Pastry inspiration for Easter Monday

Easter Monday is always a beautiful occasion to stay outside, in the open air, and enjoy the arrival of Spring season. For coffee time, this year, instead of the classic chocolate egg to taste with family and friends, my pastry inspiration has been a crisp caramelized hazelnut egg filled with a couple of layers of coffee sponge cake, velvet mascarpone cheese cream, whipped cream for decorations, pistacchio sprinkle. Let’s have a good cup of coffee and a piece of hazelnut egg together with family and friends, enjoy nature and buona Pasquetta a tutti.

Close up: crisp, soft heart of apple and melted chocolate for your coffee

   Hello, I do enjoy to prepare this sweet home made delicacy and appreciated dessert from time to time and this is the reason why, I have the pleasure to provide a simple description of  it. Please, feel free to choose the apples you like most and make the right proportions according to your number of guests.

    – Make a batter with egg and potato starch, adding also the tiny seeds from the vanilla capsule.

   – Make (about 5 mm thick) apple slices and, firstly, coat them with breadcrumbs, secondly, dip them in the batter and, thirdly, coat them again in the breadcrumbs.

   – Fry the slices of apples into peanut oil, or the seed oil you prefer, until the surface becomes golden and crisp, and then serve your dessert very warm, perhaps with some drops of melted dark chocolate and a sprinkle of icing sugar.

   Wishing everybody a good week and enjoy your cup of coffee or tea!

 

 

Almond pastries for Easter Season, tradition and creativity

almond pastries

At Easter season, according to local and family traditions, we love to prepare these fragranced home-made almond pastries and it is always a pleasure to offer them to family and friends. It is a delicious dessert after lunch and in good company of a cup of warm coffee or tee. Neither eggs nor flour are inside, indeed these pastries melts like butter in your mouth, call it sublime patisserie! Like for high quality chocolate that has to be always stored in cool places, less than 18° C temperature, I wouldn’t recommend to make almond pastries at Summer time.

Ingredients: almonds, sugar, water and, for those who appreciate, rose water or only few drops of anise-flavored liqueur or seeds of anise.  

Once you have prepared the almond paste, you can use it also as filling for little pastries made of pâte sablée. Children will love them 💚 ✨

Wishing everybody a good Sunday!

Golden crêpes filled with small shrimps that taste like Spring

   Hello! Spring is at work here again: day by day, its distinct singing can reach even the most distant corners and, by magic, its brush masterfully covers every little space of this huge natural canvas with the most beautiful and vivid palettes of colors. It is time for staying much longer in the open air, enjoying the garden and long walks and..visiting the local food markets, where to find the ingredients for tasteful recipes.

   The dish prepared today is not so elaborate as it can appear. They are crêpes made of chickpeas flour, filled with small shrimps and sautéd zucchini gently mixed with a couple of spoons of soured cream.

   So, as first step, prepare the batter for crêpes by pouring 120 gr chickpeas flour in a bowl, then add a spoon of extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, a sprinkle of turmeric, coriander, just few seeds of cumin and a couple of parsley leaves, gently whip all ingredients by adding 270 ml water very slowly until you have a fluid batter. At this proper, please, remember that, in order to make air bubbles in the batter, your wrist must be always up and firm while your hand will work down, up and down again. Place the batter to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Secondly, warm few drops of extra-virgin olive oil in a frying-pan and use a ladle for pouring the batter in it, make a disc on the surface of the frying-pan and when the crêpe will look golden and crisp, turn it on the other side. 

   Souté the shrimps, once their shell has been removed and they have been accurately washed: in a pan, fry some rings of onion, a hint of garlic, rings of leek, a couple of small cherry tomatoes, add the shrimps, salt and pepper, some Chardonnay wine, a sprinkle of dill. Cook the shrimps only for few minutes in order to keep their sea fragrance.

   In the end, as already mentioned before, sauté fresh zucchini in extra-virgin olive-oil with little onion, garlic and leaves of sage, add salt and pepper in the end, right before gently mix with a couple spoons of soured cream.

Serve this dish warm with a good Chardonnay wine and ‘buon appetito!

 

Genuine Fruit Taste in the Dish: Pork Tenderloin and Plum Velouté

  It is already September and, even though Autumn season is at the door, we still keep the fragrances of Summer season. At this proper, I would like to introduce a recipe made with plums (it should be Santa Rosa variety) from a young tree that was planted no more than four years ago in our garden and, in the last couple of years, has elegantly made low bows for inviting to the crop of its pulpy deep red round fruits. Yes, and it is time to prepare something particularly delicious with them. So,  I chose a tender lean pork fillet to make this dish and the other main ingredients are: 4 plums, 2 or 3 leaves of bay, 4 or 5 juniper berries, an idea of garlic, a clove, 3 or 4 spoons of extravirgin olive oil, a spoon of sugar, less than a half glass of white wine (your choice), salt and pepper.

  As first step, make a pesto with garlic, clove, and juniper berries in a mortar. Then, rub the tenderloin with pesto you made, add drops of extravirgin olive oil, leaves of bay and let it marinate for a couple of hours. 

  For the velouté, wash the plums, peel them and make small cubes. Start frying them very gently in extravirgin olive oil, add thinely chopped onion and leaves of bay. In few moments, you’ll see how the beautiful shades of colors of the plums will get even livelier. Add some white wine and let it evaporate. It should take about 15 minutes to have a velvety compote, it depends on how much water the plums have inside. Add a coffee spoon of sugar (at this point, a good suggestion might be to taste the velouté to be sure it is right and delicate, in good balance between an acid hint and sweetness). 

  Last step is to add the pork tenderloin in the pan and keep on cooking all together before the velouté is done. The fillet will be good in few minutes and if you notice that the velouté is getting dry too fast, add a couple of soup spoons of water in order to have a moist creamy result for the recipe. Salt & pepper in the end.

  I would serve this mouthwatering dish by decorating it with slices of plum and bay leaves and I would pair it with a glass of good red wine. Any one you prefer will be the right choice for enjoying a delicious meal. 

Bon Appétit!

Golden Quinoa Croquettes, inviting Idea for Conviviality

Spring is finally in the air and a rich variety of colorful vegetables, fruits and other season products cheerfully peeped out the stall at the food market, where I was to choose the ingredients for a tasty dish. It came in my mind by using quinoa (chenopodium quinoa) as main ingredient, which is not a cereal, rather a member of the same food family that contains spinach, Swiss chard, and beets : 5000 years are in the historical background of this seed, actually known as the ‘mother of all seeds’, which originated in the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Chile and was considered to be sacred for Incas civilization. So, this time, our dish takes us to a different place of the world, where the scenery is made of high peaks and outstretched views, in spite of the previous culinary suggestions and typical food coming from the sunny Mediterranean landscapes. Indeed, quinoa is particularly versatile in the art of cooking and is also a high nutritive valued food for many reasons. One of these reasons is its considerable amounts of both lysine and isoleucine, which allow the protein in quinoa to serve as a complete protein source. Going into details, here there is a link to the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health for more interesting thorough explainations that might be worth to be read.

   Now, back to our recipe that can be served  as appetizer: it’s about light golden quinoa croquettes to be paired with some fresh goat cheese and a glass of excellent organic wine. First of all, place the quinoa seeds in a fine-meshed strainer and run cold water over the quinoa while gently rubbing the seeds together in your hands, in order to remove the saponins that gives that certain bitter taste. Then, if you prefer a nuttier flavor, place the quinoa in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir for about 5 minutes, otherwise go straight to the next step, that is, add some vegetable bouillon and cook the quinoa for about 20 minutes. Leave it to swell for about 10 minutes. In the meanwhile, dice some pumkin and cook it with some extra virgin olive oil, rings of onion, salt, pepper, little wine and let it to evaporate. Mash the mixture, add a hint of truffles cream and aromatize with leaves of mint. Now, it is time to mix all together: pumpkin, some grated parmigiano, the quinoa and an egg or two, it depends on the number of your guests, of course. Work and make croquettes on the palm of your wet hand and place them in the oven for about 10 minutes or until they will have a golden look. As already mentioned, serve croquettes warm on a dish with cheese and some vegetables (for this specific occasion I have chosen broccoli to garnish) and a glass of red Cono Sur Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere seems to me a very good suggestion to try. Thnx and wishing you all ‘Buon Appetito’!

Cono Sur

 

Genuine Homemade Jam and Fresh Ricotta Cheese for Light Dessert Ideas

It’s a Sunday morning, Spring will be here very soon and, in the meanwhile, at breakfast time, we are keeping on spreading a spoon of apricot jam on bread as a healthy habit for daily energy. It is nice when you have homemade jam, since you can choose to prepare it with less sugar and at the same time it will taste of the real fragrance of genuine fruit. Of course, you can also use it to prepare delicious desserts for your family, both children and grown-ups, or even for your guests.

Here there are a couple of suggestions that I’m glad to share with you:

In the first example, we have a typical ‘burrata’ from Apulia region, in Southern Italy, which is stuffed with fresh sheep milk cheese ricotta on apricot jam and a sprinkle of cardamom. It is really worth a taste! Besides, I may suggest to warm lightly your jam in order to have a kind of pleasant contrast with the freshness of the burrata and to decor with some mint, which will exhalt the fragrances of the dish.

As for the second culinary suggestion, you won’t need eggs to prepare the dessert, nor to bake it and, what is more, it will take you only a very short time since it is very easy to make. It could be a cheerful idea for a children party for example!

Ingredients for 5/6 desserts (approximate quantities for glasses):

  • 100 g biscuits (even better if they are homemade)
  • 75   g almonds
  • 65   g fresh butter
  • 500g fresh sheep milk cheese ricotta on apricot jam and a sprinkle of cardamom + crème fraîche
  • icing sugar
  • organic apricot jam
  • cardamom
  • cinnamon
  • mint
First of all, you have to crumble biscuits and mince peeled almonds while golden butter is gently melting in a pan on the stove. Then, mix all together (butter, almonds and biscuits) in a bowl and add a generous sprinkle of cardamom. Place the mixture in the fridge for about 20 min.
Delicately whisk the fresh ricotta cheese (according to your taste, you can choose among the ones you prefer, such as cow, sheep, goat..) and add also some crème fraîche, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a spoon of icing sugar. Make a velvet, smooth cream.
Out of the fridge, start filling glasses making a uniform, compact base with 1 cm biscuit and almond mixture. Gently press it and add some ricotta cheese on it, then, a couple of tea spoons of organic jam on top and some little more cardamom and fresh mint. In the fridge again for about 15 minutes.
Serve this light dessert cool, your little guests will appreciate it!
Wish a beautiful Sunday to you all! 🙂