Monthly Archives: July 2015

Adventures in Pesto Making


This week I had fun making pesto sauce for the first time! I like to keep things simple when I’m cooking, and you can’t beat pesto for simplicity. no heating required, just gather your ingredients, chuck them in a blender and Hey Presto… Hey Pesto!!

The thing that took longest in the whole process was plucking the leaves off two whole basil plants – 50g of basilico was required, that’s a whole lot more basil than you might imagine!!
Here’s the recipe that I followed, which is Lucrezia’s recipe as she described in her video (if you haven’t already, then check out her Youtube channel, she is awesome – LearnItalianwithLucrezia).
1 SPICCHIO d’aglio – a clove of garlic
50 g basilico – basil
70 g parmigiano grattugiato – grated parmesan
15 g pinoli – pine nuts – pronounced pee-NO-lee
100 ml Olio d’oliva extravergine – extra virgin olive oil
sale – q.b. (quanto basta) – salt, a tiny pinch

The recipe described washing and drying the basil leaves, then putting all the ingredients in the blender to achieve the desired creamy (CREMOSO) consistency. I had a mini crisis once I had prepared the basil as I don’t have a food processor….. before I remembered I had a small hand-held blender which just did the trick!! (that mini blender is definitely the most useful kitchen appliance ever)
Useful verbs learned in the process:
FRULLARE – to blend
ASCIUGARE – to dry
TAMPONARE – to blot

The end result was pretty tasty 🙂

In other news I have learned some great words this week:
Madria – a herd, as in a herd of elephants. pronounced MAD-ri-a
Rammarico – regret – Pronounced ram-MAR-rico. just a beautiful, beautiful word and worth saying over lots of times !!! That is all 🙂


Parmigiana di melanzane


My approach to learning Italian has lately become more practical, trying to integrate the words I learn into everyday life in an attempt to retain them better, and one easy way to do this is in the kitchen.
today I was inspired by Lucrezia’s latest video which was a listening exercise comprising a list of ingredients for Parmigiana di melanzane. The ingredients were as follows – 1.5 kg melanzane (aubergines), 1kg pomodori, 100g parmigiana grattugiato,300g mozzarella, un mazzetto di basilico, 1 quarto di cipolla (onion), olio extravergine d’olive, sale, 2 uova and olio di arachide (groundnut oil??) per friggere.
my first challenge was shopping for aubergines. I decided to halve the quantities in the recipe but even so I still needed 3 aubergines. feeling full of hope I visited Tesco Hednesford with two small boys (one of whom was growling loudly all the way round). no aubergines were to be found. in fact the fruit and veg section was half empty, I wondered if some kind of strike was in fact happening. this failure on the part of Tesco to supply basic ingredients led to a further stop at Aldi, with two small boys, the small one still growling, even more loudly than before. Aubergine success! Pollici in su (thumbs up Aldi!) we returned home and then I realised I had a list of ingredienti but no ricetta. I searched for an authentic Italian one, ie in Italian, but the first one I came across involved slicing the melanzane and then layering them with enormous quantities of sale (salt). just watching the video made me thirsty I tell you. feeling a bit harassed at this point, as I was multi-tasking trying to make a separate dinner for the kids, I found a Jamie Oliver recipe and used that instead. his recipe did not involve egg, goodness knows what I was supposed to do with the egg. perhaps I will never know.
I had to look up the meaning of ‘mazzetto’ with regards to basil quantity, and the dictionary supplied ‘bunch’. I didn’t want to completely decimate my basil plant so I used a small handful.
anyhow I was pleased with the end result considering the effort involved. griddling aubergines is very labour intensive!!
I made an important discovery regarding the word ‘cipolla’ which was basically that I have been mispronouncing it wrong for nearly 10 years. Randomly enough it was one of the first words I learned from my Italian friend. FYI it is la ci-POLLA, not the other way round. The pitfalls of teaching a language to yourself are endless. (finally making better progress now I started watching a lot of videos on youtube listening to native speakers, and hearing how the words should be pronounced and how they are used in context!!)