Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christamas and Happy New Year

Here is a special post to wish you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2010.

a jar of hot chocolate mix, in the background  a jar of "vincotto" : grape sauce

In the foreground to the right a gingerbread star, to the right a heart shaped sugarpaste decoration by Paola Lazzari

Among the presents for friends for Christmas I prepared  jars of "hot chocolate mix" all the details will soon be  on this screen) With a star shaped biscuit cutter I made decorations for the jars and for the xmas packets using gingerbread.

Thinking of snow falling down on the screen,I decided to add a musical background:

Enya  - Amid the falling snow

How I remember sleepless nights
When we would read by candlelight
And on the windowpane outside
A new world made of snow

A million feathers falling down
A million stars that touch the ground
So many secrets to be found
Amid the falling snow


Maybe I am falling down
Tell me should I touch the ground
Maybe I won't make a sound
In the darkness all around

The silence of a winter's night
Brings memories I hold inside
Remembering a blue moonlight
Upon the fallen snow


Maybe I am falling down
Tell me should I touch the ground
Maybe I won't make a sound
In the darkness all around

I close my window to the night
I leave the sky her tears of white
And all is lit by candlelight
Amid the falling snow

And all is lit by candlelight
Amid the falling snow

More songs by Enya

press play to listen when
"amid the falling snow" is over

Friday, November 20, 2009

Roast meat with pomegranate

This dish is tasty and rich in vitamins. In fact, pomegranates contain vitamin B, C and  E and antioxidants.  In Europe they are in season in October and November. In the land downunder and southern hemisphere in general they are at their best from March to May.
Hurry up, while this fruit is still available, try this recipe!!!



a pork fillet or pork chine,
three pomegranates,
a large onion,
half a glass of white wine,
e.v.o*. oil,

Open the pomegranates and take out the arils. Set aside half of them and squeeze out the juice of the rest using a centrifuge or masher or juicer or any equipment that best suits you. Chop the onion.

Salt the meat, pour 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil* in a pot and add onion, (I do this before turning the heat on , so that the oil doesn't heat up too much) add salt and pepper and cook on low heat, when the onion is cooked, put the meat in the pot and turn it several times.

Add the wine, being careful not to lower the temperature of the meat at once (add it slowly and not on the meat). When the roast is about half cooked (after about 20 minutes) add the pomegranate juice.

Place the lid on the pot and continue to simmer, covered or semi-covered turning the meat every now and then.

After about 40 minutes turn the heat off and add the whole pomegranate arils previously set aside, they must not be cooked, but only be tossed quickly in the sause, otherwise they will change color and lose their vitamins.

Serving suggestion:
Put the meat in the centre of the platter and the pomegranate arils all around.

How to open a pomegranate

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Bread Connection - Milan Rome Sourdough Recipes

The Bread Connection is a four-handed project.  Maria Pia and I want to find recipes for tasty savoury breads and convert them so we can use sourdough. Needless to say that I'm not the expert in sourdough conversions.  Maria Pia is.

The first recipe converted  to LM that we suggest is:

 BREAD WITH GRAPES AND SAUSAGES  recipe using sourdough

 500 g flour 0,
 260 g water,
100 g sourdough,
10 g. of  malt or wildflower honey or sugar,
1 / 2 teaspoon dried garlic powder,
1 / 2 teaspoon dried onion powder,
1 teaspoon of salt,
1 cup of grapes
 300 / 500 g of sausage skinned and broken into small pieces

Mix the flour with water, sourdough, malt, salt* and flavorings *. Knead and put the dough in a large bowl greased with olive oil, covered with plastic wrap.
Let it rise until doubled in bulk (5 or 6 hours, depending on the temperature of the room, this time may vary)
Turn the dough on a work surface and knead it gently before adding the sausage meat and then the grapes.

Shape the loaf and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour ( do a "finger test" in a hidden corner of the loaf) and bake in preheated oven at 230 °C for 20 minutes and   at 190°C for another 20 minutes or until, with the knocking knuckles on the bottom of the loaf, it  sounds hollow. The sausage should be left raw.  The fat will melt and flavour the bread, making it even more tasty.
I work, so I need my dough to rise slowly so that Iìll be home when the rising process is over, therefore I  place the dough to rise for 20 to 24 hours in the refrigerator in a Bormioli jar leaving the lid a bit loose, except of course after  shaping the bread. If you decide to use this method, the salt* and other flavorings * * in this recipe are added during the second proving.
The amount of sausage that we decided to use to try the recipe was 300 g.  but after testing I believe that the the original amount (500 g.) is right, the bread will be more seasoned, but not excessively.
 Once the loaf has been shaped, I spray it with a fine mist of water and I repeat this operation every now and then to provent the surface from drying. Following the advice of Robert Potito, before putting the bread  in the oven I sprinkle the loaf with some flower. This keeps the inside moist and helps to form the outer crust.

BREAD WITH GRAPES AND SAUSAGE - original recipe from Quick breads Nicoletta Negri & Nathalie Aru

It is most likely a  muffin mixture (in fact, in the instructions  it says to work the doughfor a very short time).  So the Muffin Club will also be happy about this post.

330 g. of  plain flour (all purpose)
10 g. of baking powder,
1 teaspoon of baking soda,
310 ml of water,
10 g. of sugar,
2 eggs,
500 g. of  sausage,
1 cup of white grapes,
1 / 2 teaspoon of garlic powder,
1 / 2 teaspoon of onion powder,
butter for the mold,
 1 teaspoon of salt.

 Grease and flour a round  22 cm. mold.
 In a large bowl place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, onion, garlic, raisins and salt.
 In a separate container, beat the eggs with the sugar, add 310 ml of lightly salted water and the peeled sausage.
 Fold this mixture into the mix of flour and yeast and, with few turns of , mix all ingredients briefly using a wooden spoon. Non prolungate troppo l'operazione per non compromettere il risultato finale. Not not mix for  long to avoid ruining the end result.
 Bake for 55-60 minutes.
Check if the bread is cooked by inserting a skewer in the centre.  If it comes out dry it mean that the bread is ready .
Transfer the mold on a grill and wait 10 minutes before taking the bread out and serving.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Breakfast on the Bridge

Sydneysiders already know, but for us Aussies living OS it came as a surprise. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was "carpeted" with lawn and 6,000 lucky people were chosen though a ballot to have Breakfast on the Bridge on Sunday 25 October 2009 between 6.30am and 8.30am.

Foto by Anjepani

The government also provided some recipe ideas for the picnic

The NSW Government organized the event as part of Crave Sydney.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Halloween - Witches' fingers

Another "vintage" idea, last year's find. Witches' fingers. Served as apetizer together with an avocado dip (pretty green, mate!). A friend of mine when she arrived for dinner - by the way, dressed as a witch, black hat and all - was rather surprised and could not stop laughing. She was not expecting a theme menu and she had never seen these cute fingers :). Neither had I, to say the truth, until I did some research on the net to decide the menu.

I used a pate brisee recipe

200 g. of flour,
130 g. of butter,
6 tblpns of water,
a pinch of salt,
peeled almonds.

Mix the ingredients, let the dough rest for 25 minutes. On a lightly floured wooden board roll the pastry into a few long ropes, cut them to measure, shape the like fingers and using a knife make wrinkles on the knuckes.
Use almonds as nails.
Bake for 10-15 minutes in a 180°C oven.

Halloween - The Spider Web Cake

Getting ready for Halloween? Here is the first "vintage" idea, still great fun though. I saw it on the net and used it last Halloween.
The cake I made is called "Orange Brasiliana".  I made the spider web using tempered white chocolate. The filling is just a thin layer of orange marmelade prevoiusly mixed with some brandy.
No recipe for the spider, sorry. It's real. :)

ORANGE BRASILIANA   recipe by  Ramona P.

Blend in the mixer:
a whole unpeeled orange (take out seeds first),
150 ml. of sunflower ( peanut or rice oil),
4 eggs,
200 g. of sugar (white or brown),
250 g. of self-raising flour.

Fold the batter in a 26/28 cm diameter cake tin and bake at 180° C for about 40/45 minutes. The cake is ready when the surface is golden brown.

While the cake is baking, make the orange syrup. Heat 200 ml. of orange juice together with 150 -200 g. of sugar, dipending on how sweet you like the syrup to be. Bring to the boil then simmer for a short time to obtain the syrup. Pour it on the cake when it is just out of the oven (still hot) after you have pierced  it with a skewer so that the syrup can moisten the inside of the cake.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bread with Flour Mix and Sour Dough - World Bread Day

Under translation :)

I did not realize that today it was World Bread Day, seeing I made bread anyway, I will simply post the picture of the bread rolls I made. Nothing fancy. Had I known I would have thought of something special.

Bread with Flour Mix and Sourdough

125 g. of sourdough,
63 ml. of water,
125 g. of wholemeal flour,
125 of flour 0,
63 ml. of water,
250 g. of kamut flour,
150 ml. of water,
9 g. of salt,
the usual handful of sunflour seeds or whatever you like best

First rising
125 g. of sour dough,
125 g. of wholemeal flour,
63 g. of water,
lievitazione: circa 24 ore in frigo oppure una notte a temperatura ambiente

Second rising
impasto ottenuto,
125 g. flour0,
63 g. water,
lievitazione: circa 24 ore in frigo oppure un’ora e mezza a temperatura ambiente (questo tempo è indicativo perchè dipende dalla temperatura della cucina)

impasto ottenuto.
250 g. of kamut flour,
150 ml. of water,
una generosa manciata di semi di girasole, oppure di olive o noci

lievitazione: circa 2 o tre ore in teglia

Dopo aver lavorato un po’ l’impasto dargli una forma tonda, schiacciarlo pochissimo e delicatamente. Fare le pieghe così: Iniziare prendendo un bordo a piegarlo fino a toccare il centro, continuare con un altro lembo. In tre volte si avrà un giro completo. Lavorare così per una decina di minuti e poi dividere l'impasto in quattro. Formare i panini tondi. Metterli a lievitare su una teglia coperta con carta forno spolverata di farina. Tenere sempre umida la superficie dei panini (con uno spruzzino) e prima di infornare bagnare di nuovo e poi spolverare di farina fatta cadere da un passino.
Cuocere in forno preriscaldato a 230°C per venti minuti, poi abbassare la temperatura a 190°C e cuocere per altri quindici minuti.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day - 15 October 2009

A political decision is moral if it contributes to the maintenance of the conditions and processes that are humanly favorable in the biosphere. Ervin Lazlo, L'uomo e l'universo Di Rienzo Editore, Roma, 1998

Una politica è morale se contribuisce al mantenimento delle condizioni e dei processi umanamente favorevoli nella biosfera" da Ervin Lazlo, L'uomo e l'universo Di Rienzo Editore, Roma, 1998

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Yogurt and Almond Milk Cake

Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th Daniela C. added various threads to our CI forum to cheer up those of us who were not participating to the members meeting in Bordighera. I though hers a really sweet idea.
On Sunday morning I cuddled myself by making this cake.

I got the idea when I opened the fridge and saw two yogurts with almond milk that had been staring at me already in the last few days. I slightly changed my favourite cake recipe and here is the result.  It's a simple cake, ideal for breakfast or five o'clock tea.


for a 30 cm. diameter cake tin
250 g of butter,
4 eggs,
1 and a half cups of sugar,
250 g. of yogurt with almond milk (in Italy they are made by Yomo),
4 cups of self-raising flour,
enough milk to obtain 2 cups, yogurt included.

Work the butter with the eggs, add sugar and work again until the mixture becomes of a light colour. Using a measuring jug pour in the yogurt and fill with milk to obtain 2 cups of liquid. Fold in alternating milk and flour to avoid lumps from forming. Butter the sides of a round baking dish about 30 cm. in diameter, cover the base with a disc of buttered greaseproof paper. Fold in the batter and bake at 180 °C. Bake for about 60 minutes. Check with a skewer that the centre of the cake is cooked, turn off the oven and leave the door ajar for about ten minutes before removing the cake. After another 10-15 minutes remove the cake from the tin and place cake on a wire rack to cool.

To decorate:
Mix a nice big teaspoonful of honey with a taespoon of water over low heat. I used Robinia (Black Locust) honey. Coat the surface of the cake. Heat up the same amount of water and honey as before, off the heat fold in a nice handful of sliced almonds, coat well and the spread over the cake.

Did you know about

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rice with prawns, toasted bread and squid ink sauce

Finally !!!!! I made it. This "rice with prawns, toasted bread and squid ink sauce" was published by Ale in Menù Turistico in her column, "Chi la fa? Lo aspetto!" that translated might roughly be "Who's making it? I'm waiting!"

My comment is : I really liked this rice, I found it delicate, balanced in its flavours, the rice was cooked to the right point and nice and creamy , the squid ink sauce was perfect with it.

I think it is also suitable to be prepared slightly in advance, and then put in the oven just before serving.  So you can keep this recipe in mind when you have guests and do not want to finish cooking at the last minute.

In tal caso lascere un po' indietro la cottura del riso e da parte un po' di salsina del risotto da aggiungere nelle formine prima di infornare. In that case, I'd leave a little 'back cooking the rice and by a little' sauce for the rice to be added in the molds before baking.  What do you think?


 Recipe by Massimo Riccioli, Restaurant; La Rosetta (Rome) pubblished by Menù Turistico

Serves 4

280 g. of Carnaroli rice,
800 g. of red prawns,
3 cloves of garlic,
2 dl vegetable stock,
2 tablespoons of cognac,
1 ladle of liquid obtained from cooking prawn shells,
50 g. of bread crumbs,
2 fillets of salted anchovies,
1 knob of butter,
1 dl of extra virgin olive oil,
salt and pepper.

For the sauce:

2 sachets of squid ink,
1 tablespoon tomato sauce,
, 1 ladle of prawn liquid,
1 / 2 teaspoon of honey,
1 knob of butter,
4 basil leaves,
 salt and pepper.

Shell and clean the prawns, keeping 4 whole prawns aside for garnishing the plates.
Use the shells to prepare the sauce. Chop the tails.  Toast the rice with 2 tblspns of oil in a pan.  In a saucepan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil, seasoned with two lightly crushed cloves of garlic .  Sauté the chopped prawns, add salt, then add the cognac  and allow to evaporate. Remove the garlic, add the rice and continue cooking, adding the prawn liquid first and then the vegetable stock. Take away from the heat when the rice is only be slightly underdone.  Add salt if necessary, and pepper.


Imburrate 4 stampini e riempiteli con il risotto. 4 buttered molds and fill them with the risotto. Terminate la cottrua in forno a 120-130 gradi, per circa 5 minuti. End the cottrua in oven at 120-130 degrees for about 5 minutes.

Dislicate e sciacquate le acciughe, riducetele in poltiglia, poi dissolvetele nell'olio, con lo spicchio d'aglio rimasto, finemente tritato. Dislich and rinsed anchovies, reduce it to mush, then dissolvetele oil, with the remaining clove of garlic, finely chopped. Scaldate l'olio in una padella e tostate la mollica di pane sbriciolata. Heat the oil in a frying pan and toast the bread crumbs. Mescolate il fondo di gamberi e il brodo vegetale in parti uguali, e versatene un mestolino in una casseruola, nella quale avrete sciolto una noce di burro. Stir the bottom for shrimp and the vegetable stock in equal parts, and pour a ladle in a pot, in which you have melted a knob of butter.

Unite il miele, il basilico tritato e il nero di seppia, diluito in un cucchiaio di salsa di pomodoro. Add the honey, chopped basil and squid ink, diluted in a tablespoon of tomato sauce. Fate ridurre, fino ad ottenere una salsa abbastanza densa. Let reduce until you have a fairly thick sauce.

Velate i piatti con la salsa, sformate il tortino di riso al centro, guarnitelo con i gamberi interi e spolveratelo con la mollica di pane tostata. Veiled the plates with the sauce, transforming the rice cake in the center, garnish with the shrimp and sprinkle with the toasted bread crumbs. Completate con un filo di olio. Complete with a little oil.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ravioli with Arugola and Dried Tomatoes Pesto

Marcowebmaster, while visiting this blog - what a  snooper! :)), wandered around my blog roll. And he discovered "Arugula and dried tomatoes pesto " that Paoletta published on her blog Anice e Cannella (Anise & Cinnamon). We liked it so much that we have already made it three or four times. We will always be grateful to our dear Paoletta for sharing the pesto recipe with the web.

 A few days ago I started wondering is this pesto could be used as filling for ravioli and if cooking would spoil it.  Last night we tried.  Excellent!  If you like making pasta at home I suggest you try it.



For the egg pasta per person

110 g. of  flour, *
1 egg.

Use a work board. Make a well in the centre of the flour. Beat the eggs. Fold in and start mixing with the flour working outword from the centre. Knead the dough until ingedient are mixed together , but no more. Cover with a plate so the surface does not dry out and set it aside to rest for about 20 - 30 minutes.

 Roll out the dough using a rolling pin or a pasta rolling machine and form the ravioli with the arucola filling.

 * quantity is only indicative because the flour can absorb more or less liquid.

per il Pesto di Rucola di Anice & Cannella Arugula Pesto for the Anice & Cannella


100 gr of arugola,
160 grams of dried tomatoes drained,
50 grams of pine nuts,
6 tablespoons parmesan cheese
E.v.o. oil - enogh to get an almost creamy texture.

Take the arucola and the sundried tomatoes and blend together . Add parmesan cheese, pine nuts, olive oil and a pinch of salt. If you have some good pepper, dust  some directly on the ravioli after serving.

About this pesto Paoletta says, "This pesto is quite simple but very tasty, do try it: it's really nice! The beauty of  pesto is that it can be prepared while the water boils and the pasta cooks. It keeps in the refrigerator for about a week covered with oil in a tightly closed jar. "

NOTE: If you want to use this pesto to dress pasta, at the last minute add a tblspn of cooking water per person to the pesto, mix and then dress the pasta in a large pan or bowl.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Violette's birthday Cake 2009 - Raspberry, blackberry and blueberry mousse cake

Violette turned three in July. Traditionally her birthday party takes place in the first week of September when all her little friends are back from their summer holidays and the temperatureis cooler.
Her mum and dad turned the garden into a real playground, with tables for drawing, toys on the lawn, lots of goodies to eat made by Violette's gradmothers. This year to mark the passing of her third year Violette's dad had a really sweet idea. An olive tree was planted in the local park during the party and all the kids took part to this. A small bottle with all their names inside was put to keep company to the roots. :) You should have seen how busy planting they all were!!!
Thanks to the costant help of Paola L.  taking ideas and in part copying the decorations in sugar paste of one of her cakes I made a cake for Violette.

DSCN4435 - tea party

The tea party

DSCN4437 - tea party


For the cake:

three cake discs about 30 in diameter 2 plain and one chocolate
for each disc:
2 eggs
125 g. of butter,
1 and a half cups of sugar,
2 cups of self-raising flour,
1 cup of milk,
for each plain disc half a sachet (half a g.) of vanillin powder,
for the chocolate disc 4 tablespoons of cocoa.

Work the butter with the eggs, add sugar and work again until the mixture becomes of a light colour.  Alternate milk and flour already sifted with the vanillin or cocoa, depending on the case. Butter the sides of a round baking dish about 30 cm. in diameter, cover the base with a disc of buttered greaseproof paper. Fold in the batter and bake at 180 °C.  Bake for about 50 minutes. Check with a skewer that the centre of the cake is cooked, turn off the oven and leave the door ajar for about ten minutes before removing the cake. After another 10-15 minutes remove the cake from the tin and place cake on a wire rack to cool.
Fill with the mousse the next day, otherwise the cake will be too soft and tend to break.

For the filling:

500 g.  Ricotta cheese made from cow milk
500 ml of cream,
300 g. of raspberry jam,
100 g. of blackberry jam,
100 g. of cranberry jam.

Work the jam with a fork to make it soft, add the same weight of ricotta cheese (this also slightly softened with a fork or using a mixer) and then very gently combine the whipped cream.  Cover the first disc with the cranberry mousse, the second with the blackberry mousse and cover the top of the cake and the sides with the raspberry mousse. Obviously you may decide to change this order and make another flavour predominant. I chose the raspberry mousse for this decoration because the colour best matched that of the little sugar paste objects.

DSCN4422 - tea party
sugar paste objects- detail

The mat, coffee table, candy holders and cups were made by cutting sugar paste with different sized  fluted cutters and then shaping them into various forms. To obtain the lace effect I followed Paola's  suggestion of using size different toothpicks or skewers.  For the coffee table (Paola docet here, too) I used round biscuits to make the base on which I then rested the tablecloth to dry . Cups, teapot and sugar bowl made got me crazy but eventually I succeeded.

The drawings were made with food color markers.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fig and Apple Jam

Often the problem with fig jam is that as it cooks it tends to stick to the pan or the sugar tends to burn. This recipe suggests to use figs and apples. Not a bad idea. Apples, as we know, contain a good supply of pectin, and always help the jam to set, while giving figs that bit of extra juice that can give jam a good consistency.
'Granny Smiths' are tart apples which  well-balance the sweet flavour of figs.



600 g. of Granny Smith apples (about 3), peeled, cored and cut into small pieces,
1 l. of water,
500 g. of  figs, washed and cut into small pieces without removing the skin,
an additional  ½ l. of water,
1 kg. of sugar.
Put the apples in a large shallow pot  with the cold water, bring to boil, cook for 30 minutes. Add the figs and the rest of the water.  Bring to the boil and simmer covered for another 10 minutes. Take off the heat, add the sugar, put the pot back on the stove and let the sugar melt slowly stirring over low heat. Bring to the boil and cook uncovered over low heat for another 30 minutes, without much stirring, checking occasionally that the jam does not stick. When it is sufficiently dense (do the plate test), the jam is ready!
Pour into hot sterilized jars while jam is still hot. Clean the top of the jars with a paper towel moistened with liquor.
Close with sterilized lids when cold or close while hot and turn upside down until cold thus creating a vacuum. This jam can be made with both white and blach figs.
Here is a gift for you: the labels that I made using an image that I really like signed "Tratti di gusto."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Eggplant Croquettes for Adriana

This recipe is on my website, too but I decided to add it to my blog. Eggplants are in season and a Forum friend has just asked for it. Maybe the picture is a little dark. I apologize :)

Serves 6
1 kg. of medium size eggplants,
40 g. of grated pecorino o parmigiano cheese,
1 egg and one yolk,
70 g. of breadcrumbs,
2 cloves of garlic,
some basil and parsley leaves,
extravergin olive oil (preferibly Italian :)),

Wash and dry the eggplants cut off the stalks, then bake them whole at 180°C for about 40 minutes (or until tender). Let them cool, now you can either open them and scrape the flesh away from the skin and use only that, or, as I prefer use the whole fruit. Blend it with the basil, parsley, garlic, eggs, grated cheese, a pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer the mix into a bowl, stir in the breadcrumbs and let rest for 10 minutes. If the mixture should be too soft, add a little more breadcrumbs. Shape into croquettes. Roll in breadcrumbs. Place them on a baking tray on a sheet of baking paper, and bake in a hot oven at 180°C for 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

With the same mix you can also make small patty-cakes. In this case, pour a little oil on the surface before baking.

Serving Suggestion - Chop some fresh tomatoes, add some oil, basil, salt and pepper and serve aside the croquettes or patties.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Swordfish with pistachio and basil pesto

I wondered for some time if the combination of basil and pistachio nuts would taste good with swordfish. On the internet   On the net I found info of the combination of swordfish and basil but nothing on pistachio, so I had to try for myself.

I really liked it.  I found the taste well balanced and enjoyable.  Try it yourself and then tell me.

If there's only two of you,  you'll have enough extra pesto left over for a second time. :)

SWORDFISH pistachios and basil pesto

Serves two

2 medium sized slices of swordfish,
30 g. of tender basil leaves,
30 g. of fresh  pistachios,
4 or 5 tablespoons of e.v.o. oil,
a pinch of salt,

In traditional pesto recipes basil is not meant to be washed. But another story. So very quickly wash the basil and dry it. Tritarlo insieme ai pistacchi e al sale nel mortaio o in un piccolo frullatore capace di fare un trito sottilissimo. Crush them with pistachios and salt in a mortar or small food processor can do a very fine mince. Aggiungere un po' d'olio alla volta. Add a little 'oil at a time. Se invece il pesto lo volete conservare qualche giorno non aggiungere tutto l'olio, bensì solo un paio di cucchiai e metterlo in un barattolino. But if you want to keep the pesto a few days do not add all the oil, but only a couple of tablespoons and put it in a jar. Coprirlo con un po' d'olio per far si che la superficie non sia a contatto con l'aria. Cover it with a little 'oil for making one's area is not in contact with air.

Either grill the swordfish or cook on a griddle for a few minutes, serve seasoned with the pistachio pesto. Place a bit of it on the fish and a little on the side so that you can still dip fish in the pesto.


Friday, August 21, 2009

"Altamura" Bread Savoury Cake with Zucchini and Smoked "Provola" cheese

At last, after having said I would make it, after asking Ale for advice and braving the heat of August summer days I turned on the oven and  prepared this savoury dish with the recipe published by Ale on Menu Turistico making very small variations to obtain a "lighter" version.  For example, I used fewer eggs (only 3) and I started with cooking the zucchini, so they could cool while I lined the cake tin  24 cm in diameter) and started mixing the other ingredients. Next time I'll try the new suggestions given by Ornella and Ale to make it even a bit " lighter", for example, replacing all the cream with milk.

A dilemma I had was with the instruction, "grate" the zucchini. Mumble mumble...  Grating just like when making Draniki seemed excessive. Ale is on vacation and so I don't think it's the case to write to her. In Ale's picture the zucchini seem to be cut in small pieces  maybe they are shredded into julienne strips - I thought- and that's what I did. Here is the detail of the slice.

detail of a slice

Other considerations. I put the lined cake tin in the oven as the recipe said but at the last minute so as to get the bread  nice and hot, then took it out,  quickly poured the mixture in and put it right back in the oven.  All this to avoid the liquid from going immediately to the bottom. After 5 minutes I took the tin out and decorated the top with slices of tomato, etc..
Actually, I want to add a further consideration: shouldn't this savoury cake be called ... "with zucchini and provola"? With all  the provola that's inside! :)))

Ale will tell me what she thinks of the changes. In any case she was right.  "It is simply delicious."

This is the original recipe from Menu Turistico.

6 to 8 slices of Altamura bread , slightly stale
5 eggs,
250 ml of cream,
500 g. of zucchini,
2 tomatoes,
1 smoked scamorza cheese (about 3 hg),
 e.v.o.* oil,
grated parmesan 2 nice handfuls,
a herb  mix  (oregano-thyme-basil)
salt and pepper.

*extra vergin olive

Line the bottom of a sprinform cake tin with baking paper and grease the edges well.  Beat the eggs shortly with a fork, add the cream and salt.  Soak the slices of bread in the egg mixture  quickly and arrange them into a 24 - 26 cm tin, so as to line the bottom and sides).  In the meanwhile, julienne the zucchini and cook them in a pan for 7-8 minutes, with a little oil and salt. You can also flavour with basil cut with scissors.  The zucchini must remain crisp. Let them cool and add to the remaining mixture of eggs and cream. Should the bread have absorbed too much of it, if necessary, add an egg and 75 ml of cream. Now add  the diced smoked cheese, parmesan, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt, if necessary (it usually is). Pour the mixer in the lined tin, level the surface and  garnish with slices of tomato.  To make it clear: you have to make a circle, leaving the center free as in the picture. Finish by dusting the surface with bread crumbs and herbs. Bake at 200°C for half an hour - 40 minutes.


6 to 8 slices of Altamura bread , slightly stale
3 eggs,
100 ml of milk,
50 ml of cream,
450 g of julienned zucchini,
2 tomatoes,
150 g. of smoked provola,
e.v.o.* oil,

2 handfuls of grated parmesan cheese,
a herb mix (oregano-thyme-basil),
salt and pepper.
*extra vergin olive

Slice the zucchini and cook them in a pan for 7-8 minutes, with a little oil and salt. You can also flavour aromatizzare with basil, cut with scissors. The zucchini must remain crisp. Let them cool. In the meanwhile, line the bottom of a springform cake tin with baking paper and grease the edges well with olive oil. Beat the eggs  shortly  with a fork, add the cream and salt. Soak quickly the slices of bread in the egg mixture  and arrange them into a 24 cm tin, so as to line the bottom and sides).  Add the zucchini to the remaining mixture of eggs and cream. Now add the diced smoked cheese, parmesan, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt, if necessary (it usually is). Pour the mixer in the lined tin, level the surface and garnish with slices of tomato. To make it clear: you have to make a circle, leaving the centre free as in the picture. Finish by dusting the surface with bread crumbs and herbs. Bake at 200°C for half an hour - 40 minutes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Carnaroli Rice and Friendship

During the Pirandelliana (a theatre event taking place in summer here in Rome), a dear and thoughtful Friend, who usually  arrives with all kinds of nice goodies for us when she comes to see the plays (in previous years she has usually arrived with dinner for two, worthy of the most elegant picnic, ideal  to restore us after working hard and starving until late while helping at the box office ), This year brought, - although unaware of my membership in "Cucina Italiana- a microwave safe cooking stone she purchased in Germany, a black truffle and last but not least a beautiful packet of carnaroli rice, accompanied by the following  handwritten message that I appreciated so much, because sometimes a small gesture, the time and care put into doing something  say so much about a person:

"This rice is the onlyone that has PDO (protected designation of origin)  in Italy


 1 cup of rice serves two
 2 cups cold water

Put the rice and water in a saucepan (preferably nonstick), cover with lid and place on the heat.  When the water is almost totally absorbed mix a bit and then serve with gravy, sauce or whatever you want.  It does not stick and does not require any attention. "

Yesterday night Marcowebmaster exhibited himself in cooking a truffle risotto that due to poor lighting  was not photographed before being engorged by the two of us. We'll make it again sometime and give you a full report.

 I put the rest of the rice away. I'm saving it for the recipe that  Ale (Menu Turistico) published for us in her column: "chi la fa la aspetto" - the game consists in following a given recipe by a famous chef  and  photographing what turns out  . I read one of the recipes and I thought: I've got most of the ingredients!  I've got carnaroli rice ! Where to get the squid ink had already been the subject of several jokes on the forum, and seeing that Diana (from Bordighera - only 700 km away) no longer had any in her pantry I could borrow :)), this morning I set out looking for it.  Easy! The first SMA supermarket I stopped at had it in the chiller cabinet and the cashier was so nice that she went to get it for me. With these two essential ingredients already in the pantry there are no excuses. I have to take part in Ale's "game". The only problem is that Marcowebmaster doesn't exactly love prawns. It's going to take me some time to convince him.