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!

Zucchini flowers and Summer nuances for a picnic

Soon it’s gonna be Summer again and we love staying in the open air, living the cosy moments of conviviality with family and friends around a table or, even better, sitting on the grass for enjoying a picnic. At this proper, stuffed zucchini flowers, fried and served warm, might be an inviting and very welcome appetizer. Here to follow we have got the ingredients and few steps for the execution of the dish.

  • 20 zucchini flowers
  • 500 gr cow milk ricotta cheese
  • 25 gr parmigiano + 25 gr rodez cheese
  • 50 gr mortadella Bologna
  • 10 green big olives
  • flour and cold sparkling water for the batter
  • peanut oil to fry
  • salt and black powder pepper.
  1. prepare the stuffing mixing the ricotta cheese, grated cheese, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, minced olives and mortadella.
  2. Wash the zucchini flowers and dry gently them on a sheet of blotting paper.
  3. Prepare a thick batter made with flour and cold sparkling water, add a sprinkle of salt and leave it to rest for 10/15 minutes.
  4. In the meanwhile, stuff the zucchini flowers with the mixture (help yourself with a tea spoon) and accurately close them.
  5. Warm the oil in a frying pan.
  6. Dip each stuffed zucchini flower in the batter at first and then fry it in the oil.
  7. Serve the stuffed zucchini flowers as entrée with a glass of wine you prefer and enjoy the picnic.
Zucchini flowers

Preparing stuffing for zucchini flowers
Stuffing for zucchini flowers: ricotta cheese, mortadella bologna, green big olives, grated parmigiano and rodez cheese, black pepper powder
thick batter made with flour and water
stuffed zucchini flowers before being fried

Rachmaninov and the pork in the pan

It was a bizarre weather today, since, after a warm and sunny morning, at dinner time, it seemed it was almost going to rain. Any way, there was a cosy atmosphere in the kitchen, listening to Rachmaninov and cooking some pork (prosciutto) and peppers. 1. Starting from a couple of peppers, I grilled them in the oven and, still hot, I removed their skin. Then, after making small stripes of them, I cooked peppers slowly for about 10/15 minutes in a pan with a couple of soup spoons of extra virgin olive, some capers, spicy local green olives, finely chopped fresh garlic. Besides, there I added an anchovy to melt and mix with the other ingredients in the pan. 2. As for the pork (prosciutto), firstly I chopped some fresh herbs from the garden, like rosemary and sage, together with garlic and spread them on the surface on both sides of the pork. Then, secondly, I placed the pork in a pan (moderate flame) with a couple soup spoons of extra virgin olive oil and some white wine and let it cook until the wine evaporated. Salt and black pepper right before removing the pan from the cooker. In the end, I served the pork very warm with peppers and a sprinkle of toasted breadcrumbs on top. By the way, peppers recipe might taste also really good as sauce for a dish of rice or pasta. The choice is yours. Many thanks and bon appétit.

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!

 

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!