March 20, 2011

Zeppoli di San Giuseppe

Filed under: Italian Desserts — Tags: , , , , , , , — irishitaliankitchen @ 10:35 am

So yesterday was St. Joseph’s day and Father’s day here in Italy. Seeing as I had a belated St Patrick’s day dinner, today is effectively St Joseph’s day in the madhouse that is my home. This is always mother in laws recipe (passed down through the generations etc etc) and I love these little calorie filled desserts!!This makes enough zeppoli per about 8 people.


Amarena Jam or Cherry Jam (optional) and sugar to coat

Vegetable oil to fry


For the Zeppoli:

6 eggs

300g plain flour

50g butter

1/2 litre of water

a pinch of salt


for the cream:

50cl of milk

2 eggs

100g sugar

80g plain flour

1 lemon

prepare dough:

1 – Pour the water into a saucepan with butter and salt, turn heat to medium when water is just about to boil, pour the sifted flour and stir vigorously for 10 minutes with a whisk until the mixture thickens.

2 – Turn off the heat and add 6 eggs, one at a time, always stirring vigorously  and possibly with an electric mixer until the mixture is well blended. Let stand for 20-25 minutes.

Prepare the cream:

1 – In a bowl work the sugar in with the 2 egg yolks until mixture is white and fluffy. Add the sifted  flour, milk and two pieces of lemon peel.

2 – place the saucepan over a medium heat and thicken the cream without boiling, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove the lemon zest and cool.

Continue to fry the zeppoli:

1 – filled a high sided frying pan with the oil, the donuts must be completely immersed in oil. Put the pan on a medium heat.

2 – Form the zeppoli, I make them as doughnuts without holes so I make them into a round form.

3 – Place the zeppoli one at a time into the hot oil and cook until they swell. Raise the heat slightly to brown them, remove and place on a paper towel.

4 – when the zeppoli have cooled, I use a syringe to fill them with the cream and then sprinkle with sugar, if you used the cherry jam or sour cherries in syrup put a little on top of the zeppoli (about a teaspoon per zeppoli)  and serve.



Sunday Ragù

Filed under: Italian Pasta — Tags: , , , , , — irishitaliankitchen @ 9:26 am

So it’s Sunday once more and a Sunday favourite in my house is my Sunday Ragù. It’s like “Bolognese” sauce only different, if that makes any sense. This is a meat and tomato sauce using meat pieces instead of mince and 2 or 3 different types of meat. This sauce needs to “bubble” that’s the secret as it were. I normally bring it to the boil, cover the saucepan, turn the gas down to the minimum and allow it to bubble for up to 3 hours, the more it cooks, the better it is my mother in law always says! Here you go! Buona Domenica!

700g of veal, cut into chunks (if you don’t like veal a nice rump steak will do the trick)

200g of pork ribs

4 pork chops

4 Italian sausage  (I use one per person. If you can’t get Italian sausage a good quality beef sausage is fine)

2 onions

1.5 litres of Tomato passata (if you can’t find passata some good quality tinned tomatoes passed through the processer)

200g Extra virgin olive oil

1/4 of a litre of red wine


salt and pepper


  1. Heat a deep saucepan (one with a lid) on the hob
  2. Add the oil and add the onion (chop it finely with a mezzaluna) and the meat to the saucepan
  3. Let them cook for a few minutes just to colour the meat
  4. Add the wine and allow it to “evaporate”. This takes about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the passata and season with salt.
  6. Bring to the boil and cover
  7. Turn the heat down to the minimum and allow to “bubble” for 2 and a half to 3 hours. This is called “pippiare”
  8. Stir the sauce often when it is bubbling on the hob, remember that sauce is stirred only with a wooden spoon and NEVER with a metal one!
  9. Add the basil at the last minute to the sauce!
  10. When it’s cooked I allow it to cool for about an hour before cooking the pasta, Penne rigate would be the best, or even better pennettone (big penne pasta)
  11. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the saucepan again, add a little knob of butter and some sauce, put on a low heat and mix often so that the pasta absorbs the sauce.
  12. Serve the pasta and turn on the heat back on under the sauce.
  13. The meat is served as a main dish (secondo piatto) with some sauce and bread to “zuppare” (dip) into the sauce.



March 19, 2011

Spaghetti Carbonara. The REAL one.

Filed under: Italian Pasta — Tags: , , — irishitaliankitchen @ 5:56 pm

So this is my mother in law’s recipe for spaghetti carbonara. No chicken. No cream. No mushrooms. Just simple homecooking and a real Italian recipe. I often make this for my friends when I return home a few times a year and they love it. Italian cuisine is so easy, no faffing about! It’s also very good for you, it’s not for nothing that the Mediterranean Diet is one of the best and the healthiest in the world, you just need fresh, good quality ingredients and the best quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, I think it’s worth paying that little bit more for the “first press” which is a nice green colour.

This recipe is for 4 people

360g spaghetti

200g guanciale (pancetta) or bacon

1 clove of garlic, crushed

2 whole eggs and 1 yolk

80g grated Parmigiano or Pecorino

extra vergin olive oil



  1. Bring about 4 litres of water to the boil (the general rule is 1 litre of water every 100g of pasta). When the water is boiling add a nice handful of course salt.
  2. Add the spaghetti to the boiling salted water helping it “fold” down with a slotted spoon or a “spaghetti fork”
  3. Stir the pasta often so it doesn’t stick together!!!!
  4. While the pasta is cooking, in a frying pan fry of the pancetta and garlic for a few minutes.
  5. Taste the pasta a few minutes before it reaches the cooking time indicated on the packet, I like my pasta “al dente” but different strokes for different folks! Don’t throw the spaghetti against the wall to see if it sticks! Drain the pasta and throw it in the pan together with the pancetta on a low heat, add a little glug of olive oil if you like.
  6. While the spaghetti is in the pan, prepare a large serving bowl and lightly whisk two full eggs and one yolk with a pinch of salt and the grated cheese.
  7. Throw the pasta and pancetta into the bowl on top of the egg mixture and give it a good mix before serving. Don’t thrown the egg into the pan as it will become scrambled!
  8. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.


I sometimes add some fresh chopped parsley and a little chopped chilli to the spaghetti just to change it up! Remember in Italy pasta is considered a starter and the 90g of spaghetti a person here is a big enough portion!!

Wheaten Bread

Filed under: Irish Bread — Tags: , , , — irishitaliankitchen @ 4:51 pm

So this is the first post on the new blog and we’ll start of with wheaten bread, or brown soda, depending where you’re from in Ireland. This is my favourite bread, warm from the oven with butter and strawberry jam (recipe to follow sometime soon) or as a quick lunch to eat at my desk with some cheese, preferably cheedar, and ham. It doesn’t matter when or where you eat it as long as you have a nice big mug of warm Irish tea to wash it down! Enjoy!

350g wholemeal flour

100g strong white flour

300ml buttermilk

1 heaped teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (not baking powder)

1 teaspoon salt to taste

50g porridge oats

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  2. Sift flours, salt, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and oats together in a bowl.
  3. Add buttermilk and mix into a dough.
  4. Form into a ball.
  5. Place onto a greased baking tray (or into a loaf tin)
  6. Cut half way through the loaf with a sharp knife then again the other way to form a cross.
  7. Cook for 30 mins
  8. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom

If you don’t have buttermilk, it’s impossible to find here in Southern Italy, add the juice of half a lemon to normal milk or use milk which is one or two days out of date!

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