A new page: In the garden – flowers, vegetables and quotes

Good morning!

At Nordic Lights & Mediterranean Landscapes we just opened a new page dedicated to our works in progress in the garden.

We love spending our spare time being in contact with nature, wondering at its beauty and magnificence as seasons change throughout the year.

While gardening, we will take pictures of the progress in the garden, by choosing and adding quotes from time to time, which will seem to be more suitable to the season or the circumstances.

Would you like to join us?
Welcome and enjoy the trip!

Spaghetti dish, the European football championship and Summer season

Hello! Summer season is at the door, we enjoy the European football championship and we love pasta.

These are the three main ingredients for our special dish made with spaghetti and a convivial “al fresco”dining.

Let’s start with frying some fresh bacon or speck in a pan without using oil. Leave the fat to heat and melt in the pan until the bacon or the speck will have a crisp surface. Then, remove it from the cooker.

Grate some “pecorino” sheep milk cheese. I have tried a different taste by using smoked caciocavallo cheese from Calabria.

Peel some fresh fava beans.

Boil some salt water, then add spaghetti and cook them.

In the meanwhile, pour some boiling water from spaghetti cooking in a sauce pan, add some grated cheese in it and work to melt it. Help yourself with a fork or a whisk in order to have a light creamy cheese sauce.

Drain the spaghetti a couple of minutes before they are done, saving some water, which you will pour in a pan with some hot extra virgin olive oil. Add a pinch of black pepper powder and keep on cooking spaghetti in the pan.

Add the light cream made with cheese and “manteca”, that is, whisk all well.

Serve spaghetti warm with some fresh faba beans and crisp pancetta or speck, a pich of black pepper and a sprinkle grated cheese on top.

Wishing everybody “buon appetito”, bon appétit and enjoy a fantastic “al fresco” dining with the European football championship!

In Stockholm Archipelago

Some time ago… it was an amazing sunny Sunday in Stockholm. The snow was melting and everywhere you could breath the crisp mesmerising atmosphere of early Springtime. It was a great chance for my first boat tour in the Archipelago.

Down here it is a video made of some images, which, during the navigation, my camera captured, both of the magnificent green nature landscapes of Stockholm Archipelago and of the beautiful architecture for company buildings and graceful family homes by the water, along the rocky coasts line. Enjoy it!

Welcome 2021

Hello! We welcome 2021 with hopeful heart both for ourselves and for humanity. Actually, the best wish and gift to the world for the new year would be the final defeat of pandemia together with the overthrowing of the disheartening but necessary, safe, constant use of face masks and all other health, sanitary precautions taken as preventive measures against sars-covid 2 in line with what has been taught us during the last year. Let’s think more about the return to a renovated more normal social life and the new endless possibilities to hug all members of family and dearest ones, especially those at a ripe old age or those, who are in weaker health conditions, since they are considered easier target for sars-covid 2.

While waiting to celebrate 2021, we made a thick batter, which was left to rest and swell for about 12 hours. In our mind there were some puffy appetizers belonging to the local culinary tradition at Christmas time. The batter was prepared with about 350 gr of flour, 6,5 gr yeast, a sprinkle of sea salt and all the necessary water to make a thick, soft, airy batter. In Apulia we love these puffy fritters and we enjoy to have them prepared with several different ingredients, according to personal tastes or following the traditional tastes of the families.

First of all, we fried some fritters with no other ingredients inside. Later on, we will enjoy those fritters as snack or dessert with a local homemade syrupy must reduction (mosto cotto), which is the result of a slow boiling process of grapes. To fry the batter, help yourself with a wet soup spoon for plunging and frying in very hot peanut oil. Then it was the turn of mixing steamed romanesco broccoli in a small portion of the batter and then fried. At last, we made some pizzaiola fritters with chopped olives, capers, tomatoes, anchovies. Before mixing these ingredients with the batter, put them all together in a small bowl, add little salt and a sprinkle of oregano. Please, do not pour their juicy liquid in the mixture otherwise it might turn to be dangerous because of the hot oil. Serve the warm fritters to your guests by pairing with a glass of your preferred wine or spumante and .. wishing a good year to everybody! ❤

Gott nytt år

Christmas, Tolkien and a warm cup of creamy zabaione

Merry Christmas, everybody! It is time to sit by the fireplace, in good company of a beautiful book written by J.R.R. Tolkien and posthumously published for the first time in 1976, “The Father Christmas Letters“, while enjoying the pleasure of tasting a warm creamy zabaglione prepared with a hint of Armagnac, a sprinkle of cocoa and tiny slivers of dark chocolate on top. The recipe of zabaglione is simple and you need only very few ingredients for enjoying this delicious cream.

Ingredients for 4 people: 6 yolks, 50 gr of icing sugar, 4 soup spoons of Armagnac, a knob of butter, a tea spoon of (bitter) cocoa, a tea spoon of tiny slivers of dark chocolate.

Heat in a bain-marie yolks, icing sugar and armagnac. Beat the ingredients for at least 15 minutes by using a blender. When the cream is thick, add a knob of butter. Remove the bowl from the cooker and the bain-marie, keep on beating and whip the zabaione for more 15 minutes. Serve the warm cream in cups, add a sprinkle of cocoa and slivers of dark chocolate on top. Enjoy it!

Many thanks. I hope you all are well and wish a beautiful Christmas day. Please, stay safe, everybody. God Jul! ❤

First Sunday of Advent in the kitchen

Here we are, Christmas is knocking at the door again and we already know it will be a very special season for all of us. Even though it won’t be often possible to behave as usual, that is expressing our love by hugging members of family and loved ones, we wish all of them to be safe and in our heart as always. In the mood to keep everybody closer to our thoughts and in the respect of a long family tradition for cooking and baking at Christmas time, we had a cosy first Sunday afternoon of Advent in the kitchen and made a delicious soft heart of vanilla and chocolate to have with a warm cup of tea. As you will see the recipe is pretty simple and it will be a delicious dessert loved by children and “older children”. Ingredients we need:

100 gr castor sugar (make your own), 2 eggs, 175 gr flour, 100 gr butter, 40 gr almonds meal (make your own), 60 gr crème fraîche, 8 gr baking powder, 2 soup spoons bitter cocoa, 2 soup spoons vanilla icing sugar, a coffee spoon of cardamom.

  • Choose the cake tin you prefer and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once you are to use it for the mixture, grease it inside with butter and sprinkle it with flour at first.
  • Mix castor sugar and eggs. Add flour, butter, almonds meal, crème fraîche and baking powder. Mix and beat with energy in order to have a very smooth mixture. Help yourself with a fork or a whisk or even use a whisk beater machine.
  • Pour the mixture in two different bowls. In the first bowl add cocoa and cardamom and mix all together. In the second bowl, add vanilla icing sugar and mix all together again. Add some milk if the mixture is too thick and it will turn to be more creamy and softer.
  • First, pour the vanilla mixture in the baking tin, then add the chocolate mixture on the surface of the vanilla mixture. Be careful to not touch the baking tin along its borders. Add a sprinkle of almond slivers on the surface of the cake.
  • Place the cake in the preheated 160°C oven for about 30 minutes. Once you see it looks golden, turn the oven off and leave the cake in it still for about 10/15 minutes.

This soft delicacy can be an excellent idea as a dessert served with a good warm cup of tea or coffee during a coffee pause or even after dinner paired with a spoon of vanilla cream.

Let’s enjoy the beginning of this Christmas season and wish a beautiful December month to everybody! ❤

Shall we take a walk?

Looking at pictures I took in Stockholm in the Autumn season, it just comes to my mind the strong desire of being there again. Indeed, temperatures have been very nice recently. Any way, while we wait for a vaccine and the right therapies, which should cross humanity over the dreadful pandemia and finally guarantee safer health conditions for everybody in the world, let’s try to live one day at a time, in the good effort of being in contact with nature as much as possible.

Shall we take a walk? Enjoy the video ❤

Warm shades of Autumn in the pot

Hallo! November is right behind the corner and, day after day, the Autumn season is offering us an extraordinary palette of tones, from pale golden yellows to bronzed oranges and browns, flaming reds and violets, till silver green and grays, which leaves wear once they start their mesmerizing, melancholic dance from the trees down along the sides of the streets. There is something soothing and mystic in their graceful pirouettes, which fills the air with beautiful, lively waves and serendipity. Autumn is also an inspiration for my kitchen and today, after a quick check at some family old food notes, I decided to prepare a couple of tasteful dishes we enjoy to make at this time of the year. So, in the garden, where temperatures are still around 20°/22°C in these days, I chose herbs like tender bay leaves, sage, rosemary for a bouquet garni to add in the pot together with the other ingredients for a rich stew. The dish of small bites of tender beef and pork cooked in a special pot by the fireplace represents an old family gastronomy tradition, which once took many hours of slow cooking in the day before being well done. Nowadays, we are ready to serve this delicacy on our table in 2 or 2,5 hours. Starting with pouring some extra virgin olive oil in the pot, then I added the bouquet garni, a couple of small onions, some juniper berries (2 or 3), a couple of cloves, some garlic, the bites of young beef and pork in the end. As soon as the meat started hissing, it was necessary to brown it gently on every side, in order to seal the surface well and keep the tenderness of meat and its juices inside the bites. For this reason, I didn’t add salt and pepper until the end of the cooking process. After several minutes, I added some red local wine and kept on stewing. Finally, I added pieces of celery, carrot, local new potatoes, king trumpet mushrooms (Pleurotus eryngii), cherry tomatoes, then covered everything with warm water and brought to simmer for the time necessary to have a slow cooked well done stew. Salt, pepper and a sprinkle of parsley right in the end. I served this warm dish with some home made, broken in small pieces tagliatelle (noodles) cooked for less than 5 minutes straight in the broth of the meat. As for the mixture of tagliatelle, I used only hard wheat (Senatore Cappelli) flour, semolina and water and the outcome was an excellent, “al dente” cooked pasta.

Rosendals Trädgård

As already mentioned above and you can also see in the featured picture, I prepared also one more dish basically made with pumpkin. I was only a young child when I learnt from my aunt how to make it. After having steamed only for few minutes some thinely sliced pumpkin in order to soften it, I salted it. Then, I oiled and sprinkled with breadcrumb a pot and started making layers of pumpkin. Each layer had a sprinkle of breadcrumb and black pepper powder, an idea of garlic and sage, some small capers, few drops of extravirgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar. I left the pumpkin to rest for 15/20 minutes and then it was good to be served as side dish. Wishing everybody, who want to try to make these delicious recipes ‘Bon Appétit’!

A good All Saints’ Celebrations weekend and be safe, everybody ❤

Fast and easy: lamb chops in pistachio crumble

Hello, a new week on this Monday, October 12th, starts with a succulent dish made with delicious tender lamb chops in pistacchio crumble. The progress of the recipe will take less than an hour.

First of all, marinate the chops of lamb for about 20 minutes in some white wine (I used Chardonnay), adding a hint of garlic, drops of extra virgin olive oil, some pepper, rosemary, few juniper berries. (No salt)

In the meanwhile, steam fresh asparagus for few minutes and leave them crisp. You will add a sprinkle of salt and good extra virgin olive oil only in the end, when you are going to serve the dish on the table.

Prepare a simple decoration of small tomatoes for the plate you are going to use for serving the lamb chops.

Sprinkle the lamb chops with pistacchio crumble and sea salt, fry them well in good olive oil or peanut oil until they will have a golden surface and the meat inside will be rose-colored and juicy.

Serve the dish very warm with tomatoes and asparagus or add some other vegetables you prefer.

Enjoy the dish, stay safe and wishing a good new week to everybody. Thank you!