Tag Archives: Cooking

Coming soon….

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As promised, a savoury dish with pear as one of the main ingredients…:-)

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Fresh Egg Pasta with Flour 00 (Step by Step)

This week we are going to prepare plain fresh egg pasta, using flour 00. This pasta can be used as a base for making a variety dishes, prepared with all sorts of creative stuffings and sauces, but we will see this in the next posts.

I generally tend to use more complex and heavier types of flour, because they are tastier and rich in nutrients. In some recipes , however, it’s better to use a finer and more delicate flour, in order to avoid covering the flavour of the other ingredients. For this recipe the Italian flour 00 is perfect for making pasta, because it is finer than normal flour, however, if you can’t find it use plain flour.

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tips.

1. The ingredients listed are for 400 g of (uncooked) pasta, but if you need a different quantity, just bear in mind that for every 100g of flour you have to add an egg. For example, if you need 200 g of pasta just halve the ingredients (and use 2 small eggs).

2 . It is important to sift the flour before using it to avoid lumps or impurities (I don’t usually say this but you should always do it).

3. Here I am using a rolling pin, but if you are planning to make large quantities of fresh pasta I strongly advise you to get a pasta machine, to make things easier.

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Fresh Egg Pasta (with flour 00)

 Ingredients

for 400 g (14 oz) of pasta (approximately)

300 g (10.5 oz)  flour 00 (or plain flour)

3 eggs

salt to taste

 Tools

a clean kitchen cloth

an airtight container

a long rolling pin

a wooden board (with a rough surface) or a table

 Method

1. Sift the flour with a sieve, add some salt, make a well and crack three eggs in the centre. With a fork, beat the eggs lightly, in order to mix the whites with the yolks. Still using a fork, combine the flour with the eggs starting from the outer edge, then continue mixing the ingredients with your fingers and begin to knead.

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2. Knead until you get a smooth dough, then wrap in a clean cloth and place in an airtight container (or use cling film). Let stand for about an hour at room temperature (if you don’t have much time, 30 minutes is fine).

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3. After an hour (or 30 minutes), take the dough and divide it into 3-4 pieces. Dust the working surface with some flour and, using a rolling pin, roll a very thin sheet of pasta. Repeat this process with the other pieces and cut the sheets as required by the recipe you are going to prepare.

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Notes.

You can make lasagne, ravioli, cannelloni and many varieties of pasta from these sheets. We will see how in the next few weeks. See also the post on spelt (farro) pasta for more ideas.

Pasta fresca all’uovo.

Ingredienti

per circa 400g di pasta

300g di farina 00

3 uova

sale q.b.

 Utensili

uno panno pulito

un contenitore a chiusura ermetica

un matterello lungo

una spianatoia di legno (con superficie ruvida)

 Preparazione.

1. Setacciate la farina con un colino grande (oppure un setaccio) e disponetela a fontana con tre uova al centro. Con una forchetta sbattete leggermente le uova, in modo da mischiare il bianco al tuorlo. Sempre con una forchetta, unite la farina all’uovo partendo del bordo esterno, poi proseguite con le dita e incominciate ad impastare.

2. Lavorate bene l’impasto, poi avvolgetelo in un panno pulito e mettetelo in un contenitore con chiusura ermetica (potete anche utilizzare la pellicola). Lasciate riposare un’ oretta (oppure 30 minuti, se non avete molto tempo).

3. Prendete l’impasto, dividetelo in 3-4 pezzi e incominciate a stendere la pasta (infarinando bene le superfici), fino ad ottenere una sfoglia molto sottile. Ripetete l’operazione con gli altri pezzi e tagliate la pasta come richiede la ricetta che state preparando.

Gluten-free Valentine’s Day Menu

Some ideas for a romantic dinner for two…

Steamed prawn and bell pepper kebabs (divide the ingredients by two to make 4 kebabs)

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Salmon with rocket and oranges

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Double chocolate panna cotta with caramel sauce (single serving to share)

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Bavarian cream with chocolate caramel sauce

(divide by two the ingredients to make a 2-servings dessert, but make the sauce as indicated in the recipe because it’ s already a small quantity)

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Delicious Chocolate and Pistachio Flan.

This week I’m publishing another recipe from my friend, Anahita Tcheraghali.
With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, we decided to prepare a light and tasty dessert for you to enjoy with the whole family during this festive season!
This delightful flan is made with a nice chocolate shortcrust pastry and an exquisite pistachio filling, with an intense caramel-like flavour. It is light and perfect for vegan diets because it doesn’t contain eggs and it’s dairy-free.
You will love it!
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Ingredients
for the filling
300 ml (10 fl oz)  rice milk
25 g (0.88 oz) muscovado brown sugar
40 g (1.4 oz) of shelled pistachios 
2 tablespoons cornstarch
a vanilla bean (or a few drops of vanilla extract)
For the pastry
200 g (7 oz) flour 00
60 g (2 oz) of sunflower oil
60 g (2 oz) dark chocolate (with 70% cocoa solids)
80 g (3 oz) muscovado brown sugar
a pinch of baking soda
some grated lemon zest
a pinch of salt
a pinch of cinnamon (optional)
Preparation of the filling.
1. Finely grind the pistachios.
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2. Mix the ground pistachios with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 25 g (0.88 oz)  of sugar.
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3. Add the rice milk with a few seeds of the vanilla bean.
4. Thicken the filling on a low heat, stirring continuously for about 10 minutes.
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Preparation of the pastry.
1. Separately, combine the flour with the baking soda, then melt the chocolate in a bain-marie.
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2. Mix the flour with the melted chocolate, 300 ml (10 fl oz) of oil, a little bit of lemon zest, cinnamon, salt and 80 g of sugar.
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3. Once you have a smooth dough, put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
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4. Roll out the pastry on a greased baking tray and pierce the surface with a fork.
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5. Bake the base of the tart at 170 ° C (338 °F)  for 10 minutes.
6. Spoon the filling into the the pastry base and bake for another 15 minutes.
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Crostata di cioccolato con crema di pistacchi.
Ingredienti
Per la pasta brisé al cioccolato
200 g di farina 00
60 g di olio di semi di girasole
60 g di cioccolato fondente al 70 % (possibilmente bio)
80 g di zucchero di canna muscovado
un pizzico di bicarbonato
1 po’ di scorza di limone non trattato
un pizzico di cannella (facoltativo)
un pizzico di sale
Per la crema
2 cucchiai di amido di mais
300 ml di latte di riso
40 g di pistacchi sgusciati
una stecca di vaniglia (o qualche goccia di estratto di vaniglia)
25 g di zucchero di canna muscovado
Preparazione della crema.
1. Tritate i pistacchi finemente.
2. Unite i pistacchi tritati all’amido di mais e allo zucchero. Aggiungete il latte di riso e qualche seme del baccello di vaniglia.
3. Fate addensare la crema sul fornello a fuoco basso, mescolando continuativamente.
Preparazione della pasta.
1. A parte, unite la farina al bicarbonato e poi fate sciogliere il cioccolato a bagnomaria.
2. Impastate la farina con l’olio, la scorza di limone, la cannella, il cioccolato fuso, il sale e lo zucchero.
3. Una volta ottenuto un impasto omogeneo, mettetelo a riposare nel frigo per 30 minuti.
4. Stendete la pasta su una teglia leggermente unta e bucherellate la superficie con una forchetta.
5. Infornate la base della crostata a 170 °C per 10 minuti.
6. Riempite la base della torta con la crema e poi fate cuocere per altri 15 minuti.

Smoked aubergine puree with egg sauce and tomatoes.

This week I am posting a recipe elaborated and prepared by Anahita Tcheraghali, an Iranian friend. It’s a revisitation of the traditional Iranian dish “mirzà ghasemì”. The combination of egg sauce (a light hollandaise sauce) and smoked aubergines in this recipe is quite unusual and a little surprising. You might want to add a little more lemon, in my opinion the lemon helps to bring the flavours together. Overall, as I said, quite an uncommon but interesting dish, quick and easy to prepare.

Anahita prepared this dish in the most traditional way, directly on the flame, however as a healthier and safer cooking method,  you can use the oven instead.

Ingredients
Serves 4
2 medium size aubergines (eggplants)
300 g (10.58 oz) piccadilly tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
3 egg yolks
250 ml (8.45 fl oz) milk
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of butter
sesame seeds, a handful
a dash of lemon juice
a pinch of ground nutmeg
salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil to taste
1. Pierce the aubergines and put them to roast on a high heat, directly on the flame (or you can use the oven).
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2. Peel the aubergines, add the garlic and salt, then puree the vegetables using a fork.
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3. Separately, wash, clean and cut the tomatoes, removing the seeds.
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4. Toast the sesame seeds for about ten minutes in a frying pan.
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5. In a small thick saucepan, mix the egg yolks with milk, then stir for about ten minutes over a low heat (be careful not to boil the mixture)
6. Turn off the heat. Add the butter (cut into small pieces) with salt and some nutmeg.
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Preparation of the dish.
1. Shape a dome with the aubergine puree and make a hole in the centre.
2. Pour the egg sauce onto the puree and onto the plate.
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3. Sprinkle the tomatoes (cut into small pieces) and sesame seeds on top.
4. Season with salt, pepper, a dash of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.
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Purea di melanzane affumicate con crema all’uovo.

2 melanzane di media grandezza lunghe o tonde

300 g di pomodorini piccadilly o datterini

3 tuorli d’uovo

250 ml di latte

1 spicchio d’aglio

1 cucchiaio da tavola di burro

una manciata di semi di sesamo

un pizzico di noce montata

un po’ di succo di limone

olio extra vergine di oliva, sale e pepe q b

1. Forate le melanzane e mettetele ad abbrustolire su fiamma viva (oppure potete usare il forno).

2. Spellate le melanzane, aggiungete una testa d’aglio (a cui è stata tolta l’anima) ,un po’ di sale e riducetele in purea.

3. A parte, lavate, pulite e tagliate i pomodorini a dadini.

4.Tostate i semi di sesamo per una decina di minuti in una padella.

5. In un pentolino, mischiate i tuorli con il latte. Fate pastorizzare la crema a fuoco basso per una decina di minuti, senza portare a bollore.

6. Spegnete la fiamma. Aggiungere il burro a tocchetti con della noce moscata e un pizzico di sale.

Preparazione del piatto.

1. Formate una cupola con la purea di melanzane e create un buco al centro.

2. Versate la crema all’uovo prima sulla purea e poi sulla base del piatto.

3. Cospargete i pomodorini e i semi di sesamo sulla crema.

4. Condite con olio, sale, pepe e una spruzzatina di limone.

Deliciously intense chocolate and chestnut biscuits.

 This week we are going to prepare these delicious wholemeal chocolate biscuits with chestnut flour, a real autumn treat!

The chestnut flour, naturally sweet, is rich in minerals and gluten-free , therefore it can be used to prepare various dishes for celiacs. For this recipe I used this particular flour for its natural sweetness and the rich nutty taste that, in my opinion, enhances the intense cocoa flavour perfectly.

Useful tip. Use a round shaped cookie cutter to make the biscuits and cut them quite thick, as this dough can crumble quite easily. These biscuits can also burn easily, so be careful when you cook them and keep an eye on them.

Wholemeal chocolate and chestnut biscuits.

Ingredients

for 20-25 biscuits

40 g ( 1.4 oz)  brown rice flour

60 g ( 2.1 oz) chestnut flour

80 g ( 2.8 oz) wholemeal flour

100 g (3.5 oz) softened butter

20 g ( 0.70 oz) cocoa powder

2 tablespoons and a half of honey

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

a pinch of salt

brown sugar to garnish (use plenty, as the biscuits aren’t very sweet)

Method.

1. Beat the butter, the egg and honey until creamy.

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2. Mix the flours with the cocoa and baking powder.

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3. Combine all the ingredients and work the dough until smooth.

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4. With a rolling pin (and your hands) roll out the dough to approximately 5-8 mm thickness.

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5. Cut the biscuits into the desired shape, top with brown sugar, pressing them slightly with your hands.

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6. Bake at 200 ° C ( 392 ° F) on a greased baking tray for 10-12 minutes. Depending on the thickness of the biscuits, the cooking time may vary.

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Biscotti integrali al cacao con farina di castagne 
Ingredienti
per 20-25 biscotti

40 g di farina di riso integrale

60 g di farina di castagne

80 g di farina integrale

1 uovo intero

2 cucchiai e mezzo di miele

100 g di burro morbido

20 g di cacao amaro

un pizzico di sale

1 cucchiaino di lievito per dolci in polvere

abbondante zucchero di canna per guarnire

Preparazione.

1. Mescolate il burro con l’uovo e il miele.

2. A parte, mescolate le tre farine insieme al cacao e al lievito in polvere.

3. Unite tutti gli ingredienti e lavorate bene la pasta.

4. Con il matterello  stendete una sfoglia alta approssimativamente 5-8 mm.

5. Tagliate  i biscotti nella forma desiderata (meglio se rotonda) e guarnite con abbondante zucchero di canna.

6. Infornate a 200° C su una teglia grande imburrata (o con carta da forno) per 10-12 minuti.

How to make a healthier hazelnut-chocolate spread in 5 easy steps!

Today we are going to prepare a healthier version of nutella-like chocolate spread. Of course, this is no low-fat spread, however, this yummy treat contains a lot of vegetable proteins, potassium, iron and calcium, so you might feel a little bit less guilty about it now…It’s very easy to prepare and, I guarantee, it’s much better than the commercial stuff!

Ingredients

for half a glass

Preparation: 20 minutes

100 g (3.52 oz) of hazelnuts

20 g (0.70 oz) dark chocolate (with 70% cocoa )

2 tablespoons of sunflower oil

2 teaspoons honey

1. Toast the hazelnuts in a frying pan over low heat for 10 minutes.

2. Using a cloth remove the skin from the hazelnuts.

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3. Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor, while still warm.

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4. Add the vegetable oil and honey, then stir.

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5. Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie and add it to the rest of the ingredients.

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That’s it! Your wonderful chocolate-hazelnut spread is ready!

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 Crema spalmabile alle nocciole e cioccolato.

Ingredienti

per 1/2 bicchiere

100 g di nocciole

20 g di cioccolato fondente al 70%

2 cucchiai di olio di semi di girasole

2 cucchiaini di miele d’acacia

1. Fate tostare le nocciole a fiamma bassa in una padella per 10 minuti.

2. Togliete la buccia delle nocciole con l’aiuto di un panno.

3. Tritate finemente le nocciole (ancora calde) in un mixer.

4. Aggiungete l’olio di semi con il miele e mescolate.

5. Sciogliete il cioccolato a bagnomaria e unitelo al resto degli ingredienti.

La crema di cioccolato e nocciole è pronta da spalmare!

Spaghetti with prawns and trumpet gourds

Today’s recipe is suitable for a special occasion like a romantic dinner (remember to halve the ingredients in this case) or an elegant meal. For this recipe I used italian trumpet gourds because, being very sweet, delicate and with a creamy, almost avocado-like texture, they work really well with the prawns in this dish.  If you can’t find any gourds you can use some zucchini / courgettes instead.

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Ingredients

Serves 4

3 medium-sized spring onions

1 sachet of saffron

1 large clove of garlic

a bunch of parsley

a bunch of tarragon

200 g (7 oz) trumpet gourds of Albenga , still green, with delicate skin (you can use zucchini / courgettes if you can’t find the gourds)

200 g (7 oz) prawns (washed and cleaned)

200 g (7 oz) spaghetti

2 tablespoons single cream

2 glasses of good white wine 

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

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Finely chop the herbs with the spring onions and garlic.

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Fry the chopped ingredients in a large pan with plenty of olive oil.

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Add the gourds (cut into very thin slices). Cook, adding a little bit of water if necessary, until the grounds are tender.

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Season with salt and pepper. At this point, add the prawns with the white wine.

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Meanwhile, in a large pan boil the pasta with a little bit of sea salt. Now, add the cream and saffron to the prawns and cook over medium heat until most of the excess liquid evaporates (bearing in mind that the sauce has to be very creamy, almost liquid).

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Once ready, drain the pasta and toss it directly in the frying pan with the sauce.

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Spaghetti con gamberi e zucchine trombetta.

Ingredienti

per 4 persone

3 cipollotti di media grandezza

1 bustina di zafferano

1 spicchio d’aglio grande

un mazzetto di prezzemolo

un mazzetto di dragoncello

200 g di zucchine trombetta

200 g di code di gambero lavate e pulite

200 g di spaghetti

2 cucchiai di panna da cucina

2 bicchieri di vino bianco buono

3 cucchiai di olio extra vergine di oliva

sale e pepe q b

Tritate finemente i cipollotti con l’aglio e le erbe. Mettete a soffriggere gli ingredienti appena tritati in una padella grande con abbondante olio d’oliva. Nel frattempo, fate bollire l’acqua per la pasta con un po’ di sale grosso. Aggiungete al soffritto le zucchine trombetta tagliate a spicchi molto sottili. Fate rosolare bene, poi annaffiate con un po’ d’acqua. Aggiungete sale e pepe a piacere e continuate a cuocere finché le zucche saranno tenere. A questo punto,  aggiungete i gamberi e il vino bianco. A parte, buttate la pasta. Unite la panna e lo zafferano ai gamberi, facendo evaporare a fuoco medio il liquido in eccesso, tenendo presente che il condimento dovrà rimanere molto cremoso, quasi liquido.

Una volta pronto il condimento, scolate la pasta e conditela direttamente in padella.