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!

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Good food in the kitchen

Genuine, simple ingredients make good dishes. Wishing everybody a beautiful Sunday!

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!

Afterwork: Time for Amaretto Cream

It is time for the week-end and today I have prepared a velvet cream, which has Amaretti pastries as main ingredient and fragrance. The recipe is very easy and it is a delicious idea to serve the cream cool to your guests.

Ingredients:

2 eggs, 2 spoons of sugar, 100gr mascarpone cheese, 50gr amaretti, few amaretti for decoration.

  1. Separate the yolks from the whites of eggs and work the yolks with sugar until the cream will have a very light color.
  2. Add mascarpone cheese and amaretti crumbs and work the ingredients all together in order to have a well mixed cream.
  3. Beat the egg whites till stiff, add them to the cream, mix slowly and gently: your wrist has to rotate in a movement that goes down and up.
  4. Serve the cream cool in a dessert glass and decor it with a sprinkle of coffee powder, almonds crumbs on the surface and a couple of amaretti pastries or as your creativity suggests.

Wishing everybody a good week-end!

Brioche au fromage for the picnic basket

For celebrating this May 1st, I did enjoy preparing and baking a soft brioche au fromage. This easy, genuine recipe was given to me years ago by a couple of friendly ladies during Summer holidays and, from then on, my family and friends showed always appreciation every time I prepared it. Indeed, this brioche au fromage can be an excellent idea for the picnic basket and a meal in the open air, or for a children party: they are events, which take place quite often during Spring and Summer season.

Ingredients:

500gr whole wheat organic  flour, 3 eggs, 12,5gr yeast, 250ml milk, a sprinkle of sea salt (about a coffee spoon), 100gr parmigiano reggiano, 100gr speck, thyme, 125ml peanut oil.

Mix all ingredients together and leave the mixture to rest for a couple of hours. Then, grease a baking tin and pour the mixture in it, bake it (220° C) until it has a golden crisp surface.

Serve it with vegetables or a fresh salad: for this occasion, I also added some grilled tomatoes, which have been seasoned with drops of garlic and thyme aromatized extra vergin olive oil and little cubes of fresh sheep milk local cheese .

Wishing everybody a beautiful Spring and Summer season!

 

 

Savoy cabbage ravioli

Hello, for those, who enjoy cooking, it is always nice to dedicate some time of yours to  prepare genuine, home made dishes for family and friends. So, my small culinary tip for the week-end is a light ravioli recipe that perhaps your children would enjoy to help preparing as well. After making pasta sheets, by using only local organic flour and water, I chose my pasta fan shape and made medium-sized discs, which I filled with stewed savoy cabbage, excellent fragranced mortadella Bologna, raisins, pine seeds.

I cooked ravioli in salted boiling water and as soon as they tasted ‘al dente’, they were drained and served warm, topped with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of excellent pecorino cheese from Tuscany. An alternative to extravirgin olive oil, might be to melt a nut of fresh butter, according to your choice and taste.

The flavour is delicious and all I can add is to wish ‘buon appetito’ and enjoy the week-end to everybody!

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Almond pastries for Easter Season, tradition and creativity

almond pastries

At Easter season, according to local and family traditions, we love to prepare these fragranced home-made almond pastries and it is always a pleasure to offer them to family and friends. It is a delicious dessert after lunch and in good company of a cup of warm coffee or tee. Neither eggs nor flour are inside, indeed these pastries melts like butter in your mouth, call it sublime patisserie! Like for high quality chocolate that has to be always stored in cool places, less than 18° C temperature, I wouldn’t recommend to make almond pastries at Summer time.

Ingredients: almonds, sugar, water and, for those who appreciate, rose water or only few drops of anise-flavored liqueur or seeds of anise.  

Once you have prepared the almond paste, you can use it also as filling for little pastries made of pâte sablée. Children will love them 💚 ✨

Wishing everybody a good Sunday!

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. 

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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.

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   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!

Appetizing croquettes made of vegetables and sweet yellow tomatoes for a smooth sauce

   The new week started with its usual rhythmic step but then, in the middle of the day or when activities allow a break, that is the time for turning your sight, looking at nature and enjoying the splendid work of art the Autumn season is making of it. Since it is almost lunch time, I will prepare some light croquettes made of wild chicories I bought from an old friendly peasant that knows where to find them along the stony paths in the countryside.

   The thought run to the past, to a family tradition we had when I was a little child and it was right at this time of the year: indeed, my aunt, during the week-end, visit us for a cup of warm coffee and then, all together, her sister and my Mom used to have a drive to her plot of land in the countryside, where, in the soft light of a mild afternoon, we enjoyed picking wild chicories and other vegetables, which then were prepared as the local gastronomy suggested.

   Back to the recipe of the day I have in mind, first of all, it is necessary to check the wild chicories, washing accurately and boil them for few minutes, in order to remove the bitter taste. After that, the chicories go in a pan with some extra-virgin olive oil and, as soon as they start hissing, it is necessary to add some bouillon made with vegetables to enrich their taste. Next step, far from the cooker, is to strain and chop the wild chicories up. So, in a big bowl, I prepare an homogeneous mixture made of wild chicories, an egg, grated goat cheese, breadcrumbs, some milk, a sprinkle of pepper. Working with hands the mixture, I make small croquettes stuffed with tiny cubes of provolone fiaschetto cheese (I chose this kind of cheese because of its light spicy taste that matches so well both with the mixture of vegetables and the sweet sauce made of winter yellow tomatoes, I am going to prepare for the croquettes). After breading, the croquettes go in the oven with few drops of extra virgin olive oil for about 15 min 220°C until their surface will become gold and the cheese will start melting inside.

  In the meanwhile, as already mentioned, let’s prepare a velvety sauce with those typical winter yellow tomatoes. It is simple: it is necessary to have some extra-virgin olive oil in a pan, onion, an idea of garlic, a piece of carrot and celery and then add the tomatoes, hot pepper, a sprinkle of salt. It will take only  few minutes to prepare a smooth sauce.

   Serve the croquettes very warm and with the sweet yellow tomatoes sauce and some parsley as decoration for the dish and ‘buon appetito’!