Monthly Archives: October 2010

The witch’s Halloween souffle’ (-12 weeks)

Recipe 28:This Halloween i really didn’t have the time to organize a fancy dress party and not even a real Halloween menu, but i have still invited some friends at home. So i simply decided to stick to the orange as an Halloween theme and i made pasta with pumpkin and mushroom, and this double color souffle that i always loved.

Very delicate in the taste, it’s made by vegetables and besciamella sauce mixed together. Here are the ingredients: 500 gr. of frozen chopped spinach, 250 gr of carrots, 50 gr of butter, 3eggs, 30 gr Parmesan, 50 gr flour, 300ml of milk, salt, nutmeg.

Wash, peal and boil the carrots. When ready cut them finely and place it in a pan with 25gr of butter. In the meantime, boil also the chopped spinach and when ready, drain them and leave it in one side to cool down.

Add to the carrots 25gr of flour and 125ml of milk and mix it all for around 10 minutes, or until it gets thick. You will create in this way a light besciamella that you will need to let cool down after adding the 15gr Parmesan, the salt and nutmeg.

When the spinach are cold, add a yolk egg  and mix. In another pan you will prepare some more besciamella also for the spinach: 25gr butter with 25gr flour and around 150-200ml of milk. Stir all until it get thick and when a bit cold, add it to the spinach with 15gr Parmesan and some salt.

Add to egg yolk to the carrots too and put all the white parts of the egg to whip up in the mixer. 2 parts of this will need to go in the carrots and one part in the spinach.

Now let’s prepare the backing pan putting some butter on the inside, covered in flour to don’t make the souffle’ stick. Place the spinach mix first and then the carrots one.

At this point my mum use to cook this in teh oven but a “bagno maria” so in another conteiner with boiling water. In this way the souffle is not in direct contact with the hot. I didn’t have any other big container so i place it in the oven at 200 degree for one our with a bit of pieces of butter on the top. It was really good anyway…maybe a bit harder than a souffle’, but still easy and nice.


When the souffle’ is cooking, don’t open the oven or it will collapse. When you think is ready, try a tooth pick in the inside and if it’s dry, you can directly turn it on a plate and serve it. If you will wait it will collapse again.

So serve it hot straight away. I added some Parmesan but also without it’s very good. Enjoy!

PS. Beh  mamy non m’e’ venuto male anche se non l’ho cotto a bagno maria no? Il problema e’ che per farlo staccare dal recipiente ho aspettato e come volevasi dimostrare mi s’e’ ammosciato e la parte arancione quasi non si vede. Ma che buono!

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Homemade mayonnaise and russian salad – Insalata russa

Recipe 29: In the office they decide to organize a little Halloween party and i wanted to help out with some food. But what i could cook considering we don’t have any oven? It also has to be something easy to bring. So because someone else was thinking about the desserts, and we were going to have cheese and wine all night, i decided to prepare some Insalata russa, that you can easily eat with bread and crackers.

Ingredients for a starter for 8 people: 3 big potatoes, 5 carrots, 150gr peas, 5 eggs, some anchovies in olive oil, some capers, half of a little spoon of mustard, a lemon, a glass of olive oil, a bit of vinegar, salt and pepper.

For the mayo i suggest you to use a mixer because otherwise it will be very hard to maintain always the same speed and strength. However add 2 egg yolks with a pinch of salt and start to mix, better if with a wooden spoon and always in the same sense. At this point you will add the olive oil little by little and with some lemon juice drops too.

After a bit the mayonnaise will start to become thicker, so you can add the remaining lemon juice always mixing a bit.

Wash, peel, cut and  cook all the vegetables in different pans and when boiled, cut them in little pieces. mix this with the peas, the mayo the capers and the anchovies finely chopped, salt, pepper, a bit of vinegar and mustard.

Boil the other three eggs and place it on the salad as a decoration. Place everything in the fridge and enjoy after some hour. Cold it’s better!

Otherwise another good mix is Mascarpone with capers, anchovies and parsley! That’s really great.

PS. Mamy la tua insalata russa con la maionese fatta a casa e’ stata un successo! Diciamo che dopo avre provato una volta a farla  a mano sono subito andata sul robot da cucina perche non riuscivo piu’ a mescolare, ma il risultato comunque non ha nulla a che vedere con quella che compri! Se la sono finita tutta in ufficio!

Patate Duchesse – from France but always in my mum favourites!

Recipe 30: and not only in my mum favorites…in mine and in the majority of our guests too! This is a classic dish for party because everyone like potatoes and this can be made in big quantity and the frozen to have it always ready. It’s  a long time i wanted to do them but i was missing the main tool: the Piping Bag and now i finally have one!

Ingredients for 4-5 people: 1 kilo of potatoes, 100gr butter, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, some milk, 1 whole egg and 3 egg yolks.

Let’s start from the potatoes. Clean them from the skin and place them in a big sauce pan with water and salt. Let the water boil and leave them there for around 20 minutes. They need to cook but without become to soft. In the meantime in a big container place the egg, the salt, the Parmesan, nutmeg and pepper. Mix a bit and add the butter.

This time i had some Gorgonzola cheese left too and i decided to add it to the mix. I though the taste could go well together.

Drain the potatoes and mash them, then add them to the mix and create a smooth mix. If too hard, add some milk enough to make the mash potatoes quite creamy, but not too liquid.

Taste it and add salt pepper or nutmeg if needed. When ready, place all the content in one or more piping bag and start to create your potatoes.

Place some baking paper on the baking tray and push the bag to make the first potato duchesse. Push in the center to make it more consistent, but don’t made them too big or little.If you have a pastry brush you can paint them with an egg, otherwise just place them in the oven at 180 degree for  around 15 minutes. Check in the meantime. It will be very easy to see them take color and get ready. When they look like the picture, simply take them out and serve it!

Enjoy!

PS: mamy hai visto il tuo cavallo di battaglia come m’e’ venuto bene? Il puree era fantastico perche’ c’ho aggiunto un po’ di latte e pure di gorgonzola, percio’ quandop le addenti fuori sono croccanti e dentro belle morbide! Buonissime!

Polpettone by aunt Lidia – another family classic! (-13 weeks)

Recipe 31: Sunday i wanted to cook some comfort food as you say here. I wanted something that could smell “sunday with my family” and to change i decided for some meet and potatoes, that i don’t cook often really. So finally i choose to make my aunt’s famous Polpettone and i loved it!

Ingredients for 4-5 people: 500gr mince meat, 3eggs, some Parmesan, some cooked ham slices, one little bread loaf, some milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and 2 vegetable stocks.

In a big bowl mix an egg with the Parmesan, salt , pepper and nutmeg. In another container place some milk and the bread in little pieces. Let them absorb the milk and when soft, drain them from the milk in excess and place it in the big bawl with the mince meat to. Mix it all well until homogeneous.

Then stretch the meat and make it in a rectangular thin surface. Now add the slices of ham and the other 2 boiled egg as in the picture, roll the meat and close it well. At this point prepare a plate with some breadcrumbs and pass the meat in the plate trying to cover it all with it.

Now pass the meat on a pan or in a sauce pan with some oil for some minute. The fire don’t have to be high and you will need to turn the meat often until it take a very nice color. Waiting for the meat to cook a bit, prepare some broth, putting the stock and some hot water in another little pan.

At this point the meat will be ready for the oven. It will need around 1 hour and half to cook at 180 degree and you will need to check it and turn it sometimes adding some broth stock every time… but the result worth the long time spend near the oven.

My aunt suggest then to let it cool down and put it then in the fridge in aluminum paper and cut it and serve it the day after! Maybe is one of these recipe that need time to get better, Put the sauce created with the broth in another container and conserve it in the fridge for the time you will eat the meat.

Then just cut it, hot it up and serve with the sauce pre-hotted for a bit. Buon appetito!

PS.Mamma il polpettone della domenica e’ proprio un classico e me lo sono gustato un sacco. E’ venuta anche a cena una mia amica australiana che ha molto apprezzato! Certo un po’ lunghetto ma piu’ facile di cio’ che pensassi! E meno male che ho la ricetta di Zia Lidia!

Pasta alla crema di peperoni – Pasta with peppers cream

Recipe 32: I remember a recipe from my mum i used to like a lot. It’s pasta with cream of peppers. I wasn’t a big fan of peppers when i was little, but the pasta done in this way i always liked it. Last week i had some of them in the fridge and some cream left from another dish, so i decided to try this again.

Ingredients for 2 people: 200gr pasta, 2 big peppers,  around 100gr single cream, one or two shots of vodka, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

Wash the peppers, cut the top, take off the seeds and stuff inside and cut them in little pieces. Put some oil in a pan, hot it up and add some garlic coves. Let it cook a bit and then take it of. In this way you will just taste the garlic without eat it. If you want to have more garlic taste, just crush it before to put it in the oil. Then add the peppers in pieces and some salt and pepper.
Let them cook well for some time and when quite soft you can prepare a sauce pan with some water and salt to then cook the pasta. While the water is boiling, place the peppers in a blender until you create a cream with them.Now you can also put the pasta in the water.

Place the peppers cream again in the pan and add some single cream. Let it cook for a bit and then add some vodka. This will give a special taste to the dish. For the quantities i used one of these little airplane bottle that i found in a supermarket near me.

When the pasta is ready just drain it and place it in the pan with the sauce, toss it a bit and serve it with some fresh grated Parmesan . Enjoy!

PS. Mamy non so se ti ricordi queste penne al sugo di pepperoni. Le hai fatte per alcune cene ed io le trovo buonissime perche invece di essere le classiche penne che sanno per lo piu’ di panna, hanno quel tocco in piu’ della Vodka che ci sta proprio bene!

Torta della nonna – grandma’s cake (- 14 week)

Recipe 33: That is not just a name I gave to this recipe, but it’s the real name! The grandma’s cake in Italy is this specific kind of Crostata made with pine nuts and it has a totally different taste form the one with fresh fruit that i use to do.

I made this cake for an italian dinner i had in these days and everyone was super happy! It finished in no time :)! So here i give you the recipe. Made it because it will be a success!

For the pasta frolla at the base you can just use this recipe. Then for the cream you can use my normal recipe, but this time i added 1 egg yolk more and lemon zest instead of the vanilla pod, so: 5 egg yolks, 500ml of milks, 150gr of sugar, 30gr of flour, a pinc of salt, 1 full lemon zest and a packet of pine nuts.

So after you made the ball of pasta frolla, place this in the fridge for half an hour and start to do the cream. Put the milk on the fire with inside the zest of a full lemon. When boiling, take it off from the fire and leave it in a side.

In another pan Put the egg yolks and the sugar. Mix well until obtain a yellow cream and then add the flour mixing (trying to avoid any clot) and a pinch of salt. Now put it o the fire and mixing, add the warm milk little by little, of course with out the lemon zest.

Now you just need to mix, always on a low fire, until the cream takes a good consistency and start to boil a bit. At this point turn off the fire and let it cool down.

Use this time to make the base of the cake: take the frolla from the fridge and start to roll it until quite thin. Place it in a baking pan already covered with some butter and flour first. Once the base is done and ready to be filled with the cream don’t forget to do some all in all the pasta with a fork. In this way the pasta cooking won’t create bubbles.

Now add the cream and then all the line nuts on top until totally covered. Placed in an oven already hot, at around 180 degree for 50 minutes. You will see is ready when the pasta around will be quite colored, but try to put a teeth pick in it just to be sure inside is dry.

Final touch is some iced sugar to put on top before to serve it! Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy sto diventando un drago con tutte queste similcrostate e la tua crema! Ogni volta migliore. Per la torta della nonna ho finalmente anche provato la versione con le scorze di limone, e nonostante all’inizio pensassi che i limoni qui non avessero abbastanza sapore, invece alla fine e’ venuta prefetta!

Riso al latte – Milky rice… and it’s not a dessert (- 15 weeks)

Recipe 34: Today a special dish recommended by my father instead: the milky rice. I have to say the true…i have never tried it before but he use to eat it when he was a child, thanks to my grandma.
Basically i have always done a very weird face every time my father was speaking about this rice, but because this week we have lots of milk to use, i ask my parents what i could cook and my father convinced me to try it… and i liked it a lot. Ok, it’s a bit heavy because basically is like to eat rice and besciamella, but now i understand why he was crazy for that.
 
 
The recipe is very easy is usual. Here are the ingredients for 2 people: 140 gr of rice, 800 ml of milk, some salt, 10 gr of butter, nutmeg and 20 gr Parmesan cheese. That’s all!
  
Take half of the milk and bringing almost to boil. Here I added some salt too. Take the other milk hot in a pan on very low fire.

When the first pan with milk is almost boiling, add the rice and let it cook until it absorb all the milk. Mix always to avoid the rice to stick and turn down the fire for a slow cook.
When the rice has absorbed all the milk, add the other hot milk and keep on stirring. The rice will take around 20 minutes in total to get ready and thick.

Add some nutmeg and keep on mixing until the rice is ready reaching a risotto consistency. At this point add the butter and when all melted, serve it in a plate with some grated parmesan and some pepper. Enjoy!
Ps. Papa’ finalmente ho provato I’ll riso di cui tanto parli sempre e devo ammettere che e’ buonissimo! Ci credo che da piccolo ti piaceva, sembra riso con la besciamella! Penso che una volta ci provero’ a fare dei tortini al forno devono essere deliziosi!