Monthly Archives: February 2010

Chocolate birthday cakes

Recipe 99: Another birthday, another cake!!! this is my best excuse and the chocolate cake of my mum it’s one of my favourite recipe…unfortunately i didn’t have the right tools and i decided to change something so the result wasn’t exactly what i was expecting. By the way i will give to you the right recipe!

Ingredients (i normally do 1 big cake but this time i did 12 little cakes with the muffins tray): 190gr butter, 110 gr grated of almond,190gr of sugar,190 gr of grated chocolate,100gr of flour, 6 eggs.

Cut the butter in little pieces and melt them a bit then mix it with 90 gr of sugar and 6 egg yolks, adding one at the time.  Mix everything with the almond.

To make the cake a bit more consistent i used half of the quantity of grated almond and half of chopped ones. Then add the rest of the sugar and the chocolate.

This was my mistake: because i didn’t have anything to grate the dark chocolate bars i used chocolate powder but NEVER put the same quantity! Don’t put more than 100gr and if you see the mix gets to thick, add a bit of milk. However it’s better if you can use grated one.

At this point beat the eggs white until stiff and dry and add it to the mix slowly. Then add the flour too, little by little and keep on mixing.

Finally put some butter on the tray and a bit of flour to avoid the mix to stick to it!

Put the tray or baking pan in the oven at 175 degree for half an hour and then turn off the oven and leave the cake there for other 20 minutes. Normally to see if everything is cooked i try to insert a toothpick in it. If it comes out dry, the cake is ready!Serve it with some nice candles for a birthday or just with icesugar and whip cream!


PS. Mamy nonostante l’apparenza, purtroppo le tortine sono uscite un po’ come dei massi e tutto per colpa del dannato cioccolato da grattuggiare! L’anno scorso mi ricordo mi sono ammazzatta per grattuggiarlo tutto e quest’anno ho avuto l’idea di usare il cioccolato in polvere! Non lo avessi mai fatto: ho aggiunto purtroppo la stessa quantita’ di cioccolato e non risucivo piu’ a girare la massa! che catastrofe senza attrezzi! Cmq alla fine tra il latte che ho aggiunto e la panna diciamo che erano mangiabili, ma la rifaro’ sicuramente perche’ la tua era troppo buona!!!!

Spinach & ricotta cannelloni! (-48 weeks)

Recipe 100: this is another italian classic and for my french friend’s birthday party we choose to have something ready to hot up in the oven and to eat with the guests directly with the nice french quiches she made… the italian answer to that can just be cannelloni!

The ingredients for 4 people are: 300 gr of boiled spinach (I suggest you to buy some frozen ones), 350 gr. of ricotta, 1 box of cannelloni pasta from Sainsbury’s or 8-10 lasagne, nutmeg, salt, a bit of olive oil, 2 sage’s leaves, 80-100 gr of Parmesan and then the ingredients for the besciamella that you can find here.

You can start preparing some Besciamella: put the butter, flour and milk in a pan and mix until they become a cream. Add some salt and nutmeg before it’s ready and then put it in a large container.

Put on the fire some water for the lasagne and in the meantime cook or defrost the spinach, add the sage leaves cut in little pieces, and then pass them in a hot pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook them a bit, just to give some more taste and leave them there until cold.

When the water is boiling, you can put 2 or 3 lasagne to cook at the time. Waiting for them, you can mix together in a bowl the ricotta, 20 gr of Parmesan, the boiled spinach and a bit of nutmeg. The filling for the cannelloni is ready.

Check the lasagne now and be very careful to don’t let them stick between each other. When these are ready just take them out and put in a plate to cool down. Put in the water other 2-3 and repeat the same.

Waiting for the pasta to cool down you can add 40gr of Parmesan to the besciamella, mixing with a whisk and you can start to spread half of it in the baking pan where you will place the cannelloni. Remember it’s always better to put some butter before than the besciamella, just to don’t make the pan sticky.

When the pasta is ready just put some spinach filling inside and roll up them to create a cannellone and place them on the pan. If you are using cannelloni pasta, just push inside the filling and place them on the pan.

Keep on doing the same until the end and then cover it all with the besciamella remained before.

At this point you will just need to cover it with parmesan and put in the oven for around 30 minutes at 200 degree for the lasagne and 40 minutes always at 200 if they are cannelloni ready to be filled but not precooked.

Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy che buoni!!! pero’ dato il tempo risicato io non ho usato le lasagne ma i cannelloni gia’ proti da riempire che vendono qui. Lo so che tu li fai di piu’ con le crepe che vengono piu’ leggeri, ma devo dire che anche questi erano buonissimi. e poi la tua besciamella non ha rivali!

Aubergines side order or starter: 3 options

Recipe 101: This time i will show 3 ways to cook aubergines as a simple side dish for everyday. They are a quick and easy solution just to variate a bit your diet and eat your one a day portion of vegetable. I’m also sure it’s a dish children will love!

The ingredients for the 3 options are : 2 aubergine for dish, 1 tomato sauce can, Parmesan, olive oil, salt and pepper.

For any of the 3 options you will start by washing and cutting the aubergines. In this first dish you will need them in little pieces. Then put them in a pan with just one or two spoons of olive oil and some salt. Leave them there on a law fire , add some salt and pepper and mix them every now and then.

Also if they will seem a bit dry, after a bit they will get soft and they will cook with their own water. If you want you can add some more oil but don’t exaggerate because you won’t need it so much.

At the end they will appear soft and saucy like in the picture and you can serve them as a side order or you can make some nice starter… just remember to add some Parmesan because the combination of the two is amazing!

Another option is to make them grilled, so you will need to cut them in thin slices and put them in the oven with a bit of oil and salt. After a bit, check them and if they seems quite cooked, turn them adding some more oil and salt.

When ready they will be a bit crunchy and tasty, but if you have it, try to eat them with a bit of Pesto sauce in one side. I think  this combination is very good too. Also these ones can be served as a starter, but better if with other grilled vegetables, like courgettes or peppers.

Finally you can have also the option to eat some aubergines with tomato sauce: just follow the first recipe and when they are almost cooked, add some tomato sauce, other salt and pepper…even basil if you have.

Let the sauce get a bit thick and serve hot, always with some Parmesan!

Now you just need to choose if you prefer them in white, with tomato sauce or grilled! ENJOY!

PS: Mamy, ormai sono un’esperta cone le melanzane..le ho provate davvero in tutte le salse! Sara’ che qui ce le hanno sempre, o perche’ tu le facevi spesso a casa, ma anche per non mangiare sempre la solita verdura, trovo che siano un’ingrediente proprio versatile! Certo tutto quest’olio non e’ il massimo, pero’ almeno mangio verdura!

Carnival so… Frappe, not frappe’! (-49 weeks)

Recipe 102: it’s not Carnival in Italy without the frappe and for me in February i can’t miss them… especially being in London, so last weekend i made them at home. OK it’s not the easiest dish ever, but it’s really worth to cook it. The recipe is not my mum’s one but it’s something i have from Rome and i love it!

The ingredients for a quite good quantity are: 200gr flour – 2eggs yolk and just one white – 2 big spoons of sugar – a pinch of salt – half of a little spoon of baking powder (have to be just a little bit) – half of a little espresso cup of liquor (Wisky is better  but i used tequila…i had just that at home) and finally 2 half eggshells of olive oil.

At the beginning you will just need to add all the ingredients together except one half eggshell of olive oil. Keep this for later. Mix everything before with a spoon and then directly with your hands until you will have a uniform dough. Add a bit more of oil if you can’t make it yet.

At this point you will need to extend the dough and put some more oil on it. Let the oil be absorbed by the dough and close it in 4 following the pictures.

You will create a dough again and you will extend it another time to put some more oil. Now close it again and create another dough. Repeat the same until the end of the oil.

After all this work the pasta will be very very elastic, but you will need to extend it again and cut some big strips.

In the meantime prepare a pan with some boiling oil and put the stripes one by one. The oil need to cover and fried them. Be careful it’s question of just few minutes so keep on checking and turning them to avoid to burn them.

Take them off form the oil as soon as they start to take enough color. Put the on some absorbent paper and then pass them in a new clean plate. Just put some icy sugar on top and serve…better if still a little warm!

Enjoy and… have a good Carnival!

PS. Mamy guarda e’ stata dura ma al secondo tentativo je l’ho fatta! e devi vedere come sono sparite! ero troppo contenta e non e’ carnevale senza frappe! e poi che sto un altro anno senza mangiarne nemmeno una? e invece eccole qui, con la mitica ricetta Dalla Torre ho portato le Frappe pure a Londra!!!(neanche a dirvi che qui non le hanno mai sentite nominare).

The Crepes are allowed!(-6kg)

I keep on saying that it’s better to don’t force yourself to stick to a crazy diet , renouncing to everything. I really believe it’s easier to lose weight trying everything without exceed of course.

And i have never been so right as in this case: the crepes are definitely allowed!

Finally they are just a bit of flour, milk and 2 eggs for at least 20 crepes…so how many calories do you think they can really have??? Ok if you buy them outside with butter and lots of cheese, you can’t pretend to stick to the diet, but if you do them at home and you are careful with what you put inside, you can really enjoy them without any problem.

As you can see i went for : ham, mushrooms, courgette, 70 gr mozzarella and a bit of salt and pepper. Just with this few ingredients it was delicious, lighter than a sandwich and much more tasty! Very good.

If you don’t want the cheese you can even put an egg on top and it will cook nicely, making the crepe even better. Of course then the problem is if you want a sweet one, because i really don’t know what to suggest you… for sure no butter and sugar or nutella… maybe just a bit of honey?

PS. Mamy Nat ha cucinato le crepes l’altro giorno e proprio non ho potuto dire di no, dato che era tradizione da loro. Lei le fa buonissime e molto light perche’ mi ha detto gli ingredienti e sono veramente poco caloriche considerando che te ne  escono una ventina. Poi per il ripieno ho limitato il formaggio a un po’ di mozzarella e ho aggiunto tante verdure fresche. Buone e saporite. Certo le tue con la besciamella non le batte nessuno!

Violet spaghetti! (-50 weeks)

Recipe 103: This is my favorite dish ever!!!!! It’s a bit long but it’s really the most special recipe you can find! you need to try it!… and of course the special dish needs a special occasion, and my birthday was the right one!

So are you ready with the blueberries for some violet spaghetti???

Here are the ingredients for 10 people: 300gr of speck (you can find it in Carluccio’s), 1kg spaghetti, 350ml. single cream, 500gr blueberries, 100gr. Parmesan, 1 onion, 150gr butter, 1 full glass of white wine (or even a bit more) and salt.

Cut the onion in little pieces and cook it in a sauce pan with some water. The onion needs to become almost creamy. At that point you can add the butter and the speck cut in really little squares… i used a pair of scissors for this. Now you just need to wait and keep on mixing everything on a low fire.

Then add some of the wine and cover the saucepan until the wine is all evaporated. Repeat the same until the end of all the wine. At this point you can add the blueberries exactly as they are and you will just need to mix a bit and wait again. Use always a very low fire.

Little  by little the berries will loose their water and they will dissolve creating a nice violet sauce. You won’t need to add anything else except some salt if you think is necessary, you will just need to wait and mix to don’t make the sauce stick to the pan.

When the sauce will be ready add half of the single cream and mix again, always on a low fire.

In the same time you can put the spaghetti in hot salty water and you can wait for them to be cooked. Be careful to don’t leave them to cook to much or your pasta will be plastic.

When the spaghetti are almost ready put the rest of the cream in the sauce, mix and then add the same spaghetti. Could be better to do all this is a pan directly on the fire, but if teh quantity of spaghetti and sauce is too much, just do it in teh same saucepan. It will be easier.

You can now serve the violet spaghetti with a good spoon of Parmesan!

Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy la fine del mondo e non di co altro!!!! non ci sono parole…e  nenache i france si ne avavano! Pensa che nessuno aveva capito e poteva credere ci fossero i mirtilli dentro. Tutti tentavano di indovinare ma nulla! si sono puliti la padella! BUONISSIMI!!!!