Frittata rolls with courgettes and green sauce

"Ma parla come mangi!" In other words, speak the way you eat. Be simple. Don't be rethoric. In Italy we also use food as a cultural or social paradox. When I was a child, I would be served frittata (i.e. omelette) whenever at home everyone was too tired to cook. As simple as it is (ok, maybe harder than boiling an egg), there were few things at the time that made me happier than my grandmother calling me at the table: "The frittata is done"! Later in life I found out that, figuratively, this phrase is used when some huge mess occurs. Also, the act of "turning the omelette" (a stage of cooking) is associated with an alleged attempt to slip away from a discussion. It turns out, at home I should have watched my plate and watched my mouth, too.

But, nonetheless, a frittata can be so crunchy and delicious that I might as well just roll it. That's what I did for a French video production project. My other videos from this same adventure can be viewed here, here, or here, to name but a few. I love the idea of capturing the moist of the egg with the cirtusy green sauce. If you find watching the video tempting enough, then you'll be even more thrilled at the idea of reproducing it with the instructions below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhvSdfY4GL4

Frittata rolls with courgettes and green sauce

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 4 fresh free-range eggs
  • 1 courgette
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 gr. sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Pour the eggs into a bowl, add the salt, the pepper and the rosemary. Whisk them until fluffy. In a pan, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil and splash the beaten eggs in. Let the egg dough curdle from 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat the operation on the other side and cook for the last 3 minutes. Place the obtained omelette on a plate.

Cut the courgette into slices. In a pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the vegetables at low heat for 15 minutes. In the meanwhile, cut the sundried tomatoes into strips.

Evenly place the slices of courgettes and tomatoes on the omelette. Roll the omelette and cut it into rolls of about 3 cm. each. Mildly prick each roller with a cocktail stick.

For the green sauce, finely chop the parsley and place it in a small bowl. Pour the remaining olive oil in and finally add the lemon juice. Mash the mixture  Add a teaspoon of green sauce on each roll before serving.

With love and eggs,

Eleonora

Food & Design

Dreaming of celebrating the quintessential of sliced meats and cheeses? Bob Spiegel is the chef at Pinch Food Design in NYC, and his co-owner of TJ Girard, designing unique serving pieces that bring the foods to life. Food does a lot when we’re not looking. In the impish photography of French artist Benoit Jammes, food’s secret life is more athletic. Jammes’ new series of Skitchen photographs captures a banana grinding a rolling pin, a kiwi ollieing off a faucet, and a lemon using a giant glass jar as a pipe. They all fare much better than an unfortunate tomato, who bites it trying to land a trick.

design2

Just eat it. It's hard to look at these stylish packages of citrus fruit, bearing  a celebrated iconic swoosh, without having the athletic company's famous slogan "Just do it" immediately come to mind. And that's precisely the point. The goal of the exhibition Wheat is Wheat is Wheat by visual artist Peddy Mergui is to explore how packaging manipulates our perceptions and desires.

design3

There's no better design that the simple dish that host your fuming pasta. As the celebrated Italian actor Alberto Sordi put it: "Dear spaghetti, did you provoke me? Then I'm gonna eat you up!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y473QZUjto

With love and #foodhappiness,

Eleonora

The weekly Food Parlour

‘Food crisis responder’ Marsha Smith takes surplus produce from supermarkets in Nottingham, explains The Guardian, and cooks it for those in need. In a city suffering from food poverty, she is trying to shake up the system for good. Not bad for integrating #foodhappiness, for a social eating advocate. Shopping on an empty stomach? Go and eat something quick! People buy far more stuff and spend more money when they're hungry than when they're full, and that extends to non-edible goods, too, according to a study of the association between our bellies and our belongings discussed on the New Scientist. One day in 2007, Alison Jing Xu, who studies decision-making at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, sat down at a mall restaurant and suddenly regretted everything she had just bought. "I wondered why half an hour ago it had seemed like a good idea to buy 10 pairs of tights, not just the two I needed," she says. So what's going on? When we are hungry, our stomach releases a hormone called ghrelin. This acts on an area of the brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which is involved in reward and motivation, making people want to seek out and consume calories. Jing Xu suggests that ghrelin's effect also spills over into non-food domains – prompting you to acquire more of everything when you are hungry. "We'd like to make consumers aware of the possibility that if they go shopping on an empty stomach, they might spend more money that they intend to – so better feed themselves before they go out," she says.

DIY is taken to a whole new level, as the Daily Mail confirms that workers could save £1,300 a year if they made food at home rather than buying sandwiches and snacks from shops. More than 60 per cent of Britons who buy their lunches out spend an average of £1,840 a year, based on 46 working weeks, the research reveals. In comparison, those who prepare food at home spend just £552 over the same period - a saving of a whopping £1,288. Think of what the surplus could be spent on instead. It could even equate to an extra holiday.

A food supplement first developed by NASA could help fight depression. Brain Food is a supplement rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which has been proven to improve concentration, co-ordination and memory. Steve Ahearne Managing Director of Scholars Nutrition developed the formula, as told by The Express. After reading research linking the chemical with improving brainpower, he decided to develop it into a food supplement to help tackle depression. "Some people still consider depression to be trivial or not a real illness but it can be a crippling mental health condition so any preventions you can take against it are vital," he said.

According to the Independent, people associate the luxury of an expensive restaurant with sexual pleasure, while eating tasty food in a cheap diner is more likely to be compared with drug addiction and physical trauma, scientists found. Diners at luxury restaurants praise the “orgasmic pastry” and “seductively seared foie gras”, whereas patrons of less salubrious establishments justify their food choices by claiming “the fries were like crack” or that they are “addicted to wings”. The findings come from a language analysis of more than 900,000 online reviews of 6,500 restaurants across seven American cities. The study compared the wording people used in giving good and bad reviews, as judged by how many stars they gave to a restaurant.

With love and pastries,

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

Nubio - Veggies paradise

I'm what you would call a débutante when it comes to cutting down on meals. I love the whole idea of sitting down and become conscious with my whole system of the moment I'm living, this #foodhappiness I'm proclaiming as my motto, that comes with a grin on our face once we're in front of a dish, ready to fully enjoy it. However, it's all about how we take care of ourselves to be perfectly equipped in order to face life and its beautiful challenges. And so I did it, too. Spending a day on liquids only. As the name suggests, liquid diets mean you're getting all, or at least most, of your calories from drinks. Rumour has it that the smartest way to detox in Paris comes in a box of 6 bottles a day, and it's called Nubio.

This cure, based on vegetable juices, superfoods (which I talked about earlier here) and organic cold-pressed fruits basically helps one's body to get rid of accumulated toxins. The mineral intake of juice stimulates the elimination of toxins. Indeed, the digestion of food requires considerable energy - we feel it after a huge lunch or dinner.

I tasted these juices and, surprisingly since I'm an omnivore, I found them so flavourful that not only did I not miss solid foods (the energy value of all the juices for a day is about 1250 kcal.), but I would go back for more. So I got curious. Who's behind such an enlightened project? I figured it would be a farmer or someone linked with the agricultural world. I was so wrong. This business is led by two exquisite twenty-something girls, Claire Nouy et Gabrielle Rotger, both yoga and pasta addicted,  who've taken over a workshop in the Bastille area of Paris. There, every day, they follow the production of these heavenly bottles step by step, from the selection of the organic producers to the final client delivery by the courier. An atelier located at the heart of the 11th arrondissement, is the place where fresh juices get cold pressed daily from raw ingredients issued from organic agriculture to finally obtaint inundating juices filled with nutrients and vitamins.

The ingredients are seasonal and delicious: fruits like pear, lemon, apple; vegetables such as carrot, fennel, spinach and celery get all spiced up with coconut water,  turmeric, hibiscus, parsley, rosemary, ginger, chia seed, almond, dates and vanilla.

Nothing like such a cure gives a break to the digestive system thus helping kidneys, liver and skin altogether to eliminate toxins. A must, at the turn of every season. On #foodhappiness and its many forms.

With love and cocoa beans,

Eleonora

A morning with a chef

The train that took me from the city of light to the city of utter delight was perfectly on time, well of course, just like the inhabitants of my final destination: forward thinkers, dream-makers, fast consumers, but with a discerning approach. Every time I set foot to London my head starts spinning around with the infinite stimulations arising from such a diverse community which makes the heart of this town beating at an incredible fast rate, and everything, suddenly, seems to be possible. The astonished eyes of that little girl from the south of Italy here get food for thought, in the literal sense.

In the middle of a restaurant room that would otherwise be considered as formal, there's a bar. The entire staff is very gracious and caring but none of them wears a tie. I feel like I can be myself, relax and mischievously look at the other customers (following the same pattern, I always look inside home windows when erring on the streets, exceptionally fascinated by the lives of others) while I wait for my + 1. Addicted to the dreamy horizon of being a chasseur de vue.

Hameed Farook guides the magic at 1901 restaurant and wine bar. The space is reminiscent of the Great Eastern, the former hotel institution that was in place before Andaz took over in 2006, with stucco and stone ground floor and dressings in a mildly classical style.

Beyond service, there's a more human element at stake, it's called care. For Farook, a restaurant  is all about breaking bareers: with its food, with its clientele, with appearences. His idea of giving the best in his work is fuelled by the wish that those who enjoy his dishes are going to be at their best, too. Positive thinking additions? I remarkably love.

london1Things are heating up as our pan roasted scallops from Cornwall get in the scene. They are flavoured with smoked haddock, shrimp tortellini and a mild bisque (shellfish based) emulsion. The duck terrine was truffle aromatized, with the accompaniment of pickled vegetables, a crunchy brioche and port wine jelly.

Food that heals. Yes, for this Indian born chef a good meal is a combination of chemistry and seasonal products. Farook's mother used to have a pot of 12 spices, the secret solution - she called it - that would cure any pathology: cinnamon and tea tree are antiseptic, while ginger is a natural energy elevator. No wonder why I can climb to the clouds after lunch.

Wanna do the same? You too can enjoy a shortcut way to the most somptuous views of the world. Inscription is this way.

With love at first sight,

Eleonora

Pascade, la crêpe soufflée

The pascade looks like an impressionist artwork. It's in fact a big pancake, a peasant household dish prepared on the go in farms as well as in small family restaurants around the Aveyron area, southwest of France. Almost unknown anywhere else, its recipe is simple: very fresh (free-range, bien sur) eggs beaten with cereal flour. It was originally served as a generous starter with sugar, chives, etc. at that time of the day when the pots are cooking and the kids so anxious to be fed. The mixture is then baked as a non-runny omelette: flour must be compulsorily cooked. And there's no joke when it comes to French how-to in the kitchen. It can then be filled to taste, and that's where the real fun starts. But let's go back in time. In 2006, when Michelin starred master of conviviality Alexandre Bourdas opened the now renowned SaQuaNa in Honfleur, he found himself for the first time running a restaurant and when he had to think of an appetizer that better could convey his personal values, the idea of a pascade, this warm dish to be shared, so flexible when it comes to combinations, became an evidence.

"Over time I had fun cooking the lovely pascade with different toppings for family and friends, until the day when the idea came to me to dedicate a place to Pascade the same way that there are places devoted to the art of pizza or pancake".

The restaurant design is a cross between an inn and a canteen, and the raw materials used stand for an architectural metaphor of the pascade itself: hard and rustic tables between the student like benches. The result is a mixture of authenticity and tradition with contemporary clean lines. A really different place, adapted to the Parisian pace, where people can go quickly before dinner or a movie as food is served non-stop from noon to 11 pm, 7 days a week.

The other night, I found myself in the company of the lovely chef Carme Ruscalleda, which exquisite recipes can be enjoyed here. From her restaurants in Sant Pau and Tokyo, she flew to Paris, along with her handmade dried fruits filled sausages. As part of a pop up one-dish-only project, this month she created the pascade Catalana, which will be à la carte for the entire month. After accompanying the creation of the pascade Alexander Bourdas leaves the undivided controls to his cooking guests, which change at the turn of the month. In the springtime, it will be his 10 years old niece opening the doors of inventiveness to a staple of French regional gastronomy.

pascade4

With love and pascade,

Eleonora

Ragù and not bolognaise part 2

Talking about timing. I just got out from La Grande Epicerie, my personal little succulent Parisian corner, where I spent an entire morning raiding the shelves in order to concoct every detail of a project to be disclosed soon. As soon as I embarked on my bike, it started raining cats and dogs. Pitilessly. I needed to go bring some #foodhappiness on the other side of town, so I put on my best smile and went all the way from rive gauche to rive droite! The girls at Pittaya were waiting, and the alphabet for gourmets soon started. After much anticipation last week on this previous post, here it is, finally, his majesty the Ragù as a real nonna from Bologna would do it. It is essential for the meat to be grind twice, as it will thus be very tender, marrying pleasantly with the rest of the sauce.

Spaghetti sauce Ragù from Bologna (serves 6 persons)

  • 200 gr. of ground beef (grind twice)
  • 200 gr. of ground pork (grind twice)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 100 ml. fresh whole milk
  • 150 gr. Italian diced pancetta/bacon
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 300 gr. tinned plum tomatoes
  • 500 gr. beef stock
  • 500 gr. spaghetti pasta
  • 40 gr. rocky salt
  • a pinch of fine salt
  • a pinch of black pepper

To start off, place the pancetta/bacon into a saucepan and cook it at low heat until it's perfectly browned. Prepare the chopped celery, carrot and onion and add them to the pan together with the oil. Once wilted, after about 10 minutes, add the meat to the pan and start cooking. Increase the heat, pour the wine and let it evaporate, while stirring gently the ingredients of the sauce.

After about 10 minutes, add the tomato puree and cook over low heat for 45 further minutes, adding the broth little by little to make the sauce thick.  At the end of cooking, fix the sauce with the milk to make the taste even more lovable.

In a big pot, let 3 lt. of water come to a boil. Subsequently, put 2 handfuls of rocky salt. Cook the pasta al dente and season with the Bolognese sauce, adding salt and pepper to taste.

pitaya10With love and tomatoes,

Eleonora

Chantilly, la crème de la crème

As my great-grandma often put it - less is more - and it does unquestionably apply to the very short train ride (23 minutes only, no joke) that painlessly got me from a Parisian cosmopolitan, hectic dimension to a secular countryside luxurious nest. The culinary most prestigious traditions embrace luxe, calme and volupté in the astounding Auberge du Jeu de Paume. Launched in 2012 in the middle of the historical domaine de Chantilly, the 5 stars retreat looked up to the Michelin sky from its very beginning, having acquired one star over the first year and a second on the next at its famed La Table du Connétable. 

As I arrived, I was welcomed to a room all Toile de Jouy and ornaments which art would resonate with Duc d'Aumale's personal collection, to be found just next door in the imposing Château de Chantilly, which picture gallery is the second most important French pinacothèque after the Louvre. The fifth son of King Louis-Philippe, Henri duc d'Aumale, became the most eligible bachelor of France at the age of 8. He did marry, but for a series of circumstances, amongst which the exhile, that left him widow and childless, this man endowed with military diposition ended up looking after the immense treasure of its domaine all alone. His art collection is today under the protection of the Institut de France (as of the Duke's last wishes) and the trust of the Aga Khan Foundation. I roamed over its corridors to find artworks by Raphael, Watteau, Poussin, Delacroix, to name but a few. The only way to visit the whole outrageous collection is to pass by Chantilly, since one of the the clauses of the legacy, still respected today, expected the artworks never to leave the property.

Chantilly does ring a bell with the most traditional of whipped creams. As reported by François Vatel, the ultimate majordomo of the seventeenth century, there was a certain lady, guest of the Duke and Duchess, who impulsively let out her enthousiasm for the flavoury cream she tasted while a guest at Chantilly. Back at the day it was customary for the aristocracy to be portrayed with monkey features as an act of self-mockery. And it's among these anthropoid cabinets that she whispered the news that would soon become a culinary tradition for the entire world.

While at the Auberge, I enjoyed a unique spa treatment called Les mille et une Chantilly where, after an exfoliating gommage applied with sugar crystals and a chestnuts oil based relaxing massage, I got wrapped in actual Chantilly cream, the epytome of skin hydration, before finishing off with a tasting of the famous cream and some hay flavoured chocolates. It was Poppaea who started the tradition of bathing in milk, Cleopatra who indulged in milk and honey baths daily and ladies of leisure of the caliber of Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of French King Henry II and Pauline, Napoleon's younger sister, who regularly took milk baths in an attempt to keep themselves looking youthful, to such an extent that the servants made a hole in the ceiling above the bath so they could pour milk directly into the tub.

jeu11And here is the original recipe for everyone to replicate at home, delicious on its own or as an accompaniment to cakes or fruits of all kinds.

Crème Chantilly (serves 6 persons)

  • 1/5 lt. double cream
  • 60 gr. caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod

Place the cream and the entire vanilla pod in a bowl, then in the fridge overnight. This way the vanilla will incorporate with the cream and the taste. Place the electronic whisk vertically in the cold bowl and play it for about 5 minutes while slowly pouring the sugar in. Once the cream becomes all flaky and fluffy, it's time to serve it.

This year will mark a series of wonderings around France in order to discover the most off the beaten track locations to truly embrace the traditions of this incredible country.

With love and cream Chantilly,

Eleonora

* Pictured above, before the post: "Le Déjeuner d'huîtres" by Jean-François de Troy, then before the recipe, a picture of actress Claudette Colbert in "Sign of the Cross" (1932)

Ragù and not bolognaise part 1

There is no such thing as a food paradox. Eating pasta garnished with either meat or fish with grated parmesan on top, for example. There are various no-go which, however, in international revisitations of my darling Italian cuisine, are taken as matter of facts. Well, with my 100% Italian bood, I'm here to tell you that no, it's no good to drink cappuccino after midday or you'll only get weird looks since Italians never have it outside breakfast hours and no, there's no such recipe as Pasta all'Alfredo, it's actually an American invention; but most of all, the word bolognaise which, in my school memoir, sound more like a noun stolen from French expressions, is not how we name our world renown meat & tomato based sauce. In fact, this word that makes my ears creak (ouch), corresponds  more to the French way of declining the female inhabitants of a city: milanaise, irlandaise, bolognaise. To be true, though, the sound of it really does come near to the spoken accent of a true Bolognese. However, may you sit down in an off the beaten track trattoria in the heart of Bologna, asking for a Bolognaise, you'll only get the host (who would do anything to make its clients happy) to go grab one of his friends who are not working hard at siesta time in order to keep you company, which you might appreciate, if you're familiar with sign languages. Chances are, the folk can't speak a word of English.

Everyone out there: We say ragù.

The word originally comes from ragoûter, that is, awakening one's appetite in French 17th century language. Originally referring to meat stewed with plenty of seasoning which was then used to accompany other dishes : in Italy , mainly pasta .This delicious sauce has two school of thoughts: one from Bologna and one from Naples.

The girls from Pitaya Agency, with whom I'm collaborating on various projects, asked me to show them how to ragù. Delighted from their considerate approach to the dish, I spent a morning with them in full #foodhappiness mood. And the result will be posted here early next week. Stay tuned!

With love and ragù,

Eleonora

*Photo credit - Arthur Fechoz

The Food Parlour

Industrial design graduate Solveiga Pakstaite’s Bump Mark uses a gelatine-based label to let consumers know when food has passed its prime. Twentysomething Pakstaite admits: "One day I thought ‘how on Earth do blind people know when their food expires because they can’t read the expiry dates and they don’t know what to eat in the fridge first?’”. The result of her curiosity is a work in progress called the Bump Mark; a label which is attached to food packaging and changes shape when the produce deteriorates. Now, as the Guardian puts it, it's up to manufacturers to licence the technology. The key to Africa food security are local vendors, not supermarkets. According to Kenya based magazine Standard Media, traditional markets sell more than 85 percent of the food consumed in sub-Saharan Africa, and rather than replacing them with Western-style supermarkets, governments should train local vendors to improve food safety, researchers say. Contrary to popular conceptions, open-air local markets often have safer milk and meat than supermarkets in much of Africa, according to a book released on Tuesday by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Local vendors offer fresher products to several hundred million low-income consumers, and many supermarkets still do not have well-regulated supply chains or stable refrigeration systems to prevent contamination. Simple food safety training for informal vendors can limit the spread of SARS, avian influenza and tuberculosis.

The Independent is exploring how Hobart is emerging as a destination for lovers of food, art and echidnas. Tasmania's once-parochial capital is a sleepy city with beauty and brains. its remoteness means that independent cafés, artisan bakeries, and makers' studios flourish. The annual Taste of Tasmania summer food festival, which celebrates the city's metamorphosis into a culinary destination, finished a few weeks ago and has left the people and restaurants of Hobart more excited than ever about their produce.

There's a need in the UK to to ban junk food adverts before 9 pm: experts, The Daily Mail testifies, to intervene for new controls as current rules lead to parents being pressured into buying unhealthy snacks. Seven in ten parents with children aged four to 16 face pressure from kids. As a matter of fact, almost one in three children are overweight or obese in Britain. The unusual move is officially supported by doctors and the Labour party, other than the well respected British Heart Foundation.

You shouldn't be eating this - you'll start over on Monday - you simply can'y control your appetite - these and more no go's regarding your relationship with food on Huffington Post

With love and bread cravings,

Eleonora

Kluger, Fabrique des Tartes

I love to meet and greet with likeminded people in the food sector, discover and learn from the places I go to. Honestly Paris never fails to impress, its vibrant food scene being a constant inspiration for me; I recently came across the very talented Catherine Kluger. A former lawyer turned tarte guru, Catherine decides to leave her legal job, in order to totally focus on the sweet & savoury art of French pies, initially thanks to the help of pâtisserie consultant Nicolas Bernardé. Whether quiche lorraine, carotte-citron confits or courgette-feta-crumble au parmesan, these tartes are a head turner, and her factory is a step into paradise. Why pies? "Because it's easy, useful and practical. Because they are part of French culinary heritage. Because, deep in our memory and our taste buds, lies the taste of a pie. Additionally, they can be easily adapted to urban nomadic life". Mrs. Kruger signed multiple deals over these past few years with French Marabout editions, publishing four books revealing the underside of her recipes, while keeping her store open and running and keep being a busy mom of three. What's more, she's been heading pop up restaurants, collaborating at hundreds of events, and she even managed to launch a Parisian food-truck. I call that the feminine French art of martyrdom.

This lady speaks to us through food, a language that we are all willing to learn. And the Tartes Kluger are, oh, so luscious. Flavour is deep, complex and utterly compelling. What's more their taste is an incredible barometer of the ingredients' authenticity. And the fact that it doesn't take any more than buying her latest book in order to reproduce some of these beauties, makes it a joy. I'm a huge fan of quiches, and I'm always on the lookout for new ways to interpret this traditional dish. For a picnic, a quick lunch, or a earthy party, these tartes are just the perfect fix. I love to have my cake and eat it too along with a warm, comforting soup. Catherine uses organic flours for the pie base and, I must admit, the overall taste does thanks for it.

For a few weeks more, until February 8th, as a result of a collaboration with natural store Sol Semilla, Katherine is snipping in her pies all kind of seeds @ her store at 15, rue Trousseau. The whole idea is to restore vitality and energy with a great powered menu. This, for me, is the magic ingredient here. We are in total healthy territory. Even if, it would be more accurate to say, superfoods heaven. And then there's the sweet version. Yes, I know we are still in the detox month for excellence, yet...every rule gets broken when things are brilliant. On with the dance.

Flan pâtissier*

For a flexible and elastic dough:

  • 250 gr. strong white bread wheat flour
  • 185 gr. very cold dairy unsalted butter
  • 25 cl. whole milk (warmed up)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar

For the cream:

  • 225 ml of whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 45 gr. caster sugar
  • 15 gr. of cornstarch
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp Indian chai spices
  • 30 gr. dairy unsalted butter

Start with the dough: first of all, mix flour and salt, then add the vanilla sugar. Cut the butter into small pieces. With your fingertips, roll it delicately into the flour until it becomes nice and sandy. Keep your hands cool so not to heat up the butter: it should melt as little as possible. In a small bowl, mix the beaten egg and the milk with a fork. Dig a small well in the sandy mixture, pour the beaten egg in. With the flat of your hand, form a homogeneous dough by working the ingredients very cautiously.

Wrap the dough with plastic wrap forming a ball and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour. After that, flatten the dough by tapping it with a rolling pin. Flour the work surface and roll out the dough until greater than the size of the mold disc. Gently pick the dough with a fork. Generously butter the mold and let the dough stick to its entire perimeter. As it is, let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven at 170°. Line the pastry with baking paper, ideally cut into circle. Place on some dry beans and precook the pie for 35 minutes at 170°. Then free the pie from its shell. Brush it with some egg wash and put it in the oven for three further minutes, in order to dry the gilding and thus make it solid before garnishing it.

Preheat the oven at 210°. Realize the custard: heat the milk, then pour a small amount of whipped eggs with sugar, spices and cornstarch. Pour this mixture into the hot milk and stir until the cream thickens. Pour the custard in the precooked pie shell. Bake it for 10 minutes at 210°, just the time for it to color nicely. Let cool completely before serving. It's better to make this dessert ideally the day before.

With love and flan,

Eleonora

* This recipe is taken from the book "La Fabrique des Tartes" by Catherine Kluger.

PORT EN BASSIN – The cradle of Normandy Impressionism PART 2

There are the seagulls, the walks along the D-day beaches, the low tide, and then there's Port-en-Bassin, where coquilles Saint-Jacques meet shabby chic. A few weeks ago, I interrupted a tale on this post with a - to be continued - tag. Because half of the pleasure lies in the procrastination. Just like the preparation of a good meal, with several of the ingredients needing to be poached, resting, and rising well ahead of time. normandia1Port-en-Bassin is a small fishermen town, counting 2000 inhabitants only, located in Normandy, precisely in the area where apples abound, leading the way to Calvados ageing. There, I stayed at charming velvety house La Maison Matelot, all sailor motif, grey floors and decorative ring-shaped life savers. As I woke up in the early morning in order to head to the local bakery for my usual breakfast ritual, I couldn't help but grin at myself as I listened to the angelic music diffused around the tiny, stoney streets. The majority of the locals are fishermen, that's probably why the service was slightly slow at the local bar, since there seemed to be a crucial backgammon match going on. So I embraced a slow paced weekend. Just like the fishermen, I waited for the tide to be high again, and waved goodbye to them before finding these Popeye-styled boats all coming back to the port around 10 p.m. That's when the show really started. Hundreds, what am I saying, thousands of kilos of pink, perfectly round coquilles Saint-Jacques waiting to be dispatched and distributed all over Europe. The lucky ones coming from this charming shore are haloed Red Label, a French official guarantee of superior quality. When I was a kid, my grandmother used to let me listen to the rustling of the waves inside sea shells. On a plate, that's the most common way they're cooked there, as told by my good friend Astrid.

Coquilles Saint Jacques, Port-en-Bassin style

  • 16 Saint-Jacques shells
  • 100 gr. unsalted dairy butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • a bunch of finely chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

In a pan, melt 50 gr. of butter with the oil at medium heat; once the mixture is well cooked (that is, the butter has melted, looking all white and creamy), cook the coquilles for 2 minutes only on each side, not more, in order to still feel their melting taste. May some molluscs be very thick, cut each one of them in two in the vertical direction, then proceed onto the cooking. Before serving, sprinkle them with half a teaspoon of both salt and ground pepper. At the same time, gently melt in a small pot 50 gr. of butter and eventually add the lemon juice. Pour this mixture into a serving dish and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley. Serve it while it's hot, along with a wintery soup.

normandia3

With love and coquilles,

Eleonora

On togetherness

It's freezing cold in Paris. As I was cycling through its streets to meet with clients this afternoon, I couldn't accompany the illuminating city sight with the usual humming of "Sous le ciel de Paris", simply because my voice wouldn't come out, my face being literally masked out by the cold. The nice news is, though, that it only takes a few pieces of the loveliest brown bread, a basic flower arrangement (or a bunch of fresh parsley, in my case today) and a warm dish to make it all flawlessly cozy again. Tonight, let's make something that warms our hearts. Suppertime sacred togetherness. I'm all about pumpkin tortelli these days, which I made on one of my pop up events lately.

As to its origins , it is thought that the these particular ravioli pasta have Renaissance origins and have seemingly been designed after the European conquest of America because of the large amount of pumpkin available back then, that is the main ingredient of tortelli. Its heart is filled with this soft vegetable, spiced up with mustard and finely chopped amaretti (artisanal biscuits made with almonds and egg whites).

The, I'll allow myself to say it, utterly liberating ritual tied to the handmaking of pasta is one of a kind: it demands to be nurtured, wrapped, massaged and scented, just like our tired bodies would need at the end of a long, cold day. Italian writer Elsa Morante who, amongst many things, has been recognized for being at the forefront of  magic realism (a wave I very much embrace in my totally dreamy, Mary Poppins like existence) in the Italian literature, once said: "The truest love sentence, and the only one, is: have you been eating?".

With love and tortelli,

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

A brunch at Semilla

Sunday brunch time is one of those very volatile, very vulnerable moments of the week. Our energy flow is readjusting hence the choice of the meal is crucial to that roaring start of the week. I don't know about you, but when I wake up on the resting day of the week for excellence, the first thing I think of is either a scrumbled, an à la coque, or a benedicte style egg. When in Paris, Semilla is a place for indulging in sweets, freshly squeezed fruit juices, the unmissable sunday roast and, as they call it, all kinds of non egg's options: a lobster club sandwich served with toasted brioche and avocado or a very seasonal beet salad with spelt, fresh cheese and hazelnuts. On the hunt side - it being hunting season, chef Eric Trochon gets an exceptional delivery directly from the hands of his hunters friends - we tried a mouthwatering version of venison burger, moistened with currant juice, served with pak choi (the Chinese version of chard) and the quitessential new potatoes roasted to perfection.

Opened by the will and skills of trio Drew Harré, Jan Sanchez and the chef himself, Eric Trochon, this place, as other excellent ones in town, winks at bistronomie, this phenomenon très à la page that results from the contraction of bistro and gastronomy, applying to those tables combining low prices (with menus worth less than 30€), small team, small places and inventive cuisine made from good and simple products, often orchestrated by chefs trained in academic structures.

Very democratically, and here we go again with patrioctic values such as Liberté & Fraternité, also present à la carte if it wasn't clear enough, the menu comprehends a full list of the producers, often small realities, providing the food and beverages to the house. The wine, in general directly supplied from the grape scented hands of the wine maker himself, can be a Chablis Premier Cru la Forest or a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, both proven to be extraordinarily reassuring tastes.

Last but not least: those of you who know me by now are also well aware of the fact that I love my mascarpone. Either worked in a tiramisu or on a limoncello based cream, you'll know that I'll quickly access to the highest level of #foodhappiness. I reached new heights, though, when tasting the remarkable pears, mascarpone and peacan nuts pie. Powerfully happy before the week's madness.

Restaurant Semilla 54, rue de Seine Paris (75006) TÉL : +33 1 43 54 34 50 MÉTRO : Saint-Germain des Prés, Mabillon, Odéon

With love and peacan nuts,

Eleonora

semilla1

Monday's declarations

What are your perfect Monday resolutions? May I get some time out of the hustle and bustle of my delicious working schedule, here ere are mine:

  • promise to only eat one sweet per day (as if it were easy, living in Paris);
  • get my beauty sleep and make it a plan not to go to bed after midnight for 10 days in order to balance my immune system;
  • practice Yoga Ashtanga/Flow/Bikram at least 4 times without, in the middle of it, finding it irresistible to go test that new recipe I dreamt about last night;
  • reserve those theatre tickets to go see Nos Femmes at Théâtre de Paris;
  • handwrite those letters to the most beautiful friends I've been blessed with;
  • get my heels back on and go back practising some Tango;
  • handmake some Madeleines in full #foodhappiness mode and pay a visit to the permanent collection at Musée Rodin.

With love and madeleines,

Eleonora

 

Roman style artichoke

This artichoke recipe is a typical antipasti issued from the gastronomy of  Lazio and in particular of the city of Rome. The artichoke has always been a very popular vegetable used in the Roman cuisine, which, moreover, also has a special variety, the mammola, very suitable for the production of this type of recipe. Among different dishes of artichoke,  I also love the Jewish-style artichoke, another typical dish of the Roman cuisine that has that can be enjoyed uniquely in the very heart of the Jewish ghetto. The origins of the dish once again can be found in the ancient times when, when making food, farmers used what their land made available for them: in this case, artichoke, with its body cleansing properties, soooo beneficial after Christmas blowouts, is thus suggested in drainage diets. I particularly like this recipe for the direct contact you get with the vegetable, but be aware! Its colour could easily stick on your finger, so in order to save your weekend spotless manicure please make sure you pour your fingers deep in half a lemon's pulp before getting on with the cleaning of this remarkable vegetable. Roman-style artichokes

Ingredients for 8 people:

  • 8 artichokes
  • 50gr.breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp fresh finely cut parsley
  • 2 tbsp fresh finely cut mint
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh unwaxed lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic

First, proceed with the artichokes cleaning: remove the hardest outer leaves, with a sharp box cutter, working it down with a spiral movement going from the bottom to the top of the artichoke and finally, cut a part of the stem leaving only 4 cm of it. Spread the artichoke's leaves with your hands so you can remove the inside beard and place the artichoke, now cleaned, in a basin with acidulated water in order to prevent the formation of black parts.

Let the artichokes soak for a few minutes, while waiting chop the garlic, the mint, the parsley, then the breadcrumbs, a little olive oil and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.

Using a teaspoon, fill the artichokes, broadening their heart, with crumb stuffing. Add salt to the surface and place the artichokes in a nonstick pan bathed in oil and let it burn for two minutes, then add water to two-thirds. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

To understand if they're well cooked, prick them with a fork to check they are ready. Sprinkle with the cooking sauce and serve them warm or room temperature.

With love and artichokes,

Eleonora

Shrimp cocktail, the spicy side

I've always been in awe for fish, first of all because it doesn't create as much of a hubbub as meat does (hence it's more convivial), and secondly because, when fresh, I'm personally on a verge of a lust for life. In range of my collaboration with DeliSnacky, which previous videos you can find here and here, I developed this shrimps cocktails recipe, which has then been turned in a video. The pitch is allusive to an antipasti which became popular in Italy over the '80s. This vintage snack is now ready for a comeback, but with a twist: avocado spicyness. The recipe video has got French subtitles, so please refer to the instructions below in order to make it at home.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFVdj8o4esQ

Spicy shrimp cocktail

  • 150 gr mayonnaise
  • 1 fresh unwaxed lemon
  • 1 perfectly ripe avocado
  • a bunch of salad leaves
  • a few drops of Tabasco sauce
  • 36 tiny shrimps

In a bowl, pour the mayonnaise, 5 or 6 Tabasco sauce drops, and the juice of one lemon. Mix well and put aside. Now prepare the avocado by cutting it in tiny dices. Mince the salad with the aid of a knife. Lay it in a big cocktail glass, starting from the salad on the bottom, then the avocado, followed by the shrimps and its sauce on top.

With love and avocado,

Eleonora