Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Penne in Creamy Saffron Sauce

Queen Cleopatra knew a thing or two about love magic. Before seeing her lovers she used to take long steamy baths scented with fragrant threads of saffron. She knew that they were filled with lust awakening properties and to this day she is known as one of the best lovers in history. Saffron's aphrodisiac properties are also confirmed by modern science. It's been proven not to only enhance one's libido but to also aid in reducing high blood pressure and respiratory problems. 
Saffron is the world's most expensive spice but it does not take too much of it to transform your dish and to give it that exotic, luxurious and unforgettable aroma. Only few aromatic threads are potent enough to elevate your meal and subsequently - your spirits in the bedroom. Cooking with saffron is that exciting foreplay filled with mystery, surprise and pleasant delights to come.

This pasta may very well become one of the most popular dishes in your repertoire. It's creamy, satisfying, unusual and exotic. Perfumed with floral notes of saffron, rich cream and the most surprising spice of them all - sweet vanilla. Garnished with invigorating lemon zest and chives that masterfully add another flavour nuance to this unforgettable dish. I like to add a couple of drops of rose water on the plate, around the pasta for another layer of floral aroma. It makes the dish that much more luxurious, striking and mysterious. It's like taking that once in a lifetime trip, a honeymoon where everything is about the adventure, lust and magical new discoveries. 

Ingredients: 

1 shallot, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, pinch of saffron threads, 1/2 cup heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste, 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 cups of Penne pasta, 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest and chives for garnish. 

Method: 

Boil water for your pasta. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and saffron and cook, until the shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Add the cream, salt and pepper to taste; increase the heat to medium high and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook as the label directs. Reserve some pasta water, then drain the pasta and transfer to the skillet with the sauce. Add the reserved cooking water and half of the chives and toss to coat. Serve topped with the lemon zest, remaining chives.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Chicken with Chili Peppers and Beans

Chili pepper is a powerful aphrodisiac. Its spicy and striking and it heats up your body almost immediately. First your lips touch the food prepared with chili peppers and they become warm, pulsating and inviting. Then your heart starts to beat faster and your chest, your neck and face get pleasantly flushed. Your sweat glands produce a dewy glow on your skin, your breath fastens... And that masterfully mimics how your body feels when you are sexually aroused. Your senses are heightened, your body is invigorated and the meal turns into a wild fantasy. The key is to allow yourself to be carried away by the fantasy and to experience it with all five of your senses. 


This dish is a perfect foreplay for your party for two or a party of self-indulgence. Juicy chicken, hearty beans, tomatoes and chorizo, basking in the glorious aroma of chilli peppers, zesty lime juice and exotic notes of ginger. Serve it with toasted bread for another layer of texture. Dip the crispy bread into the sauce and suckle on the flavourful spicy liquid. Feel that unforgettable spicy bite with your lips, let it caress your tongue, the back of your throat and your chest. And see what happens to your body. As your heartbeat fastens, as your skin becomes flushed, let your breath to be taken away and go with the fantasy. But before you go there, turn off your phone. Unless the fantasy is on the other end of the line.

Ingredients:

15 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 2 large onions, sliced, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 chorizo sausages, sliced in big chunks, 4 red peppers, cut into chunks, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 2 chicken stock cubes, 1 tsp of chili flakes, 2 tsp. dried oregano, 1 can of red kidney beans, a touch of ginger and juice of 1 lime. 

Method:

Preheat oven to F400. Fry the onions in the oil for 5 minutes until they become soft and start to colour. Add the chorizo and fry for a few minutes more. Stir in the peppers, then pour in the tomatoes, followed by a can of water, the stock cubes, chili and oregano. 

Arrange the chicken thighs on top of the sauce, pushing them under the liquid. Bring to a simmer, cover, then cook in the oven for 40 minutes. Add the beans, stir, then cook for 20 minutes more. Drizzle with lime juice and ginger. Let sit for 10 minutes and serve.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Escargots a la Bourguignonne

Someone once told me a story about the beginnings of the posh little delicacy called escargot. After the French Revolution, two Parisian chefs wanted to introduce something new to their menu that would intrigue tourists and subsequently make extra cash. When translated from French, escargot actually means dirty slimy bag on the ground. French may be sneaky but also incredibly creative. And when enveloped in rich garlicky butter sauce or wrapped in a steaming puff pastry, rich cream, butter and white wine sauce, the dirty slimy bags on the ground, surely transform into blissful mouthfuls of pleasure. The story also goes to say that the original escargots were picked up from the dirty streets of Paris in the rain, at the doorstep of the restaurant where the two chefs worked. They brought them to their kitchen and the rest is history. Whether the story is true or not, good news for us is that we don't have to go snail picking or experiment in order to make them edible. There are so many incredible escargot recipes out there. The only prerequisite is to be adventurous enough to try them in the first place. 

If you are, this recipe will make you fall in love with escargots, unless your love affair with snails has begun a while ago. If that's the case, then expect the spark to be rekindled. Delicate shells of escargots oozing with buttery mixture of garlic, parsley, white wine, shallots and brandy. Spiced with a touch of warm, spicy nutmeg, all immersing the tantalizing, fibrous snail in a warm bath of velvety deliciousness. I like serving it with lemon wedges and slices of baguette. It is that perfect appetizer that will intrigue your guests' taste pallets and get them excited about the next course. Here is the challenge though - try to come up with something even more memorable than your appetizer. If you don't, all your company will talk about is your escargots. On the flip side, one unforgettable dish is a great success and the gift of love (new or rekindled) is priceless. 

Ingredients:

16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, 1⁄4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley, 1 tbsp. white wine, 1 tsp. cognac or French brandy, 3 cloves garlic, minced, 1 shallot, minced, Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and nutmeg, to taste, 24 extra-large snail shells, 24 canned extra-large snails, Rock salt, baguette, for serving.

Method:

In a bowl, whisk together butter, parsley, wine, cognac, garlic, and shallots with a fork. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to let the flavours meld.

Heat oven to 400°. Spoon about 1⁄2 tsp. of butter mixture into each snail shell. Push a snail into each shell; fill shells with remaining butter mixture. Cover bottom of a baking pan with a layer of rock salt. Arrange snail shells butter side up on bed of salt and bake until butter sizzles, 10–12 minutes.



Wednesday, 16 December 2015

My philosophy behind Sensual Eating

Cooking is the only form of art that involves all five of our senses. We can hear when our favourite ingredient sizzles in a hot oil or when it boils in the most luscious of wines. We devour food with our eyes when it is extravagantly presented on a plate. We can smell its glorious aromas delicately flirting with our nostrils. We can touch it with our lips, caress it with our tongues and ultimately, we can taste it. Because cooking involves all of our senses it becomes one of the most sensual activities of our day. The only activity that can be as sensual as cooking and eating is making love. 

I discovered the sensuality of food early in life. My step-grandfather was one of the most amazing cooks I have ever met. He could spend hours in the kitchen experimenting with different ingredients, textures, colours and flavours. My step-grandfather (who I call grandpa for loving me as much as he did) was from Azerbaijan where food was a mammoth part of their culture. Every meal for him was like a little blessing from above. He would enjoy every sit down at the table as if it was his last meal on earth. One of my first food memories involves my grandpa as well. I was not older than six-years-old. I got back from school and he had two bowls of hot soup ready for the two of us to enjoy. He took a piece of black bread and tore it into small pieces that he added to the soup. He made me do the same. I spooned out one small piece of bread soaked with broth and put it in my mouth. The burst of flavour exploded as I chewed softened black bread while drinking the warm goodness of soup at the same time. Since that day food was never the same. It was a playground with so many possibilities, so many joys and so many unexplored paths that lead to a blissful pleasure of satisfaction. 

My grandfather lived in a different time. He did not work as much as the average Canadian does today and he did not have as much stress as many of us endure on regular basis. It is hard to enjoy small pleasures when working overtime, being stuck in traffic and doing loads of laundry are an inescapable part of our daily lives. Taking time while indulging in simple pleasures like eating or making love, becomes a luxury. We are too tired to embark upon a journey of cooking a meal every night so instead many of us stop at a local supermarket to buy a frozen meal. Sometimes we are too exhausted to put a frozen meal in to the oven so we bring home a take out meal. If we do decide to treat ourselves to a home cooked meal, we often do it quickly, without thinking or tasting as we are cooking. Then we promptly ingest the food, sometimes while watching TV and we move on with other things that have to be crossed out from our busy “to do” list. By the time we get to bed, we are so exhausted that having sex becomes a luxury or a treat for a special occasion. 

To me cooking and eating are like meditation or sensual love making. It completely calms my mind and I indulge in every sensation I get from touching, watching, smelling, hearing and tasting my food as it is being prepared. Just like sex, sensual cooking and eating can guide us to that blissful life filled with delight and satisfaction. The key to cooking and eating sensually is consciously putting an effort into experiencing your food with every fibre of your being. Again, imagine making love, indulging, taking time, experiencing every caress, every tickle and every touch with your entire body. Cooking and eating sensually follows the same principles of pleasure. Sensual cooking means admiring the colours of your vegetables and feeling coarse grains of salt between your fingers tips. It means letting aromas of your meal gently tickle your nose and throat. Pay attention to what happens in your mouth. Are you salivating or is there something missing? Can you smell the marriage of ingredients or can you still smell them separately? Sensual eating means enjoying the final product with your eyes, with your nose, your tongue and possibly even with your hands. Take your time. Admire it first. Try guessing what it tastes like. Let your nose tell you what the food will feel like when you put it in your mouth. When you taste it, enjoy it slowly. Feel the heat if the meal is hot and feel what it does to your taste pallets. Is it spicy? Is it tangy? How does it feel on your tongue and how does it feel when you swallow that small piece of heaven? Is there an ingredient that shines through overpowering the rest of the components of your dish? If the dish is eatable with hands, what does it feel like when you hold it in your hands? Is it hot? Does the texture feel smooth or rough to the touch?

I am inviting you to the world of sexy food. But most importantly, I am inviting you to the world of pleasure and sensuality derived from cooking and eating. Each of my recipes comes with an appetizing description that will intrigue you and guide you towards your own bliss in the kitchen. Every recipe comes with a small preview of what’s to come when you finally indulge in fruits of your “labour”. I will guide you towards experiencing food like you never experienced it before and I will direct you towards making food into the most enjoyable part of your day. I encourage you to share this experience with your partner and to possibly make your newly discovered passion as part of your foreplay. I persuade you to share it with your friends and family. Make this sensual experience of food into a game at your next dinner party. This is your key to a brand new world of sensual indulgence that will enrich your life with a delicious satisfaction and newly discovered happiness in your kitchen...

Love, Emanuela

Monday, 14 December 2015

Roasted Tomato Soup with Ginger and Mint

Imagine yourself sitting by the window and watching the first snowfall. Somewhere in the most picturesque chalet overlooking the Alps or in the comfort of your own home, curled up under a soft plush blanket, by the fire place. Not a worry in the world, just one idyllically peaceful, lazy afternoon reading a book, looking through old photographs or doing whatever makes you happy. Sounds heavenly doesn't it? You know what would make it even better? A warm bowl of velvety soup. Aromatic, healing and calming. Maybe even served in a big mug so you can drink it while curled up under that soft plush blanket. Hold that cup in your hands and it warms up your entire body. Take a sip or a spoonful and it warms up your soul. 

Roast tomatoes and peppers, perfumed with earthy thyme, olive oil and citrusy notes of sherry vinegar. A touch of ginger brings that invigorating and reviving burst of flavour while sweet chilli pepper gives your tongue little sensual bites that intrigue and energize your taste buds. And then there comes the cream. It adds that comforting richness, body and rounds out all the flavours of the soup. The tip of the flavour pyramid is mint. So familiar yet never failing to surprise your tongue with a splash of its stimulating essence. This soup is that unforgettable first course of any dinner party or your own party for one. But be warned. After you try this soup, a cup of tea on a chilly day may not do the trick anymore. You will associate the ultimate comfort and warmth with a bowl or a cup of this velvety, warm goodness. 

Ingredients:

3 large tomatoes, 2 red bell peppers, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 full red onion, 1 sweet chilli pepper, 2 sprigs of thyme, splash of sherry vinegar, olive oil, small piece of ginger, 2 litres of chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian option), 1 cup of heavy cream (35%), salt, pepper to taste, 1 teasp. brown sugar, about 6 mint leaves. 

Method:

Cut your tomatoes and red peppers in halves, chop your onion and arrange on a baking sheet. Throw in full garlic cloves and a chilli pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and sprinkle with sugar. Mix so they are well coated. Add thyme. Preheat your oven to F400 and roast for about 30 minutes. 

Remove thyme and transfer your roast vegetables to a large pot. Add chicken stock, grate in some ginger (not more than 1 tsp.) and let it boil for 20 min.

Add mint and puree with a hand blender. Add cream and mix until well incorporated. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche and some chopped mint.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Moroccan Chicken Stew with Dates


When I think of dates, I think of that unforgettable soft, sticky, melting texture. That dark plump skin and a hard long pit in the middle. Popping the whole date into your mouth, gently biting into it is a sensual experience if you take your time to appreciate it. But dates are not just sweet and delicious. They also store a great wealth of nutritional properties that are so important for our well-being. Dates are also considered to be powerful aphrodisiacs. Ayurveda practitioners believe that it increases the amount of sperm in men as well as its quality. Because they are filled with good sugars, they are great energy boosters. In other words, it is a great snack option before you go for a jog or before a passionate night (or day) of love making.

Using dates in savoury dishes is a common practice in Moroccan cuisine. When used in stews, they become rehydrated and plump. They release that wonderful sweetness and when paired with the right spices, create a memorable flavour profile that is almost irresistible. This dish calls for other spices that are known to have "sexy" properties. Warm, inviting cinnamon, smoky cumin, healing turmeric and invigorating ginger. All come together to complement one another and other flavours in the stew. Chicken is the star ingredient in this Moroccan stew but to me it's all about the dates. Bursting with aromatic warm broth, so sweet and so fleshy. But start with simply enjoying a raw date. Look at it, smell it, lick it, taste it and see where it takes you. Recipe is just an inspiration. How you achieve your ultimate satisfaction is entirely up to you. 





Ingredients:

10 drumsticks, 2 onions, 15 pitted dates, 6 cloves of garlic, some parsley for garnishing. For the dry rub: 2 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. turmeric. 

Method:

Mix the spices together and rub over the chicken. Let it sit for 2 hours in the fridge. 

In a heavy Dutch oven seer the chicken in olive oil until brown skin forms. Remove and set aside. To the same pot add onions, garlic, dates and sauté for few minutes. Bring back the chicken and add enough water to almost cover the contents of the pot. Simmer for 40 minutes. Serve over rice or couscous. Sprinkle with parsley.