive oil and herbs on top. That day I was patiently waiting for some bread dough to rise, so I just took a small piece of that (after approx. 5/6 hours of rising) and used it for the flatbread. It was made just with whole grain spelt flour.

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Mid-afternoon snack:

It was a busy day, so I had a first snack with coffee and a few almonds – then, another snack after a long evening walk (about 9 km): a couple of energy balls that I have made a few days before with mixed seeds, rice flakes, dates, and lemon juice.

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Dinner:

A quick one with cucumber, tomatoes, a little bit of feta, fresh basil, olive oil and black pepper. Oh, and a tiny piece of the same flatbread that I had for lunch. I also had a herbal tea during the evening before bedtime.

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