Red kidney bean and carrot stew

(read in Italian)

This stew with red kidney beans and carrots has been created more for a food photography purpose than with the idea of sharing a recipe but I’ve got so many questions about it, that I’ve decided to write everything down and share this delicious preparation on the blog. But let’s take a minute to chat about the reason why this was an interesting subject to work on my photography…

To work on your skills, to change your lifestyle, to get better in your job, to work on yourself… STRIVE FOR PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION.

One of the things I’ve decided to put on my to-do list during the last few months: taking more time to explore the food photography part of my job. Most of the photos I share as support of my posts on social media are quick snaps taken at breakfast or lunchtime and, let’s be honest, having the skills to get great results in a short time and without an ideal set-up has been useful in several working occasions. BUT I love taking my time to work on a photo and literally be able to SLOW DOWN and build up a connection with what I’m doing. So, on my to-do list for the near future, I definitely have more time spent behind the camera, a photography workshop I want to arrange in Dublin, and plenty of interesting food photography jobs. Do you have any skills or change you want to work on?

Red kidney bean and carrots stew

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • approx. 200 g cooked red kidney beans
  • 3 medium-sized carrots
  • 2 shallots
  • 5-6 sun-dried tomatoes
  • approx. 300 ml tomato passata
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (crushed in a mortar)
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds (crushed in a mortar)
  • 1/3 tsp hot paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • on top: 4 tbsp for of plain coconut yogurt (or regular yogurt, according to your preferences), 4-5 radishes, 1 handful of fresh coriander, extra virgin olive oil

Warm up a little bit of olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the finely chopped shallots and stir until they turn golden. Add the carrots (chopped in small pieces) and mix well for approx. 30 seconds, then slowly add a few tbsp of warm water, followed by the tomato passata, the finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (no need to re-hydrate them in advance, since they will cook with your stew), the bay leaves, and the spices. Add a bit of extra water if needed to keep all the ingredients covered (add small amounts of water step by step, since the preparation doesn’t take too long and you want a creamy result). Cook on low heat for approx. 10 minutes, then add the beans and cook for 5-10 minutes (according to how crunchy you want your carrots and how creamy you’d like the stew). Once it will be ready, adjust the amount of salt and black pepper to taste, remove the bay leaves, and use the finely sliced radishes, yogurt, coriander, and olive oil as toppings. Serve as itself or with a slice of toasted bread.

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Tomato risotto

(read in Italian)

A few days ago, my boyfriend asked for tomato risotto for lunch saying “tomato risotto is my comfort food right now – comfort food is something that simply makes you feel good every time you eat it”. Couldn’t agree more! We both love tomato risotto and when I make it, I don’t think if it’s balanced enough or get worried because I don’t have all the macros in a good amount on my plate. I know it’s a simple preparation that makes us feel good, it brings joy to the table, has tomatoes with all their beneficial properties (hello lycopene, our beloved antioxidant!), has fibre and nutrients.

And if right now you feel the need to cook this risotto or if you have never tried it before, here there’s the recipe! For this version, I’ve used only tomato passata but you can get creative with the ingredients: for example, I love to use a mix of passata and sun-dried tomatoes (finely chopped – no need to re-hydrate the tomatoes in advance, simply add them to the rice while it’s still cooking).

Tomato risotto

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 160 g short-grain brown rice
  • 250-300 ml tomato passata
  • 1 shallot (optional)
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika (or smoked, if you prefer to add a different flavor)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • a pinch of salt
  • shredded cheese to add on top (optional – but if you want to use it, I suggest choosing an aged cheese with a strong flavor, and if you are not sure about what to buy, ask your local cheesemonger!)

Warm up a little bit of olive oil in a pot over a medium heat. Add the finely chopped shallots and stir until they turn golden. Add the rice and mix well for approx. 30 seconds to toast the rice. Then add the bay leaves and the amount of warm water necessary to keep everything covered. Mix well and cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes (depending on the rice that you’re using, check the package). Add water in small portions to cook the rice, there should not be water left when the risotto is ready (but you should have a creamy tomato sauce). Half-way through the cooking time, add all the tomato passata and spices. Serve with shredded cheese on top and a drizzle of olive oil.



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Pumpkin pancakes

(read in Italian)

Every year, I patiently wait for the return of pumpkins to add them into my pancakes. While at home we both love adding some mashed bananas or beetroots or spinach into pancakes, the combination of pumpkin, spices, and whole grain flour is always a bit magical!

But keep in mind that adding pumpkin to your pancakes can be tricky! I had to adjust the batter a few times to get it right but, in the end, the result was delicious. If you add too much pumpkin and/or liquid, they just remain too moist and not well cooked. So just go for roasted pumpkin, with less water, and check your batter step by step as you prepare it – I actually love this step: you learn to be more aware of what you are doing and how you prepare your food!

I have decided to top them with some date syrup and chopped apples tossed with a bit of melted ghee and cinnamon. Chiara x

Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 100 g cooked pumpkin (better if roasted)
  • 80 g whole grain flour (use wheat or spelt – brown rice flour for a gluten-free version if needed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milled flaxseeds
  • approx. 70 ml water or a plant-based drink (hazelnut, almond, or cashew work well)
  • 1 tsp of ghee or butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • a pinch of all spice
  • a pinch of salt

In a medium-sized bowl, combine spices, ghee, flaxseeds, egg, pumpkin (make a puree with your pumpkin using a blender – add the minimum amount of water or plant-based drink necessary to blend it). Mix well these ingredients and start adding the flour (add also more liquid when necessary – at this point, you have already used some of the total amount to blend the pumpkin, so you have just a small part left). Stir until there are no lumps. The batter tends to be particularly tricky due to the pumpkin, so learn how to check it step by step. Heat a frying pan, preferably a non-stick one, on a medium heat with 1/3 tsp of ghee. Use 3 tbsp for each pancake, moving the pan until the batter is evenly distributed. Cook each pancake until it can be easily flipped with a spatula. Keep the batter well mixed. Using these quantities, you will be able to make approx. 6 pancakes.



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