THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: SEDANINI TONNO, POMODORINI E OLIVE

Hello!Spring is here, and this week I thought to present you for FiestaFriday one of my common and simple pasta dish: i love this version of sedanini (they’re tiny maccheroni) with tuna, pachino tomatoes and olives (this time I used the taggiasche type). A perfect fresh pasta dish for the hot mounths!

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INGREDIENTS: (4 persons)

– 360/380 gr sedanini pasta;
– 1 can of tuna (extra virgin oil, or natural)
– 50/70 gr taggiasche olives (pitted);
– 150 gr pachino tomatoes;
– extra virgin olive oil;
– onion, or (garlic, if you like it);
– salt&pepper;
– oregano

PREPARATION:

First of all, cut the tomatoes in half, eliminating all the seeds and the water in the inside. (squeezing them lightly) In a small saucepan, put a bit of extra-virgin olive oil and let it warm up for 2 minutes. In the meanwhile, cut a tiny piece of onion (and/or garlic) and put it in the pan together with the oil, to flavour it. When the oil start to sizzle, throw away the onion. Add the cutted tomatoes to the oil, and let it “rest” for a bit out of the stove.

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In another pot, put 750 ml of water on the stove, add two teaspoon salt, and let the water reach the boil. When it’s ready, add the sedanini and let them boil for 8-9 minutes.

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In the meanwhile, add the taggiasche olives and the tuna to the tomatoes in the small saucepan. When the pasta is ready – al dente -, drain the pasta and put it in the saucepan, and finally cook all until creamy – 2 minutes -.

Buon Appetito!Cris

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: CHOCOLATE BUTTER CREAM CUPCAKES

Hello to you all! This week I receive a special request from Mons to translate one of the firsts recipe that I published on the blog. I was really honoured by this, so I decided to share with everybody the translation of my previous post. After all, yesterday started a brand new FiestaFriday party, isn’t it?

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INGREDIENTS: (10-12 cupcakes)

– 125 gr. butter (room temperature)
– 1 vanillin bag
– 165 gr. granulated sugar
– 150 gr. flour 00
– 3 eggs
– 1 teaspoon baking powder for desserts
– 60 ml milk
– grated lemon peel (optional)

FOR THE BUTTER CREAM

– 200 gr. powdered sugar
– 100 gr. butter
– 100-125 gr. milk chocolate

PREPARATION:

Preheat the oven at 180°C. Amalgamate well all the ingredients with the mixer: you start mixing the sugar and the butter together. After that, you add the flour, the vanillin and the baking powder. In the end, you add the eggs and two-three spoon of milk. Continue mixing the ingredients at maximum speed until the dough will turn into a soft and yellow cream.
Pour the mixture in a  muffin pan (every mould must be half-filled) or use directly the cupcake wrappers. Cook the cupcakes in the oven for 15-20 minutes till they become lightly golden on the surface: now let the sweets cool down before decorate them.

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For the chocolate butter cream: use the whisks to amalgamate well 200 gr. of powdered sugar – previously sifted – with 100 gr of butter at room temperature. Now you can flavour the cream: I added the liquefied milk chocolate. (molten at bain-marie) Amalgamate again with the whisks till the mixture will be uniform. Use a pastry piping bag to decorate the cupcakes with the chocolate butter cream. Add some coloured sugar flowers on the top.

SWEET VALENTINE/2

Hello! This Friday I was busy preparing a cake for Davide, my sweetheart. This year I choose something so quick to make that I’m a bit bashful of my choice, dictated from the lacking of available time.
However, the result is similar to a Margherita cake, with chocolate chips inside, with a decoration of chocolate and caramel. I mean, everybody can make this cake!I’m really attached to this recipe, because my granny teached me: it reminds me at my childhood. Here the recipe (so late for FiestaFriday!):

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INGREDIENTS:

– 300 gr flour 00
– 250 gr sugar
– 150 gr of butter (not too cold)
– 1 bag baking powder for desserts
– 3 eggs
– juice of an half lemon (or orange, if you prefere)
– chocolate chips
– a glass of whole milk

PREPARATION:

First of all, put the butter chopped in cubes and the sugar in the mixer, to obtain a soft and grainy mix. Put the mixture in a bowl, and add the egg yolk – which you had previously divided from the egg whites-  to the mixture, one after another. Every time you add a yolk, mix with a spoon to amalgamate better.

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Aside from this, add the baking powder to the flour and mix them together. Start adding the flour and the baking powder to the mixture of sugar, butter and egg yolks: add it inch by inch, mixing every time. In the meanwhile, you could start adding also the lemon juice, and after the glass of whole milk, always in several times.

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At this point you must have obtained a great yellow, elastic dough. Put the chocolate chips in the dough and mix again from bottom to the top to amalgamate them.
Aside, beat the egg whites until stiff, and then add it to the mixture as final ingredient. Mix again from bottom to the top in two-three times.

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Now the dough is ready to be cooked: light up the oven at 180°-200° C, and cook the cake for 45-50 minutes. For Valentine Day I used a heart-shaped mold, of course.

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Let the cake cool down and when ready, sprinkle it with powdered sugar: now it’s just ready to serve. This time I have added a decoration also with caramel. This cake is perfect for those who love the ciambella dough and the soft cakes. You’ll love it! Hoping that a spent a lovely Valentine’s day. Cris

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: PISTACHIO CREAM TART

Oh my! Last Friday I missed the first part of the Fiesta Friday party, I had really few time – not a bit news, right? Do you think I could join now? Am I in time for desserts? 😉
I was tired of the simple fruits tart, as well as the chocolate and the Nutella ones: so, I wanted to try a Pistachio Nutella, a special product that is not so easy to find in Northern Italy. The consistency is like the Nutella, but this cream has a light green colour and a delicate sweet taste of pistachio. Really yummy!One of my colleagues brought me from Sicily. For this special edition of Fiesta Friday, I prepared a Pistachio Cream Tart with dark chocolate chips and whipped cream. I found it just delicious to eat. Here’s the recipe:

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FOR THE SHORTCRUST PASTRY (PASTAFROLLA)

INGREDIENTS:

– Flour 00: 250 gr
– Butter: 125 gr
– Powdered sugar: 100 gr
– Eggs: (yolk): 2 or 3 if small
– a pinch of salt
– a hint of vanillin

FOR THE FILLING:

– 250 ml cream to whip
– dark chocolate chips
– 250 gr pistachio nutella cream

PREPARATION:

The preparation of the shortcrust pastry starts with a process called “sabbiatura”: first of all sift the flour, and put it in the mixer, together with the cold butter chopped in cubes, and a pinch of salt. Blend the ingredients till you’ll obtain a sandy-like and floury mixture, then transfer it on a floury pastry board. Now you could add the powdered sugar. (always sifted before), and the vanillin.
Make a well in the centre of the flour, then pour in the center the 2-3 egg yolks and the grated lemon peel; start to amalgamate with a fork till the egg yolk will absorb the flour, then follow kneading powerfully till you’ll obtain a compact and elastic dough. Shape a block and wrap it into the plastic wrap, then put it in the fridge for 30 minutes before using it. Spread out the dough on a pastry board, then transfer it in a baking tray covered with wax paper. Riddle with holes the dough, fill the tart with dry beans and then cook it in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 180° C. When the borders are golden, remove the beans and then replace the tart in the oven, and cook again for other 20 minutes.

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You could also cook the Pistachio Nutella, but I prefer it cold in the filling, it’s more creamy; when the shortcrust tart is ready, fill it with the pistachio cream mixed with the dark chocolate chips, and put the tart in the fridge for a while.

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Then, you could start prepare the whipped cream: be careful to use a cold bowl and cold whisks; put the cream in the bowl together with the powdered sugar and start mixing at maximum speed, always in the same direction. When the whipped cream is ready and fluffy, you could decorate the tart on the top. When you cut it, you’ll have three coloured layers. Pretty, isn’t it?
Put the tart in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.

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CHRISTMAS TIPS: FAKE GINGERBREAD MEN

Hello to you all! Ready to welcome the New Year? We’ll spent the New Years’ Eve eating at a friend house, all together. Today I wanna share with you the last recipe of the year! I would have posted it before, for Christmas, but I hadn’t time enough. As you can see, I tried to prepare some kind of “gingerbread men” – only for the shape, after all. –

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Basically, you must know that in Italy gingerbread isn’t so wide-spreaded like in America or other countries. For us, also the gingerbread men shape is something “imported”. We have a bunch of different type of cookies, but one of the most used dough for them is the so-called “pasta frolla”(shortcrust pastry).
This year I made the gingerbread men made by cocoa shortcrust pastry instead of gingerbread. I was in doubt for the result, but as you can see they are really pretty. I made decorations with white&red sugar paste, instead of using royal icing.
Here the recipe:

INGREDIENTS: (10-12 cookies)

– Flour 00: 300 gr
– Cocoa powder: 30 gr
– Butter: 150 g
– Powdered sugar: 130 gr
– Eggs (yolk): 3

PREPARATION:

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To make the shortcrust pastry, first of all sift the flour, the cocoa powder and the powdered sugar. Put all the ingredients in the mixer, together with the cold butter, chopped in cubes. Blend everything till you’ll obtain a sandy-like and floury mixture, then transfer it on a floury pastry board.
Make a well in the centre of the flour (in many blog i’ve read ” make a volcano with the flour” , or “make a whole in the center if the flour”: it’s the same, in Italy we say “fare una fontana”), then pour in the center the 3 egg yolks, and knead powerfully till you’ll have a compact and elastic dough.

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Shape a block and wrap it into the plastic wrap, then put it in the fridge for 30 minutes before using it; pasta frolla is a simple preparation really good both for cookies and tarts. If you notice that the dough is a bit too dry, you could add a spoon of egg white, or better a spoon of milk/water.

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Use the gingerbread man mold to shape the cookies and put them on a baking tray. Cook them for maximum 10 minutes at 180 °C. Let them cool down before starting the decoration. I used sugar paste to make the eyes and the mouths, and the remaining butter cream of the cupcakes to make some buttons. I gifted the cookies to my relatives wrapped in transparent pastry bags.

That’s all! I wish you a wonderful Happy New Year 2015! And Happy Fiesta Friday to my talented blog-friends!Cris

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: POLPETTE DI PATATE E GAMBERI

Hello! Last week I was so busy that i couldn’t cook a bit even on Friday and make it in time for Fiesta Friday…so sad! This week I made a super easy and delicious second course, polpette (balls) with potatoes and shrimps, just ideal if you have few time.

INGREDIENTS: (4 PERSONS)

– 4 potatoes
– shrimps, already cleaned;
– 1 egg
– 2 or 3 milk spoon
– bread crumbs
– parsley
– garlic, salt & pepper
– nutmeg

PREPARATION:

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Fisrt of all, peel the potatoes and wash them under the water. Put the potatoes in a pot and let them boil for 30-40 minutes. When they’re ready, you’ll squash them with a fork (you could use also a vegetable mill) to obtain a purée. In the meanwhile, wash the shrimps under the water and cook them with steam for 10 minutes. Whip them a little in the mixer, paying attention not to make a too refined mixture. Put together the whipped shrimps with the potatoes, add garlic and parsley chopped finely. Finally, add nutmeg, salt and pepper.

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The final step is to shape the polpette: then let them pass first into the beaten egg together with 2 spoon of milk, then into the bread crumbs. Fry them in lot of seed oil. When they became golden on the surface, you’ll drip them on the blotting paper to eliminate the oil in excess. Polpette are now ready to be served hot.

UPDATE OF THE SATURDAY MORNING
Yesterday I cooked really a lot! I would like to share another dish I made, a soup with spelt, cannellini beans and shrimps. Here the recipe:

INGREDIENTS: (4 PERSONS)

– 250/300 gr spelt (already precooked)
– tomato sauce
– parsley –
– a can of cannellini beans;
– 20/25 shrimps tail
– vegetable broth
– salt&pepper

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PREPARATION:

In a pot, make a sauté with extra-virgin olive oil, onion and garlic, if you like it; then add the tomato sauce and let it go on a low heat. You add first the vegetable broth, then, when the broth has been well absorbed, the spelt: cook it for 15-20 minutes. In the meanwhile, in a frypan, cook the cannellini beans with extra-virgin olive and garlic. Add the shrimps, already cleaned, and add some chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Put the cannellini beans and the shrimps into the pot with the tomato sauce and the spelt. Let the spelt take the flavour of the shrimps for some minutes, then you could serve the soup. Buon Appetito!Cris

RESTAURANT REVIEW: A FINE DINNER IN CREMONA

Hello!This week restaurant review bring us near Cremona, in a small village named Levata di Grontardo. The place is called Ca’ Barbieri – “Ca'” stay for “Home”- and really it is an old stone farmhouse completely renovated, where you’ll taste the typical cremonese cooking, and delicious meat dishes.

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When you enter, you’re welcomed by the owner: there is a small bar at the entrance, then you’ll be accompanied in one of the small rooms of the restaurant, which is located on two floors. The place is rustic, with stone walls and  wooden beams, old wooden tables and cane chairs. Lights are soft and the tables are well divided to maintain the customer privacy.
I found this place by chance: one day I was going to a customer for work, and I passed through the small streets of Levata, when my attention was caught by the sign of the restaurant. Always driving, I was trying to peek inside the court of the restaurant. I couldn’t see really much, but I noted the name of the place. And now, let’s talk about our dinner: we started with two pasta dishes:

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We choosed Tagliatelle with Ragù di cinghiale (boar ragù), and a classic dish of Tortelli with Ricotta and Spinach, but really particular ’cause it was seasoned with lemon and mint… I liked it!So fresh in the mouth.They said the pasta was home made.

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For the main dish, we choose differently: one meat dish and for me, a fish dish. The meat dish was just scrumptious(and huge, as you can see): an american black angus fillet served with roasted potatoes; I tried a pieces of meat, and I must say that it melted in my mouth, it was just perfectly browned.

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I choose a seabass fillet “alla mediterranea”, that means roasted with black olives and tomatoes, spiced with salt, pepper, capers and olive oil. So simple dish but so good, very similar to the fillet i usually prepare, also for Fiesta Friday! It was a pleasant evening of small talk, we’ll go back for sure occasionally.

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: CREAM&NUTELLA CAKE

Hello! Two weeks ago I found on this blog this fantastic recipe: a cake (no cooking time needed) with nutella, cream and hazelnuts: I could’nt resist anymore, i’ve to try it for this FiestaFriday! This is my version of the recipe:

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INGREDIENTS: for a 22 cm (diameter) ring shaped mould

– 250 gr nutella cream;
– 200 gr fresh cream;
– 3 cups of coffee (no sugar needed);
– a pack of dried biscuits;
– chopped hazelnuts as needed for the decoration

PREPARATION:

First of all, you could start preparing the coffee – two or three cups, no need to add sugar in it.- After that, it’s time to whip the cream. In the meanwhile, it’s better to warm up the nutella in a bain-marie to make it smoother.

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It’s important to leave apart a small quantity of nutella for the final decoration on the top of the cake. Then add the nutella to the cream, melting it delicately with movements from the bottom to the top.
Pour the coffee in a bowl and add half glass of water (or milk) and mix it; then take the ring mould and place it on a tray, starting dunk the biscuits in the coffee and quickly place them on the mould, arranging a circular shape.  If needed, break them into small pieces.

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When the first layer of biscuits is ready, you’ll cover it with the half part of the nutella and cream you’ve previuosly mixed together; then create a second layer of biscuits and then again cover it with the remaining nutella and cream.

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To decorate the cake, use the few nutella you’ve previously left apart, spreading it well on the top of the cake. Then, add the chopped hazelnuts.
Put the cake in the fridge for 2 hours at least -or in the freezer if you prefer the ice-cream cake consistency.- When it’s time to serve it, take out the cake from the mould helping yourself with a knife in order to better detach it. Enjoy a slice!