Tag Archives: Traditional

Best Christmas treats!

Here are some ideas for your Christmas Party! I hope you like my choices! ūüôā

Click on the links or the pictures for the recipes.

Pandolce al cioccolato con le nocciole ( a wonderful traditional Christmas cake made with lots of hazelnuts and chocolate)

Pandolce alla genovese con nocciole e cioccolato (hazelnuts and chocolate pandolce)

Baci di dama (Absolutely gorgeous! Hazelnuts and chocolate joined together for pure pleasure!)

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Bavarian cream with chocolate -caramel sauce (an incredibly soft vanilla dessert, served with a delicious sauce)

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 Shortbread biscuits with black pepper and fennel seeds (So sweet and spicy, these cookies melt in the mouth and can be very addictive!!! )

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Dark chocolate and marrons glacés Tart (Decadent and delicious!)

Slice Of Dark Chocolate And Marrons Glacés Tart

Torta Paradiso with¬†Crema Pasticciera¬†(This is a gorgeous sponge cake that can be served with any filling you wish… I would serve it with this delicious Italian custard cream)

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Step 6. Stir the custard before using.

Torta della Nonna (An amazing cake, made with a shortbread crust and top layer, filled with a thick custard and topped with lots of pine nuts! Truly special!)

Torta della nonna (grandma's cake)

French meringues (I know this is a recent post, but I think meringues are a perfect Christmas treat!)

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How To Make A Perfect Risotto

Risotto is one of the finest Italian dishes and is appreciated all over the world. There are endless variations. Each region has its own traditional risotto recipes made with seafood, meat or vegetables. Today we are going to explore the method to make a perfect risotto, the Italian way!

Four important steps.

To make a good risotto it is important to follow each recipe step by step. There are 4 basic steps in the preparation process of each risotto:

1. Sauté the onions

2. Fry the rice

3. Cook the risotto

4. Let the risotto rest

Today we are going to see each of these steps in depth.

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A few notes on the preparation process.

1. The preparation time and the ingredients will vary depending on the recipe.

2. During the whole process you have to constantly stir the risotto, therefore it’s important to prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking.

3. Don’t reheat the risotto because the rice will become chewy and dry. Prepare the risotto and serve it.

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Method.

1. Sauté the onions. Sauté the onions in butter over a very low heat, until they are very tender and almost transparent.

Notes. The onions have to dissolve in your mouth when you taste the risotto. You can replace the onions with shallots, spring onions or garlic, depending on the recipe.

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2. Fry the rice. When the onions are ready, add the rice and then fry it over a medium heat for a few minutes (stir constantly).

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3. Cook the risotto. After frying the rice, add the wine.  Once the wine flavour is absorbed and the alcohol evaporated, add the hot broth (usually a full ladle at a time) and cover the rice with it. Continue cooking and stirring. Once the liquid is almost completely absorbed, add more broth until you reach the ideal cooking consistency.

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Notes. Use hot broth, because a cold broth will lower the temperature and compromise the cooking process.

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4. Let the risotto rest. When the risotto is creamy and properly cooked, add the final ingredients (usually butter and cheese), stir well, cover with a lid and let the rice rest for a few minutes. Now the risotto is ready to be served.

Note. This will make the risotto very creamy and tasty.

Also see Traditional Recipe: Saffron Risotto

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Traditional Recipe: Torta Paradiso (Heaven Cake)

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This is a traditional dessert from Genoa, a very delicate, light and soft sponge cake that everybody loves! It reminds me of my childhood: at the time, my mother used to buy this cake from Panarello, one of the best and most famous posh bakeries in town. Panarello’s Torta Paradiso is truly amazing! If you ever come to visit Genoa, I strongly recommend that you try this cake in one of their shops.

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This recipe was inspired by Panarello’s Torta Paradiso (and I assure you, it also gets very close to the real thing), which is slightly more elaborated and delicious than the old Genoese recipe. In the traditional recipe (and by traditional I mean the really old one), you would only use potato starch, the juice of a lemon, eggs, baking powder, sugar and finally, butter, but, only to grease the tin.

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Torta Paradiso.

Ingredients

for a 28 cm in diameter cake

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking: 50 minutes

Medium/ Difficult

200 g (7.05 oz) butter, softened

200 g (7.05 oz) icing sugar (and a little more icing sugar to garnish the cake)

100 g (3.5 oz) manitoba flour

100 g (3.5 oz) potato starch

4 egg yolks

3 whole eggs

2 drops of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

a pinch of salt

a few drops of almond flavouring

Method.

1. Separate the egg whites from the yolks and put everything aside.

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2. Sift together the flour, the potato starch and the baking powder.

3. Stir the softened butter with the sugar, the almond flavouring and the vanilla extract, until you get a creamy mixture. Then gradually add all the egg yolks into the mixture.

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4. Also add the flour and the starch (but still very gradually). Mix everything well.

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5. Beat all the egg whites with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of lemon juice, until stiff. Combine the egg whites into the mixture, stirring gently.

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6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 ¬į C (356 ¬įF) for at least 50 minutes, using a greased baking dish (with 28 cm in diameter).

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7. When the cake is completely cooled, garnish with plenty of icing sugar.

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Torta Paradiso.

Media difficoltà

Preparazione: 20 minuti

Cottura: 50 minuti

Ingredienti

200 g di burro

200 g di zucchero a velo (e dello zucchero a velo in pi√Ļ per decorare)

100 g di farina manitoba

100 g di fecola di patate

4 tuorli d’uovo

3 uova intere

2 gocce di estratto di vaniglia

un cucchiaio di succo di limone

1 busta di lievito per dolci

un pizzico di sale

qualche goccia di aroma di mandorla

Metodo.

1. Separate gli albumi dai tuorli e mettete tutto da parte.

2. Setacciate e unite la farina alla fecola di patate con il lievito.

3. Amalgamate il burro con lo zucchero, l’aroma di mandorla e l’estratto di vaniglia, fino ad ottenere una crema omogenea. Poi, incorporate gradualmente tutti i tuorli d’uova all’impasto.

4. Aggiungete anche la farina e la fecola (sempre gradualmente). Amalgamate bene tutto.

5. A parte, montate tutti gli albumi a neve con un pizzico di sale e un cucchiaio di succo di limone. Unite gli albumi montati al composto, mescolando delicatamente dal basso verso l’alto.

6. Infornate a forno preriscaldato a 180¬į C per almeno 50 minuti, utilizzando una teglia imburrata (di 28 cm di diametro).

7. Quando la torta sarà completamente raffreddata, guarnite con abbondante zucchero a velo.

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Make the Best Pizza Dough (Part 1)

Making your own pizza dough, for the first time, is probably one of the most satisfying things you can ever experience in your kitchen. There is something magical about the whole process, from the moment you first see the dough rising, up to the moment you actually see your beautiful creation coming out of the oven. I personally enjoy everything about this process and this is why I don’t buy it anymore. Moreover, once you start experimenting with different flours and ingredients, especially if you use natural yeast (but we will see this in part 2), home-made pizza can become a truly special dish to make.

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 A few words on the preparation.

To prepare (approximately) 500 g of dough for pizza or bread you must use 500 g of flour, 15 g of yeast, 10 g salt and some water.

For this recipe I used different kinds of organic flour which have very different qualities from one another and help to create a certain harmony of flavours and textures. The amount of water in the dough and the leavening time may vary, depending on the ingredients used. This type of dough can be used, not only to make pizza but it’s also great to make focaccia and other breads.

Notes. You can decide to add extra virgin olive oil and barley malt (or honey) to the recipe or not, depending on your personal taste. The extra virgin olive oil gives a crunchier crust and the malt (or honey) will help the leavening process, but both these ingredients will add some extra calories to your recipe, so if you are on a diet,¬† don’t use them.

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I am giving you two options here, choose the dough with the ingredients that you prefer.

Basic pizza dough (with normal yeast)

 Ingredients 

For two large pizzas

to prepare (approximately) 500 g of bread dough or pizza base

 for a wholemeal dough 

250 g plain flour (unbleached all-purpose flour)

100 g whole spelt flour (or farro flour)

100 g Manitoba flour

50 g durum wheat semolina flour

15 g yeast

200-250 ml warm water (but add more if necessary)

10 g salt

extra virgin olive oil to taste

a big pinch of barley malt or honey (optional)

 for a plain flour dough 

If you prefer a dough made mostly with plain flour, then use:

250 g plain flour

250 g manitoba flour (or durum wheat semolina flour)

15 g yeast

200-250 ml warm water (add more if you need to)

10 g salt

extra virgin olive oil to taste

a big pinch of barley malt or honey (optional)

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 Method (for both doughs). 

1. Break up the yeast into small pieces and mix it with a bit ‘of warm water and a few tablespoons of flour. Create a small dough and let it double in volume.

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2. Sift the remaining flour with a fine sieve and make a well on a wooden board, then pour 200-250 ml warm water (gradually) and salt in the centre (also add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of malt, if you wish). Mix the ingredients.

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3. Add the yeast dough (from step 1) to the mixture and knead vigorously.

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4. Let it rise in a sheltered place until the dough has doubled volume (it might take between one or two hours).

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5. Take two large oven trays, cover them with baking paper and brush the paper with plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and then add the other ingredients (mozzarella, tomatoes, olives etc.).

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6. Let it rise again for 30 minutes, then bake in preheated oven at 190 ¬į C (374¬į F) for 20-30 minutes.

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This pizza is called “Marinara” and is made¬†with anchovies, tomatoes and crushed garlic. A very cheap and simple dish, but full of flavour!

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See also Make the best pizza dough part 2 (with sourdough)

Impasto per la pizza (con lievito di birra).

Per preparare 500 g di pasta per la pizza o da pane generalmente si utilizzano 500 g di farina, 15 g di lievito di birra, 10 g di sale e acqua.

In questo caso utilizzer√≤ farine biologiche di vario tipo, che presentano qualit√† molto diverse tra loro e che aiutano a creare una certa armonia di fragranza e croccantezza. La quantit√† d’ acqua necessaria da utilizzare potrebbe variare leggermente, a seconda delle farine e degli altri ingredienti utilizzati, cos√¨ come il tempo di lievitazione. Questo tipo di impasto pu√≤ esse utilizzato anche per preparare focacce e pane.

Nota. Ho aggiunto l’ olio extravergine d’oliva e il malto d’orzo nella lista degli ingredienti, perch√© servono a creare una crosta pi√Ļ croccante e a far lievitare meglio l’impasto (nel caso del malto).

Vi dar√≤ due ricette, cos√¨ potete scegliere l’impasto con gli ingredienti che preferite.

Impasto base per la pizza (con lievito di birra)

Ingredienti 

Per due pizze grandi

per preparare 500 g di pasta da pane o per pizza

Impasto con farina integrale

250 g farina 00

100 g farina di farro integrale

100 g Manitoba

50 g semola di grano duro rimacinata

15 g di lievito di birra

200-250 ml di acqua tiepida

10 g di sale

olio extra vergine d’oliva q. b.

una punta di cucchiaio di malto d’orzo (facoltativo)

Impasto con farina 00

Se preferite un’impasto semplice con farina bianca allora utilizzate i seguenti ingredienti:

250 g di farina 00

250 g di farina Manitoba

15 g di lievito di birra

200-250 ml di acqua tiepida

10 g di sale

olio extra vergine d’oliva q. b.

una punta di cucchiaio di malto d’orzo (facoltativo)

 Metodo (per entrambi gli impasti). 

1. Spezzate il lievito in piccoli pezzi e mischiatelo con un po’ d’ acqua tiepida e qualche cucchiaio di farina, fino a creare un panetto. Lasciate raddoppiare il panetto di volume.

2. Setacciate il resto della farina e disponetela a fontana su una spianatoia con 200-250 ml d’ acqua tiepida e il sale (aggiungete anche l’olio e il malto, se volgete utilizzarli). Mescolate leggermente.

3. Aggiungete il panetto di lievito e impastate tutto energicamente.

4. Lasciate lievitare in un luogo riparato, finch√© il volume dell’impasto sar√† raddoppiato (una o due ore).

5. Utilizzate due teglie grandi, ricopritele con della carta da forno e spennellate con abbondante olio extra vergine d’oliva. Stendete l’impasto con un matterello, aggiungete gli ¬† altri ingredienti (mozzarella, pomodori, origano ecc.) e infornate a forno preriscaldato a 190¬į C per 20-30 minuti.