| by Drew Middleton
Gaia Borzicchi presents two of her favourite seasonal dishes straight from the shores of Northern Italy: vegetarian meatballs and harlequin salad.
Spring and summer are the seasons I love most. They are seasons of renewal and positivity. Most of my life is spent in the great outdoors, and when the weather is warm and beautiful during this time of year, I can organise open picnics with my closest friends.
I'm lucky to live right next to the sea in Northern Italy, and on bright sunny days I stroll down to the local beach to eat my lunch by the ocean. It’s always so peaceful and calm.
Being a blogger of food and travel, I really love to cook (and eat!) and I always take care of what ingredients I use in my meals. We can all enjoy eating healthy when your lunch tastes fresh, exciting and clean every time!
So for me, weekends are for lighter lunches. I’m not a vegetarian or vegan, but I genuinely prefer to eat vegetable-based dishes and I enjoy experimenting with new recipes for the simplest of dishes.
100 gr Quinoa
150ml vegetable milk
Cook the quinoa in boiling water, and once cooked, run under cold water and leave to cool. Chop garlic (you only need a bit!) and mix all the spices together *all these flavours are a bit strong, so you decide the amount used according to your taste. Once the quinoa has cooled, add the carrot julienne, garlic and mixed spices. Beat the egg with the milk and add it to the mixture. It must not be too thin or too dry. If it is too runny, you can add a tablespoon of bread crumbs. If it is too firm, add milk. Let it sit in the fridge for half an hour while you prepare the vegetable meatballs…
Heat the oil in the pan. You want your meatballs to look like mini burgers. Cook them a few minutes on each side and allow to cool on paper towels. For a lighter version, you can cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 180°. You can replace the carrots with grated zucchini and add Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve with a salad of mixed greens topped with a vinaigrette made from olive oil, vinegar, lemon and mustard.
200 grams of barley
50g of dried chickpeas
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 red onion
A bunch of basil Some mint leaves Soak barley and chickpeas overnight *you can eliminate this step by buying pre-cooked chickpeas. Rinse under cold water and cook until al dente. Meanwhile wash all the raw vegetables and cut into very small cubes. Cut the eggplant into strips, then dice before cooking in two tablespoons of oil. Rest it on paper towels. Combine all ingredients and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Let it rest in the fridge before serving.
Gaia Borzicchi is a talented Mediterranean-based photographer and blogger living in Genova, Italy with a diverse writing portfolio that includes food, travel and weddings.
She can be found blogging at Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and on the following social medias: