domenica 26 ottobre 2008

The British Parenthesis: Sesame&Cinnamon Scones + Peach&Amaretti Jam

i dreamed of sandy thomas last night. i dreamed of her being part of a panel of japanese jazz music (...) and sitting on the stage, and of me standing up and simply telling her i don't give a damn about her telling me how to sit on my chair. mh, i'm afraid i still have to figure out some years of my past to solve my application-phobia before searching for an intership.
but anyway, that's not the point. the point is i made something very british today. and i'm sorry if you don't know who sandy thomas is. actually, you're lucky.

Peach and Amaretti Jam

i'm sorry, i made the jam a few months ago and i do not remember how many peaches you need to make 1lt of jam. i guess that would be around 1kg of peaches, 200gr of smashed amaretti and 500gr of sugar. let the jam cook and boil and cook for 30 minutes or more.
how to check if your jam is ready: drop one spoon on a cold plate, let cool and check for right consistency.
how to preserve in the jars: first thing is sterilising your jars. i wash them carefully and then sterilize them in the oven (110 degrees) for 30 min, with their tops just leaned. i pour the jam in them when they're still hot, then be careful that the top of your vase is well cleaned. close the jar and let it cool upside down, to prevent air from entering.

Cinnamon and Sesame Scones

knead 250gr of flour with 60gr of cold butter until you get a sandy mixture. then add 2 tablespoons of honey, one egg, cinnamon and sesame seeds as much as you like, and 100ml of cream. with the dough make some little balls and press a bit. bake in preheated oven 180degrees for 20 minutes.


mercoledì 22 ottobre 2008

More on Rice Flour: Cookies!

sexynerd is going to be mad at me when he sees this picture :) i'll go straight to the recipe, busybusy week, remember??

RiceFlour Cookies

knead 250gr of rice flour and 150gr of flour with 250gr of butter. then add 150gr of sugar, one egg and one yolk, vanilla flavoring, lemon zest, 2 spoons of orange liquor, a pinch of salt. now trasfer the batter (which should be very soft) in a pastry bag and let it rest in the fridge for 15 min. in the meantime, preheat the oven 180 degrees. using the pastry bag, create different snake-shapes for your cookies and bake for 15 min.

Frollini di Farina di Riso
(da Cucina Moderna Oro - crostate e biscotti)

impastare 250gr di farina di riso e 150gr di farina 00 con 250gr di burro morbido a pezzetti. aggiungere 150gr di zucchero, la scorza di un limone grattuggiata, una bustina di vanillina, 1 tuorlo e un uovo, due cucchiai di liquore all'arancia (io ho usato invece l'amaretto) e un pizzico di sale. trasferite il composto (molto morbido) in una tasca da pasticciere e fatelo riposare in frigo per 15 minuti. nel frattempo preriscaldate il forno a 180 gradi. con la tasca da pasticciere formate dei serpentelli dalla forma che preferite e cuocete in forno per 15 minuti. decorate con zucchero a velo.

lunedì 20 ottobre 2008

Have a Nice Week GoatCheese Cupcakes

i wanted to show you these cupcakes already in the morning, but i come from a busybusy day. so very quick post with a homework for the week: visit UnToccoDiZenzero incredible blog and try these little cuties. they taste even better the day after! (recipe in english and italian) they have rice flour, which i used for the first time last saturday and really really liked and definitely want to know more about it. what i love of my blog is that i now cook "for the sake of culinary research" and i get to experiment new ingredients to blog about!

compito della settimana: visitare il blog di Un Tocco di Zenzero, e dopo essersi rifatti gli occhi per una mezz'oretta rifarsi anche lo stomachino e preparare questi favolosi cupcakes al caprino e farina di riso. non avevo mai usato la farina di riso prima di sabato, e devo dire che la sua consistenza e, insomma, i risultati ottenuti mi hanno piacevolmente stupito. anche l'assaggio del giorno dopo non è stato niente male!

venerdì 17 ottobre 2008

Something You Should Try: La Piadina, and Novità!

because its taste, compared to the industrial supermarket piadina, is just worth the effort. a rather small effort, actually.
la piadina is a typical italian not risen bread, to be cooked on a plate and eated with cheese, salami... and anything else you'd like. i like it with feta cheese, grilled aubergines (eggplants^^), garlic and origan. the one in the picture is grilled, because i like the feeling of grilled bread under my teeth, but you can also use a big non-stick frying pan.
it is just the practical dinner when you have friends over to watch a movie, because the use of kitchenware is not mandatory, and because you will make carnivores and vegetarians happy, just by changing the filling :)

La Piadina
(makes 4)

you're home late, but happy, as usual. clean your kitchen table and start kneading 400gr of flour, a spoon of bicarbonate, 13gr of salt and 13gr of olive oil with mh, as much warm water as needed to obtain an elastic and olive oil scented dough. yes, you're done. leave it rest while you take a shower (10 min). now divide the dough in four parts and use a rolling pin to stretch them round and thin. the dough is very easy to work with, it is almost impossible to make holes! while waiting your friends, pile the 4 piadine separating them with baking sheets. and now that they're there, cook the piadine one at a time, until the sides look like in the picture. if you want, while cooking he second side you can already fill the piadina with some cheese and let it melt slightly in the hot of the pan. now add the filling you prefer and fold the piadina in two.

e ora, le novità!
dopo un mese di blog e quasi una ricetta al giorno, ho deciso di iniziare a scrivere le ricette anche in italiano :) la scelta del solo inglese era semplicemente una fase "sperimentale", per testare la mia motivazione a tenere un blog e per scoprire se le mie ricette interessassero a qualcuno :)


La Piadina
(per quattro)

come al solito, torni a casa dal lavoro tardi, ma soddisfatto. ora è tempo di staccare pero': inizia a impastare 400fr di farina con un cucchiaino di bicarbonato, 13gr di sale e 13gr di olio e acqua quanto basta. impasta fino ad ottenere una pasta compatta ed elastica. ecco, hai già finito. lascia riposare il tuo impasto per dieci minuti. ora forma 4 palline di uguali dimensioni e stendile sottili con un mattarello. scalda una padella antiaderente e cuoci le piadine 2 minuti per lato. aggiungi il ripieno che preferisci e gustale ancora belle calde. io le adoro con melanzane grigliate, feta, aglio e origano.

giovedì 16 ottobre 2008

Today's World Bread Day - My Soft Butter Bread

apparently, everyone is making bread in the blogsphere today. i read so many interesting bread recipes and now i just can't wait for the weekend to try at least a couple of them!
in the meanwhile, i though i could write my bread recipe, for some cute and soft little breads that make you smile right before yum them :) those in the picture have raisins, since i planned to eat them with butter and smoked salmon for a healthy fast food dinner.

Little Soft Breads

first phase: let 20gr of fresh yeast dissolve in 120gr of water. let it rest for 10 minutes, then add 200gr of white flour and knead. let the dough rest for one hour and a half, until doubled.
second phase: now add 300gr of flour, 30gr of butter at room temperature, 10gr of salt and 10gr of sugar, one dl of milk and one yolk. knead well for at least 15 minutes and let the dough rest for another hour.
third phase: have fun inventing shapes for your breads and bake in the oven 180degrees for around 20 minutes... check them since the baking time depends on the size and the shapes of your breads. you can brush your breads with a beaten yolk before baking, to embellish your little cute creations :)

domenica 12 ottobre 2008

Let's make a Pizza Party!

there is nothing like cooking for your friends. and what is even more fun, is experimenting on them :) so i tried to make pizza for the first time, and i guess more and more pizza party will come at our flat.
pizza toppings were:
- margherita (tomato sauce, basil, olive oil and mozzarella)
- pesto sauce, mozzarella and cherry tomatoes
- gorgonzola cheese and apples (be careful to spread the apples first, then gorgonzola and mozzarella)

and the basic recipe - babyblue's 1.0 version - is:

Pizza Dough
(makes 4 pizzas)
melt 7gr of dried yeast and two little tablespoons of sugar in 350ml of water. let it rest for 10 minutes. knead 600gr of all purpose flour with the yeast and add 13gr of salt. be careful not to put the salt in direct contact with the yeast in water, so do this operation only after the water is absorbed by the flour. add 13gr of olive oil and knead, knead, knead and have fun for around 15 minutes. let the dough grow for two hours. make 4 balls with the dough and strech them to form 4 round pizzas. add your favorite topping and bake in the oven at 230degrees for 15 minutes.

this pizza was a success and i will keep on using this recipe. on the other hand, my mind is open to experiment new versions such as potato pizza, super crispy pizza or extra soft pizza-hut-style pizza. but don't worry, i'll let you know about all of them.

sabato 11 ottobre 2008

Pineapple Saturday #3: Pinacolada Panna Cotta

the last pineapple recipe and a classic revisited. panna cotta can solve many of your dinners, since it is very easy to make, absolutely versatile and not so heavy. so feel free to propose it after a square meal. my favorite is plain or vanilla panna cotta with whirred fresh fruit on top. btw, the whirres fresh frut is called "fruit coulis", if i'm not mistaking.

Pinacolada Panna Cotta
(serves 6)

boil 200ml of cream and 250 ml of coconut milk with two tablespoons of sugar. in the meanwhile, prepare two sheets of gelatine (soaked it in cold water). when the cream boils, move it away from the stove and add the gelatine. let the gelatine melt and distribute the panna cottas in six little glasses, leaving some space for the pineapple gelatine. let them cool down completely and rest in the fridge for at least one hour. make the pineapple gelatine by whirring 4-5 slices of pineapple with one tablespoon of sugar and boil it for around ten minutes, until slightly curdled. then add another two sheets of gelatine (previously soaked in cold water). add a layer of pineapple gelatine to your coconut panna cottas, let it cool down and rest again in the fridge for another hour. ...decorate with cute straws and here's your pinacolada :)

Pineapple Saturday #2: Pineapple Coconut Chicken

let's go on with something salty. did i mention that i just discovered coconut milk some time ago (first time with the lentils soup) and it has became one of my favorite ingredients? and i mean coconut and pineapple together don't just make you feel like taking the first plane to the caribbeans??

Pineapple Coconut Chicken
(for 2 or three)

cook 2 chicken breasts cut in pieces in your wok for 5 minutes, until white outside. add one little spoon of curry, a pinch of ginger, three slices of fresh pineapple cut in pieces, some chili, salt and pepper. well mix for one minute and add 250ml of coconut milk. let it rest until the milk boils, then add one can of green beans (approx 250gr). cook for another 5-7 minutes, adding water if needed. serve hot with white rice.

Pineapple Saturday #1: I Heart Pineapple Cake

i got a beautiful pineapple from giulia last week, and i spent some time thinking about what to do with it... the result is these three exotic fruity posts :)

I Heart Pineapple Breakfast Cake
(please notice the little heart in the centre)

wisk three eggs with 150gr of cane sugar. add the seeds of a vanilla beam, 75gr of olive oil (i discovered olive oil in cakes and i just can't help it any more!) and two slices of fresh pineapple (cut in pieces, of course). at last add 250gr of flour and the baking powder. grease the baking tin with oil and put some pineapple decoration at the bottom of it (as in the picture). cover the pineapple with sugar, so that it will caramelize in the oven. add the batter and bake 180degrees for 50 minutes.

the result is a moist soft cozy cake, slurp

martedì 7 ottobre 2008

Versatile and Quick Yogurt Muffins

another versatile recipe you can adapt according to your mood. no butter but olive oil, which gives a different thickness and more bubbles than butter; and an aromatic scent, too. what else? yes, it's a quick recipe, too.
i made pear&chocolate sweet treats for my greedy probability group, for one of our working-evenings! and they enjoyed it :)

Quick Yogurt Muffins
(makes 12)

whisk one large egg and add one vase of flavored yogurt (see note below). clean the vase and use it as a measuring cup for the rest of the recipe. add one and a half vase of sugar and whisk well, until it is melted in the liquids. add half vase of olive oil (or other seeds oil, depending on the flavor you are searching for) and mix well again. at this point, i added 50gr of chocolate drops and a sliced pear (you can go for vanilla, lemon zest, etc). add 3 vases of flour (i also added 4 tablespoons of bitter cocoa). drop one spoon of dough in each muffin case and bake 180degrees for 20 minutes.

note on yogurt: change the flavor of yogurt according to the rest of the ingredients. try to use light colour yogurts, such as coconut or vanilla or cereals, to give your muffins a better coloration.

lunedì 6 ottobre 2008

The ultimate dinner resolution: Il Polpettone!

there is nothing innovative here. on the other hand, there is something fast and tasty. i have never made a polpettone before last sunday, because i thought it was just too hard and too long and you could buy it already made in supermarkets.
it was love at first try. i will make it again and again since you can just assemble the ingredients in the morning (it takes 15 min), store your fresh polpettone in the fridge and tell your boyfriend to turn on the oven at 7, put the polpettone in the oven at 7.15 and it will be ready for when you're back from work.
for what concerns the ingredients, please use fantasy, lots of herbs and vegetables leftovers. i will soon make another one with broccoli, or spinach and ricotta cheese. or peas maybe.

Il Polpettone
(basic version, but be creative)

well mix and "knead" by hand: 400gr of minced meat (i used beef... but how to you say carne trita in english??), one egg, 50-100gr of minced mortadella (or ham, or bacon... it depends on your taste), one hand full of parmesan cheese, one or two slices of bread soaked in milk, persil and other herbs (i went for persil and mint), a smashed clove of garlic. feel free to add nuts of any sort you like (and sultanas). if you feel your polpettone is not "solid" enough, dry it up with some breadcrumbs.
cover the baking tin with cooking sheet, and bake your polpettone for 45 minutes at 180degrees. remember to add a glass of stock, or white whine, or just water in the baking tin.

sabato 4 ottobre 2008

Dedicated to coffee-lovers: mocha coffee coffee cake

i already wrote about how i love breakfasts, but i probably omitted how many times coffee in the morning saved my day!
i took this recipe from what i think is the best baking blog in the blogosphere, i could spend entire days on joy's recipes and mouthwatering pictures. oops, actually, i did...
i will not post the recipe of this cake, since you can find it in english here. i just wanted to share the results of my bake... do you notice anything weird? eheh this cake is actually a three flavors cake (vanilla, chocolate and coffee) with vertical layers :)
so, yes, it is a funny cake, too... and it has cream in it. as you know, i love cream!

Welcome back, cold! Almost-Indian Lentils Soup

these last days, the only thing i need is some warmth. and coziness. mh, and especially after the brownies blowout... we're in urgency of some serious healthier stuff here!
and actually i feel that my craving for sweet is weaker and weaker, so i guess i will be posting more about salted stuff in future. when i finish with blogging all the behind schedule cakes, of course!
so, yes, a lentils soup: it is supposed to be an indian-style recipe, but my indian flatmate (oh, yes, i have a very competent food critics team in my apartment, eheh) didn't find many similarities with hers. but at least she liked it :)

Almost-Indian Lentils Soup
(enough for two or three)

boil a can of lentils (250gr) with its water with a glass of plain tomato sauce, a chopped onion, 200ml of coconut milk, salt&pepper, fresh chili pepper (as much as you like) a little spoon of cumin and another little spoon of coriander. cook for 20 minutes, adding water if needed.

The birthday gift for who you love: Cheesecake-Brownies

Cheesecake and Brownies together... if you're diabetic, do not read further. what-a-sweet experience! i have to say this was one of my most successful tries in my baking history :)
a cake which is in fact a brownie but features a cheesecake soft decoration is just The Sweet Gift and will guarantee a wow-effect at first-sight (and first-taste). what is more, you'll have fun spreading the cheesecake topping!
so, happy birthday rosa and giulia, and thank you for welcoming me in your house every time i pass by with sexynerd.

i also tried a mono-portion version, which was an unsuccessful attempt to limit my greed to one portion/day. oh, my...

the recipe is taken from il cavoletto. i have been waiting for an occasion to bake it for weeks, since baking it all for myself yould have been a very dangerous attempt of sugary intoxication. even now, after i kept only one-third-dose for myself, i feel weird.... sugary addicted by now?? ...but i just can't help it, maybe i need help?!? :)

(makes... oh, it's never enough)

mix 150gr of ricotta cheese and 150gr of philadelphia cheese in one bowl. add two spoons of white caster sugar and whisk until you don't feel the sugar anymore. add a spoon of flour, 1 egg and 3/4 drops of vanilla extract. in a separate bowl, whisk 5 large eggs with 350gr of sugar for a few minutes, until the sugar is melted. then melt 250gr of dark chocolate with 200gr of butter and add it to the eggs&sugar mixture [oh, my...]. add few drops of vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and 150gr of flour. well mix.
put the brownie-batter in a baking tin (cover with cooking-paper) and flatten it. then let spoons of the cheese-batter fall on the brownie. be artistic and draw some abstract patterns with a knife. i exagerated a bit, and the two batters mixed, creating some light-brownie areas. you should try to focus on the contrast of color of the 2 batters.

so have fun!

mercoledì 1 ottobre 2008

And from the archive... Blueberry Muffins

here they are... what can i say about blueberry muffins that was not said in history! they are a classic, and you know you will never get it wrong with a classic. sometimes i bake them just for their perfume; and they are a good gift for your boss, too :)
i think this recipe is one of those you should frame and keep with yourself forever; this is what i will do. cream, vanilla and blueberries. i'm in love!

Blueberry Muffins
(makes 15)

whisk 120gr of butter at room temperature with 100gr of white caster sugar until the butter becomes of a lighter colour. in another bowl, wisk 1 big egg (or 2 small) with 1,5dl of cream, vanilla seeds and a pinch of salt. add to the butter bowl. add 250gr of flour and the baking powder. mix until creamy, and then add 150gr of blueberries. bake in the oven 180degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden.

oh, my, they're so soft and comfy and fragrant...

A mid-week treat: Banoffee Cupcakes

today the events of dull weather, b-friend not going to work and banoffee cuppy treat just MADE me stay at home in my cozy pj. but i'm going to study, anyway, and i won't feel too guilty about skipping lectures. oh, i love being a master student!

Banoffee Cupcakes
(adapted from Susannah Blake's book, makes 10)

beat 60gr of butter (room temperature) and 70gr of cane sugar together until the batter gets lighter. then add an egg and a mashed banana. when creamy, add 120gr of flour, the baking powder and 50gr of thinly chopped toffee candies. bake in preheated oven at 180degrees for 20 min.
for the topping: make a cream with 150gr of ricotta cheese and 2 tablespoons of icing sugar. decorate with a sliced banana and toffee candies.

ps- the original recipe requires the use of cream and dulce de leche as decoration, but i preferred a "lighter" version since i usually have cupcakes for breakfast.