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Visualizzazione dei post da 2015

Recycling

We all know how important is to recycle. Obviously the best would be to avoid producing waste at all; yet in this season of the year this seems so unlikely.
So in order to help the planet, I made up my mind that it was about time to recycle my nuisance of today, which is a freshly baked cake: I had great expectations that went lost soon enough. I tested a new recipe and the dough looked so promising, but I under baked the whole thing and to my biggest dismay the final cake was sadly soggy and dense.
There is a wide tradition of recycling old cakes (trifles, cake pops, charlotte, tiramisu, you name it). I assume that such long standing traditions stem out of gloomy damp cakes as well. 
While surfing the lovely net, I stumbled in my next project, which is called New Orleans Russian Cake or Creole Trifle. The whole web carries so far one only recipethat I will skimp. My plan is to cube the awful loaf, wash it away in some juicy concoction (it will be citrusy and berry colored) and disguise…

Buone Feste! Happy Holidays!

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Mock beans on toast

Hello there dearest reader,
We are talking here about fancy food today, as you have guessed from the title of today post.
Now let us clear one point first: in my area, nobody – N O B O D Y – that I am acquainted with has ever been eating beans on toast. I am also not telling anybody – A N Y B O D Y – that I am currently surviving my sad and forlorn lunches at office on beans on toast. So, please let us keep this very well kept secret between you and me.
The thing is, the holidays are coming up, pressing up actually and guess what: I still have to lose the post-baby redundant belly despite my son being 4 years old. I skipped the spring cleanse, the summer fasting, the autumn diet, winter is approaching and my extra weight is still there! Am I doing anything to shake it off? Absolutely not, no worries! So I have decided that I should stop wolfing down nice pizza and not exactly light street food and suddenly a memory resurfaced. Ages ago, when I had no wrinkles and cellulite was not a pr…

Meal planning, anyone?

I just cannot believe I am my mom’s daughter. My mother is always planning her entire lifetime and that is probably why she has achieved so much (although not as much as she wished for, being the lovely woman a little perfectionist).
As of me, I was probably out and about when the capacity of planning was shared. Wait, are you telling me this is something you can possibly learn? I won’t believe it.
Take the groceries: when my fridge is empty I go to the shop. Sometimes we prepare a list: most of the times we leave it at home. So usually we go back two or three time in a row to the supermarket in order to get whatever necessities we totally forgot. In the meanwhile, I accumulate a bounty of ingredients, that just looked good or were cheap or simply new and I could not live without.
So I come home and struggle for hours to play tetrix with my groceries in order to be able to store them in my tiny and overfilled cupboards and drawers.
Then I am done. I go to work, he goes to work and the li…

Torta di grano saraceno di Marianna Franchi e un po' di foglie autunnali

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If you have ever been in Alto Adige you probably have already enjoyed a slice or two or a thousand of this special cake with buckwheat flour.
I actually never thought about baking it at home and I was so totally sure that it contained hazelnuts, but I guess I was wrong... You can find the traditional recipe here
Recently I acquired  di farina in farinaby Marianna Franchi who writes this beautiful blog Menta e Liquirizia
I’ve been coveting this book since it was published and then recently could not resist any longer its mermaid chant.
The book itself is just absolutely brilliant: Marianna is an engineer and you can tell from the impeccable organization of the book. There are recipes using all sorts of flours: the cereals are listed alphabetically and you do not need to flip to the table of contents to find the chapter you are looking for. Each chapter has an individual table of content with the recipes and miniatures of each picture. There are both sweet and savory recipes for anything po…

The brownies

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Hope you had a pleasant weekend.
I went to the seaside to take a walk and it was magic: how lovely to see the sand, the sea, and the sky and to forget about the mass to whom I belong, with all the summer trivial cramming along to survive the holidays.
True to my word I started browsing my cookbook collection and have been cooking several disasters (a leathery chicken curry and an anarchic crumbly flapjack among the lot).
Then yesterday finally a good result adapted from Levi Roots Sweet:
Melt 250 g butter with 250 g chocolate. Whisk 5 happy eggs with 230 g sugar. Sift 125 g flour, 100 g ground pecans, 3 tbsp cocoa, ¼ tsp allspice and cardamom each. Fold everything together. Bake at 180°C (fan) for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!
Notes: 1. The original recipe calls for good quality dark chocolate and more sugar (300 g caster and 85 g muscovado). I have some chocolate eggs fossils and I have used them up and hence I had to decrease the sugar. I usually melt butter and chocolate in the microwave. I know, …

All-edges brownie cookies from Sugar & Spice

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Hello dearest reader,
I have been out and about trying to fix a few issues at work and guess what: there are still many more to be fixed but I will just drop by to jot down another success story, as I believe so can be called cookies that I consider to bake again in the future.
You know already that I am so strongly trying to curb my propensity to purchase cookbooks as I definitely own way too many. Lately I was blabbering about it here and while I give credit to myself for resisting the urge to purchase cookbooks for the whole (oh well, almost) summer, I did fall in the pit again last month ending albeit later (two days ago in October). So now I have set a new unforgiving rule: I must cook at least 3 recipes from 3 cookbooks (each), before I purchase another one (only ONE). I will keep you updated about the strengths (ahem, weaknesses) of my poor self.
After this long and useless prologue (I do have to go back to work, that may explain why I am so wordy in order to avoid it)(stop it!)(…

Sagre nei dintorni

You can sense it is lunchtime because while I am daydreaming of what to do during next weekend all I can think is going to sagre (local festivals).
As usual, I may probably land on my own couch for the whole time, but dreaming is so nice, isn’t it?
Among my reachable (distance wise) picks:
Sagra dellaCastagna (chestnut festival) in Tarzo (TV), Gnoche’n’festa (Gnocchi festival)  in Auronzo (BL)and Delizie D’Autunno (Autumn delights) in Cavasso Nuovo focusing on pumpkin and the typical purple onion of the area.

Next week instead the Fiere del Teatro (Theater Festival) begins in  Sarmede (TV).
Have a nice afternoon!

Andreis e i muffin alla banana e i semi

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Last Sunday we enjoyed going to Andreis for Paesi Aperti 2015 / Open Villages. You may remember that last year we went to Poffabro 
This morning I tried to get rid of some overripe bananas using a recipe from Anna Jones“A modern way to eat”.
They actually turned out lovely and my little one had half of it (big success, let me tell you, especially after he had already drank a glass of milk and two glasses of apple juice).
(Barely adapted)
Mix dry ingredients/Mescola
250 g flour/farina 150 g seeds/semi (poppy/papavero, flax/lino and/e sesam/sesamo) 1 pinch of salt/pizzico di sale 1 tsp baking powder/cucchiaino di lievito
Mix wet ingredients/Mescola 3 bananas,mashed/banane schiacciate 2 eggs/uova 2 tbsp yogurt/cucchiai di yogurt 2 tbsp olive oil/cucchiai di olio d’oliva Juice and zest of one lemon/Succo e buccia di un limone
Fold together/Amalgama il tutto.

Bake at 200°C for about 20 minutes/cuoci a 200°C per circa venti minuti.

Grotte del Caglieron (TV)

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I can’t wait for tomorrow. It seems it is going to rain and hopefully the temperatures are going to drop. I cannot concentrate on work issues by this heat (currently 30° C). I can only think about holidays and long to go back to the beach. Luckily it seems that everyone around is pretty slow too, so hopefully nobody will notice.
Last Sunday we visited Grotte del Caglieron (TV) 
It is a nice place to visit also with a toddler: there are wooden bridges that go through the caves and it seems like a small adventure.
On the other hand, the visit was dotted by personal nuisances that have taught me new rules in life:
1. when your toddler says he does not want to go on a daytrip, for the first time ever in his long three years life, he is not whining, he has special divinatory powers;
2. when your loved one says he wants to drive the new car, but you feel nostalgic for the festive atmosphere of the old mobile, get over it;
3. when you order a sandwich in a deserted restaurant and the bar tender do…

Lago di Cornino (UD)

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We had a great time at Cornino: there is a beautiful park to visit Riserva Naturale del Lago di Cornino

We just had the tiniest hike and I already felt on my sloppy muscles...

Next time I will bring the picnic basket and enjoy the nature while sitting!

Ok no, I promise I will take a walk before from the car to the picnic table or perhaps around the beautiful lake (lake for Italian proportions obviously...).

Di nuovo a casa

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Hello there, I am back home.
Oh, well, in fact back at the office desk.
Actually I am still adjusting, as I am as slow as a snail, both in movements and in thoughts.
I hope you had a nice holiday, if you were on holidays, or a passable time at work or at your place, whichever that is.
I spent some time at the seaside, eating lots of fried food (my belly is so totally not happy of pairing up again with my work trousers, let me tell you) and digging holes in the sand and finding whatever garbage the previous cavemen decided to leave as a fossil for us: thank you so much for the ice scream wooden sticks and especially for the cigarette butts. It seems it takes over 20 years for cigarette butts to break up. So I would invite kind smokers to take these actions: 1. Quit smoking, that would be the best for your health and your pockets; 2. Quit dumping cigarette butts on the ground: ever heard of garbage cans? Ashtrays? Walking to the garbage cans is actually good for you, you get to do some spo…

Presto!

Now I am hurrying up: I did plan to close down business for summer holidays this Friday (ahem, that is tomorrow, for your information). Alright, I am already postponing my plans to Monday (not a good sign my dear old lady, let me tell you frankly).  I know, I know, but I simply cannot manage to get everything done by tomorrow (just sayin).
What bugs me is that now I only want to take a short nap. I am consistently choosing my readings carefully under that regard and it turns out that napping is a good thing to do, it seems it works wonders, better than cooffee.  I will let you know when I come back from my holidays, because if now I am late, after my nap I will be even later on my gullible super hero schedule.
In my spare time, aside from baking cookies and gaining weight accordingly, I am reading again! What a relief, sometimes I happen to use my brain, how unusual. So I have read the things we know now  by Catherine Dunne  I was actually stuck with it, let me tell you. I started it o…

Cookie monsters

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We are a family of three cookie monsters. We eat any sorts of cookies, lots of them.
Now I am in a baking frenzy, despite the heat or probably because of the heat. I cannot stand to have the oven going for more that 20 minutes, the time needed to bake a batch of cookies.
I tried a recipe from Claire Ptak and her oh so gorgeous cookbook - I will eventually share it because it is definitely a keeper.
I also tested Tim and Shanna Mallon oatmeal lace cookies. There are two similar versions in their blog hereand here. I own their cookbook (of course, I am also the cookbook monster). I will tweak their recipe next time because it was cloyingly sweet to me (but not to my other half, who said they are kind of addictive, after gobbling down a respectable amount of them) and reduce the sugar by half and see what happens.
Next recipe on my cookies list is this one.
Yes, I know, I am kind of boringly attracted by oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I may recover sooner or later.

Enjoy your week!

Chocolate chip cookies

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In the midst of a very hot summer, I find solace baking cookies, full of fats and sugars, surely it helps to shed a few pounds (does not, of course).
I have already mentioned one recipefrom talented Erin Alderson.
I already own both of her cookbooks and I cannot recommend them enough: doable, immaginative vegetarian recipe that please any palate, so far.
Like these cookies, that were even tested by the very ultimate picky eater, my nephew F., who from the haughty age of 2 can give you much trouble while trying to feed him anything (besides his favorite milk). Yet he almost ate a whole cookie (which is a total success, considering their mammoth size).
The same recipe has been tweaked and pictured beautifully here.
My other favorite chocolate chip recipe is here.
Barely adapted from Erin Alderson, The Homemade Flour Cookbook
100 butter, softened, creamed with 1 cup sugar * , beaten with 2 medium eggs and 1 tsp ron mixed with 1 cup oat flakes, 2 cups whole wheat flour, 2 tsp baking powder,
a pinch o…

Parmigiana bianca di zucchine

I found the lovely recipe on incucinaconmara.
It is a great way to use up the huge loads of zucchini that grow during summertime.
Take some zucchini. Slice them and dust them with a little flour. 
Grate some cheese. 
I also added one cipolla di tropea sliced and dressed with a scant pinch of salt and some olive oil. 
Layer in a baking pan the floured zucchini, some onion, some cheese. Repeat until everything is used up, ending with cheese, a sprinkle of bread crumbs and a drizzle of olive oil. 
Bake at 200°C for about 30-40 minutes, until golden. Check zucchini for doneness to taste.

2015/07/13: In my second attempt, I skipped the flour and simply scattered some bread crumbs here and there. I also added some layers of sliced potatoes to absorb the water from the zucchini. Still delicious, only downside of the potatoes is that the casserole tasted best the day it was made only.

I feel like I should add some fresh herbs or some anchovies and capers next time. I will keep you posted.

the oldies are back

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Yesterday I baked a ciambella with my fornetto versilia.

This pot was handed me down from my mother and I totally appreciate it during the scorching summer heat (or scorching late spring heat, in this case), when I can bake on the stove, without the heat of the traditional oven.

I used my recipe, which is written in Italian, but anyway you cannot replicate it unless you have a fornetto versilia, a donut flame tamerand a gas stove (and obviously any desire to try it).

Also I baked zucchini ripieni

This time it was a necessity, as my mother forgot to pick up two zucchini which turned so big they almost resembled a space rocket. 
So I prepared a filling of sautéed onions, a white zucchini thinly sliced, the inner part of the giant zucchini giant boats, two cans of beans (lamon and chickpeas) a pinch of chili pepper (or two or three…), a big can of unsustainably caught cheap tuna (sorry, my friend tuna, I do love you though), [all this stuff was cooked in the pan until the zucchini are do…

Stuffed peppers and online shopping disappointments

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Hello dearest reader or just myself and some friendly robot around the net, I have two major gripes at the moment:
I. summertime is here, lots of fat veggies are growing up happily and I cannot cook a proper stuffed pepper. 
My stuffed creatures are soggy and I aim to have a roasted sweet perfection crowned by a delectable filling. I have a long way to go. 
I did try a recipe fromhoney and co.cookbook. While adding spices to the filling definitely did some good, I have to say that the cooking part was not successful. I guess that using an induction stove did not help. 
So I will try again and share (hopefully) better achievements in the future.

II. my other complaint is about my ex favorite online seller which I will not even mention and that I will slowly delete from my tiny blog. 
I have been ripped off. A major amount of money, mind you (i.e. £ 6.44). What gets on my nerves is that this big concern simply ignored my complaint and they have this obnoxious habit to send copycat emails unt…

Pasta con le sarde e il finocchietto

Hello there, I hope you’re having a nice Friday and that you are looking forward to an awesome weekend. If instead like me you have to go to a continuous education meeting in about an hour and you’re probably planning to get some work done in the weekend because you are way behind schedule, while you will cook some horrible picnic food to bring at the preschool Sunday meeting, welcome aboard dear friend.
Did I mention I am way behind schedule? Oh dear, what am I doing here, I should get back to work.
Just wanted to mention how I love sardines. My mom used to fry them (cleaned fresh sardines dipped in some flour and deep fried, I totally love them). At a certain point it turned out frying food is not exactly healthy (such a pity, if you ask me). So we said goodbye to fried sardines.
Then I kept hearing marvels about pasta con le sarde e il finocchietto (wild fennel).
One day I was strolling around idly (it was a Sunday, my significant other was at work, my parents were on holidays, so …

Ambitious projects

With my stomach full of toast with barely melted processed cheese, I feel like I should cook something cool tonight.
First, I would like to defend processed cheese: I used to like it a lot as a kid and it is my comfort kind of food or go to junk food for a quick snack. Until today, I never bothered reading the ingredient list. Today I tried, but I am still in denial and stopped after learning that there was only 48% cheese in my slice: the rest was the processed part, I guess.
So tonight, ladies and gentleman – unless I change my mind, which occurs quite often – I will prepare my own version of sartu'.
You can find a couple of lovely recipes here:
Giuliaas usual is brilliantly describing how to do it and gives cool links to other authentic recipes 
Letissiagives such a wonderful vegetarian rendition that is mouthwatering 
If you are not familiar with sartu', it is a sort of rice pie with a savory filling of meatballs in tomato sauce, some cheese, boiled eggs and peas. Originally t…

Measuring cups

Sometimes I am assailed by the strangest doubts: how were measuring cups invented?
It is actually not as easy as I thought to find an answer (probably because nobody bothers, but you already know I am that boring as a person).
I found out that Fannie Farmer decided to standardize them into specific measurements. It happened circa 1879 in Boston, USA. The poor lady was left limp as a child and made cooking her reasons of life. She published the Boston cooking school cook book, which has been so popular that is still in print nowadays.  Yet although Ms. Farmer did standardize the measuring units, to give consistency to recipes, I believe she was working with something already in use.

Looking further back in history is though impossible (at least in google). I’ve only found a couple of sources telling that probably cup measurements dated back to the 1700 and probably stemmed by Afro American cooks, that during slavery used chipped bone china left by the owners in order to prepare their rec…

Monkey pancakes

After I tasted the popular ice cream,  I cannot think about a better match for ripe bananas other than walnuts and dark chocolate. It can only improve with some coffee, I guess.
The recipe is adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home
Sift together: 1 ¼  cup cornflour ½ cup all purpose flour Pinch of salt
Whisk: ½ cup coffee ¾ cup milk 2 eggs beaten 2 tbsp oil
Mix together. Let sit for 20 minutes.
Add: 2 mashed bananas (overripe ones are welcome) 1 ounce dark chocolate, cut into chunks 5 walnuts, shelled and broken into chunks ½ tsp baking powder
Heat a skillet. Melt a little coconut fat. Cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes per side or until done. Repeat about 12 times.
These pancakes are filling and nutritious. I dare you to eat more than two pieces.
Serve with honey or syrup, if you have an extra sweet tooth.
They taste at their best as soon as they’re done.

Disclaimer: all rights belong to their respective owners. I put links to books and stuff I use, like and regularly buy. I hope nobod…

Lentil quesadillas

You can find the true and tested recipe on Pinch of Yumlovely site. 
I saw it yesterday and I instantly decided it was going to be our dinner.
Well, then I glanced at the ingredient list and prepared it in a different way, because that’s the way I am a sloppy cook, I just browse through the first lines, imagine and go. After I have done everything I check again the list and notice all sort of things missing (oh dear, rice was one of those, I’ll try it next time) and start adjusting to get something edible, sort of.
For my records:
½ cup small lentils, cooked under pressure with 1 cup of water (ten whistling minutes)
1 ½ tsp cumin 4 dried chili peppers, crushed (to get some vibrant bite now and then, I love chili peppers) 1 can tomatoes (pelati 450 g)  2 tbsp desiccated coconut 5 sun dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 tbsp olive oil 1 spring onion, sliced Salt to taste
piadine 
½ cup grated cheese (I used latteria Agricansiglio)
Start cooking the lentils.
Toast the cumin seeds briefly. Add chili …

Tamale pie

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This recipe is adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates.
As I had some black beans, dressed up with a sauce made with tons of celery, tomatoes, a pinch of chili pepper, salt to taste and a few drops of Worcestershire sauce, I used them as tamale pie bottom in my lovely cast iron skillet.
* I would like to take a moment to praise cast iron skillets. I purchased this after reading infinite odes to these pans and wondering why people loved them, considering that you have to take special care in the seasoning process of the darn things. Well: now I do understand. Sorry my dear skillet for doubting your true worthiness. You do make a tremendous difference in the quality of the food I am cooking especially, in my opinion, regarding prosciutto, bacon and the like and definitely with cornbread. You also improve the taste of spinach and sisters, if I remember to use small amounts. If by accident I use too many greens, then also you, my dear cast iron, do not manage to dispel the excessive wa…

cookbooks on baking

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While I always strive to curb my tendency to purchase an excessive amount of cookbooks, I must say that the market is offering many temptations and I am going through a bad phase of compulsive acquisitions.
A message to myself: you are perfectly aware that you own more cookbooks than you will ever manage to use in this lifetime and at least in the next three ones (that is, if you manage to get hold once again of all said cookbooks, which I sincerely hope you won’t), so kindly STOP buying!!!