Seasonal

Seasonal (9)

Thursday, 10 April 2014 15:09

Small tarts with ricotta mousse

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INGREDIENTS (6 serves)

- 280gr (1.2cup - 9.6oz)
- flour
- 100gr (½cup-3.5oz) icing sugar
- 140gr (0.6cup - 5oz) butter
- 1 egg
- 30gr (2tbs) ground almonds
- 200gr (0.9cup-7oz) strawberries
- 200gr (0.9cup-7oz) ricotta-cheese
- 100gr (½cup-3.5oz) sugar
- 100ml (0.4cup -3.2oz) whipped cream
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2tbs Cointreau
- salt

METHOD

In a food processor place flour, butter, ground almonds and salt and give it a whiz till it resembles crumbs.
Next add the egg and process again until it forms a firm dough. Place it in a polythene bag and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. Now roll out the pastry about ¼ inch (5 mm) or even less, and carefully line 12 small tart tins, pressing the pastry around the base and sides. Then coat them with alluminum foil and fill them with beans.
Bake at 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4) for 10 minutes. Wash the strawberries, cut the upper part with the green leafy cap to 12 strawberries and leave them for decoration, then purée the others. Whisk the ricotta with sugar, Cointreau and strawberries, add vanilla seeds and mix well. Whip up cream and pour it into the ricotta mixture. Fill the tarts with the cream and decorate with strawberries.

Friday, 07 March 2014 11:01

Sicilian Cauliflower

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The cauliflowers for us sicilini are among the most widely used vegetable in winter. In fact, a bit 'all over Sicily there are recipes that have as their main ingredient: cauliflower
In Catania, for example, the purple cauliflower is called "Bastaddu" as bastard.
In Palermo the green cauliflower is called "Vroccolo" as broccoli.


INGREDIENTS

- 2 medium cauliflower
- 1 small onion, peeled but left whole
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup Caciocavallo cheese, grated  
- Preheat oven to 350°F.

METHOD

Break off large florets from cauliflower. Trim off exposed stalk of remaining head, then cut in quarters or eighths to arrive at equal size to the large florets. Boil in ample water with uncut onion. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the water.
Butter an ovenproof casserole and sprinkle with 1/4 cup bread crumbs. Arrange cauliflower florets to resemble uncut head.
Melt butter in small saucepan. Using a whisk, stir in flour, salt and thyme. Add water reserved from boiling cauliflower.
Cook over medium heat to make a thin sauce.
Pour sauce over cauliflower. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, then with cheese. Bake in preheated 350° F oven
for 20 minutes or until a golden crust forms.

Monday, 20 January 2014 12:57

Bread croissant with caciocavallo cheese

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INGREDIENTS

For the dough:
- 230ml (1cup - 8oz) milk, warm
- 15gr (3.2tsp) butter
- 175gr (0.8cup - 6oz) all purpose flour
- 175gr (0.8cup - 6oz) Manitoba flour
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp sugar
- 10gr (2.2tsp) brewer's yeast

For the filling:
- 100 gr  caciocavallo cheese
- 1 very small apple, peeled and diced

PREPARATION

Place all ingredients in a food processor and start at medium speed for a couple of minutes. Now place the dough in a bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to rise for three hours.  
After this time, divide the dough into 12 small balls. With the help of a rolling pin, form with each one first a strip 15cm long, then a triangle, having a large base on one side and a head on the oder one. place on each base 1tsp of apple and 2 piece of caciocavallo. Now roll the dough starting from the base till you arrive to the head. Place each croissant on a baking sheet coverd with parchment paper, and delicately bend each one in order to form a half-moon (crescent). Pinch each end with your fingers, this way the filling won't come out while baking. Leave to rise 40 minutes more. Bake at 190°C for 18-20 minutes. Serve lightly warm or cold.

Friday, 03 January 2014 09:57

Muffin with ricotta cheese and leeks

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INGREDIENTS (for 10 muffins)

- 200gr (0.9cup - 7.2oz) flour
- 100gr (0.5cup - 4oz)butter
- 4tbs milk
- 1tsp salt
- 1½tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 2tbs grated caciocavallo cheese
- 1 leek
- 80gr (0.35cup - 2.8oz) diced ham
- 60gr (0.3cup - 2.4oz) ricotta cheese
- 1tbs extravirgin olive oil
- black pepper

PREPARATION

Clean and chop the leeks in slices, cook them first in boiling water for few minutes, then in a pan with olive oil. Now mix together in a bowl flour, salt, parmesan and baking powder. In another bowl whisk butter with eggs and milk. Pour in the flour mixture and stir. Add ricotta cheese, ham and pepper. Fill muffin tin and bake for about 30-35 minutes at 180° C (350F - gas mark 4)

Thursday, 19 December 2013 08:06

Stuffed Courgettes with saffron

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These courgettes (zucchini in the States) are really good if you eat them warm but also cold. I used microwave oven to cook them, but you can also use traditional oven.

INGREDIENTS

- 4 courgettes medium size
- 200gr (7oz) ricotta cheese
- 1 saffron bag
- 2tbs grated parmesan cheese
- stale bread softened with milk (about 40-50gr/1.4-1.7oz)
- salt
- breadcrumbs
- extra-virgin olive oil

PREPARATION

Clean courgettes and steam them in the microwave for about 20 minutes (or boil them for 7-8 minutes). Cut them in two, lengthways, and with a teaspoon take out pulp. In a mixing bowl cream ricotta cheese with saffron, then add parmesan cheese and stale bread softened with milk and well pressed. Dust with breadcrumbs and cook in microwave function Crisp for 10-12 minutes (or in traditional oven for 20 minutes at 180°C (350 F/gas mark 4).

Thursday, 19 December 2013 07:55

Buckwheat tagliatelle with nuts sauce

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INGREDIENTS (serves 4-5 persone)

For the pasta dough:
- 150gr buckwheat (0.625cup - 5oz)
- 250gr (1.125cup - 9oz) hard wheat flour
- 4 eggs

For the sauce:
- 180gr (0.8cup - 6.4oz) nuts
- crumb of a roll
- 1cup milk
- 3tbs whipping cream
- 1garlic clove
- salt
- pepper

PREPARATION

For the pasta dough, mix well flour and eggs and leave the dough to rest about half an hour. Roll out the dough with the pasta machine then cut it with the tagliatelle accessory. If you don't use the pasta machine, roll out the dough with the rolling pin, then roll the sheet of dough up into a tube, then slice the tube into rounds of 0.7 cm (0.3inch) wide and shake the skeet out with your hands to free the strands; set them to dry on a rack for few hours.

For the dressing, take the breadcrumb and put it in a bowl with few tablespoons of milk. Crush nuts and mix them with bread, garlic, the remaining milk, salt and pepper. Transfer into a sauce pan and heat for few minutes. Pour in cream and eventually some more milk to smooth the sauce. Now cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water for 5-7 minutes, drain it in a colander and return it to the saucepan with the sauce, stirring well. Eventually add pepper and grated parmesan cheese.

Thursday, 19 December 2013 07:45

Savoury cake with asparagus, lard and pecorino romano

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E’ la mia condizione tipica… Le amiche arrivano con i dolci o con il vino ed io… sono sempre sudata, spettinata e disordinata. Allora quest’anno ho deciso di cambiare strategia e di preparare pranzi e cene che comprendano almeno un piatto che posso preparare qualche ora prima dell’arrivo dei miei ospiti.

INGREDIENTS

For the dough:
- 100gr (0.44cup - 3.5oz) flour
- 100gr (0.44cup - 3.5oz) wholewheat flour
- 100gr (0.44cup - 3.5oz) water
- 1 tbs extravirgin olive oil
- 1tsp salt

For the filling:
- 200gr (0.9cup - 7.2oz) asparagus
- 100gr (0.44cup - 3.5oz) diced lard
- 3 eggs - 60gr (0.27cup - 2.11oz) grated pecorino romano
- 40gr (1½oz) milk
- 100gr (0.44cup - 3.5oz) cream
- salt
- pepper

PREPARATION

Knead together both flour, water, oil and salt (I use the food processor), form a ball, wrap it in a polythene bag and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus. Take off each stalk, then steam the spears for 4-5 minutes (just to half-cook them, you'll finish cooking in the oven). Set aside. In a bowl beat eggs, then season with salt and pepper, add cream, milk, pecorino and lard. Stir well. Now take the pastry and roll it out to line a round tin (greased or covered with parchment paper, wet and well squeezed) of 24cm diameter (9inch). Take asparagus spears and arrange them over the base of the pastry, pour in mixture and bake at 180° C (350°F - gas mark 4) for 30 minutes.

Thursday, 19 December 2013 07:29

Red Onion Jam of Tropea City

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INGREDIENTS (3 small jars - 250gr.)

- 1 kg ( 2.2 pounds ) red onions of Tropea
- 200 ml ( 0.8 cup _ 7 oz ) dry white wine
- 300 g ( 1.3 cup – 10.5 oz ) cane sugar
- 4 tbs white vinegar
- 4 cloves
- 2 juniper berrei
- 1 tbs  sea salt

PREPARATION

- Peel onions and finely chop them (better use a food processor).
- In a large pot place all ingredients (cloves and juniper berries must be ground) and start cooking at slow-medium heat, stirring often.
- You will need about a hour or a little more.
- When jam has thickened and has gained a darker colour, it is set.
- Pour it into clean jars, close them and turn upside down for about ten minutes.
- Cool down, then boil jars for 20 minutes in a large pot.
- Dry them, cool down and label.

Thursday, 19 December 2013 07:16

My Christmas cookies

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Here it is, I've finally defined the perfect recipe for Christmas cookies. My cookies, as I like them buttery and very, very spicy, with a lot of ginger and cinnamon in it! The dough is quite soft, so you'll need to place it in the fridge for few hours or even prepare it the day before, then roll it a little at a time and cut it with your favourite cookie-cutters.

INGREDIENTS

- 300gr (1.3cup - 10.5oz) flour
- 150gr (0.7cup-5.3oz) icing sugar
- 120gr (0.52cup-4.2oz) ground almonds
- 200gr (0.9cup - 7.2oz) butter
- 2 eggs
- 1½tsp ginger powder
- 1½tsp cinnamon powder
- 1tsp nutmeg powder

PREPARATION

Mix together flour, sugar, spices and almonds. Add eggs and cold butter diced, mixing well (you can use a food processor too). Form with the dough a cylinder, place it in a polythene bag and leave it in the fridge for 3 hours to rest or even overnight. After this time, take out the dough, take a small quantity and roll it out on a floured surface. Now, using your favourite cookie cutters, cut out the cookies. Place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment and bake in the oven at 170° C for 10 minutes. Cool them for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack then keep them in a tin box.