Vic’s Delicious Pumpkin Soup

4 tbsp olive oil

4 large onions
3 cloves garlic
3 cm piece of fresh ginger (or a tbsp powdered if you don’t have any)
3 red chillies
salt & peper to taste
1 kg pumpkin or butternut squash cut into chunks
510 mls stock
1/2 block coconut cream or 1 can coconut milk
2 limes, juice and zest (I use lemons when I can’t get limes)
25g fresh corriander (I know a joke in Italy, so I use parsley when I have run out of the home-grown stuff, but no where near as good)1. Heat the oil and fry gently the onions, garlic, ginger & chillies for 5 mins
2. Add pumpkin/ squash, seasoning, stock, coconut & simmer partially covered for 25 mins
3. Puree with a blender, check seasoning and stir in chopped corriander & lime zest & juice. Yummy!

Sarah’s Naan Breads

  • 150ml hand-hot Milk
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp dried active Yeast
  • 450g plain flour plus extra for rolling out
  • 2 tsp Salt,  1 tbsp Nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra
  • 150ml natural Yogurt
  • 25g butter
  • 1 large Egg, lightly beaten

1. Dissolve yeast in warmed milk and let sit 5 – 10 minutes until frothy and doubled in size.

2. Add sugar, salt, nigella seeds and baking soda to the sieved flour and stir to incorporate well.

3. Add oil and yogurt to flour mixture.

3. Add yeast/milk mixture and knead gently for around 10 minutes to form a soft dough (note – dough will be quite sticky)

4. Place the dough in a large bowl which has been lightly greased with the olive oil. Cover the dough and leave to rest in warm place for 3-4 hours. The dough should double in volume.

5. Place a griddle pan over a hot heat and heat up.

6. Knead dough for a couple of minutes and divide into 12 equal parts or fewer or more, depending on the size of naan you wold like.

7. Roll each piece into classic oval shape (approx 1/4 inch thick). Dough is sticky, so use flour generously when rolling.

8. Wet your hands, pat the rolled out naan gently between both hands before placing on the stone. Cook for about 2 minutes to cook, turning once.

9. Add a dot of butter or ghee to Naan when it is still hot.

10. Keep in a towel lined basket, so they stay soft and warm.


Why not try adding chopped garlic for garlic naan or sultanas and almonds for Peshawari naan for a change?

Sarah & Karen’s Spiced Butternut Squash & Pear Soup

I have to admit I am cheating a little here. We had the most fantastic soup at our friend Karen’s the other day and as I loved it so much I am going to enter an adaptation of her recipe into the squash/ pumpkin competition (I’m sure Karen won’t mind!). We will certainly be making it many more times this autumn! It is delicious and light and creamy (even if you don’t put any cream in). Just amazing – and we would never have thought pears and squash go so well together!


908 g butternut squash
45 g unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 g minced fresh ginger root
6 g curry powder
6 g salt
750 ml chicken broth
200 ml pear juice
2 firm ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch dice
120 ml cream (optional)DirectionsPreheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membrane.

Place squash halves, cut sides down, on the prepared baking sheet.

Roast in preheated oven until very soft, about 45 minutes. Scoop the pulp from the peel, and reserve.

Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.

Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, and salt.

Cook and stir until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

Pour the chicken broth and pear juice into the pot, and bring to a boil.

Stir in the pears and the reserved squash, and simmer until the pears are very soft, about 30 minutes.

Pour the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full.

Puree in batches until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, stir in the cream (if used), and reheat gently.

Thai Sweet Potato and Chicken Curry by Giselle Stafford

Thai Sweet Potato and Chicken Curry by Giselle Stafford

We ate this tonight and I can say that it was really good with a nice but not too powerful kick.  Omit the chopped chilli if you want this milder.

Serves 3 or 4 (or a couple of hungry’ns!)


What to get

1 good sized skinless, boneless chicken breast sliced or cubed


1 large red onion, cut in half then sliced with the rings, not against them.


1 small birds-eye chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped


1 stalk lemon grass, finely chopped


1 small nugget of ginger finely chopped.


1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed


Teaspoon red (or green) thai curry paste


Couple of Kafir lime leaves


Few shakes of fish sauce.


1 sachet creamed coconut with about 150 ml water or half a tin of coconut milk (shake 1st)


Chopped fresh coriander (1st choice) or fresh parsley (2nd choice!)



Serve with either Jasmine or Basmati rice & Raita.


What to do

Heat up some ordinary oil (ground nut, sunflower or similar) in a wok or largish frying pan.

Throw in the onion and chicken and cook until the chicken has sealed and the onion is slightly softened.

Add the chilli , ginger and lemon grass.

Add the sweet potato.

Mix all well and stir fry for a few minutes, not letting anything burn.

Add the curry paste, and stir through.

Add lime leaves and fish sauce, stir.

Add the coconut and water and stir well.  Add a little more water if necessary.

Turn down the heat and cover.  Simmer for about 30 mins or so or until the sweet potato is cooked through and the coconut milk has thickened.

Sprinkle with the coriander or parsley and serve with rice and raita.


SHU MAI by Amber

SHU MAI by Amber


250 grams shrimp, peeled, cleaned and chopped
200 grams of ground pork
1-2 green onions if you are in Italy, more if you are not. Chopped
½ inch piece of ginger peeled and chopped
Handful of button mushrooms chopped
Dash of soy sauce
Dash of sesame oil
Sprinkle of Salt
Peas for garnish
1-2 tablespoons of corn starch

2 cups flour and more for dusting
½ cup water

Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 table spoon of rice wine vinegar
Chopped green onion to taste
Chopped ginger to taste

To make Filling: Add all vegetable ingredients (except peas) to food processor and grind until fine then add proteins and combine well by pulsing food processor. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make dough using warm-hot water and flour. About 2 cups of flour to a ½ cup to a cup of water . Prepare as you would any pasta. Let rest for a 10 minutes and roll our long cylinders as you would gnocchi. Cut, disks as you would gnocchi, but flatten them into large-ish disks. **********
To fill, put a dollop of filling in the middle and close pasta around the sides. Put a pea on top as a garnish.

Dumplings need to be steamed in a steamer, but don’t forget to line your steamer with lettuce leaves or the dumplings will stick. I used a basic market steamer insert in a big soup pot. Worked fine for me.

*********The above has been adapted from Use Real Butter. Please visit for better instructions for the dough and some wonderful dumpling recipes!!!!!

Stir-Fried Cashew Nuts & Chicken by Tina Ferrari

Stir-Fried Cashew Nuts & Chicken by Tina Ferrari

I also learned this at Basil Cookery School in Chiang Mai. I made a few of my own changes (for example, this is for 2 – the recipe she gave me was for 1).



100 g. sliced chicken
100 g. roasted cashew nuts
1/2 cup of jelly mushrooms (not found in Italy – just use your favorite mushroom)
1/2 onion, sliced
4 baby corns if you can find them
1 or 2 tbsp chopped garlic (depends on how much you like garlic)
1 or 2 large red dried chilis (chopped into 1/2″ length) – or use peperoncino if you’re in Italy
2 spring onions
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp. fish sauce
3 or 4 tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tsp. sugar
vegetable oil

1. In the wok, fry garlic in the oil over low heat until brown. Add chicken and keep stirring until the chicken is cooked through.
2. Add onion, baby corns, mushrooms, chili and stir continuously until done.
3. Add chicken stock, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and stir well to combine.
4. Add cashews and spring onions, stir quickly and then remove from heat.

Enjoy with some rice!

* for vegetarians, use tofu or seitan instead of chicken, and soy sauce or salt instead of the fish & oyster sauce.

Singapore Noodles….sort of…. by Amber

Singapore Noodles….sort of…. by Amber

Adapted from Ching-He Huang’s Chinese Food Made Easy.



Oil for sauteing
1 minced clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
1 small red chili (or more, your choice)
10 white mushrooms, sliced
1 large or two small zucchinis, julienned
1 small red pepper, sliced thin
1 carrot, julienned
200 grams chicken, diced, and coated in flour
100 grams of rice vermicelli
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1 egg, beaten
2 large spring onions, chopped
2 tsp tumeric
dash of sesame oil.

Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside.
Heat oil in a large wok and add red chili, garlic and ginger. Let cook until it is fragrant. Add Tumeric and combine. Add vegetables and cook for one minute. Add chicken and cook through. Add noodles and combine, then add soy and oyster sauce.
Push everything aside and cook egg. Combine, remove from heat, add spring onions and a dash of sesame oil.


Bangladeshi White Chicken Korma by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

Bangladeshi White Chicken Korma by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

adapted from At Home With Madhur Jaffrey




4 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 2″ sticks of cinnamon
3 bay leaves
10 cardamom pods
1 medium onion sliced into thin rings
1 whole chicken cut into 12-14 pieces and skinned
1/2 med. onion chopped fine
3 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
6 garlic cloves, pressed in a garlic press
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 1/4 tsp salt
sliced hot chilies to taste

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over med-high heat until very hot. Add the cinnamon, bay and cardamom pods and fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the sliced onions and fry stirring for about 3 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Add the chicken pieces and fry until they begin to brown 5-7 minutes. Add the chopped onion, the ginger and the garlic and fry stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the yogurt and the salt, mix well and cook stirring for 10 minutes. Add the chilies, and 1/4 cup of water, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer very gently for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately.

Spicy Orange Beef Filet by Amber

Spicy Orange Beef Filet by Amber

Adapted from Ching-He Huang’s Chinese Food Made Easy.


250 grams of beef filet
Peanut Oil
Fresh White Mushrooms
2-5 Green Onions
3 oranges

Juice from TWO oranges
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of Vodka
1-2 tablespoons of honey or brown sugar (TO TASTE!! Depends on our sweet or sour your oranges are.)
1 clove of garlic, minced.
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1/2 red pepper flakes

Garnish: Cilantro leaves

Make marinade, add beef filets and set aside. Slice green onion and mushrooms long ways. Lightly oil and fry until softened. Remove and set aside. Slice orange and grill slices just to get a little color. set aside. When meat is marinated (at least 30 minutes) remove from marinate and dry slightly. Lightly coat with flour. (optional) Heat pan til very hot. Fry meat til it has reached your desired temperature and remove. add marinade to pan and reduce until slightly thick. Coat cooked beef with thickened sauce, but watch out to over cook. Compose dish with all the ingredients.

Serve with rice or a nice green salad. We did not since we also had a pasta dish.

Sino-Indian Sweet and Salty Pork Chops by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

Sino-Indian Sweet and Salty Pork Chops by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

for when you can’t decide if you want Indian or Chinese

adapted from At Home With Madhur Jaffrey


For the rub:
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. whole coriander
2 tsp whole cumin
1 2″ cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

For the meat
2 lbs thin pork chops (I used braciole)
1 med. onion, chopped
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp peanut or olive oil.
1 cup of water

Grind all of the ingredients for the rub, until fine. Sprinkle over both sides of the pork chops and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours.