Arancine (Sicilian Rice Balls)

Stefan's Gourmet Blog

Without a doubt, the regional snacks of Sicily are arancine or arancini. These are deep-fried balls of rice, stuffed most often with a ragù (meat sauce) and peas, but also with other stuffings such as cheese. Arancini are everywhere in Sicily, and we liked them so much that we had them for lunch almost every day during our trip.

Arancini have been named after oranges (arancie), because they look so much like them. In the West of Sicily they have a round shape and are female  (1 arancina, 2 arancine), whereas in the East of Sicily they are pear-shaped and are male (1 arancino, 2 arancini). This could mean that the eastern name is more ‘Sicilian’, because oranges are male in Sicilian (arànciu) contrary to female in Italian (arancia). I entitled this post arancine because I made round ones, but I…

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Dinner at Bocca: Explosive Italian

Food Follower

I dined at Bocca for the first time this evening, and it was definitely a pleasant surprise. Though a little pricey for Italian food (and the portions aren’t large), the food was very good. To start with, I split a mushroom and feta crostini which was superb. The crostini was small pieces of toasted bread with sauteed mushrooms, rosemary, and melted feta cheese. I am definitely going to try making this at home. For my main course, I ordered a very tasty lasagna primavera. I literally wanted to explode after finishing it. After all, it was very rich. I also ate the entire lasagna in 5 minutes, no joke! And no, I am not bragging about my very fast pace. But back to my point – if you are looking for a moderately upscale Italian restaurant in NYC, Bocca is a great option.



I also had a bite of the…

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Gourmet Cooking Club Q8

Ingredients:         IMG-20130506-WA0043

  • 1 kg aubergines
  • 500gr potatoes
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs Meat sauce
  • 750 gr. minced beef
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup tomato puree (or crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 bay leaf 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 stick of cinnamon or 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 150 gr. Butter
  • 150 gr. Flour
  • 1 1/2 liter of fresh milk
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs yolks
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg


Prepare the aubergines and the potatoes:

  • Using a sharp peeler, partially peel the aubergines, leaving strips of peel about 3 cm wide around the aubergine and slice them. Sprinkle them with salt and leave in a colander for 20 min to get the bitterness. Then rinse and dry, laid…

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Cucumber-Chive Greek Yogurt Dip

Taste of the City

Tzatziki is always my favorite part of any Greek meal. Tangy and refreshing, even the most delicious pita bread becomes a mere vehicle for the tzatziki. This weekend, I created my own version of the Greek classic to usher in summer. This was absolutely perfect alongside steak and Italian-style potato salad (no mayo — it’s the best)! This would be equally delicious with chips as a healthier version of onion dip. And it tasted even better the next day with carrot sticks as an afternoon snack.


This dip is impeccably healthy and flavorful, despite omitting the usual ingredients of garlic and dill. This recipe is also totally versatile and customizable. If you have a mint or basil plant growing in the yard, feel free to add it on in. The more the merrier. And the best part, it can be assembled in 3 minutes flat. My kind of recipe.

Cucumber-Chive Greek Yogurt…

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Sweet Creamy Smoothie

Sweet Life

Blueberry muffin in a smoothie form!


1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk, frozen

1/2 cup blueberries

1/4 cup greek yogurt, plain (Chobani)

1 tsp.vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. cinnamon, ground

1/2 tsp. stevia


*Note: You can also use non-frozen coconut milk and frozen blueberries.

Calories per serving: 172.7

Fat: 7.5, Sodium: 247

Potassium: 138.3

Carbs: 14

Fiber: 2

Sugar: 9.5

Protein: 6

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Fresh Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa


IMG_0109Salsa is by far my all time favorite snack. Coincidentally, Mexican is one of my favorite cuisines and nothing makes me happier than a meal filled with chips, salsa and frozen mango margaritas. So with my new food processor, I decided to break it in with homemade salsa. To say it turned out well is an understatement.

IMG_0096I wanted a recipe that used fresh tomatoes but all the ones I found used canned so I trusted it. I didn’t have a can of Rotel Tomatoes and Chiles, so I used plain tomatoes. This recipe was the perfect amount – it made enough for one big bowl. Perfect amount to serve at a party.


I left the seeds right in the jalapenos, and it still could have been spicier. This is my jalapeno from the farmer’s market. 🙂


I have a small food processor – a Ninja Express Chop. It’s about…

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Healthy Banana Cake Slice

Living with Kindness

One of my all time favourite things to snack on is banana cake.  I’ve been searching forever for a banana cake recipe that isn’t full of sugar.  It was so hard to come across one so I started to work on creating my own version.

It took several20130530_191655 attempts – I almost gave up and thought it wasn’t possible.

Last week I successfully made a delicious but healthy banana cake and my whole family loved it.

It’s a variation to the usual banana cake – I call mine more of a Banana Cake Slice.  It’s a lot thinner than a traditional cake and perfect for little snacks and great for kids.  Cut them into small fingers and enjoy as a thin cake without butter added.  Whilst I’ve called it a Healthy Banana cake remember everything in moderation.  It still does contain fat and has a small amount of sugar (although…

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