Monthly Archives: June 2012

Making a cake (or trying to..)

For the first time since I started cooking I decided to give a go in making a cake for a friend’s birthday. As it was my first attempt, I start reading on line different recipes and ideas.  In the end I decided to go for an easy one: “Pan di spagna” filled with chocolate cream and some cream on the top. For the base I used:

INGREDIENTS:

– 3 medium eggs at room temperature (150 g)

– 120 g of sugar

– 50 g of potato starch

– 70 g flour 00

– A pinch of salt

Put in a bowl the sugar and the eggs, mix them up for 10 minutes with a mixer. For a best result it is important the eggs are at room temperature.

Leave on the side the electric mixer and sift the flour and potato starch inside the egg and sugar mix. With a wooden spoon, stir gently from the bottom to the top.

Pour into a cake tin and then bake at 170 ° C for half an hour more or less.

For the filling:

For the filling I decided to go for chocolate custard. The recipe I followed is shown and really well explained in the video below by Giallo Zafferano.

After cutting in half the base and filling it with the chocolate cream, I decided to decorate the top and the sides of the cake with fresh whipped cream. The final touch was the strawberries and some chocolate caviar to add an extra taste and a bit of colours.

 

 

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Courgettes (stuffed), Tomatoes..a bit of summer (at least in the oven)!

Ingredients:

8 small zucchini (or 4 large)

200 grams of minced meat

100 gr of breadcrumbs

80 grams of parmesan cheese

1-2 eggs

Extra virgin Olive Oil

Salt – pepper


Preparation:

Wash the courgettes, cut in half lengthwise gently empty the middle part with a spoon and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Chop the pulp removed and mix it with the meat, cooking it for 1/4 of an hour with some Extravirgin Olive oil and chopped onions; add the breadcrumbs and cook for few minutes more. Remove the stuffing from the heat and add the Parmesan cheese, eggs,  salt and pepper. I actually add some finely chopped Mortadella and Parma ham to give an extra kick to the dish.

Spread the stuffing in the courgettes, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and EVOO, put them in a greased pan, and bake in moderate oven for 25-30 minutes. Of Course they are great freshly baked but also cold they are not bad at all. I actually think they would be perfect if cut into small chunks, for a summer buffet.

Because the oven was already on and I had some left over from the breadcrumbs, to which I add some chopped parsley and garlic, and some tomatoes in the fridge, I decided to make some roasted tomatoes. Easy and quick to make: just cut in half the tomato, cover the top with the bread crumbles, a sprinkle of EVOO and 40  minutes more or less in the oven.

 

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A new gastronomic experience

This time I won’t talk about a specific recipe, but I would like to share with you a new gastronomic experience I had in one of my latest trip. My wife and me travelled to Colombia (country of origin of my wife) for a couple of weeks. In between family reunion and parties we had the chance to have some privacy for a week end in the beautiful town of Cartagena.

Cartagena is a beautiful town on the Atlantic cost of Colombia with a perfect hot weather all year around,  plenty of history to discover and delicious food to try.

Cartagena’s cuisine is rich and varied thanks to the mixture of cultures like Arabic, Chinese and European, and excellent products like seafood, which is cooked in delicious dishes. Typical dishes are outstanding made with seafood and seafood casseroles, soups, fish and other dishes such as arepas egg, sausages, the fritters, the higadote, nicknamed cheese, rice with coconut and seafood. Outstanding restaurants, with simple but delicious menus and affordable prices.

Drinks: nothing better than fresh fruit juices rich in this area as a handle, lulus, passion fruit, and anything else with a tropical taste..

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A “Polpo” salad

This week I’d like to talk about a  fresh and healthy appetiser: a Octopus Salad. This dish is popular in the South of Italy, where in many regions fish is always the main option on the table.

Let’s have a closer look to the ingredients and how to get to the final result.

Ingredients

1 Whole Octopus

2 or 3 Big potatoes

300g Cherry tomatoes

1 Bag of Wild Rocket

EVOO

Salt and Pepper

Put the octopus in cold water and start the boiling process. Calculate around 30 minutes from when the water starts boiling. The octopus will be ready when you can easily prick with a fork. Let the octopus cool down in its own cooking water.

While the octopus is cooking, peel the potatoes and boil them. Cut in half the cherry tomatoes and chop some rocket.

After cooling down take the octopus out of the water and peel off the skin and cut it into small pieces.

Once the octopus is cut and the potatoes ready, put all the ingredients together and add some extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Let it rest for ½ hour in the fridge and serve it cold.

The good thing about the dish is that can be prepared in advance and served when needed. Ideal for a fresh starter.

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