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.

A delicious dish for the Springtime table

Days are flowing towards the good season and, on the wave of staying at home, let’s try to focus on the delicious dishes we can prepare around Easter time. For lunch, today I made some crêpes stuffed with artichokes and fresh creamy robiola cheese. 1. As for the crêpes, I used one egg, half liter milk, 100 gr all purpose flour, a sprinkle of salt. After making a batter with those ingredients, I left it to rest for little while. 2. In the meantime, I prepared the filling by chopping a couple of artichokes very thin and then poured them in a pan with warm extra virgin olive oil and a clove of garlic. I sautéed them for about five minutes. Besides, I added a bit of warm water to soften them and a sprinkle of salt and pepper right at the end. 3. Time for preparing crêpes by pouring a ladle of batter at a time in a warm greasy pan and making thin disks. 4. I spread fresh robiola cheese on the surface of each disk and then added the artichokes. 5. Crêpes were rolled up and served warm (perhaps it is a good idea to place them in the oven 180°C just for few minutes to get warmer) with a good fragrant sauce made of small pieces (cubes) of tomatoes. (As for the tomatoes sauce, cubes of tomato were gently cooked for few minutes in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil, onion, an idea of garlic, a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper).

I hope you will enjoy this recipe and wish everybody “Bon Appétit“.

Please, be safe for yourself and be safe for the others ❤

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!

049_00001 parmigiana 1

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!

 

 

Close up: crisp, soft heart of apple and melted chocolate for your coffee

   Hello, I do enjoy to prepare this sweet home made delicacy and appreciated dessert from time to time and this is the reason why, I have the pleasure to provide a simple description of  it. Please, feel free to choose the apples you like most and make the right proportions according to your number of guests.

    – Make a batter with egg and potato starch, adding also the tiny seeds from the vanilla capsule.

   – Make (about 5 mm thick) apple slices and, firstly, coat them with breadcrumbs, secondly, dip them in the batter and, thirdly, coat them again in the breadcrumbs.

   – Fry the slices of apples into peanut oil, or the seed oil you prefer, until the surface becomes golden and crisp, and then serve your dessert very warm, perhaps with some drops of melted dark chocolate and a sprinkle of icing sugar.

   Wishing everybody a good week and enjoy your cup of coffee or tea!

 

 

A warm, soft heart of mushrooms, Swiss chard and pecorino cheese dipped in a sweet pepper sauce

Hello, welcome March! Is there any party on, by chance? Well, in that case, follow the rhythm of music and prepare these appetizing, golden balls made of a warm, soft heart of mushrooms, Swiss chard and pecorino cheese. Then, dip them in a sweet pepper sauce. Your guests will love them!

For the vegetable balls you need:

500gr Swiss chards, 300 gr Champignon, 1 egg, 3 spoons of pecorino cheese, garlic, 3 spoons extra virgin olive oil, nutmeg, salt.

  • Steam the Swiss chards, add little salt in the end and strain very well. Then, mince the vegetables and mix all together with an egg and pecorino cheese in a bowl. Please, do not add flour.
  • Fry the mushrooms in extravirgin olive oil, add a hint of garlic, little salt, some white wine and cook for about 10 minutes (in the end, the wine must be well dried out). Also in this case, like for the Swiss chards, mince the champignon.
  • Mix all ingredients, champignon and Swiss chard, make small balls, prepare a good coating with breadcrumbs and egg and fry them.  

 For the sweet pepper sauce you need:

a couple of peppers (you can choose between a sweet or hot pepper sauce), onion, garlic, salt, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil. Sauté the peppers, add little wine and then make a sauce.

Finally, serve your vegetable balls very warm, dip them in the pepper sauce and Buon Appetito!

 

 

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. 

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