Bread rolls, focaccia and green vegetables: are you hungry?

Just few days more and soon, January will fly away. It is pretty cold outside, but now, more than ever, it is beautiful to have a walk in the middle of a silent nature. On the one hand, the earth is having a little rest, on the other hand, it is also preparing, in its own precious case, the new gems to wear at Springtime.

At this proper, even in Winter season, of course, it is possible to choose among a plenty of good vegetables for making inviting meals. Here there are a couple of easy culinary ideas you might like to try and develop if you want to have something appetizing throughout the day, perhaps for your coffee pause or as a tasteful snack or appetizer, just before dinner.

First of all, prepare a dough mixing 250gr of flour (125gr all purpose flour+125gr wholemeal bread flour), about 10/12gr yeast, a sprinkle of salt, a sprinkle of sugar (to help the ricing process) and the necessary warm water to make a thick and very soft dough. Then, cover the dough with a clingfilm and leave it to rest for about 6 hours.

As vegetables for the filling of the focaccia, I chose leaves of chard and cabbage. In a pan, cook gently and only for few minutes, in extra virgin olive oil with rings of leek and an idea of garlic, the chopped chard (please, remove the hard stem), the cabbage and, right in the end, add a sprinkle of salt, pepper and cubes of smoked bacon. The vegetables must be crisp.

Once the dough is ready, you can bake for example some simple bread rolls in the oven (250°C) until you see their golden puffy surface. (I used a baking tray for muffins, helped myself with a soup spoon and little water in order to dip it in and then fill the moulds with the dough). Stuff your bread rolls with the ingredients you like best.

If you prefer to try a tasteful focaccia, pour a layer of dough in a buttered baking tin, add the filling of vegetables, smoked bacon and some cubes of Emmenthal cheese. Make a second layer of dough for covering the filling, drops of extravirgin olive oil on the surface and in the oven for about 20 minutes (220°C). Serve the focaccia fluffy and warm, enjoy the taste and a good weekend to everybody!

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!

Autumn and the good fragrance of small puff pastries and apple

There was a good fragrance of Autumn this morning, on Sept 30th, in the kichen. We said hello to Autumn by baking ready made puff pastry in the shape of small squares filled with pieces of excellent moist golden apple, sprinkled with a handful of sugar, chopped hazelnut and pistachio, flavoured with vanilla and cinnamon.

The ingredients in the puff pastry squares were previously slowly and gently stewed for less than 15 minutes in a couple soup spoons of water and a couple spoons of Amaretto di Saronno. No lid was necessary in order to let Amaretto di Saronno to dry off.

Then, the small puff pastries went in the oven for about 15/20 minutes until they got swollen, light and their surface was golden and crunchy. Puff pastries with apple are an excellent snack to serve at any time of the day, at breakfast, for a coffee pause, or even after dinner as a dessert with a good cup of coffee, tea or milk. By the way, you may add as ingredients also pine-kernels and raisins. Wishing everybody a good start with Autumn season and please, stay safe ❤

Puff pastries and apples
Puff pastries and apples
Puff pastries and apples

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!

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

Small gnocchi made of semolina and green sparrows

During this Spring season, let’s keep on enjoying good genuine tastes in our dishes. Today, for lunch, I prepared a light soup with sparrows bouillon and home made semolina gnocchi.

Starting from the bouillon, I chopped eight (n.8) fresh green sparrows and started frying them gently in a sauce pan with a couple of soup spoons of extra virgin olive oil, small cubes of bacon, sliced onion and an idea of garlic. Five minutes later, I added some water (about half level of the sauce pan), three or four cherry tomatoes, a sprinkle of black pepper and little sea salt, covered the sauce pan with a lid and kept the bouillon cooking and boiling slowly for 30 or 40 minutes.

As for the home made semolina gnocchi, in a large pan, I poured 250 ml of milk (ingredients are for one person), let it boiling and then, slowly, I added 75 gr of semolina flour, a sprinkle of salt, and kept mixing and stirring in order to have a smooth velvet mixture with no clots, which, after (more or less) 20 minutes got well thick.

Far from the stove, I poured the semolina mixture in a small greasy bawl and, as soon as it was a little bit cooler, I started making and shaping small balls (gnocchi) on the wet palm of my hands. After that, I dipped gently the small gnocchi in the boiling bouillon made with sparrows only for three/four minutes and then, served them very warm in a bowl. I hope you will enjoy making this light and genuine dish and wish everybody bon appétit and a good weekend!

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.

Let’s make small zucchini boats and red onion sauce for dinner

The red onion hisses in the pan with a couple of soup spoons of extra virgin olive oil. This is to start preparing a red onion sauce to be served with small zucchini boats on your dinner table. Leave a couple of red onions frying gently for about 20 minutes. Then, add a leaf of bay and a clove to broaden the flavour. Melt a soup spoon of all purpose flour in the onions with half glass of white wine and leave this latter to evaporate. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and chili pepper in it. Remove the leaf of bay and use the minipimer to make a smooth sauce with onions. Only if necessary, add little more white wine, sugar and then place again the sauce for few minutes on the cooker to make it sweeter and thicker.

Ingredients for the onion sauce: 2 red onions, a clove, a soup spoon of all purpose flour, a leaf of bay, 2 soup spoons of extra virgin olive oil, half glass white wine, a sprinkle of salt and chili pepper, (some sugar if necessary).

As for zucchini, split each of them in half. Use a corer for removing the pulp inside and make little boats. Save the pulp, which you are going to use later on for the filling. In a pan, toast some breadcrumbs in extra virgin olive oil (a couple of soup spoons). Then, out of the cooker, add some milk to the golden breadcrumbs, mix all together soft and leave to get cooler. In the meanwhile, steam the small zucchini boats for 5 minutes and add salt in the end. In a bowl, make a mixture with breadcrumbs, add the chopped zucchini pulp, salt, an egg and small cubes of spicy provola cheese. Mix well and fill the small zucchini boats with the stuffing. Few drops of extra virgin olive oil on top and place the small boats in the oven for about 30 minutes (180/200°C). Serve them very warm with the sweet/spicy onion sauce. I wish everybody bon appétit!

Ingredients for the small zucchini boats: 3 or 4 zucchini, 1 egg, 200 ml milk, extra virgin olive oil, 2 or 3 soup spoons of breadcrumbs, small cubes of spicy provola cheese, a sprinkle of salt.

Home made white lasagna for the Easter table

It is the beginning of the first week of Spring and, in the range of crops at the food store, we might find the asparagus that can be chosen as privileged ingredient of several dishes for the Easter table. During the last weekend, I made some different kind of fresh pasta at home. For the dough, according to the gastronomy tradition of my region, Apulia, I used simply good local flours (Senatore Cappelli and semola) and water. No eggs were necessary and, in this way, the dish could be a bit lighter. What is more, you can store the fresh pasta in the fridge for a couple of days. At this proper, for example, I use to alternate layers of lasagna on layers of fridge papers that are cut of similar sizes of lasagnas and store them accurately in the fridge.

As for the recipe about white lasagna dish, you need few simple steps for making it. 1. After removing the lower wooden ends of the asparagus (you need three or four per person), steam them for five minutes and then put them in a pan with a couple of spoons of extra virgin olive oil, a fragrant idea of garlic and cook them for few minutes more. 2. Make a smooth velvet Béchamel sauce. Melt some butter (I used about 30/40g), add a very small idea of garlic in the pan, if you like it. At this point, out of the small cooker, add slowly some all purpose flour (I used a couple of soup spoons) and mix it with the butter. Work it very well in order to dissolve each lump and have a smooth roux. Back on the small stove, add gently hot milk (250 or 300 ml) and keep on stirring and whipping until the white sauce is done. Add a sprinkle of salt, grated nutmeg and melt one or two generous handfuls of grated Rodez cheese (please, see the previous recipe – crêpes). 3. Cook lasagna pasta for about 5 minutes in salt boiling water. Then, strain and leave lasagna to dry on a clean towel on the table. Before starting with layers of lasagna, pour a couple of soup spoons of béchamel sauce on the surface of the cocottes and then alternate n. 4 layers of lasagna with béchamel sauce, asparagus and pieces of mozzarella cheese. 4. Place in the oven 180°C/200°C for about ten minutes (please, don’t leave it too long, in order to still have a moist surface) and then serve it very warm. I hope you enjoy the recipe and wish everybody ‘bon appétit‘.

Enjoy the music