an authentic Italian meal- homemade focaccia, aglio olio e peperoncino, and a side of greens

Earlier today, I made a pretty simple and authentic Italian meal.  We were gonna sit outside to enjoy the nice weather we had this afternoon but the heat was unbearable so we ended up moving back to the air-conditioned indoor.  Perhaps, we should wait another couple of months to really consider sitting out.  

Back to my meal, it was my first time making focaccia and surprisingly, the result came out fantastic.  I got this recipe from a blog called The Cookery Wife that was created by these two sisters from Texas and Oregon, Andrea & Hannah.  I'm a huge fan of their Instagram feed.  Their blog got a lot of pretty awesome recipes and many of them are quite easy to follow.  I've been obsessed with making bread lately so I am collecting a bunch of bread recipes on Pinterest and trying out the simple ones for now.  Once I get the hang of this whole dough making phenomena then I will try something a bit more challenging. ;)  I think bread making is pretty phenomenal because all we need is just a few key ingredients to do the magic.  Pretty much is just water, yeast and flour, given the right amount of time and quantity,  knead a little here and there, toss the dough into the oven for a set time, and BAM! You got a beautiful loaf of bread right in front of you.  That IS magic.  

This was inspired by The Cookery Wife's recipe.  I used a little bit of garlic powder, fresh thyme and rosemary as topping.  I baked it in my oven for about 15 minutes at 200ºC.  

Ingredients for dough: 

2 tsp dried yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp sugar
3 ½ - 4 cups flour
1 tbsp coarse salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil + extra for brushing


extra-virgin olive oil 

fresh rosemary 

fresh thyme 

salt and pepper

Nothing beats a loaf of fresh homemade bread.  Must try if you love to bake.  I made the dough the night before and after rising, I place the dough in the fridge and bake it the next morning.  Bring the chilled dough to room temperature before popping it into a preheated oven.   

Alicia, my niece, is loving her bread. :) Such a satisfying moment.  

You can't get any simpler than a plate of aglio olio e peperoncino.  Every family does it differently and here is our recipe. 

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

ooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: (for 2 persons) 

200g spaghetti/linguine

3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 red chili, finely chopped

1 sprig sage

1 small anchovy

1 tsp caper

grated parmesan

extra-virgin olive oil


1) Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Cook pasta according to its package label.  

2) Preheat a frying pan with olive oil on medium low heat, add garlic, sage, anchovy, and chili, cook for 2 minutes.  

3) Reduce to low heat and let the garlic and herb to cook slowly so the fragrant and flavor would kick off.  This should take about 5-7 minutes and watch out for burning the garlic.  

4) Add capers and cook for about 1-2 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup of pasta water to the frying pan along with the cooked pasta.  Stir well and coat the pasta with the garlic oil and pasta water sauce.  Heat off.  

5) Transfer the pasta to a plate, Add some grated parmesan and a drizzle of oil before serving.  

A simple homemade Italian meal that we never get tired of in this house.  :) We served our meal with a side of greens and some fresh lemonade.  

a perfect starter to impress your guests

Whenever my house hosts a dinner party, Marco and I would whip out bruschetta as one of our perfect starters.  Lately, I've been obsessed with honey.   I love the natural sweetness that honey releases.  I personally love the contrast that honey and roasted tomato offer with each bite of this crostini.  :) 

Ingredients: (for 2 servings)

2 slices grilled/baked thin baguette * 

100g cherry tomatoes, halved

2-3 tbsp ricotta

1-2 tbsp honey

2 pieces sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced

1 garlic, finely chopped

extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp dried oregano


1) Preheat oven at 180ºC 

2) Place the halved cherry tomatoes with oil, season, bake for 10-15 minutes

3) Preheat a stir fry pan with olive oil, add garlic and sun dried tomato under medium low heat; stir and let cook for 3-5 minutes until the sun-dried tomatoes look a little crispy.  Turn off the fire.  

4) Transfer the sun-dried tomatoes to the baking dish of cherry tomatoes and bake for around 5 minutes.  

5) Spread the ricotta cheese generously on the grilled baguette surface.  Add honey on the cheese.  

6) Top with the roasted tomatoes and oregano.  And ready to serve! :) 

*  I usually like to use a griddle pan to toast my baguettes (I love those little burnt lines on my bread) but feel free to use an oven if you desire.