domenica 28 settembre 2008

Lesson on Shortcrust Pastry

there is a different recipe of shortcrust pastry in almost every tart or cookie or anything else recipe which requires it. being a kitchen geek, i couldn't help seeking for an exaustive lesson [in italian!] on what is shortcrust and how it is supposed to be and made.
in short, shortcrust has to be crumbly and easy-to lay flat, not elastic as a leavened dough.
and to do this, it is important to create an environment where the formation of gluten is not facilitated: choose a flour with low content of proteins (below 9%), and eventually add a 10% of starch, use ingredients cold from the fridge and knead them for the smallest time needed.
with the following recipe i made about 800gr of pastry, i used half for a tart and i freezed the other half.

Shortcrust Pastry
(makes two tarts)
mix 360gr flour and 40gr of starch with 200gr of butter (from the fridge, cutted in pieces) and two tablespoons of lemon juice. the dough should look as grain of sand now, and thanks to the fats of butter, we have partially isolated the flour, impeding the gluten to form. now add 120gr of icing sugar and form a volcano. add two beaten eggs with a pinch of salt and blend until your pastry is well formed. together with the beaten eggs, you can add flavourings such as vanilla seeds or lemon zest. before use, let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour.

some may wonder what i finally prepared with the pastry, so here it is:

Grapes Tart

cover a baking tin with grapes cutted in half (be careful to take the seeds off). prepare the filling mixing 200gr of ricotta cheese, one egg and two tablespoons of sugar. cover the grapes with the filling and bake in 180 degrees preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until the filling becomes slightly golden.

thanks again to La Dolcetteria for the ispiration!

sabato 27 settembre 2008

Vintage Lemon Pasta

talking about vintage 80s recipes, here's one very very simple that i enjoy. actually, lemon pasta features many variances, this is my "infallible" recipe version :)

Lemon Pasta
(for 2 or even 3)

for the sauce: lightly fry half onion in olive oil. salt. add the minced zest of one lemon, its juice (be careful to the seeds!) and mix. add 200 ml of cream and cook for 6-7 minutes, mixing once in a while. salt and serve with pasta al dente and black pepper.

ps- to make it even more 80s, i would add a sprinkle of vodka together with the lemon juice

Vintage Carrot Muffins

my favourite meal of the day is, undoubtedly, breakfast. i just feel confortable with my cup of green tea and some fresh muffins while reading the news of the day.
these muffins are just perfect to help you wake up from the night sleep, their delicate taste is a pleasant feeling. carrots and almonds are a consolidated couple, and give me some sense of 80s vintage childhood, as i'm getting ready to wear my blue pinafore and go to elementary school again! so thanks to La Dolcetteria for the morning treat!

Vintage Carrot Muffins
(makes 15)

beat 2 eggs with 190gr of sugar. add 80gr of minced almonds, 200gr of grated carrots, the vanilla extract, 80gr of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of milk. when mixed, add 230gr of flour and baking powder. fill the muffins liners for 2/3 and bake in the oven at 180degrees for 20 minutes.

dull saturday

autumn is officially back from today, and that means i can spend entire days with the oven on without sweating my guts out! and so i baked all day. but before, i couldn't resist to take inspiration from threadbanger and sew my DIY apron from an old pair of jeans. i am so proud of my creation and i just adore it! after watching the tutorial, i searched for more apron models on the internet to figure out the best way to make it and i discovered this amazing site featuring some hot-cooking-geek-aprons.
actually, i even thought about taking pictures of the making of my apron, but i was too excited to "waist" time following the right light ;) and anyway, it is soooo easy to make! don't you just love it??

mercoledì 24 settembre 2008

'cause Geeks know how to treat themselves - Blueberry cake, Pierre Herme's inspired

geeks are a very lucky category. they can develop real passions and love what they do.
personally, i love baking and statistics, and i wake up every day thinking that there's a probability assignment waiting to be solved, and a fantastic (just baked by me) cake waiting to be eaten :)
yes, i am a happy person. and everyone can be happy, too, at the moment when they realize they have the right to choose. you can choose the music that makes you feel relaxed and listen to it for 4 minutes a day; you can go back to study and finally read that history book on the train while coming from work; you can learn more about your colleagues and maybe one day you will listen to them and help them; you can attend a gym course and love your body again. so you see, even if there is no way to radically change your life and become the astronaut you dreamed about when you were a kid, you can still find your passions and become a geek in your everyday life, even for just 5 minutes/day.

Blueberry, Lemon and Olive Oil Cake

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees. Sift 250gr of flour and the baking powder together, set aside. In the mixer, mix the zest of 2 lemons with 200gr of sugar and add 4 eggs, one at a time. Add 3 tablespoons of milk, the flour, the juice of half lemon, 100gr of melted butter, 185gr of olive oil and continue mixing until nice and smooth.
Now put half of the batter in the cake tin, and cover with 200gr of blueberries. Cover with the rest of the batter and bake for 35-40 minutes.

the secret of this cake lies in first quality ingredients: living next to italy, i can find very good quality olive oil at an accessible price. and thanks to my father, i can use and taste wild blueberries from the alps :)

giovedì 18 settembre 2008

Obama Donuts

do you like them? do you wish to try them? well, i am making a promise right now: let obama win the next november elections and i will make donuts for the whole country! unfortunately i don't live in the us, and by country i mean a very small one such as switzerland :p but don't worry, i will post the recipe here. so please do what is right and vote for him!
i am not an american voter but i have been following the electoral campaign quite assiduously lately, i also have the opportunity to talk to some us citizens at my workplace and i feel i got to know enough about the two candidates to make up my mind.
if we just try to compare the two........ MCCAIN is almost as old as my grandmother, with his 72 years he still lives in another generation and please don't say he is representative of the average citizen, he doesn't know a shit of how the average citizen lives... he is still living in the memories of his vietnam war and is not ready to face the FUTURE changes! i wonder whether he knows what a blog is!
YOUNG OBAMA is an incredibly smart guy who graduated from harvard college. he studied the constitution and law and dedicated part of his life to social projects. he is toughful, fresh, and very well-seen abroad. everyone loves him here in europe. he is aware of the need of changing some american behaviours that just don't work anymore in the upcoming political and economic world. not as barbie-palin, who declared she is ready to go on war with russia!! what-the-.. has she in her f... mind? is someone who admits "she heard about iraqi war only trough the news" ready to become vice president of an old and sick president who can die any moment? mccain based his whole campaign on the gap of experience between him and obama, and now he chooses the only-few-months governor of alaska to work with him? first of all: alaska is the richest state in the united states, and every year has a surplus thanks to oil. is this a difficult state to govern? i wonder what palin would do in case of a hurricane crisis... and second of all: he met palin only once before choosing her, in a sort of "vice-president interview". was this a wise choice from a person full of experience?? i'm sorry, he scares me!! and disgusts me a bit also, when i read about how he dumped his sick wife for that hot(not-so-hot)blondie and her fluogreen suits. and do you want to know more about palin?? did you hear that when she was governor of her small town she wanted to censure some books in the library and she actually fired a cop who didn't agree with her political views??
ok, i'm sorry... i started with donuts and i ended up making hate-speeches... but this is a very important election that will reflect its consequences in the entire world... in a very dramatic economic, political and geopolitical period... so please please please 1-go to vote 2-think twice before choosing another bush replica.

martedì 16 settembre 2008

My Breakfast Cookies

this lovely oat and sultana cookies are what i'm going to have for breakfast tomorrow, together with melon&ginger jam made last weekend (recipe will be posted soon).
the picture is not the best photo taken in history, but [it is very dark in my kitchen in the night and i had to use a flash. better picture will be uploaded tomorrow morning ;)] DONE!
the three main ingredients of these cookies, oat, sultana and vanilla get along very well together: oat and sultana tickle your teeth in a funny way, while vanilla and sultana flavors are softened by oat and form an interesting and fragrant combination.
The recipe was inspired by my personal cooking-bible-cavoletto.

Oat, sultana and vanilla cookies

100gr white sugar
80gr cane sugar
2 eggs
1oogr melted butter

1 vanilla beam

200gr flour

baking powder
a pinch of salt

50gr sultana

180gr oat

mix the 2 kinds of sugar together with the eggs until the sugar melts. then add the melted butter, the seeds of the vanilla beam, the flour, the baking powder and a pinch of salt. when the dough is well mixed, add the sultana and the oat. make the cookies by slightly flattening a spoon of dough for each cookie. bake for 15 minutes in pre-heated oven at 180degrees.

i forgot to say i will take them with me for lunch as well ;)

domenica 14 settembre 2008

WhiteChocolate and Redcurrant Cupcakes

I am writing this post in defense of the too-many-times-abused cupcake category. I would like to give these cute little cakes the respect they deserve and show that they're not the tasteless spongy cakes you find at your work canteen. So here they are, fantastic and versatile as only ThePerfectDessert can be, ready to make your day brighter.

White chocolate and redcurrant cupcakes
(makes 12)

beat 100gr of butter and 100gr of sugar until pale. add 2 eggs and beat again. fold in 130 gr of sifted flour, the baking powder and the seeds from a vanilla beam. add three tablespoons of milk.
now put one spoon of the mixture in every paper case (paper cases make your cleaning less painful, and help preserve hygene) and bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 20-22 minutes.
now prepare the topping: melt 100 gr of white chocolate and in the meanwhile beat 150 gr of philadelphia cheese (or another kind of cream cheese) with 3/4 tablespoons of icing sugar and the seeds of another vanilla beam. add the melted chocolate.
before decorating the cupcakes, cut the top part of your little cakes (the part that comes out of the paper cases) to make them flat. now give them a good spread of topping and finish the decoration with redcurrants. alternatively, you can use blueberries or other fruits which you think go well with vanilla.


I realized i had a blog few days ago, while leaving a comment on a friend's blog. There, i discovered i had a blogger account which i didn't use for.... ehm.... years??
So here i am, after all this time i decided to give it another shot. I changed the title to something that describes me best, edited the layout and even the address, deleted some silly posts and now i'm ready for this new adventure. Tasty adventure.