Lamb chops and bell peppers, a colorful and tasteful dish for your holiday season table

The time of holiday season is flowing and soon we will enter the new year. This is time for some relax and enjoying the good company of family and friends. At this proper, today I prepared lamb chops and bell peppers for lunch. It is a colorful and tasteful dish, which I enjoy to make from time to time for its fragrances of Mediterranean herbs and I may recommend for your New Year’s Eve table. It is easy to prepare and your guests will appreciate it.

The ingredients for this dish are lamb chops, garlic, leek, breadcrumbs, some herbs like thyme, rosemary, parsley, grated parmigiano, a lemon, extra virgin olive oil, almonds, salt and pepper.

As first step, for preparing this dish, it is necessary to make little pieces of parsley, thyme, a clove of garlic and the peel of a lemon. In a bowl mix all these little pieces of herbs and garlic together with breadcrumbs, grated parmigiano, after you have added a couple of tea spoons of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Secondly, make cubes of red and yellow bell peppers and cook them in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, little white wine, garlic and rings of leek. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, some thyme and a soup spoon of rough minced almonds. Keep on cooking for about 20 minutes.

Third step: coat the chops of lamb with the mixture in the bowl made of herbs, breadcrumbs, garlic etc. and fry the chops until they will get a golden crisp surface.

In the end, serve the warm chops of lamb with the bell peppers.

Wishing everybody “bon appétit”, thank you and, most of all, may your 2020 be wonderful!

Home Made Fresh Pasta at Christmas Time

Here we are! It’s the second weekend of Advent and, in the kitchen, on Sunday morning, we enjoy making fresh pasta. Actually, serving ravioli to guests at our Christmas table can be an excellent idea but we are going to use alternative ingredients for the stuffing, such as sheep milk ricotta cheese (250gr), parmigiano reggiano (50gr) and a pear.

  • As first step we make a thin sheet of pastry. The manual pasta making machine (nonna papera) is the faster solution if you are in a hurry or you may use a rolling pin if you are familiar with it. The proportion of the ravioli mixture for a couple of people is 250g semolina, one egg, little oil, water. Of course, you can add ingredients according to the number of your guests. As soon as the mixture is done, leave it to rest for an hour.
  • In the meanwhile, cut a pear in very small cubes, add a yolk, ricotta, grated parmigiano cheese and mix the stuffing for ravioli pasta.
  • Then, make small discs of ravioli pasta, stuff them with a spoon of the cream made with pear, ricotta and parmigiano cheese, seal them hermetically.
  • Cook ravioli in boiling salted water for few minutes and, as soon as ravioli come up on the surface of the boiling water, it’s time to strain them.
  • Finally, serve them warm in a dish with melted butter, grated sheep milk cheese and papaver seeds on top.

Buon appetito and wishing everybody a good new week!

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.

Let’s make spaghetti for dinner!

  Hello, are you planning to bring authentic flavours of Italian cuisine to your table at the weekend? Indeed, a dish of pasta is the best way to cook like Italians and many people in the world love Italian pasta. At this proper, here there are some quick tips in order to choose a good quality product and cook pasta in the right “al dente” way.

  Let’s start by saying that a good quality flavourful pasta dish is made of:

1. The right choice of the main ingredient, that is pasta made of stone-grinding “durum wheat” flour. This particular flour, very rich in proteins, has the natural chemical properties for making the production of an excellent pasta possible (the mixture, made with only flour and water, is, for tradition, the simplest widely used recipe for making pasta in Southern Italy)

2. Pay attention when you choose your pasta pack, according to the recipe you are going to make. You may choose (trafilata al bronzo)”bronze drawn” pasta, if you want your dish have the taste of a magistral embrace with the sauce you are going to make for it. Please, look at the size, and minutes recommended for cooking the product

3.  Fill a pot with water and leave it on the cooker until water starts boiling, then add pasta and a sprinkle of sea salt. Wait for the time recommended on the pack, have a taste of pasta to be sure about the right quantity of sea salt and the cooking process be “al dente”. Strain pasta and make room to your gourmet inspiration for finishing and serve the warm appetizing dish to your guests. 

Mantecare
“Mantecare”
Pasta is excellent with a fresh tomato sauce. By adding leaves of basil in the end on this simple dish, you get the fragrance of Summer time

Pasta is excellent with a fresh tomato sauce. By adding leaves of basil in the end on this simple dish, you get the fragrance of Summer time

Buon Appetito, Guten Appetit, Bon appétit, Smaklig måltid, Enjoy your meal!

 

A flavoured coffee at home with an espresso moka

Hallo! Every morning we love to feel the flavour of a good coffee prepared at home in our kitchen. It is about simple steps for using our coffee machine in a right way.
Firstly, fill the lower kettle until just lapping on the safety valve
Hallo! Every morning we love to feel the flavour of a good coffee prepared at home in our kitchen. It is about simple steps for using our coffee machine in a right way.
Firstly, fill the lower kettle until just lapping on the safety valve
Secondly, fix the filter in the kettle and fill it with a good quality of coffee, which has not to be flattened. Make a small hill with coffee.
Secondly, fix the filter in the kettle and fill it with a good quality of coffee, which has not to be flattened. Make a small hill with coffee.
Thirdly, screw the coffeepot and the kettle together. Place the moka machine on the smaller cooker (lower flame). Wait just few minutes until the creamy coffee is gently done and enjoy it!
Thirdly, screw the coffeepot and the kettle together. Place the moka machine on the smaller cooker (lower flame). Wait just few minutes until the creamy coffee is gently done and enjoy it!

Parmigiana of aubergines, easy and inviting dish from Southern Italy

   Hallo! Are you thinking, by chance, about something easy to prepare for dinner? Even in January, this parmigiana would make you think about Summer flavours. For this dish, it is  ideal to choose round aubergines, since they are sweeter and have less seeds. The distribution of aubergine cultivations makes possible to find this vegetable even at Winter time, thanks to the farming in green houses. What is more, it is highly recommended to look for aubergines coming from the close surrounding area and freshness will be guaranteed. The skin of the aubergine should look smooth, glossy and its flesh has to be compact. Pressing lightly against the vegetable, you will be able to check about its ripeness, that is, if the sign of your finger will stay for few seconds on its skin, it would mean the aubergine is good for being cooked. Of course, according to your taste, feel free to have the aubergines with their skin on or to remove it. 

   For preparing parmigiana, as first step, it will be necessary to have a homemade tomato sauce prepared with fresh peeled tomatoes or to choose a good peeled tomatoes sauce in the tin. If your option will be for a fresh homemade tomato sauce, then you should dip tomatoes into boiling water, only for a couple of minutes, after having done a small cut on their surface. This will help to peel tomatoes in an easier way, once they are out of the water. Any way, the tomato sauce you are going to make will be simple, with a very home fresh flavour and it will taste of good. In a sauce pan, let rings of onion and a hint of garlic hiss in extravirgin olive oil. Then, add small pieced peeled tomatoes and cook them slowly. Add little juice from the tomatoes, a sprinkle of pepper and sea salt. The sauce will be good when it will be little reduced.

   As for the parmigiana, make round slices of aubergine. Dip the slices into egg, mixed with a sprinkle of salt, and coat them with breadcrumbs. Fry the slices of aubergines making a golden crisp surface. If you think that frying the aubergines you would have a fat dish, then you can simply grill them in the oven and your parmigiana will turn to be a lighter dish. Start creating layers of your parmigiana in a baking tray, alternating aubergines, with slices of good cheese (in this case, here we have an excellent caciocavallo from Gargano, in the North of Apulia) and a traditional salume (capocollo is a typical pork cold cut produced in the area of Martina Franca, Apulia). Feel free to opt for any cheese and ham you prefer, however. Place the parmigiana in the oven (180°C for few minutes) and leave the cheese to melt. When the parmigiana is ready, add warm tomato sauce, decor and serve the dish with fresh leaves of basil. Enjoy the meal, enjoy the evening.

   Buon Appetito, Guten Appetit, Bon Appétit, Smacklig Måltid!

049_00001 parmigiana 1

Good food in the kitchen

Genuine, simple ingredients make good dishes. Wishing everybody a beautiful Sunday!

A rich tasteful meal to welcome the arrival of snow

   It does not snow often in Apulia at Wintertime. Indeed, it takes years or even decades to watch snowing and perhaps, once in a while, it is a welcome gift for generations of new borns to learn with amazement about its cold, fluffy, white lightness. On Friday, January 4th 2019, right at the beginning of this first weekend of the new year, silently snow came, like a couple of years ago, for  covering the  regions of Southern Italy with its white blanket, to celebrate Epiphany and last days of a very mild weathered holiday season. On the one hand, it was a delightful surprise again for many of those, who learnt about its existence with joyful spirit during their childhood. On the other hand, snow means to hurry in order to reap the local crops from the fields, before they get lost. Indeed, since snowing is not so frequent in the South of Apulia, it is not used to have growings in greenhouses. Perhaps, experiencing different climatic conditions in recent years might be seen as an excellent opportunity to bring safer, innovative solutions to local season farming. 

   For lunch time, we prepared a symphony of different tastes, both from local culinary tradition and from the gastronomy of Central/Northern European Countries. We started with a warm healthy soup made of lentils coming from Altamura (an ancient town in Apulia, not far from Bari, which was founded by Frederick II of the Hohenstaufen dinasty and it is also well known for its genuine tasteful bread), which is an authentic healthy idea, when it is cold outside. Taking advantage of our cosy fireplace, we cooked the lentils soup in the old slow way, on the live charcoal, in a typical earthenware pot. Lentils were prepared in some extra virgin olive oil and water (you can pour some vegetables bouillon, if you like it), adding small cherry tomatoes, selery, onion, salt, pepper, laurel.

   Then, it was the turn for a puree of broccoli. We steamed and  lightly sautéed broccoli in extravirgin olive oil and rosé wine, with chopped onion, an idea of garlic, a sprinkle of salt and hot pepper. After that, we put broccoli in a food processor, where the puree of broccoli was done, adding some vegetable bouillon from time to time.

   From the butcher, we had a delicious porchetta style turkey tenderloin aromatized with fresh rosemary, fennel seeds and sage, which we cooked with an emulsion of extravirgin olive oil, red wine, chopped leek, laurel at first. Then, almost at the end of the cooking process, we poured some vegetable bouillon on the turkey tenderloin for a tastier moister flavour.

   New local potatoes are an appetizing delicacy even at Wintertime and a must for a dish, when good flavour of meat paired with lightness are served. So, we prepared a wonderful sauce for the steamed potatoes, using a special recipe, which was given to us, while in Stockholm, by a very kind and solicitous lady, working in a food store. We mixed together the ingredients for the sauce in a good balance of moutarde de Dijon, skånsk senap, vinegar, sugar, extra virgin olive oil, (rapsolja is mostly used in Sweden), garlik, leek and fresh herbs like parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, tarragon.

  In the end, the dish made of a warm lentils soup, fragrant porchetta style turkey tenderloin on a bed of broccoli puree, new potatoes dressed with a tasteful Swedish sauce was served by the fireplace.

   The holiday season is at the end and we do hope you had beautiful time. We wish you all the best for the new year ahead and hope you will keep enjoying our culinary tips. Thanks a lot and enjoy the music!

Shrimps potatoes croquettes: a tasteful appetizer-idea for children and older children

Hallo! Have you got in mind to prepare something appetizing for your dear ones at the week-end? Well, you might follow this tasteful warm suggestion we are going to explain about, which will make mouth watering both to children and older children. 

Ingredients you need for preparing the croquettes: good local potatoes, fresh pink shrimps, ginger, scallion, white wine, fresh dill, chili pepper, an idea of garlic, breadcrumbs, salt, fresh butter. As for the right proportions among the ingredients, please, feel free to choose the correct balance according to your tastes, e.g. more or less potatoes or more or less pink shrimps. Then, in order this delicious recipe to be successful, you need to split the process for preparation in two phases.

First phase : steam the potatoes on the day before you have in mind to prepare the croquettes and leave them to rest in a cool place (e.g. in the fridge). This is because when you will bake them in the oven or you will fry the croquettes, they won’t flake off.

Second phase : On the day you are going to make the croquettes, mash the potatoes and add a sprinkle of salt. Sauté the shrimps in extra virgin olive oil, add chopped scallion, grated ginger, an idea of garlic, fresh dill, then pour some white wine, let it to evaporate, and, in the end, add a sprinkle of salt and chili pepper. As soon as the shrimps get cooler, chop and add them to the mashed potatoes, more dill. Besides, you will need to add one or two handfuls of breadcrumbs, so the mixture will be more thick and homogeneous, in order to be worked in small portions in your hands, when you make croquettes. Once croquettes are done, place them accurately on a baking tray and leave a knob of butter on the surface of each of them. Bake the croquettes in the oven (220° C) for about 10/15 minutes and serve them warm, golden, crisp and fragrant. By the way, I may suggest to pair the croquettes with a home-made cream of green peas: perhaps you can enjoy decorating the dish with quenelles made of it, what do you think?

I hope you will enjoy this recipe and wish ‘buon appetito’!

PS. I have poured few drops of an excellent fresh Béarnaise Provençale Sauce (made in Sweden) on top of the croquettes and they taste sublime!