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April 16, 2011 / thomasetolivia

Tenderloins of pork with gnocchi and spinach

Serves 4 persons


2 tenderloins (filet) of pork

1 red onion, 2 garlic cloves, bacon, parsley, basil, thyme and mint.

Spinach, a bunch of spring onions, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tomatoes, a dollop of white wine and a dollop of cream.

For the gnocchi: grated parmesan.

Chop the herbs, the onion and the bacon. Fry them slowly for 10 minutes in a pan with some olive oil.

Remove some of the fat from the meat. Make a deep cut along the whole length of the meat, to make space for the filling. With a spoon, fill this space with the sauteed herbs and bacon. With your hands, close again the meat upon the filling.Fix with some metal pins or similar.

Pre-heat the oven. In a sautee pan, heat some olive oil and cook the filled tenderloins for approx. 10 minutes.

In an oven-proof dish, place the tenderloins, and spread around it the spinach, chopped tomatoes, chopped garlic and chopped spring onions. Add a good dollop of white wine and cream. Salt and pepper.  Cook for approx. 20 minutes.

Serve with gnocchi.

February 6, 2011 / travelolivia

Apple compote the way I like it

At the moment I love to buy these local German apples. They are rather small and quite bitter. They make a wonderful use for apple tarts and for compotes. Today I again prepared a compote. It was simple, delicious, and the taste reminded of a long list of nice things like: childhood, winter afternoon at home, mother preparing for her child, etc.

Ingredients (for a small pot of it, serves 2 persons):

6-7 small apples

4 tablespoons of sugar

Half a lemon

a dollop of almond essence (Dr. Oetker)

4 dried apricots

Peel the apples and cut them into chunks. Put in a pot (with lid), add the sugar,  squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, add a dollop of almond essence and 4 dried apricots. Let cook very slowly for 45 minutes. Try to wait a couple of hours before enjoying it: in my opinion it tastes better when it’s only slightly warm…

February 6, 2011 / travelolivia

Chicken stewed in Provence herbs

Yesterday we collected our brand new cooking pan from WMF. We patiently collected the points from our local supermarket in the past few months, and got this as a (almost) gift.

I know it’s difficult to get excited about a pan. But this one is just great. It’s very large (28 cm), has a glass lid, and it is an OVEN pan, which means that you can also put it in the oven… Can you imagine all the possibilities this little engine is giving you (me, in this case)?

Well, today I set to inaugurate it, with a simple improvisation around chicken, which happened to be quite tasty and very cosy for a Sunday evening meal, just before starting a tough week of work.

Ingredients (for 2 persons):

2 chicken legs

10 small potatoes or 5 middle ones: peeled and cut in large chunks

4 carrots: peeled and cut in chunks

4 garlic cloves, unpeeled, whole

Fresh rosemary

Fresh thyme

Half a lemon, cut into 4 pieces

Olive oil

Salt, pepper

In a cooking pot (in any case, something large and with a lid), pour a good lug of olive oil, 4 garlic cloves, half a lemon, rosemary and thyme, potatoes and carrots. Cut the chicken legs in two and salt and pepper them. Add to the pan.

Set to cook at middle temperature for 20 minutes, and then for another half an hour at very low heat.

January 22, 2011 / travelolivia

A simply delicious apple pie

This is another simple thing for winter afternoons. An apple pie with almond and lemon flavours…


150g all purpose flour

200g butter

1 egg

40g sugar

1 pinch of salt

2 red apples (preferably more with an acidic flavour, not too sweet)

Agave syrup

half a lemon

almond fragrance


In a mixer place the flour, 100g butter, sugar, and salt. Mix together until it is scrumbly then add the egg to make the dough. Do not overwork the dough. Place in a plastic wrap (or cotton) and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Butter the bottom of the tart mold. Roll the dough and place it on the mold. Prick the bottom with a fork and place the dough in the fridge for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190 C.

Cut the apples and slice them as thinly as possible (best results with a mandoline). If they get brownish, sprinkle a bit of lemon juice on them. Arrange the apple slices on the dough, describing the movement of a snail.

In a small cooking pot, melt 100g of butter, then add the juice of a half lemon, a little bit of almond fragrance, and a generous dollop of agave syrup.

Pour the mixture onto the tart. Place into the oven for 40 minutes.

January 2, 2011 / travelolivia

Super Healthy Winter Drink

Ah, what a cold winter we are having, here in Europe! It’s time for nice walks in the snow, and afternoons by the fire.

Here is a health drink I prepared today. Something perfect for a very cold Sunday afternoon. I love the taste of dates combined with bananas in winter.

From a nutritional point of view, it is a real power drink which will bring you back a lot of energy and is excellent to strengthen your body in winter: it is rich in fiber and antioxidants, and many, many minerals, and contains no milk and no sugar.

Ingredients (serves 1):

1 banana, chopped

4 dates, pit removed

a dollop of maple syrup

1/3 glass of apple juice

1/3 glass of rice milk

Pour all ingredients in the mixer and liquify. Pour in a big glass. Sit down comfortably by the fire, relax, and enjoy!

November 6, 2010 / thomasetolivia

Spring rolls

To be correct, spring rolls would be more Vietnamese, but you’ll get it served in Cambodia too.

Ingredients: a pack of rice paper (which you can find in Asian shops), a handful of minced pork meat and bacon thinly cut, a handful of shrimps cut in very small pieces, two carrots cut in julienne (or grated in long straws), a handful vermicelles (fine Asian spaghettis), a cube or a teaspoon of Knorr chicken bouillon, salt, sugar.

Put the vermicelles in a bowl of warm water, in order to soften them. Then take them out of the water and cut them in approx. 5 cm long pieces. Leave them aside in a bowl.

Mix the meat and bacon with the shrimps, add a good pinch of salt, a teaspoon or a crushed cube of Knorr, a teaspoon of sugar. Mix it all well with the hands until it becomes a paste. Add the carrots and the noodles to the paste and mix further.

Now you’ll get to use the rice paper: take a kitchen cotton cloth and soak it in hot water. Take the cloth out of the water, press it a bit and then extend it onto your kitchen table. Put a piece of rice paper into the hot water and then on the cloth, to make it become soft.

Take one piece of wet and soft rice paper and put it in a plate. Put one finger of the meat mixture on the rice paper, not quite in the center. Fold the left and the right side of the paper (so that the mixture will not fall out from the sides when you roll it) and then roll it. Seal the spring roll with some egg yolk.

In a wok, heat some oil. There should be enough oil to get the spring rolls completely soaked in it. Once the oil is very hot, add the spring rolls and leave them until they get a nice golden color. Then “fish” them out.

November 2, 2010 / travelolivia


This is said to be the national dish of Cambodia. There are actually two ways to cook it: in the restaurants, you will get it baked in claypot. In Cambodian homes, they cook it in the wok. It is this version that Sophea showed me.

Ingredients: for the spice mix: lemongrass, tumeric, garlic, kaffir lime, galangal, all grinded together. For the rest: 1 big onion, 1 chicken breast or the flesh of 1 river fish (try it with trout), 1 can of coconut milk, 1 cabbage, Knorr chicken bouillon, salt.

Cut the chicken and the vegetables in large chunks. Heat some coconut milk in a wok, add a tablespoon of the spice mix, a teaspoon of Knorr and a teaspoon of salt. Stir gently. Add the chicken. Taste for more salt or spices. After 5 minutes, add the cabbage and the onion. Cover and let simmer until all is cooked.

Serve with hot rice.