HOME RESTAURANT DATE NIGHTS Over 50s Lifestyle Recipes

Home Restaurant Date Night #2 – Mediterranean

February 5, 2023

Using my TIME wisely is my WOTY focus and part of my 2023 plan is to reintroduce our Home Restaurant Date Nights (HRDN). I enjoy cooking and preparing food for my husband (he enjoys cooking too), family and friends. Over the last couple of years our HRDNs special dinners were put aside as life took over, but I’m bringing them back in 2023!

For our first HDRN I tried a couple of Nigella’s recipes which were a success. Poached Chicken with Lardons & Lentils for the main course. This was followed by dessert which was an Italian Rice Pudding Cake with Raspberry Coulis and Yogurt. If you would like to make this dinner, you can find the recipes HERE.

Recently, I joined a new online Book Club with a difference. The Cookbook Confidential Book Club is hosted by Bernadette from New Classic Recipes. Each month, book club members read the same cookbook. We then each prepare one of the recipes, share it and include a review of the book. To keep it easy (and affordable), the cookbooks chosen are ones that are readily available from our public libraries.

Our first Cookbook selection is Chris Kimball’s Milk Street Tuesday Night’s Mediterranean. I had not heard of Chris Kimball or the Milk Street recipes so I googled Chris Kimball to find out more. I actually couldn’t find a copy at my library, however, I did find a sample view on Amazon which included a few recipes that I could try.

Milk Street Tuesday Nights Mediterranean Book

As my selection in the sample was limited I chose the Spicy Ground Beef Kebabs with Tomato-Sumac Sauce. It sounded tasty and used some flavours which again, I had not used or heard of.

The book suggests that the ‘recipe is a take on kebab hindi, that despite its name, is a Levantine, not Indian, dish’.

Levantine, I learned relates to the Levant a region in Eastern Mediterranean.

I will be posting a link to Bernadette’s website towards the end of the month to check out the full recipe and my cookbook review, as well as the recipes and reviews of other members.

The Menu

The Mediterranean theme included a Main from Eastern Mediterranean and Dessert from Italy.

Main – Spicy Ground Beef Kebabs with Tomato-Sumac Sauce
Dessert – Cannoli al Cacao con Ricotta (Chocolate Cannoli with Ricotta)

Spicy Ground Beef Kebabs with Tomato-Sumac Sauce in Pictures

Start to finish 40 minutes Servings 4 to 6


I consulted Google before I started to double check a couple of things:

  1. to find out what ‘Broiling’ meant as I believe that is an American term and not one we usually use in Australia. I discovered it means a cooking process which involves the use of very high heat for a short period of time. It is also a low fat form of cooking so a win/win there in the healthy eating stakes.
  2. Sumac is a popular Middle Eastern spice which is related to the poisonous shrub by the same name.  the culinary variety is safe to use and has vibrant red berries. I played it safe and just bought it in the herbs and spices section of the Supermarket.
  • I had to convert from Imperial to Metric
  • I also converted the servings to suit 2 rather than 4 – 6 (although this would reheat well for another meal if you want to make the full quantity).
  • Cilantro is also known as Coriander
  • I preheated my fan forced oven to 180C

Cannoli al Cacao con Ricotta

The recipe is from the Italian Street Food Cookbook by Paola Bacchia. I’ve always wanted to make Cannoli which is an Italian favourite – have you ever seen The Sopranos? They are always eating Cannoli!


  • I googled to see if they could be airfried rather than fried in oil for a healthier version. See my ratings and comments below on how this worked.
  • I didn’t have the cannoli tubes so made the tubes out of aluminium foil which I wound around the handle of a wooden spoon. They were okay but obviously not as good as the tubes but I didn’t want to buy any in case this was a one-off.

How did the recipes rate?

Spicy Ground Beef Kebabs with Tomato Sumac Sauce

✰✰✰✰✰ – Easy to make and ingredients readily available
✰✰✰✰✰ – Tasted delicious and I would make it again. It is also healthy as the meat is broiled rather than fried in oil so a win/win on taste and being good for us.

Cannoli al Cacao con Ricotta

✰✰✰✰ – Faily Easy to make although I could have made the pastry a little thinner and the circles larger as I had difficulty trying to fill the cooked cannoli with the Ricotta. I’m not sure I would use the airfryer again. The ingredients were readily available in my pantry and at the supermarket.

✰✰✰ – As I mentioned, I wouldn’t make them in the airfryer again. I was trying to make them a healthier version than the deep-fried traditional way. Sometimes you just have to stick with tradition. They did taste okay once the filling was added.

Would you try these recipes?

Sue Loncaric

I’m sharing this on Wednesday Words and Pics hosted by Denyse Whelan

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way


  • Reply Jo February 8, 2023 at 08:06

    I’d definitely give those meatballs a go. I’m quite liking this cookbook – although the imperial to metric thing is doing my head in. The ingredients not so much as I’m ok with the American terms when it comes to that. Your meal looks lovely.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 8, 2023 at 10:18

      Yes the imperial to metric is a pain, Jo but I think there would be other recipes I would like to try. The meatballs were so tasty. x

      • Reply Jo February 10, 2023 at 06:25

        I’ve cooked a few things from it now.

        • Reply Sue Loncaric February 13, 2023 at 12:08

          Yes I may end up buying it as I’ve seen some other recipes I would like to try. x

  • Reply bernadette Laganella February 8, 2023 at 09:20

    The cannoli is a brilliant idea. Thanks for the shout out

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 8, 2023 at 10:19

      Hi Bernadette, it is the first time I’ve tried to make cannoli and I think next time I would make them a little better. They were tasty though. x

  • Reply Janine February 8, 2023 at 10:26

    The beef kebabs look fabulous and sound very tasty. I’ve always liked the look of cannoli but I’m often disappointed with the taste, mainly because I don’t generally like deep fried food. It’s a shame your air fryer idea didn’t really work out as that might be a healthier alternative. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to seeing what other great menus you come up with.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 13, 2023 at 12:02

      Hi Janine, the beef kebabs were very tasty and I would certainly make them again. I wouldn’t make the cannoli again although it was good to give it a try. x

  • Reply Toni Pike February 8, 2023 at 13:50

    Looks like an incredible feast, Sue

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 13, 2023 at 12:03

      Thanks, Toni it was delicious!

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee February 8, 2023 at 15:53

    Good for you! I love this idea. This will be our Valentine’s Day this year as we’re out a bit too much at the moment (for the kids) so we’ll all be home together for that dinner. Still working out what I’ll do – I know that canolli would be too hard for me!! I am not a talented cook!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 13, 2023 at 12:04

      Hi Lydia, the cannoli wasn’t hard just a bit fiddly so I wouldn’t recommend for a special dinner. Sometimes, food made with love can be quick, easy and tasty. Hope your Valentine’s Dinner goes well. x

  • Reply Debbie February 8, 2023 at 16:05

    These all look delicious Sue, good on you for making the time to change things around and check meanings of terms. Your restaurant does a great job!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 13, 2023 at 12:04

      The beef kebabs were so tasty and although the cannoli weren’t perfect they tasted good too. x

  • Reply Vanessa February 8, 2023 at 16:55

    You know, I was just considering making some kind of meatballs for dinner tonight. Looks like I have to now 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 13, 2023 at 12:05

      I hope your meatballs turned out well. I don’t usually make them, but these were easy and very tasty. x

  • Reply Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid February 8, 2023 at 22:15

    Your meal looks delicious and I’m very impressed with your canoli – what a shame they didn’t work as well with the air fryer because I do love a good air fry situation! I look forward to seeing your other cooking creations!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 13, 2023 at 12:05

      Hi Sammie, I think I just left the cannoli a minute too long but once they were filled they tasted fine. x

  • Reply Retirement Reflections February 9, 2023 at 06:07

    Hi, Sue – I am seriously loving this cookbook too. I plan to make Orecchiette with Coriander and Cherry tomatoes for dinner tonight. (However, Richard just called from the store and swears that he can’t find Orecchiette anywhere. Did he ask anyone? No, of course not! Please stay tuned).
    Your dishes here look amazing. And I love, love, love that you have restarted Date Night Dinners. I look forward to following them all!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 13, 2023 at 12:06

      HI Donna, yes I’ve found a couple of other recipes to try so may end up buying the book after all. I saw your Orecchiette photo and it looked yummy and so colourful. x

  • Reply Jennifer Jones February 9, 2023 at 18:02

    Well done Suie on making the time to make an effort and also giving the gift of time to your relationship. This is a really worthwhile thing to do.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 13, 2023 at 12:07

      Thanks, Jen I enjoy cooking and maybe not to this extend every day but I do like to make something special on a more regular basis. x

  • Reply Min Write of the Middle February 10, 2023 at 06:59

    Hi Sue, both of those look delicious! I don’t have an air fryer so would’ve had no choice but to stick with the traditional way. Love the look of both but have always wanted to try making canoli. This bookclub sounds fun as does your HRDN idea! xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 13, 2023 at 12:09

      My husband bought the airfryer Min and we only use it to cook chips! I’m not sure they are any faster in cooking but perhaps a little healthier. x

  • Reply Denyse Whelan Blogs February 10, 2023 at 12:57

    So much love of learning and cooking here Sue. I admire your curiosity and courage and I’m getting to know more about the joy of making food for those we love. It was so good seeing your blog post shared via the Wednesday’s Words and Pics link up. Thank you for being part of the community here and I hope to see you next week too. Denyse.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 13, 2023 at 12:09

      I’m enjoying cooking special dinners again, Densye. It might take time but I enjoy trying new recipes and making a special dinner out of it. x

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