italian

Mozzarella panini

You don't really want to cook but you still feel like treating yourself to something utterly delicious? Then mozzarella panini is definitely the answer. At home, when the clock strikes 6 p.m., I can feel an almost tangible excitement inhebriating the air. It's aperitivo time! So here is what we do: we pour ourselves a drink, whatever it's available in the house, usually the wine from last night which hasn't been used to cook the lunch's risotto, and make some soul-satisfying food: little nibbles, most of the time, made of leftovers - that's when those little ingredients looking all gloomy and disoriented in the fridge come back to life and handy at last!

As part of a collaboration I have with Martini, which I've already mentioned here and here, I've developed a series of recipes to go with a well deserved drink before dinner. The mozzarella panini, a crunchy assault on your gluttony, is ready in under 10 minutes and will divert you directly into happy helplessness.

Mozzarella panini (serves 4)

Ingredients for 4 people:

• 4 bocconcini buffalo mozzarella • 1 large organic tomato • 1 bunch of fresh basil • 1/2 courgette • 1 clove of garlic • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil • salt and pepper to taste

Cut the courgette into thin slices. In a pan, heat a tablespoon of oil with the garlic, and sauté the zucchini for 10 minutes over medium heat.

Add a sprinkle of salt and place the cooked courgettes in a small bowl.  Cut each small mozzarella in half as you would with bread to make a sandwich.

Inside, place a slice of tomato, a basil leaf, 4 courgette slices and sprinkle each mozzarella with a tablespoon of oil. Close the sandwich and add salt and pepper to taste.

With love and mozzarella,

Eleonora

Healthy peas & asparagus soup

I've always been fascinated by fairytales, their moral turn being the ultimate measure of the do's and dont's in my childhood life, and later, holding the balance of power in my view of people and situations. I am one of those people who live life running through the same bewilderment I find in movies and books. Call me naive, but there's something terribly comforting in clichés. The Princess and the Pea is about a girl whose royal status is established by an assessment of her physical receptiveness by placing a pea in the bed she is offered for the night, covered by 20 mattresses and 20 feather-beds. In the morning, the princess tells her hosts that she endured a sleepless night, kept awake by something hard in the bed.

Last night I've been kept awake too, by some love serenade under my balcony (addressed to the neighbour, of course), which kept me up and running all over the kitchen and, for courtesy reason, unable to complain: this morning I had two  bags under my eyes so big I'd go shopping with, and a brand new recipe to be conceived in my 8 m2 kitchen. Could I be considered a princess, too?

Pea and asparagus soup

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 250 gr. of split peas
  • 1 fresh carrot
  • 1 fresh celery
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 25 gr. fresh mint
  • 1 lt. vegetable broth
  • 100 gr. fresh asparagus tips
  • 50 gr. medium mature cheddar cheese/any aged cheese
  • 50 ml. of extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 gr. bacon cubes
  • a sprinkle of salt

Soak the split peas in cold water for at least 3 hours. Finely chop the carrot, the celery and the onion and put them to fry in a large saucepan with the garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Add the peas and the asparagus tips to the pan, add a sprinkle of salt, stir to flavor and then cover the vegetables with the hot vegetable stock.

Cook over low heat until the peas and asparagus tips are tender and begin to unravel, it will take about 60 minutes. As a final touch, you can sprinkle it with some grated aged cheese. Once the soup is cooked, put the bacon in a pan and cook until crisp.

Serve the pea and asparagus soup with crispy bacon on top.

With love, pillows and peas

Eleonora

Honey glazed salmon fillet

In Roman habits, friday is a non-meat day. The tradition is linked with the Bible and the general precept of the Catholic Church that imposes not to eat meat on Fridays, the day of the Passion of Christ. Green light then to all kinds of fish and vegetables. When strolling around Roman's open air markets, such as the one in Campo dei Fiori or Testaccio, any respectable fishmonger on this day would scream out loud its generous supply of blessed cod with chickpeas (baccalà co' ceci). In order to grab attention, they would accompany it with a typical Roman stornello, an often emblematic folk song containing lyrics on a romantic and mockery tone, like these ones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8k-S3onbVyk

Even if you're rolling on deadlines before the end of the week, believe me, this no-fuss recipe will only take 5 minutes to make. I love how the citrusy flavour tickle with the rich drops of balsamic vinegar. What's more, this sweet and sour salmon is easy & quick to perform and will give the impression of an elaborate dish. I worked on this video as a collaboration with a French production company, hence subtitles may be cryptic. However, images do speak for themselves, and if you want to give it a go, you will find below all the details.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWDd9KbkzX4

Honey glazed salmon fillet

Ingredients (serves 1 person):

  • 150 gr. salmon fillet
  • 1 lime
  • 1 orange
  • 30gr. honey
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 20 gr. of fennel seeds
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

In a bowl, first press the orange and the lime. Pour the obtained juice into a large bowl, add the balsamic vinegar, the honey and the olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Grate the fennel seeds and add them to the mix.

Place the salmon fillet in the obtained marinade. Cover with foil and let rest in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes.

Warm up a pan, then cook the fish fillet aller-retour, 1 minute each side. Next, lightly drizzle with the marinade and let the sauce reducing for a couple of minutes. Put the fish on a dish and pour the sauce on top with a brush before enjoying it with a side seasonal salad.

With love and salmon,

Eleonora

Pan di spagna with zabaglione

Zabaglione is better served warm on a cake. I remember those times long past by, when an utterly scrumptious cream would have been made possible with the aid of a big wooden spoon only ("olio di gomito", as we call the physical effort of the kitchen in days gone by). As part of my collaboration with DeliSnacky, here is my version of Pan di Spagna with Zabaglione. What is Pan di Spagna? An aerial and spongy Italian recipe. Traditionally created by an Italian marquee's chef as a twist to the Biscotto di Savoia exclusively for the Spanish King visiting, this recipe can be adapted to a number of occasions, since we can cut it with a different form (star for Christmas, egg for Easter, or heart for Saint Valentin'es, depending on the celebration). The video's subtitles are in French, please find below an English language thorough explanation of how to proceed; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODEGCuXykWk

Pan di Spagna with Zabaglione (serves 6 persons)

For the Pan di Spagna:

  • 75 gr. potato starch
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 150 gr. caster sugar
  • 5 fresh free-range eggs
  • 75 gr. all purposes flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 125 gr. fresh red currants

For the Zabaglione

  • 160 gr. caster sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 100 ml. limoncello liqueur

Preheat the oven at 180°. Open the vanilla pod, take out the seeds and leave on the side; then in a pot break the eggs, add the salt, the sugar, the vanilla and mix vigorously; finally add the flour and the starch with the aid of a sieve. Mix well. Pour into a mold. Bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes.

To prepare the zabaglione, put the yolks in a pot, add the sugar and the limoncello, whisk well. Immerse the pot in a water bath and stir for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan di spagna from the oven; cut the cake in half, spread half of the zabaglione cream inside, cover it with the remaining cream.

With love and zabaglione,

Eleonora

A stellar lunch

Pappardelle are an egg pasta shape typical of Tuscany. The land of hunt for excellence endorses this pasta with meat based sauces, such as hare, wild boar and the association of truffles and mushrooms. I love the fact that some products can only be found in certain locations at a certain time of the year, hence making them all the more appealing and their consumption celebratory. I remember going mushroom hunting, as a kid, in the Monte Amiata area, nearby Siena. Running free into the wild to then come back home and prepare all sorts of sauces and conserves. Whereas mushrooms can also be identified by amateurs, the white truffle hunting is a unique blend of heritage and expertise. Hunts are conducted with professionals of the sector, along with dogs endowed with a special nose for all things truffly.

An ingredient very difficult to find away from Italy, I was happy to be able to have it on my table for lunch this morning, thanks to the Tiberino products. What's amazing is that, since 2007, these products are at the forefront of the food supply for the austronautes on mission aboard the International Space Station with NASA. I wonder if they, like me, opt for a “scarpetta”: after overindulging in my pappardelle with mushrooms and white truffle oil, you take a piece of bread and clean the rest of the plate off the delicious leftover sauce. Strictly with your hands. Beware of all imitations.

With love and pappardelle,

Eleonora

LA FERME SAINT SIMEON – The cradle of Normandy Impressionism PART 1

It’s here in Honfleur, a romantic Normandy harbour, that the Impressionist painters met in the 19th century. Attracted by the light and a stunning view over the Seine estuary and the Channel, they chose to take up residency at “Mère Toutain’s” inn. This home, with timbered walls and thatched roofs, offered cheap lodging and a tasty cuisine to travellers. The mistress of the house, Mère Toutain, was to give the inn its renown. Very rapidly she was to welcome, charm and inspire artists of the such of Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet and Charles Baudelaire. Today, passed down from family to family, this inn is the Ferme Saint-Siméon, a 5-star Relais & Châteaux. The panorama is sumptuous, and the light indefinable. As we checked in, we were welcomed in an oak walls and traditional tomettes floor decorated lobby to sip a delicious apple grog twisted with a minted infusion and indulge in the unique Normandy apple pie.  The atmosphere was luxurious yet homely, enticing me to linger and daydream. After a jump in the spa, we opted for the gastronomic restaurant in front of a warm fireplace, where we savoured the heritage with views over the Pigeonnier and the celebrated Normandy bridge, the longest in Europe, connecting the region of Calvados with the Seine one. The room, under the roof, was a timeless bubble where I could fully restore, in an harmonious blend of modern equipment and historical touches.

For those of you who know me by now, you are also aware of the fact that I basically worship breakfast time.

In a region that doesn’t particularly cultivate rice, It was such a surprise for me to find the rice-based teurgoule, a region culinary specialty. The reason is to be found in the naval transportation of goods from the rest of Europe to this Normandy port. The sailors would have their wives prepare this nourishing dish in traditional terracotta pots, which can be kept at room temperature for days, for them to face the hard days at sea.

la ferme st simeon-photo-christophe bielsa-facade nuit-03 bd

And I’m proud to be sharing this exclusive recipe dating 1860 with you today.

Teurgoule

  • 1 lt. whole milk
  • 80 gr. caster sugar
  • 5 gr. cinnamon powder
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 80 gr. Carnaroli or Vialone Italian Rice

Preheat the oven at 140°. Cut the vanilla pod in the middle with a sharpened knife, and get the dusty seeds with its tip. Bring the milk to a boil with the sugar, the cinnamon, the vanilla seeds and the salt.

Distribute the rice in two terracotta pots and equally pour the boiling milk in.  Put in the oven at 140° for roughly 2 hours. Verify the cooking process with the help of a knife. The tergoule needs to be firm, just like a crème caramel.

With love and seagulls,

Eleonora

Savoury Tarte Tatin

In case you were in search of  food ideas for this week's dinner time, the answer for you is only a click away. Just sit and enjoy the first extract from my collaboration with Deli'Snacky, a Youtube channel providing plenty of ideas for quick and effective meals! Did you know that the world famous Tarte Tatin, traditionally prepared with apples from Normandy, could also be turned into a savoury option? Well I didn't, until I run out of fresh fruits in my kitchen, and here is what I came up with instead! http://youtu.be/HRoqjgpNOd4?list=UUhmCpJRIGrcFnI-mtMbT4cA

Three Peppers Tarte Tatin

  • 3 peppers (yellow, green and red)
  • 1 red onion
  • 40 gr. pitted black olives
  • 1 puff pastry sheet
  • 30 gr. fresh dairy butter
  • 30 gr. extra virgin olive oil
  • 20 gr. caster sugar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 40 gr. tap water

Remove the seeds from the peppers. Take a large pan and grill the peppers for about 30 minutes. In the meanwhile cut the onion in dices, and pour the olive in a pan with a little bit of butter. Let everything melt at low flame and eventually add the onions in. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper, then let cook gently for about 15 minutes. Now preheat the oven at 220°.

Once the peppers are ready, get them out of the pan and immediately in a bread bag. This way, the vegetables will naturally transpire and in a matter of minutes it will be far more easy to get rid of their skin. Once the skin is off, cut the peppers into large stripes. Cut the olives in little pieces too.

Warm up the sugar in a pan with half a glass of water, after a few minutes it should caramelise. In the meanwhile, have a cake mold ready and line its base with some parchment paper. Pour the caramelized sugar in the bottom of the mold, then spread the peppers and, on top of them, add the onions and the olives. Cover with the puff pastry sheet. Bite the cake with a fork and cook for 20 minutes in the oven at 220°.

With love and peppers,

Eleonora

Breaking Meatballs

Take one Italian and one English woman. Together on a day smelling like chestnuts. In a Roman kitchen. The idea was outrageously simple. Meeting up at Testaccio local market after coffee, which more or less corresponds to the civilized Roman early morning hour, that is 11 a.m; getting our heads and spirits lifted and spinning around grocery shopping with overchatting attention to the selection of delicious ingredients. Later on, run back home to an authentic Testaccio apartment block - with walls painted in orange, just like the colour of those unforgettable Roman sunsents - where I'm sure I've seen the shadow of Pasolini walk past us (but at the time I must have been too taken into considering whether going for a in bianco or rosso - white wine or tomatoes based sauce - for our main course).

I wanted to share a secret with Rachel. This ginger hair, delightfully tall girl from Britain, mother of a tiny 3 years old munchkin boy named Luca, runs a spectacularly well written blog called Racheleats. There, she basically goes through the pros and cons of Italian food traditions, letting the reader have full access to her palpably genuine lifestyle in the Roman neighbourhood of Testaccio, let alone her IG celebrated sink. She also managed to get messy in a few of the most renowned kitchens of the boot, thus embracing the most genuine Italian gastronomic culture. Away from the emotionally constipated view some have of the modern Brits and more in line with a contemporary version of a character issued from Austen's "Pride and (no) Prejudice" Rachel Roddy tries it all. And she tried mine too. I'm talking recipes of course. On our morning together and following her recent article on the Guardian, where she gratifies the reader with the, oh so many versions of the italian polpetta, of which we can find thousands of reinterpretations (I already mentioned in a previous post that each one has their own madeleines, haven't I?), I told her about my own Nonna's meatballs. We made them on a white Formica table veined in green just like Gorgonzola cheese, that Rachel purchased from a nuns' community. Couldn't get any more Roman than that. What a difference between the wine used for cooking, so called vino sincero (sincere wine due to its tendency of making you drunk undoubtedly cheaply) that makes for some fantastic meals and the one usually served in trattoria's tables, slightly more refined and delicate to the stomach.  An up tempo people pleaser and scrumptious, comforting food. There is something dangerously addictive about these mouthwatering pops. Just try to believe, until #foodhappiness kicks in.

Ingredients for 6: - 250 gr. pork twice minced meat - 250 gr. fracosta beef meat - 1 garlic clove - 150 gr. extra virgin olive oil - 100 gr. Parmesan - 150 gr. breadcrumbs - 1 fresh parsley bouquet, finely chopped - 2 fresh free range eggs - salt - pepper - 50 ml. Whole milk - 230 ml. Of white wine

In a bowl, bring together the two different meats with the eggs, the parmesan, the parsley, half of the breadcrumbs, the milk, a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of both salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients roughly with your hands in order to form a big mountain.

Place the remaining breadcrumbs on a big round plate, and have another ready beside it. Form small meatballs rolling them inside your hands, then cover them with breadcrumbs and position them one by one on the clean dish.

Warm up a pan with  100 gr. of oil and the garlic clove. Once it browns, pour in all the meatballs and let them cook for about 3 minutes each side at medium fire. Close the fire. Prepare a dish with some absorbing paper on top, and let the meatballs off the pan and on the scottex in order to get rid of the excessive oil.

Then, pour the wine of in the pan and let it warm up for 1 minute a high fire, then pour the meatballs in again and let cook for 5 minutes vivaciously. Serve warm and covered with parsley and its sauce.

With love and a mountain of meatballs,

Eleonora

* photo credits @Rachel Roddy

To each one their own madeleine

Marcel Proust, the autobiographical narrator of the most renowned multiple (oh, those tomes!) piece of French 20th century literature "In Search of Lost Time" has it, my grandmother has it, my favourite beekeeper has it, the laundry woman working and singing below my apartment has it and I have it too. It's the Madeleine, that is, that involuntary memory that arises once we are faced with the most eloquent elements reminding us of long times gone; suddenly, all our senses awaken and we are taken back in time to a moment so intense that we would have not suspected of it existing in the back of our mind, had we tried to remember it rationally. Proust's narrator laments that such memories are inevitably partial, and do not bear the essence of the past. Back in Italy these days for some pop-up projects, I can't help but being somehow drawn by these lines which I'm re-reading these days in my new Parisian life. My childhood days in Puglia gave me strenght, an unbearable feisty attitude, a love for the wild sea and loads of crunchy and creamy pasticciotti. I don't want them to be just partial memories but entire new memories to grasp for you, so here it is, the whole traditional recipe spread out for you. I love to devour 2 of them with my morning cappuccino. Pasticciotti with custard and black cherries

  • 330 gr. super fine OO flour
  • 150 gr. of dairy butter
  • 5 free range egg yolks
  • 1 free range egg
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 2.5 dl. of fresh organic whole milk
  • 160 gr. of caster sugar
  • 120 gr. black cherries in light syrup
  • 50 gr. icing sugar

Prepare the dough. Arrange 300 gr. of flour in a large bowl, distribute the cold butter over cut into small pieces and work quickly the two ingredients with your fingertips in order to form a crumbled mixture. Merge then 100 gr. of sugar, 2 egg yolks and the whole egg. Mix together, form a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven at 180°. Make the custard. Engrave half of the vanilla pod, lengthwise, put it in a saucepan, pour over the milk and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, assemble the remaining egg yolks with the caster sugar, using a whisk. Add the remaining flour, a little at a time, alternating it with a ladle of milk. Stir with a wooden spoon and complete by pouring the remaining hot milk. Cook the cream over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is quite dense. Butter and flour the moulds.

Arrange the ball of dough between 2 sheets of baking paper, flatten it with your hands and then, using a rolling pin, work it to obtain a layer about 3 mm. thick. Line half of the dough at the bottom of the molds and then fill them each with the cold custard. Lie in the center one or more cherries in syrup and cover the molds with the remaining dough, making sure to well seal the edges. Sting the surface with the prongs of a fork and bake in preheated oven at 180° for 20 minutes. Let your pasticciotti cool and cover them with icing sugar before serving.

With love and pasticciotti,

Eleonora

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

Roasted quails with grapes

I often find myself wondering why is it that French people are so charmingly skinny, their kids don't scream and they enjoy rivers of vin rouge without batting an eyelid, nor gaining any weight for that matter. If I can't quite come around a rational explanation of their paedology inner talents, it seems to me that one of the reasons behind their being so unfussy about their body is that they eat varied, and squeeze in loads of proteins. Basically, you would enter any bistrot at lunch time, and you would be faced with a series of formules, that is a fixed menu where, according to your appetite, you can choose if having a starter and a main or a main and a dessert. You can get all three courses but then you would get weird looks. Why? Well, because less is more. This representative dish from the Gascony region of France awaken atmopheres linked with harvest time, a period when root vegetables begin to appear at the neighbourhood markets in Paris (there's more than one, where farmers from all regions of France go everyday in different Parisian quartiers to provide nothing but the excellence from the land), the grapes in the countryside are picked at their sweet apix and hunting season is in full swing.

Quail is a petite, full on flesh, utterly delicious bird, which you can nowadays easily find at good supermarkets (but I do recommend you to go to the farmer's market as often as you can, because it's the only way to actually see the food you get  on your table in its raw state).

Roasted quails with grapes

Serves 4 people as a main course:

  • 4 clean quails without giblets
  • 250 gr. green seedless grapes
  • 250 gr. red seedless grapes
  • 4 slices of smoked bacon
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 40 grams of dairy unsalted butter
  • 4 whole cloves
  • a pinch of sea salt

Pre-heat the oven at 180°. Season each quail internally with a pinch of salt and a whole clove. Make sure you harness each one with a slice of bacon, then tie them with kitchen twine.

Transfer the quails in a pan with flakes of butter and white wine, and transfer them in the oven at 180° for 20 minutes, brushing them from time to time while cooking. Then combine the washed and dried grapes, lightly season with salt and cook for further 15 minutes.

Serve warm with beautiful red wine to accompany. I like it with a glass of Valpolicella.

With love and grapes,

Eleonora

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

Tales from Naples - Scarola recipe

At a time when globalization was a concept as far from reality as it is for me going to the movies without my handmade cherries clafoutis, I used to get out of school and hop on a train to reach Naples whenever I filled like having pizza. Not just any kind of pizza. The really gorgeous, thin in the middle and puffy around the rim one. My favourite combination is pizza and scarola, which is basically a stuffed focaccia. Exquisite on its own as a side dish, the yummy effect of this prickly lettuce recipe is rendered by the aggregation of the capers saltiness with the sultanas tender sweetness. Last june I made it with Anne, author of the award winning French food blog Papilles&Pupilles, who, on this occasion, came to visit me on account of Bouygues Telecom. We spent a whole morning talking food trends and we cut, sliced and finally enjoyed an unforgettable lunch. Filled with vitamin A,  this crunchy chocory is excellent for strenghtening both our bones and immune system (especially useful as we are now approaching the autumn leaves). This veggie, timely option is going to send you to the moon. And back. Totally worth the journey. Serves 4 people:

  • 800 g. prickly lettuce / chicory
  • 30g. raisins
  • 30 gr. pine nuts
  • 5 Anchovies
  • 30 gr. Greek pitted olives
  • 30 gr. salted capers (about 15)
  • 3 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic

Sprinkle a pan with the extra virgin olive and boil slightly, then add the garlic oil. Let the two elements flavor for about three minutes; once goldened, get the garlic out of the pan.

At this point, add all the ingredients that make up the seasoning: raisins, pine nuts, anchovies, olives, capers. Let them stir briskly over medium heat for a few minutes before adding the prickly lettuce.

At first, you will have the impression that the whole of the pan explodes but do not worry: you can keep it under control by covering the pan. Let it do its job on its own for about 15 minutes over medium heat.

Best advice: you understand that your dish is ready when the vegetables water is completely absorbed.

scarolapap

Enjoy!

Eleonora

Viva la pappa col pomodoro!

At the end of what has been a boiling hot week in Rome, let me wish you a very joyful weekend through a couple of videos displaying the Italian attitudes for excellence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ5Zwrcvvaw

"Viva la pappa col pomodoro" is a very popular song interpreted by Rita Pavone, a sort of "enfant prodige" back at the day, who acted as Gian Burrasca in one of the first tv-series:"John Gale, the bad boy". This nickname, which the family gives to him because of his restless behaviour (more for exuberance than malice), has become proverbial to indicate an unruly kid.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNjdrzBYzOk

"Che Bambola" by Fred Buscaglione is the epytome of the Roman piacione, a guy who would typically go after all pretty girls by assuming a forced captivating attitude. A typical experience for any gal going around an Italian town.

Off to an Italian weekend, enjoy yours!

Eleonora

It's #romanity. Sneak peek #4

What If I told you that we could go back in time, exactly between 1957 and 1975, just by walking in the narrow streets of Rome? 500one

It is possible, with the first ever and surprisingly elegant city car of all: the one and only Fiat 500. But that is not all. Think about all those producers that bring you joy: florists, groceries suppliers and "pasticceri" alike, they all use a three wheels minivan, the Ape, to get around the city. And often run in the risk of parking it abusively. But ehy, that's #romanity, too.

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To indulge or not to indulge? That seems to be the question, even though the answer is so frequently: yes, come on, it's only a little pastry. "Pastarelle", as we call it in Rome, are those sweet delights filled with cream and fruits aromas that men bring back home to their wives for Sunday lunch. When it comes to traditions, some are just better kept up, wouldn't you agree?

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Whether in front of the most secluded and splendid fountain,

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or among the ever wonderful, ever green cypresses along the Via Appia Antica,

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Rome lets you find pleasures that allow you to get exclusively at ease with yourself. Finally again. The smell of fresh coffee (taken religiously standing up at the bar),

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accompanied by a doughnut, can make you rethink the concept of doing a u-turn, either it being a spiritual or a practical one. It is true, as they say in Italy, that not all doughnuts come with a hole - not everything can be perfect. As long as there's #foodhappiness. Fashionably so. Thanks to Renato Balestra.

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On a sweet tone, I leave you to make the most of the rest of the week!

Eleonora

All pictures are taken by the extraordinary eye of Cucina Digitale

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...Young and Foodish

I discovered how to efficiently fight my usual adversion for mondays: it can be solved thanks to wooden mirrors and.. the use of magnesium, which properties are beneficial for both our body and soul. foto-141

Oranges are good for you, whether you want to get over a winter flu or you want to give that perfect citrus hint to a meat serenade, as I discovered this week while cooking for a bunch of ladies - yes, the Roman Witches Supper Club is back .

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Talking about preserving your health, I find it difficult to figure out the extent to which people might be or not intolerant to certain products, meeting so many of you guys during my weekly Cooking Workshops. Truth is, that many find it difficult to digest peppers. These amazing vegetables, containing vitamin A and 90% of water, come with something of a bitter taste. However, if properly roasted and eventually peeled off, they gain the sweetness they deserve and are perfect if served with some extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar.

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So excited about a special project I'm involved in. Please find below a little hint, tell me what you think it entails and stay tuned for further developments over the next few weeks.

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How are you going to treat yourself during these cold winter weekend mornings? Prepare yourself a savoury fried egg delight this weekend following these easy steps.

Ingredients for 2 Fried Eggs Delights:

  • a Pastry Cutter
  • 2 Slices of Rye Bread
  • 2 Eggs
  • 100 gr. Soft Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat the oven at 200°. Place the slices of bread one on top of the other and proceed by cutting 2 rounds with the appropriate pastry cutter. Let them become crunchy in the warm oven for about 5 minutes. Then spread a generous amount of a soft cheese of your choice (I love to use stracchino). In the meanwhile, cook an egg per time, directly inside the pastry clutter's form, in a small pan with a hint of warm oil. After a couple of minutes the egg will be ready, and you will simply need to place it on top of the beautiful round of bread, adding salt, pepper and fresh erbs as you prefer.

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Have a rocking #foodhappiness weekend everyone,

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