foodie

Falling leaves, lifting flavours

As the season go by, I realize how meteoreopathic we all are. Autumn puts me in such a reflective mood, and I love the effects of its natural light chromotherapy. Nothing but a ray of sun or a dramatic and beautiful dance under the rain can enhance an intention, the profusion of a detail. Spending a Parisian morning with author of blog Tresor Parisien Aisling Greally, we discussed on the importance of sourcing the ingredients of our food shopping directly from the producers. Our stroll at Marché de la Bastille in the heart of the Marais neighbourhood was indeed fruitful, choosing our ingredients directly brought to the Parisian market stalls from Burgundy, Provence, Normandy... and a little further, to be exotic and get a little inventive why not. Back home, I came up with this healthy dessert or snack fruity recipe, to be enjoyed while watching the falling red and brown leaves from the window, in full #foodhappiness swing. Ingredients for 2 persons:

  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 unwaxed organic lemon (the juice)
  • 50 gr. organic walnut pieces
  • 50 gr. pomegranate seeds

This is truly easy. Just peel the mango off its skin with the aid of a knife. In order to make a clean job, hold the fruit vertically and cut it in stripes, then proceed onto cutting the upper and bottom parts. Once done so, cut the fruits into dices and place in two dessert bowls. On top of the mango, splash the lemon juice and, evenly, the walnut pieces and the pomegranate seeds. Mix well and enjoy immediately or with yoghurt in the morning.

With love and pomegranate,

Eleonora

Photo Credits @TresorParisien

Tales beyond the Alps

Drum roll please!!! I would like to dedicate a special foodie tribute today to a country where I will be exporting  part of my Italian food affair starting from very soon. For those of you who will be visiting Paris, or indeed are based there, I will be coming and going there very often in the upcoming future as part of a clandestine kitchen and pop-up project. Curious? I will be telling you more about it over the next few weeks. If you're interested in joining and get your hands buttered and splattered, don't hesitate to drop me a line here or head over my workshop page. A little comforting food always helps establishing the cross-cultural patterns right. One of the first times I've ever been invited to a parisian diner, I stumbled upon the gorgeous simplicity of the pâté des pommes de terre... A speciality of the Limousin region in central France, it is prepared according to family traditions, thus can be decorated  with parsley, onion, garlic and meat even. Before potatoes started to be greatly used in France at the turn of the 19th century, this dish was made with leftover bread dough, then baked with a simple decoration of roughly chopped garlic, bacon and parsley. Below is the light version. This incredibly fluffy pie (which is oven-baked until golden-brown) was served as a side dish to an orange-glazed duck (just like the one I made at Taste of Roma Food Festival some time ago) but is also perfect for lunches on the run with a green salad, for aperitifs sliced in tiny pieces, for pic-niques in an adventurous panier... not only boulot-metro-dodo.

Pâté des pommes de terre

Serves 6 people as a main course/side dish:

  • 400 gr. of shortcrust pastry
  • 800 gr. Charlotte potatoes
  • 1 dl. of dry white wine
  • 1 room temperature free-range egg
  • 1 dl fresh double cream
  • 80 grams of unsalted dairy butter
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • a sprinkle of grounded nutmeg
  • a sprinkle of salt
  • a sprinkle of pepper

Pre-heat the oven at 180°. Peel the potatoes, wash them, put them in a saucepan with cold water and cook for 15 minutes after boiling. Drain and cut into thick slices of around 1 cm. Arrange them in a bowl, season with 70 gr. of butter, the wine, the thyme leaves, some salt, pepper and nutmeg, then stir gently.

Pick up two-thirds of the shortcrust pastry and roll it out with a rolling pin into an oval formed baking paper sheet. Grease an oval baking dish (of around 22x18 cm diameter) with the remaining butter and recline the dough prepared in order to cover the edges. Prick the bottom with a fork and fill with the seasoned potatoes.

Knead the remaining dough into an oval shape and make a 3 cm wide well in its center, then roll it over the potatoes. Seal the edges , making sure to eliminate the excess dough with scissors and use it to decorate as you wish.

Brush the pie with the beaten egg (the very French so called royal) and cook in a preheated oven at 180 °  first in the lower part, for  about 35 minutes, then pour the cream into the center hole and continue cooking for 20 minutes further. Serve warm.

Profitez-en!

Eleonora

Exciting new beginnings ahead - Pasta alla Norma

There's only few things in life that beat the excitement of new beginnings. I'm planning to extend my activity on a pop-up basis to more European cities, I will keep you updated on that veeery soon. While I spend my entire days between my consulting bustle and the tedious filling of bureaucratic schedules for my next destinations, I've been lately getting to the comfort of crunchy eggplants. These wonderful vegetables are now in season more than ever, having diuretic and anti-cholesterol proprieties. Before making any use of this gorgeous food, I usually get rid of their bitter water by way of letting them rest for 20 mins. in a colander with rocky salt and a weight on top. No one wants soggy eggplants in their fabulous meal. Pasta alla Norma is a dish of macaroni topped with tomatoes, with the subsequent addition of eggplants (fried or grilled), salty ricotta and fresh basil. This dish is originally from the Sicilian city of Catania, in which dialect is better known as Pasta ca' Norma (Pasta with Norma). It would seem that to give the name of the recipe has been a well-known playwright who, in front of a well seasoned dish, had exclaimed: "It 'a Norma!", to indicate the supreme goodness, comparing it to the famous opera by Vincenzo Bellini.

PASTA ALLA NORMA

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 12 leaves fresh basil
  • 2 medium size eggplants
  • 4 table spoons extra virgin olive oil
  • a hint of black pepper
  • 200 gr. salted ricotta cheese
  • salt
  • 400 gr. of dried pasta (rigatoni or paccheri)
  • 700 gr. peeled tomatoes
  • Wash and trim the eggplants, then cut them into slices of 4 mm in the vertical direction. Make sure you also cut a few slices horizontally which will be used to garnish the dish at the end. Place them in a colander sprinkled with coarse salt, then cover the eggplants with a plate and place a weight on top: leave them to purge for at least 20 minutes.                                                                                                                                                 Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce by putting in a pan to brown the garlic with the oil: finally, add the peeled tomatoes. Cook on low heat until the sauce becomes mushy, then pass it through a sieve and put it back over to the heat to thicken. Once off the heat, add half the fresh basil leaves. Rinse out the eggplants under cold running water, then dry them thoroughly with a clean cloth and fry them in hot, but not boiling olive oil, or alternatively on a grill without oil, until golden. Transfer the eggplants on some paper towels to lose the excessive oil. Then put to boil the pasta in salted water and grate the ricotta, putting it aside. While pasta is cooking, cut into strips the fried eggplants (all except the longer slices that will be used to decorate the dishes). Transfer the remaining eggplants pieces in a pan with a few tablespoons of tomato sauce and when the pasta is al dente, drain and add to the sauce in the pan ; mix pasta and sauce for a minute and, before serving it, cover the pasta with the remaining tomato sauce, a few slices of eggplants, the grated ricotta, and the remaining fresh basil leaves. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Enjoy your weekend!

Eleonora

At home in the Amalfi Coast - part 1

The tormented love story between the popular actress Anna Magnani and the intellectual movie director Roberto Rossellini was consumed at the outlet of a valley overlooking a tiny village called Furore that, with its 700 inhabintants, is part of the UNESCO world heritage. il-fiordo-di-furore-costa-d-amalfi-257

It's among the steps of this rural community that, in 1948, Rossellini set the shooting of the central episode of the film “L'amore”. Wild and overdramatic, Anna Magnani played the main character. It’s the story of a shepherd girl who becomes pregnant, convinced to be about to give birth to a divine being.

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For those of you who, after my tiny hints spread out from my Instagram account, have been wondering about where my next location would have been for my foodie adventures, well there you have it.

The Amalfi Coast, an amazingly meandering piece of coast where rocky clefts fall sheer onto the most pristine Mediterranea sea.

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Anna & Roberto (aka Magnani and Rossellini), tired after the day of film shooting, would go to have a meal at a tiny place overlooking the bay and its world-famous fjord, “da Bacco”.  Among the owner recollection is the memory of a furious (an adjective not to be attributed to the inhabitants of the village but, rather, to a state of mind) Anna throwing a dish right on the head of the celebrated director, who was splitting up with her over the passion for Swedish born actress Ingrid Bergman.

_MG_3717Of those dishes now it’s left nothing but a tradition, impeccably brought forward by the wise hands of Erminia Cuomo. This delightful lady is the wife of Furore’s well respected mayor Raffaele Ferraioli, who is known to be as very dedicated to his cause. Their children help run the business in a dreamy atmosphere that I couldn't imagine still existed in my adored Italy.

_MG_3468That's who I'd call an amazing character, one Rossellini would have loved to star in one of his movies. She was only 21 when she got married and took the reins of this incredible restaurant located on the hill of this village exploding with raw nature and unsurpassed tastes. This true lady of the kitchen doesn’t’ claim any gastronomic status, yet she’s just something else. Her humbleness and vivid generosity is the curtain to a universe of utter gastronomic delight.

_MG_3490She told me about the joys of cooking the "ndundero", a kind of homamade gnocchi which differs from it since the dough it's made with flour and ricotta (instead of potatoes). The perfect way to greet Santa Trofimena, the patron saint of the small Amalfi coast village of Minori. All over the south of Italy, celebrating the saint protector of any given town is a must. You'll see ceremonies, parades and religious processions. It's always interesting to have the opportunity to participate to one of these occasions, since the food abounds in the streets too. And there's no better way to get to know a population than by their foods, hands down!

_MG_3698Fish abounds in this area too, directly from sea to table. Hence not much decoration, just fresh crunchiness. Erminia cooked a seabass for me wrapped in a delightful transparent parchment paper tied with a lovely string. Not one plate is the same when this shy lady is around. There's no uniformity, no set style. So much personality. Every mouthful is just delicious.

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The tomatoes Erminia uses are protected by the Slow Food association, and her biscuits, well her biscuits... They were served to me dipped in a homemade red wine sauce called wine elixir: it's made with Aglianico wine, aromatic spices and accompanied by these truly amazing tozzetti biscuits. Typically from Tuscany, the original version has them with almonds but these ones were cooked with the most perfumed nuts, the amazing and protected type (as if animals in extinction), from Giffoni.

_MG_3780About this and a few others unique realities still existing in this fascinating land called Amalfi Coast I'm going to tell you about, in this following week filled with #foodhappiness, encounters, off the beaten track itineraries and the most fascinating stories. To find on my blog daily in 7 parts starting from today, in collaboration with Pasta Rummo_MG_3821With love from a room with a view.

Eleonora

photo credits @ Cibando

WTF - Where's the Food?

There's nothing nicer than sitting down at brunch on a weekend to a table filled with handmade delicious goods. It's even nicer to extend this pleasure to the rest of the week by opening up little pots of heaven at one's need. Really, there's nothing worst than coming back to a sadly empty fridge on a post-work Monday night and shouting: WTF (Where's The Food?) foto-149

So I made myself a few pots of spreadable white chocolate, almonds & red-fruits cream , a perfect solution for midweek blues. And here is how I got started with this incredibly easy recipe:

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  Ingredients for 500 gr. of White & Red Harmony:

  • 170 gr. excellent white chocolate (the most exquisit quality you find, the better)
  • 100 ml. full double cream
  • 1 tiny pinch of salt
  • 125 gr. fresh blackberries
  • 125 gr. fresh raspberries
  • 150 gr. caster sugar
  • 50 gr. peeled almonds

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First thing first, you will need three saucepans for this recipe, so make sure you are equipped with them: one will be half filled with water to gently melt chocolate at baine marie mode. Once the chocolate has liquefied, add that bit of salt and white cream. Now, get those beutiful almonds (which are excellent to strenghten your immune system) and mince them with the help of an electric grinder, before inserting them into your white chocolate mixture. Let it all cool down in the fridge for 20 minutes.

In another saucepan, put the red-fruits fantasy, add the caster sugar and let it cook gently while crushing the fruits with the help of a wooden spoon for a few minutes. The reason why we're using caster sugar is simple: it mixes easily with the fruits, making the whole cooking process a lot quicker. Once this fruity pan comes to a boil, let it simmer for about 3 more minutes, then put it to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.

At last, have ready a few marmalade pots, do make sure they're sterilized before use. Fill each one of them by alternating the white chocolate & almonds cream with the red fruits fantasy. Now your White & Red Harmonies are ready and you can store them in the fridge for about 15 days. You can enjoy this cream on a slice of bread. Or two. Or three, even.

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Have a wonderful week!

Eleonora

My tasty week...Singing in the rain

It rained cats and dogs here in Rome, for the entire week. Hence I've been "singing in the rain", as Gene Kelly would have rightly put it. And amazing flowers blossomed just right. I purchased a bunch of parfumed buds to use them in some recipes over the next days. SingingInTheRain

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ZYhVpdXbQ

I was able to grasp a unique ray of light early yesterday afternoon, which gave my South Tyrol apples (which I talked about in a previous post) a glowing appeal.

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I'm trying to cleanse up my whole metabolysm by eating loads of seeds and veggies. Also Potassium Citrate tablets help. This fennel salad (pictured below) with parsley and almonds took no time at all to make and was incredibly delicious with its lemon and poppy-seeds vinaigrette.

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I couldn't maintain all my greens fresh for these long and rainy days if it wasn't thanks to the invaluable vacuum-sealing machine which keeps my food from going soft and soggy for over 5 days.

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I was lucky enough to enjoy a winter sea storm, which inevitably puts everything at its place, inside out. I couldn't refrain from purchasing a couple of tempting mullets. And then I asked myself: should I spoil their sparkling colour? No way! Still, I had to turn them into dinner...Therefore I cooked them plainly with extra virgin olive oil and let their gorgeous self be the protagonist of one of my clandestine dinners.

On the importance of chocolate. The picture of this handmade scrumptious cake talks for itself, and for all of our food cravings, which shall be indeed indulged during the coldest winter evenings.

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And, on this sweet note, I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Eleonora