Shall we make a zucchini tart?

Hello! On this second week of June we are going to bake a tasteful zucchini tart, which perhaps would turn to be a delightful appetizer for our Summer “al fresco” dinners in the verandah with family and friends or a fantastic snack for the children. Let’s do it!

As for the ingredients to make the tart, we need: 250 gr all purpose flour, 100 gr hot water, 100 gr extra virgin olive oil, a coffee spoon of sea salt, a coffee spoon of baking powder.

Let’s mix and work the ingredients all together, until we have a homogeneous mixture, which we leave to rest just for the time we will slice and steam (for about 10 minutes, or less) a couple of fresh zucchini.

Once zucchini are lightly soften but still “al dente”, let’s season them in a dish with an emulsion based on extra virgin olive oil, few drops of apple cider vinegar, hints of garlic, black pepper powder, citrus thyme and mentha leaves.

Back to the tart mixture. Make a disk of it. Help yourself with greaseproof paper and a rolling pin. Place the disk in a baking tray and make a layer with zucchini.

Add sweet rings of red onion (I used Tropea onion) and bake the tart for 45 minutes in the oven (200°C).

About 10 minutes before the tart is done, let’s add some cheese. I had some smoked caciocavallo cheese on top, which tastes very good with the sweetness of the onion and the zucchini.

Serve the crisp tart warm or cold. Any way it is a delightful dish for the Summer season.

A variation for the filling of the tart might be this gorgeous velouté sauce prepared with 200 gr robiola cheese, 100 gr spinach leaves, 4 small zucchini, a scallion, 800 ml broth, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

Chop scallion and stew it in extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped zucchini, spinach, broth. Cook zucchini until they will be soft. Work all ingredients and the robiola cheese in a food mixer and make a velvet cream. Use the cream as the filling of the tart and .. bon appétit! 

Crisp single crust polenta pie topped with broccoli, sausage and sweet Tropea onion. It tastes so good!

Hello, it’s a new week and it is time for a new recipe! Cooking polenta does not belong to the culinary tradition of Apulia, in Southern Italy, the region where I live. However, this ingredient, which is very much used in the North of Italy, pairs very well with home fresh produces and products from my area and with those that I chose yesterday at the food market. So, let’s try it!

In the kitchen, last night, I enjoyed cooking a delicious meal, which is pretty simple to prepare, even though it takes between 90 and 120 minutes of your time to be ready and to serve to your guests.

Starting with a good frying pan, where to pour some extra virgin olive oil to heat, then add sweet rings of onion (on the occasion, I chose gorgeous red onions of Tropea), small cherry tomatoes, pieces of a good local sausage made of minced pork and veal.

As soon as the oil starts hissing in the pan, add a hint of garlic and a pinch of oregano. By the flavoury taste of each ingredient present in the pan, your mouth will start watering.

Then, it is the turn for steamed broccoli.

You can watch the video I made to see how gently they cook with the other ingredients. All of them must have a very short cooking time in order to save their “crispness” for the palate. Once the ingredients that go on top are done, let’s work on with polenta, which will be the crisp base for the single crust pie.

Boil some salted water and, out of the cooker, pour gently the necessary polenta flour for making a smooth, soft, creamy mixture.

Help yourself with a whisk to crush every crumble of polenta and make it like velvet.

Pour the polenta in the frying pan with some extra virgin olive oil (not too much!) and, with a wooden spatule, prepare the base for the pie.

While the polenta base cooks, its surface will start coming solid.

After 30 minutes, turn the polenta base upside down, in order to fry also the other side and have it homogeneously golden and crisp.

Almost in the end, add all ingredients on the polenta pie crust and some grated smoked caciocavallo cheese on top. Cover the pie with a lid for few minutes to melt the cheese.

Serve the polenta pie warm.

Enjoy the dish with a glass of your preferred wine and “bon appétit”.

Thank you and until next recipe!

🌱🌼🌱🌼🌱

Cocoa or vanilla daisy pastries?

daisy short pastry

Hello! We are enjoying warm Spring days, which are getting longer and longer. Sometimes, after dinner time, it might happen you want to enjoy a glass of fresh milk and perhaps a light dessert in front of a good reading. The following recipe of small daisy pastries is for those who, like me, love to bake simple genuine tastes at any time of the day. Of course children would love them too!

As for the short pastry:

  • 250 gr all purpose organic flour
  • 100 gr sugar
  • 1 pod of vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 100 gr butter
  • a sprinkle of salt
  • 2 or 3 spoons of cocoa powder
  • a sprinkle of cardamom
  • vanilla icing sugar

As for the filling:

use what you have in your pantry, or what you like best. I used some home made apricot jam for the cocoa daisy short pastries and “nutella” cream for the vanilla daisy short pastries.

First of all, make the short pastry by mixing well and very fast the ingredients all together. Only in the end, add the cocoa powder and a sprinkle of cardamom, right after you have split the mixture in two portions, in order to have two different tastes, that is vanilla and cocoa. Leave the short pastry to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Start with the vanilla short pastry. Help yourself with a rolling pin and greaseproof paper and get a thin (2-3mm) layer. Make small daisies with a mould and spread “nutella” cream on the surface of the daisy, then cover it with an other daisy. Do the same work with the cocoa version of daisies, spreading their surface with apricot jam. The daisies go in the 170°C oven for 10/12 minutes.

Out of the oven they will be deliciously fragrant with a warm melting filling inside. Serve them with vanilla icing sugar on top.

Now, can you tell which tastes you like best, vanilla or cocoa? Thank you and wishing everybody a good new week!

daisy short pastry

Spring in the kitchen

A dish has to talk to you. Indeed, all senses have to be activated to feel its vibrations. Even though you are not a chef, but, of course, you love cooking, it is a full experience around the dish, first of all as executor of the dish, by choosing ingredients properly at the food market and in the elaboration of the recipe, secondly as gourmet, by tasting the dish. What is more, small variations in the way you cook a dish, make you feel like an artist painting a canvas each time in a different way, in order to express creativity and going little further with culinary experiences.

For the Sunday lunch, I chose to cook big sized, bronze drawn “paccheri” pasta prepared with two different sauces and the following ingredients:

sweet cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, leeck, onion, crème fraîche, minced pork and veal, nutmeg and black peppar, local baked black olives, basil.

  • As for the execution of the recipe, first of all, let rings of leeck hiss in extra virgin olive oil, then add the minced pork and veal in the pan. Pour the crème fraîche after a couple of minutes and keep on cooking until it boils and the sauce becomes thicker. A sprinkle of salt and nutmeg at the end.
  • Then, it is the turn of a light tomato sauce prepared with fresh tomatoes. At the food market, I chose cherry tomatoes because of their sweetness, which is a good pairing with the white sauce just described above. Help yourself with a needle and pierce every tomato you are going to put in the pan. Once they will start to fry lightly in some extra virgin olive oil and chopped onion, they will cook gently for few minutes in their own juice. Add a sprinkle of sea salt in the end.
  • Cook paccheri pasta into boiling water for 14/15 minutes or at least for the time suggested on the package and, please, do not forget to add a sprinkle of sea salt.
  • Before serving the dish, add some baked black olives, few leaves of basil, cherry tomatoes and black peppar powder on top.

The dish will taste very good. Thank you and wishing everybody a good new week! 🌸✨🌸✨🌸✨

Spring in Stockholm between Nature and Art

In April, it may happen that after an afternoon flight plunged into an amazing painted sunset lighted sky, a smooth evening landing at the Stockholm airport of Skavsta and a reinvigorating night rest, you will start your next first day in Stockholm having breakfast in front of a snowy, almost “Christmassy aired”, fluffy view. You, then, realize that is an invite to go out to enjoy and to be part of that landscape. It is a magnificent gift of serendipity that nature offers you before, in just few hours, perhaps in the same day, letting you immerse yourself in the rhythm of Spring and its mesmerising light, filled with new leaves, gems in bloom and food for the soul.

Cups of pâte sablée, ricotta cream and red fruits at Springtime

Hello! Up on the trees new gems are in bloom and everywhere it is the fragrance of earth and green. Let’s start this first Sunday of Springtime by preparing some small cups of pâte sablée, which we are going to fill with a light ricotta cheese cream and decor with red fruits.

The ingredients we need are: 125 gr of flour, 70 gr of butter, 50 gr of caster sugar, a yolk, a sprinkle of salt, seeds of vanilla, cow milk ricotta cheese, red fruits.

  1. Work a mixture of flour and small cubes of butter with your hands.
  2. Add the caster sugar. Using the caster sugar will help to make a more compact mixture.
  3. Then, it’s the turn of a yolk and a small idea of sea salt.
  4. Mix until the ingredients are all together and then leave the pâte sablée to rest in the fridge for a couples of hours.
  5. Work the mixture without adding much flour, in order to have more humidity, and make little discs of pâte sablée, then place them in buttered moulds.
  6. Prod the surface of each cup with a fork and cover it with a piece of greaseproof paper. Then, add a handful of dried pulses.This will help the surface of pâte sablée to bake well without rising much.
  7. Bake the cups for about ten minutes (180°C) or at least until they get a golden color.
  8. As soon as they get cooler, help yourself with a sac à poche and fill the cups with ricotta cheese cream (prepared with cold cow milk ricotta cheese, seeds of vanilla and some sugar).
  9. Decor with red fruits on top.

Your children will love to have these delicious cups any time you are going to prepare and serve them as a genuine light snack. Wishing a beautiful Spring to everybody and, please, keep on staying safe!

In Stockholm Archipelago

Some time ago… it was an amazing sunny Sunday in Stockholm. The snow was melting and everywhere you could breath the crisp mesmerising atmosphere of early Springtime. It was a great chance for my first boat tour in the Archipelago.

Down here it is a video made of some images, which, during the navigation, my camera captured, both of the magnificent green nature landscapes of Stockholm Archipelago and of the beautiful architecture for company buildings and graceful family homes by the water, along the rocky coasts line. Enjoy it!

Curly ribbons of home made fresh nettle pasta

Hello! We’re almost in the middle of February and for those, who enjoy gardening, it is time to help nature, starting to prepare the soil for the new Spring dress. On the ground, in the garden, among sleeping plants and trees, it is pretty common to find some growing plants of nettle to uproot. The nettle is a wild stingy herb, well known since ancient times, for its peculiar texture, the production of natural fibre and healthy benefits. Often, it is also used in the kitchen for making home made pasta, which turns to be a delicate dish worth to try.

Portions provided here can be for a couple of people. First of all, wash the tender stingy leaves of nettle in cold water thoroughly (be careful, use gloves!). Secondly, cook the nettles into boiling water for few minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt in the end. Thirdly, strain from the water and work the nettles in a food processor to have a thick mixture. Fouthly, mix 160 gr of processed nettles with 70gr of organic wholemeal flour (I used local ground stoned Senatore Cappelli quality) and 80 gr of yellow semolina. Since the nettles have water in their own texture, it shouldn’t be necessary to add more water for the kneading process. No eggs are necessary, since, according to Apulia culinary traditions, we do not use eggs in home made pasta making. Besides, we like to have a very light pasta dish. Add little more flour, if necessary, for a well compact mixture. Fifthly, make sheets of pastry (help yourself with a nonna papera machine, positions n. 3 or 4 for thickness) and then long stripes of nettle pasta, which you will roll up around your finger for having curly ribbons like I did in the picture. Then, leave the nettle pasta to rest for 5/6 hours or for a night.

At lunch or dinner time, the curly ribbons will take only 2/3 minutes into boiling salt water to be cooked “al dente”. I served them warm with a fresh moist tomato sauce and a sprinkle of pecorino di Pienza cheese. Of course you may serve with a different sauce you prefer.

Wishing everybody to enjoy this delicate dish, which perhaps might be an inviting, very simple, romantic idea to prepare by yourself for your loved one on Valentine’s day.

Fragrances of chocolate to start 2021

Christmas season is at the end with religious celebrations on this January 6th 2021 and, in Italy, children love in particular way this holiday and wait with great enthusiasm and wonder for the arrival of “la befana”, a folkloristic character of the ancient tales, that is an old lady flying on a magic besom to bring toys to them.

On this occasion, we have prepared some little disks of excellent fine 70% dark chocolate with a range of tastes of dried fruit and spices on top. Because of the choice of ingredients, these delicacies might be a different version of “mediants au chocolat”, which represent an ancient tradition for the French pâtisserie.

For preparing them, you need chocolate (250g), the one you like best, be dark chocolate, or white or milk chocolate. Choose and chop some dried fruit (100gr) to top on the disks: we used apricots, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, sesame. Then, mix these latter all together. Temper the chocolate and when it reaches the right temperatures in the process, use a soup spoon to make small disks on greaseproof paper sheets, then sprinkle the chosen dried fruit, adding cinnamon, cardamom, hot pepper powder on top. Place your chocolate disks in the fridge to get them cooler. Then, out of the fridge, remove them from the greaseproof paper sheet and serve them with a good cup of warm tea or coffee to your guests. It would be a good idea to store them accurately in a tin box and keep in a cool place for 4-5 days.

Many thanks and now let’s enjoy a long walk in the new year. Stay safe, everybody! ❤

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