A warm jam apricot dessert

Hallo! It is the first Sunday of May and we want to prepare a delicious dessert for the afternoon.

Here we have some home made delicious apricot jam, a good burrata stuffed with cow milked ricotta cheese, cardamom, leaves of mint.

Heat the apricot jam in a bain marie for a couple of minutes, then spread it on a plate, add the small burrata, a sprinkle of cardamom, leaves of mint. Enjoy the dessert with a warm cup of coffee or tea.

Hallo! Es ist der erste Sonntag im Mai und wir möchten ein köstliches Dessert für den Nachmittag.

Hier haben wir hausgemachte leckere Aprikosenmarmelade, eine gute Burrata, die mit Kuhmilchen Molkenkäse gefüllt ist, Kardamom und Blätter von Minze.

Wärmen und verdünnen Sie die Aprikosenmarmelade in einem Bain marie für ein paar Minuten. Dann streichen Sie Aprikosenmarmelade auf den Teller, unter Zugabe von der kleinen Burrata, einer Prise Kardamom und Blättern von Minze. Genießen Sie das Gericht mit einem warmen Kaffee oder Tee.

Vegetables soup at Summertime: a delightful refreshment

At the end of August it is pretty hot in Apulia, Southern Italy (some days temperature is around 40°C). Then, having more vegetables and fruit might turn to be a daily healthy habit in order to help feeling well. What is more, at the food market there is a rich colorful triumph among season vegetables and fruit to choose for preparing appetizing dishes. One of the simplest lightest dishes for these hot days is the soup of vegetables, which you can serve fresh. Down here I’m going to provide a short note with the ingredients you need and the description to make it. You are very welcome to try it, if it meets your personal tastes. Enjoy it!

A delicious dish for the Springtime table

Days are flowing towards the good season and, on the wave of staying at home, let’s try to focus on the delicious dishes we can prepare around Easter time. For lunch, today I made some crêpes stuffed with artichokes and fresh creamy robiola cheese. 1. As for the crêpes, I used one egg, half liter milk, 100 gr all purpose flour, a sprinkle of salt. After making a batter with those ingredients, I left it to rest for little while. 2. In the meantime, I prepared the filling by chopping a couple of artichokes very thin and then poured them in a pan with warm extra virgin olive oil and a clove of garlic. I sautéed them for about five minutes. Besides, I added a bit of warm water to soften them and a sprinkle of salt and pepper right at the end. 3. Time for preparing crêpes by pouring a ladle of batter at a time in a warm greasy pan and making thin disks. 4. I spread fresh robiola cheese on the surface of each disk and then added the artichokes. 5. Crêpes were rolled up and served warm (perhaps it is a good idea to place them in the oven 180°C just for few minutes to get warmer) with a good fragrant sauce made of small pieces (cubes) of tomatoes. (As for the tomatoes sauce, cubes of tomato were gently cooked for few minutes in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil, onion, an idea of garlic, a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper).

I hope you will enjoy this recipe and wish everybody “Bon Appétit“.

Please, be safe for yourself and be safe for the others ❤

An excellent dish: hand made pasta bows and broccoli on Mardi gras

Hello! For celebrating Mardi gras we are going to prepare an excellent dish that both children and older children, who enjoy to make pasta dough, would love to try. We need only few genuine ingredients, which, by the way, remind of traditional tastes of Apulia gastronomy.

As for the pasta dough, on this occasion, I mix semolina flour and a local ancient biological durum wheat flour with some water. No eggs are necessary. It takes only few minutes for a thick homogeneous mixture, which then will be worked (you may help yourself by using the nonna papera machine) for becoming very thin sheets of pastry. After that, make small rectangles of those sheets. Next step is to join both the longer sides of each rectangle right in the middle in order to have small bows. Let pasta bows dry accurately for some hours.

Once it is time to prepare the dish, dip small broccoli for a couple of minutes in hot boiling salt water. Strain broccoli (please, do not forget to save that water for later) and add them in a pan with hot extra virgin olive oil, an idea of golden garlic and hot pepper. Cook broccoli for about 5/7 minutes by adding some of that water you saved before. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper if it is necessary. At this point, broccoli should be tender in order to make small pieces of them straight in the pan, by using a wooden spoon. Add some fresh grated ricotta sheep milk cheese on top of broccoli in the pan and let it melt for a couple of minutes.

In the end, cook hand made pasta bows for about 7/8 minutes in hot boiling salt water, strain and add them to broccoli for gently mix all together. Serve pasta bows and broccoli warm in a bowl with crisp golden breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of fresh ricotta sheep milk cheese on top. Enjoy the dish in good company of your family and friends and wish everybody a good Mardi gras. Bon Appétit! ❤

Broccoli and potatoes, symphony for comfort dishes

We just stepped into February month and by taking a walk in the garden or in the countryside of Apulia region, in Southern Italy, we got the feeling of nature’s slow awakening and preparing its new dress as prelude to the approach of the Spring. Actually, even at Winter and its bizarre weather, the season we are living right now, we have amazing local agricultural produces for making delicious dishes to enjoy on our kitchen tables every day.

According to the tradition of simplicity in the kitchen and to the old saying ‘use what you have’, I turned classical music on in the kitchen and prepared a warm, inviting soup with broccoli and potatoes.

First of all, after peeling and dicing some local potatoes, chopping onion and garlic, making small broccoli tops, it is necessary to fry these ingredients in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil. Let them cook for five minutes in order all tastes of vegetables mix harmoniously, then pour a bouillon prepared with carrot, celery and onion on them and keep on cooking and boiling the soup for about 20 minutes. In the end, add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. You may choose to make a cream, which perhaps children would prefer, or, even better, serve the soup in small pieces of vegetables in order to enjoy each flavor and warm crisp slices of home made bread dipped in the pot like a spoon.

An alternative to this appetizing dish, by using the same ingredients, would be sauteing diced potatoes, small broccoli tops in a pan with onion and garlic in some extra virgin olive oil. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper in the end, when they are done, and use the vegetables to stuff a sheet of puff pastry. Make a cream with some milk and robiola cheese and pour it on the filling made of vegetables. Roll up and close hermetically the puff pastry, paint its surface with some water or milk, bake it in the oven for about 15/20 minutes, 180°/200° C. Serve the steaming roll with your preferred wine and enjoy the recipe. By the way, this latter could be also an excellent idea for a dish to have for a picnic at Springtime.

Tasting new extra virgin olive oil in Apulia

The harvest of olives goes on in Apulia region, in the South of Italy, and, in full respect of our family tradition, in these days we looked for the new local productions of olive oil. We tasted among different kinds in order to choose those new extra virgin olive oils, which meet both cooking and gourmet requirements, for our annual supplies. In the end, our choice was for a very good quality biological extra virgin olive oil made with leccino monocultivar, which has only 0,2 acidity and herbaceous taste, and a second one, a blend that has more rustic attribute and it is made with “leccina”, “nociara” and “picholine” varieties of olives (0,5 acidity).

It is the season for fava beans

Hallo! An inviting recipe introduces the new week and Springtime. This last weekend, at the food market, among hills of vegetables, I saw fresh fava beans winking at my direction. Since they looked small and tender, they could taste appetizing prepared with a light salad of spelt (triticum spelta). By the way, I added some globose, pulpy tomatoes to my shopping list for using them as natural floral cups to be filled with the salad.

In the kitchen, I accurately cut the upper side of the tomatoes, then, helped myself with a corer and emptied the tomatoes of their juicy pulp, which will be added to the preparation of the fava beans later on. Tomatoes were turned upside down on a grill, after adding a sprinkle of sea salt inside in order to have a good straining process.

As second step, I cooked some spelt into salted boiling water (a small coffee cup filled with spelt can be the right portion for each guest at your table). When the spelt was done and strained, it was left in a corner for few minutes, until the fava beans were also ready for finishing the dish.

Then, it was the turn of the fava beans. After being shelled, the fava beans were gently fried with some chopped onion and an idea of garlic in a couple of spoons of extra virgin olive oil for three or four minutes. I added the juicy pulp of the tomatoes prepared before to the fava beans and kept on cooking them. It was necessary to add also some bouillon made with vegetables, a sprinkle of salt and pepper. In the end, the spelt was well mixed with some grated Toscanello cheese, the fava beans and its creamy sauce.

Last step, for finishing the dish, was to fill the tomatoes with spoons of spelt and fava beans and top them with few drops of extra virgin olive oil. Then the tomatoes were placed in the oven for about 20 minutes (180°) and served with leaves of fresh mint.

I heartly hope you will enjoy this culinary idea that tastes of Spring and wish ‘buon appetito’ and a good week to everybody.

Homemade yogurt and quince jam for breakfast

There is a kind of satisfaction in making your own quince jam and store this delicacy in small glass jars for tasting it any time you wish throughout the year. You choose the golden fruits by your trustworthy greengrocer at the weekly food market and, at home, you chop quinces in small pieces without peeling them. Since we do not use to have much sugar in the jam, the proportion for our quince jam will be 1kg of quinces for 500g of sugar. You leave quinces to rest and macerate with sugar and, after about one hour, when you are going to make the jam, you will find out sugar will be melting. Start cooking quinces and sugar in a saucepan on a stove, it will take about a couple of hours for the jam. Please, take in mind, you do not have to stir the jam with a spoon, otherwise it will stick at the bottom of the saucepan. When it will start boiling, have a taste of it from time to time, in order to add some sugar if it is necessary. It is up to your personal taste whether quince jam has to be thicker or more liquid. Once you remove the saucepan from the stove, it will keep on dry up for little while. Fill sterilized glass jars with quince jam and screw the airtight lid. Turn the glass jars upside down and leave them in that position for little while, in order to be sure no air will be inside of them.  Your quince jam will be at hand any time you would like to have it for breakfast or for a snack or served with small cheese appetizers. Enjoy it!

There is a kind of satisfaction in making your own quince jam in Autumn season and store this delicacy in small glass jars for tasting it any time you wish throughout the year. You choose the golden fruits by your trusted fruit seller at the weekly food market and, at home, you chop quinces in small pieces without peeling them. Since we do not use to have much sugar in the jam, the proportion for our quince jam  will be 1kg of quinces for 500g of sugar. You leave quinces to rest with sugar and, after about one hour, when you are going to make the jam, you will find out sugar already melting. Start cooking quinces and sugar, it will take about a couple of hours for the jam,. It is important to not steer it with a spoon otherwise the jam will stick at the bottom of the sauce pan.

Bread balls and vegetables soup: a delightful revisitation of an old family recipe for the Christmas table

   Hallo! We are at the third weekend of Advent and, for many, this means to make dishes from the old, local Christmas gastronomy live again; it is about those ancient tastes, which belong both to childhood memories and to family traditions as well. As a child, on these very special occasions, I often watched my Mom making tasteful bread balls, which were dipped and cooked in a boiling, Summer fragranced, home-made tomato sauce. She learnt this old recipe from her father, my grandfather, and, in the years, from time to time, I had the pleasure to prepare it too. This time, I’ve got in mind a revisitation of the old grandfather’s recipe  in favour of a  light, healthy, warm dish, which could be a tasteful alternative to richer dishes belonging to the Christmas tradition. 

   Ingredients for the vegetables soup: local potatoes, selery, carrots, orange cauliflower and romanesco broccoli, savoy cabbage, yellow and red peppers, zucchini, onion, garlic, fresh grated turmeric, salt, pepper, extravirgin olive oil, white or rosé wine, pieces of leg of lamb.

   Once all vegetables have been chopped into same-sized pieces, sauté the ingredients in a pot with little extravirgin olive oil in order to retain their integrity and nutritional content. Cook gently, tossing and stirring the vegetables. The cooking process could take about 15 minutes, it depends on the size of the vegetables.  Add the seasoning ingredients right at the beginning in order the vegetables can take their own time to get all fragrances. Let the pieces of leg of lamb to hiss a little before pouring some white or rosé wine. Leave the wine to evaporate and then add some bouillon prepared with carrot, selery and onion. Keep on cooking, covering the pot with a lid. As soon as the vegetables will be done, remove the pot from the cooker and use the mixer to make an homogeneous velvet cream of them. Please, remember to add the pieces of leg of lamb at the end, when you will serve the dish, if you like it. The purpose of the pieces of leg of lamb among the ingredients is to provide a richer taste to the soup.

   Ingredients for the breadballs (choose carefully the right amount of each ingredient, according to the number of guests at your table) : breadcrumbs, eggs, grated pecorino romano cheese, sage, milk, salt and pepper. Please, be careful with salt, since pecorino romano cheese tastes spicy and tasteful. At this proper, I may suggest to have a taste of the bread balls while mixing all ingredients together.

   Use all ingredients to work a good, soft mixture. Please, do not use much milk, otherwise the mixture could open while frying the bread balls. Make your bread balls, press a little on them in order to get homogeneously cooked. Coat the balls with breadcrumbs and fry them until their surface becomes golden and crisp.

   The more the bread balls will be warm when served with the creamy vegetables soup, the more you will taste the fresh fragrance of the sage and the spicy taste of pecorino romano cheese inside of them.

    I hope you have got the chance to enjoy this simple, humble, healthy dish and wish everybody a good 3rd weekend of Advent!

Brioche au fromage for the picnic basket

For celebrating this May 1st, I did enjoy preparing and baking a soft brioche au fromage. This easy, genuine recipe was given to me years ago by a couple of friendly ladies during Summer holidays and, from then on, my family and friends showed always appreciation every time I prepared it. Indeed, this brioche au fromage can be an excellent idea for the picnic basket and a meal in the open air, or for a children party: they are events, which take place quite often during Spring and Summer season.

Ingredients:

500gr whole wheat organic  flour, 3 eggs, 12,5gr yeast, 250ml milk, a sprinkle of sea salt (about a coffee spoon), 100gr parmigiano reggiano, 100gr speck, thyme, 125ml peanut oil.

Mix all ingredients together and leave the mixture to rest for a couple of hours. Then, grease a baking tin and pour the mixture in it, bake it (220° C) until it has a golden crisp surface.

Serve it with vegetables or a fresh salad: for this occasion, I also added some grilled tomatoes, which have been seasoned with drops of garlic and thyme aromatized extra vergin olive oil and little cubes of fresh sheep milk local cheese .

Wishing everybody a beautiful Spring and Summer season!