recipes

Amaretti biscuits with candied oranges

The amaretti biscuits make for a delicious accompaniment for my morning tea or coffee (lately, I've been trying to alternate the two in order to get the best out of their opposite celebrative worlds). Whether I feel stunned by the lack of sleep given by too much overnight cookbooks reading or with so many deadlines in sight that I can hardly hold my breath, let alone my cup, this biscuit has such a personality, perfectly flavoured with crunchy almonds and, adding my own twist, some candied bloody oranges. These lovely biscuits' rounded shape remind me of a small reversed cup, but it's their cracked surface that calls for an instantaneous, indulging bite. Their crisp and rather crumbly taste can be perfectly mixed with other recipes, too. In fact this biscuit is largely used, in the Italian kitchen, for many recipes ranging from the tortelli di zucca, a special kind of pumpkin ravioli from Mantua through to the polpettone (meatloaf), a comfy food for excellence to the most delightful fruit pies and tarts. Sealed in a glass jar, they are the perfect addition to the cupboard as they can come in handy in the least expected combinations.

Amaretti with candied oranges (serves 8 people)

  • 200 gr. blanched whole almonds
  • 150 gr. caster sugar + 125 gr. for the candied orange
  • 2 large free-range egg whites
  • 1 unwaxed organic orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a pinch of fine salt
  • 40 gr. icing sugar

First of all, follow the procedure to achieve the firmest whipped egg whites: break them, separate the yolks from the whites in two different tea-cups, and place the egg whites inside the fridge. Leave it to rest for at least half an hour.

Next, toast the almonds for 5 minutes in a preheated oven at 200°. In a blender, mix the toasted almonds with the sugar, then sift the whole mixture and put it aside in a large bowl.

To make the candied oranges, follow the method explained in my previous post here. Cut into small cubes the obtained candied oranges.

Then, to avoid splashing of eggs on the kitchen walls, place a bowl deep  in the sink. At this stage, make sure you add a tiny pinch of fine salt before whipping the egg whites until stiff. Next, incorporate little by little with a spatula the egg whites and the candied oranges into the almonds mixture in order to obtain a soft and smooth dough. Cover the mixture with a clean cloth and store it in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Once past the waiting time, preheat the oven at 170°. It's now time to resume the dough, that will be solidified by now and, with a sharp knife, cut about 50 balls. Get some icing sugar on your hands and prepare the small, rounded balls. Make sure you crush them lightly in the center with your fingers. Lay them on a baking sheet dusted with icing sugar and covered with parchment paper (you can cook in 2 batches).

Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes; once you take them out of the oven, let them cool on a wire rack before enjoying them.

With love and amaretti,

Eleonora

World food stories

To start-up or not to start-up? During these edgy times, many of you might be wondering what kind of business to launch. Well, look no further. Apparently, as The Telegraph suggests, the best small business entreprises are all about atypical cafés, Peruvian food and 3D engraved products. The future is looking cevichely good. For decades, Mexican cuisine was largely written off beyond its borders as an unsophisticated carb-rich mess of burritos and tacos. But then came the day, back in 2005, when Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers introduced Britain to the spicy flavours and textures of Mexican market food with the launch of her restaurant chain Wahaca in London. On The Independent, a tale of Mexican street food with incursions of radishes, delicate seafoods and a variety of beans.

Keeping genetic diversity within the world’s food supply is crucial to ensuring that humankind can preserve crop yields and adapt to climate change, however, a warming world places diversity at risk, a paper from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned.

Food for Thought is a Guardian monthly series curating ideas on achieving the goal of zero hunger from leaders across the private, public and charity sectors. Among those nations, Brazil led the way. President Lula’s ambitious Zero Hunger programme helped to establish the right to food as a constitutional right in 2010. Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador were also at the forefront of legislating the right to food with similar laws and constitutional amendments. Across Latin America, change came out of successful campaigns led mostly by peasant farmers. In India, it was the supreme court that pronounced the right to food as an integral part of the right to life. The corporate control over food, and the consequent proliferation of low-quality junk food promoted by supermarkets, is widely acknowledged to be a large contributor to the global obesity epidemic – another and often under-appreciated aspect of malnutrition.

Ena Baxter will always be an icon of conviviality. Just passed away, regrettably witnessed on The Scotsman, this eminent lady of the house founded and run with her husband the Baxters soup empire, worth more than £120 million. What few people know, though, is that, as a talented cook and researcher, she also worked to implement food rationing for the Ministry of Food during World War II. When this woman made soup, she only would have used the finest, handpicked ingredients, highland spring water, fresh vegetables, and herbs that bring out the true taste of the soup. Inspiringly green.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzC2OfvbzC8

With love and soup,

Eleonora

Haute Couture in the kitchen, Alain Ducasse Style

When I received a proposition to be part of a team of 6 and be enlightened with the secrets behind the signature dishes of the great French gourmet legendary chef Alain Ducasse, I couldn't possibly turn down the opportunity. It's been a three days, Parisian full-on experience on the most incontournable elements typical of the work of this French genius of the kitchen, who made his refined tastes available to a wide crowd, thanks to the opening of restaurants, cooking schools and the publishing of books alike declining the best addresses in cities such as Paris, Monaco and New York. On the menu for what has been a truly unforgettable experience, there was côte de veau de lait fermier avec gratin des legumes, homemade (but bien sur!)foie gras mi-cuit, stir fried Saint-Jacques with truffle flavoured bard juice. And then I found myself faced with the challenge of the most fighting, aggressive crustacean of all: the lobster. It was cooked in a delightful cocotte (an instrument which is normally used to ovencook eggs or vegetables) with penne pasta (yes, you hear me well, to be cooked as if with risotto, that is floating in stock - lobster one) and finely sliced black truffles. The most enchanting food creation, which will stay carved in my heart and imagination for ever, I guess. Because that's what the true pleasure of the kitchen is about: being in the moment and cherishing it. #foodhappiness, in other words. ducasse6I've been very lucky getting my hands on Alain Ducasse's yet-to-be-published book, containing the ultimate carnet for the authentic Parisian flâneur.

As Henri IV rightly put it well before me, Paris is worth a mass, but not only:

Merci, Monsieur Ducasse!

Enjoy your weekend,

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