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!

Stay at home, listen to Mozart and enjoy cooking

Staying at home in these days is a good opportunity for spending more time with family. For this reason, let’s cook something appetizing for our loved ones. We need good local potatoes, asparagus, garlic, onion, extra virgin olive oil, some typical Toscanello cheese, an egg, rosemary, oregano, salt, pepper and breadcrumb. Choose your preferred music to listen to while you are graciously following the rhythm of the recipe.

1. After steaming cubes of small pealed potatoes (let’s say about 8 small potatoes for 4 people), mash them and add a sprinkle of sea salt. Peal 8 asparagus and cut into small round pieces (please, do not forget to remove the lower stringy end). 2. In a pan with three or four soup spoons of warm extra virgin olive oil, add an idea of garlic, some chopped onion, rosemary, and the asparagus. 3. Cook for about five minutes and then, in a bowl, add the asparagus and the oil juice to the mashed potatoes. 4. Mix well all together and add one egg, the grated Toscanello cheese (4 generous soup spoons), some breadcrumb and a sprinkle of pepper and oregano. 5. In small greasy pans made of clay, pour a couple of soup spoons of the mixture making a first lower layer, then a second layer with mozzarella, and again add more of the mixture and make a third and last layer. Add a sprinkle of breadcrumb on top and some drops of extra virgin olive oil. 6. Bake the flans in the oven for about 20/25 minutes 220°C.

Potatoes and Asparagus Croquettes
Potatoes and Asparagus Croquettes

If you have more of that mixture, it would be nice to prepare also small croquettes by adding some all purpose flour as ingredient to it. Leave the mixture in the fridge for 2 or three hours and then make some squared gnocchi (you won’t be able to work the mixture too long). Fry them golden and crisp in extra virgin olive oil and serve them hot as snack with fried tomatoes (cooked very fast in extra virgin olive oil with some garlic and onion, a sprinkle of salt) and slivers of tasteful Toscanello cheese on top. Enjoy the dishes with your loved one and please, stay at home!

Choose a pattern for your focaccia: just the way you like it

In the early morning, before going to work, you can prepare a soft mixture for a focaccia dough. You need the following ingredients: 500 gr all purpose flour, 40 gr extra virgin olive oil, 9 gr yeast and some sugar, (the tip of a coffee spoon) which will help the soft mixture to leaven, 300 ml water, 10 gr salt. Then, leave it to bubble and rise for four or five hours at least. At this point, you will make the focaccia by pouring the mixture on the oiled surface of a baking tray. Work on and stretch out the dough with the tip of your fingers. Cover the dough with a clingfilm and leave it to rise again for about 20 mins.

Then, choose to decor the focaccia by making a pattern with the delicacies you prefer and bake it in the oven 180°/200° C. Perhaps you can make an emulsion with water, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt and just paint it on the surface of the focaccia. Or you may choose to go for brie cheese, fried rings of leek, slices of sweet and sour bulbous of Leopoldia comosum (an inviting delicacy from Apulia culinary tradition) and a hint of thyme leaves. Whether in a way or in an other, your focaccia will taste very appetizing and much welcome by your table-companion. Enjoy it. Thank you.

Hymn to Nature

“Tree

There is no other way than to become more tree.

Make it up with the soil. The soil: eternally the same.

The stones the same.

The gravel the same.

Nailed for all time to this: immovability.

To move in the tree’s direction:

deeper down.

Can a tree that loves storms become a storm?

The tree can do no other than to rend its crown.

Be shaken through by cries

the tree the nailed-fast soughing

born to be tree

drives its longing inward

into the form of tree.

The dark-shadowed grows broader. Broad

the pillar descends and without vertigo sings greater

towards the cloud its heart of leaves

rest for all that travels

safety for birds and for the seeds

forever in motion

deep in its innermost wood.

There is no way than to become more tree.”

Solveig von Schoultz

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).

“If I were a child…”

Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine:

“If I were a child, I would certainly love my parents cycling me around on this super fantastic cargo bike for kids. On this dream house there would be plenty of room to share with other members of the family and friends, for the sky, the sun and little clouds and for the whole universe. Together, we would go like the wind along city streets and country paths and in the wonderful world of children, where adventures take place.”

Enjoy a good weekend, everybody!

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.

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!