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! ❤

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!

A homemade green lasagna: layers of lightness in the dish

   A white tablecloth is the fine simple way to dress the table for the Christmas holiday season and it is also the best way to highlight your delicious dishes. In a couple of days, we are going to celebrate the arrival of the new year and, for the special event, we take care of our guests by preparing a light green lasagna that both children and grown up would love to eat.

A warm welcome to Santa by the fireplace and delightful appetizers made with zucchini and raclette cheese for our guests

Hello! It is Christmas Eve and guests are on arrival. The ideal place to welcome them could be a cosy, comfortable corner by the fireplace, where warm, fragrant appetizers, made of puff pastry, wait for them. These appetizers are easy, light and fast to be made.

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Hello! It is Christmas Eve and guests are on arrival. The ideal place to welcome them could be a cosy, comfortable corner by the fireplace, where warm, fragrant appetizers, made of puff pastry, wait for them. These appetizers are easy, light and fast to be made. Would you like to try and make them? Start making little disks of puff pastry and place them on a baking tray. You can fill the centre of each disk with some beans, in order to have a cavity to fill with zucchini (which you have already sautéed with garlic, onion, a sprinkle of salt, pepper and chopped parsley, in extra-virgin olive oil and white wine) and little cubes of raclette cheese to grill and melt later on. Place the little disks in the oven for few minutes 180° C/200°C and then out of the oven just for the time you need to fill them with zucchini and raclette. Place the appetizers in the oven again and, as soon as their surface is golden, puffed and crisp and raclette looks melted, they are ready to be served to guests with a glass of white wine by the fireplace. Besides, please won’t forget to bake some puff pastry little stars and fill them with homemade apricot jam. Leave them in a dish by the fireplace for welcoming Santa. He will appreciate your kindness for sure.

Merry Christmas! Buon Natale! Frohe Weihnachten! God Jul! 


Jul, jul, strålande jul

Bread balls and vegetables soup: a delightful revisitation of an old family recipe for the Christmas table

   Hallo! We are at the third weekend of Advent and, for many, this means to make dishes from the old, local Christmas gastronomy live again; it is about those ancient tastes, which belong both to childhood memories and to family traditions as well. As a child, on these very special occasions, I often watched my Mom making tasteful bread balls, which were dipped and cooked in a boiling, Summer fragranced, home-made tomato sauce. She learnt this old recipe from her father, my grandfather, and, in the years, from time to time, I had the pleasure to prepare it too. This time, I’ve got in mind a revisitation of the old grandfather’s recipe  in favour of a  light, healthy, warm dish, which could be a tasteful alternative to richer dishes belonging to the Christmas tradition. 

   Ingredients for the vegetables soup: local potatoes, selery, carrots, orange cauliflower and romanesco broccoli, savoy cabbage, yellow and red peppers, zucchini, onion, garlic, fresh grated turmeric, salt, pepper, extravirgin olive oil, white or rosé wine, pieces of leg of lamb.

   Once all vegetables have been chopped into same-sized pieces, sauté the ingredients in a pot with little extravirgin olive oil in order to retain their integrity and nutritional content. Cook gently, tossing and stirring the vegetables. The cooking process could take about 15 minutes, it depends on the size of the vegetables.  Add the seasoning ingredients right at the beginning in order the vegetables can take their own time to get all fragrances. Let the pieces of leg of lamb to hiss a little before pouring some white or rosé wine. Leave the wine to evaporate and then add some bouillon prepared with carrot, selery and onion. Keep on cooking, covering the pot with a lid. As soon as the vegetables will be done, remove the pot from the cooker and use the mixer to make an homogeneous velvet cream of them. Please, remember to add the pieces of leg of lamb at the end, when you will serve the dish, if you like it. The purpose of the pieces of leg of lamb among the ingredients is to provide a richer taste to the soup.

   Ingredients for the breadballs (choose carefully the right amount of each ingredient, according to the number of guests at your table) : breadcrumbs, eggs, grated pecorino romano cheese, sage, milk, salt and pepper. Please, be careful with salt, since pecorino romano cheese tastes spicy and tasteful. At this proper, I may suggest to have a taste of the bread balls while mixing all ingredients together.

   Use all ingredients to work a good, soft mixture. Please, do not use much milk, otherwise the mixture could open while frying the bread balls. Make your bread balls, press a little on them in order to get homogeneously cooked. Coat the balls with breadcrumbs and fry them until their surface becomes golden and crisp.

   The more the bread balls will be warm when served with the creamy vegetables soup, the more you will taste the fresh fragrance of the sage and the spicy taste of pecorino romano cheese inside of them.

    I hope you have got the chance to enjoy this simple, humble, healthy dish and wish everybody a good 3rd weekend of Advent!

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!

Home-made ravioli and the vegetable garden in the wintertime

   It is the third Advent week, and it is less than ten days for Christmas day. Outside, in the garden, the air is crisp and invites to have a cup of warm coffe in your hands. Three small candles brings light into the darkness of the early morning. Soon, the sunrise will fill the sky with its golden pink brightness. Winter season is just behind the corner and, according to the good agricultural practice, fruit trees need to be pruned in order to be prepared for the new Springtime. Since every season has its own crops, now it is time for beautiful plants of cardoon in our vegetable garden, they are ideals for warm tasteful soups and, at this proper, in Apulia, Southern Italy, it is common to cook cardoons in many different ways. The recipe, I am going to make today, combines, calling to a culinary harmony, savours and food products of the Northern regions with those coming from the South. Step by step, we are going to build the dish, by adding the ingredients it needs.

   First of all, let’s work a mixture made of good ecological flour and water and make sheets of pasta for ravioli. I have used 200/ 250 gr of Senatore Cappelli flour and about a glass of water. You can help yourself by using a manual Nonna Papera machine for home-made fresh pasta at first, then choose to use a fan-shaped mould for ravioli or simply use a glass to make discs and, in the end, once the filling is in the center of the disc, press the tips of a fork to seal along the border of ravioli. 

DSC_2932 sfoglia

As for the filling, make a mixture made with mashed local potatoes (at this proper, I steamed  Sieglinde potatoes, a variety that is firm on cooking and has high nutritional values), add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, chopped onion lightly fried into extravirgin olive oil, a couple of soup spoons of grated local ‘pecorino’ (sheep milk) cheese, small cubes of Speck from Alto Adige and raclette cheese, rosemary. Fill the center of the raviolo disc and close it in the way suggested above.

DSC_2940 ravioli

   The third step is to prepare the cardoon cream. Sauté the cardoons and some cherry tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil and then add vegetable bouillon. Keep on cooking the cardoons until they are tender and then make a cream with them, by adding a couple of spoons of crème fraîche and tasteful pecorino cheese.

   Cook ravioli in salted boiling water, strain and serve them very warm on a plate with the smooth cardoon cream. Decor the dish with some fresh rosemary and ‘buon appetito’, bon appétit, smaklig måltid!

Wishing everybody a good third Advent week

Taraxacum potato gnocchi on a velvet Taleggio cheese cream

   Hello and welcome to a new Autumn week-end, which will bring a new good recipe to try for those of you, who love cooking! The morning crisp November air is an inviting call for a relaxing walk through narrow paths in the countryside, where, perhaps, it is possible to find out and picking wild (safe) vegetables, mostly known as excellent ingredients for a tasteful kitchen. So, taking inspiration from a simple, seasonal soup, made with taraxacum, which is pretty popular in Apulia, in Southern Italy, and that my Mom keeps on preparing quite often at this time of the year, on this Sunday, we are going to make taraxacum potato gnocchi on a velvet Taleggio cream. In my opinion, this delicious dish seems to be an ideal junction  among genuine ingredients, which, coming from different places from North to South, have both benefit healthy qualities and peculiar tastes that can be clearly perceived from gourmets.

   We will start 1.steaming potatoes and then replacing them in the fridge for a night. (At this proper, I would like to add that I found some good local potatoes at the food market, which still had the earth on the thin peel and looked compact inside in the middle, ideal for preparing gnocchi). The next day, before lunch time, we will keep on preparing the dish, by 2.mashing the potatoes and 3.boiling the taraxacum for few minutes. Then, after 4.straining the vegetable, we will keep on 5.cooking it in a pan with some extra-virgin olive oil, an idea of garlic, little chopped onion, salt and pepper, few fresh tomatoes, a sprinkle of goat cheese. Since we will 7.add the minced taraxacum to the mashed potatoes and 8.work both the ingredients together for making a mixture, it is highly recommended to 6.’dry’ the taraxacum from the juice during the cooking process, in order to have a solid mixture. The proportion of ingredients I used and I may suggest for potatoes and taraxacum mixture is about 200/250gr potatoes : 100/150gr cooked taraxacum. Of course, it depends on the type of potatoes used, the cooking process of the taraxacum and the number of guests at your table. As for the mixture, I added an egg and some organic durum wheat flour (not too much, since I prefer to feel the potato taste rather then the flour’s that has the task to bind the main ingredients) during the working process. Once the 9.mixture looks compact, we will 10.make a long thin cylinder and then 11.cut it in small gnocchi. For 12.preparing a smooth taleggio cream, it is necessary to melt a couple of generous pieces of Taleggio cheese, a knob of butter into some crème fraîche and to add a sprinkle pepper in it. Then, we will 3.pour the gnocchi in boiling salted water and wait for a couple of minutes until they will come out on the surface of the water. In the end, 14.strain accurately and serve them on a dish with some velvet Taleggio cream and parsley. 

I hope you will enjoy the recipe some time and wish everybody a good new week!

Buon appetito, bon appétit, smaklig måltid!