February 7, 2013 by Giulietta
This recipe marks the end of my “once on shore we pray no more” serie, born to remember Christmas holidays, which now are just a distant memory.
Between the recipes I proposed starring Mr. Capon (with capital C), perhaps this one is the most holiday-related … sure, tortellini are no joke, but I think that you could eat tortellini any day of the year, while stuffed capon immediately recalls Christmas holiday. Stuffed capon is a sort of culinary party: how else you can call, in fact, a fat and tasty, when you stuff it with other delicious things?! It’s a party, there is no other definition.
For my stuffed capon I drew inspiration from this Piedmontese recipe, making some changes here and there.
Category Capon, Christmas, Holidays, Meat, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking, Second course | Tags: capon,chestnut,Christmas,dried prune,eggs,holidays,meat,minced meat,Piedmont,regional italian cuisine,sausages,second course,stuffed capon | 4 Comments
November 15, 2012 by Giulietta
If the gestation of the first recipe I sent to the Fiandino Farms’ Contest was long and painful, I had no doubt about the second recipe (I could send how many recipe I want, but I opted for two recipes, a savoury one and a dessert) since the first moment I saw, made and tasted it during the professional pastry class that I am attending.
Ta dà! Surprise! I didn’t tell you, yet, but I’m attending a professional pastry class at the Chefs’ Association in Turin, and I’m finally learning the basics of pastry, which I wanted to learn for a long, long time, and now I’m finally learning them.
During the lesson about short pastry for tarts and tartellette we made a great Piedmontese classic, the Langarola (which means “from Langhe“, wonderful Piedmontese lands) cake, a triumph of butter and hazelnuts, a delicious cake in which a sort of frangipane cream (made with hazelnuts instead of almonds, though) is enclosed in a shell of short pastry, a real bomb of flavor (and calories, but I didn’t tell you this). A cake perfect for a special occasion, rustic but elegant and refined at the same time .
Maybe it’s my Piedmontese DNA, but I love it … and you?
Category Cakes and pies, Contest, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit, Pantry cakes, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: butter,cakes and pies,contest,dessert and sweets,dried fruit,hazelnut,italian cooking,pantry cakes,Piedmont,regional italian cuisine,short pastry | 6 Comments
April 17, 2012 by Giulietta
Here it is, my traditional buttery recipe… it's not a family tradition, but about a regional one, aka little treats made with hazelnut (a classic in Piedmontese cuisine). There's also an almond version, but in this case I vote for hazelnut.
And, in line with the spirit of Burro Occelli's contest on the Burro Occelli and in line with Piedmontese spirit, I chose a very buttery traditional recipe (I live in a Northern region, and this means butter).
I'm talking about (but maybe you've already recognised them in the picture) baci di dama (lady's kisses in Italian), a traditional and very easy recipe, since the ingredients are in a 1:1 proportion and since you can prepare the dough using a food processor.
The hardest part is to resist these stuffed cookies, in which the buttery aroma goes perfectly with the toasted flavour of hazelnuts and dark chocolate.
Category Chocolate, Cookies, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit, Pastries, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: butter,chocolate,contest,cookies,dark chocolate,dessert and sweets,dried fruit,hazelnut,pastries,Piedmont,regional italian cuisine | 14 Comments
November 30, 2011 by Giulietta
Just a few days ago I wrote that I would take a break from my blog, that I didn't know when I would come back, but that I hoped it would be soon. You might be surprised to see me again after such a short period, but in these days I understood some things. I understood, thanks to a lot of kind messages and comments from many of you, that in these blogging months I gave to you more than I imagined, and I couldn't be happier about it. I understood that food and cooking are soul (and not only body) nourishment, and that sometimes you have to rediscover those nourishment by abandoning yourself to slowness, calm and patience … so that we can find that lost (or maybe just forgotten) taste.
For my personal quest I chose to rediscover an elaborated dish, a slowly cooked one, enriched by a thousand flavors and smells … I indulged in a pot roast, a dish that you can find in many places, but that I made mine using a Piedmontese wine, a rich and full-bodied Barbera. I learned to prepare this dish in a recent cooking class about meat preparations, so I hope the procedure I followed is very meticulous. This is a slow preparation, so it will allow you to spend some time at home and dedicate yourself to something else, because you won't be sucked into the preparation, but in the end you'll have a great final dish, a dish that gives off the scent of the imminent holidays.
Category Beef, Herbs, Meat, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking, Second course, Spices, Vegetables, Wine | Tags: barbera,beef,braised,carrots,celery,herbs,meat,onions,Piedmont,red wine,regional italian cuisine,second course,spices,vegetables,wine | 20 Comments
November 13, 2011 by Giulietta
With this recipe I officially start (perhaps I should include some old recipes, though) a new "section", and I'm calling it Home-made is better, a section dedicated to all those delicacies that perhaps you might find in stores that sell quality products… but those same delicacies, if home-made, reach a new level of deliciousness, almost beyond the Nirvana of taste.
In addition, I'll use this section to give you some gift ideas for the upcoming (argh!) Christmas, gifts that can be used for other occasions, too (birthdays, graduations, confirmations, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, weddings – gifts or favors- and so on) .. In short, do whatever you want with them.
To get off on the right foot, I chose a regional product. Some of you might know it, but I believe that most of you never heard about cugnà. Cugnà (or cognà), a word which I don't know the meaning of, but that materializes in a dense marvel that you can store in jars. I don't define it, 'cause there is a quarrel about its ontological essence: is it mustard? Not really, but it looks like it. Is it jam? No, but it can be used as jam, and a few decades ago it was used like that, simply spread on bread, as a snack. Well, maybe it's better not to define it, but simply be enchanted by it.
One thing it's sure: it's an ancient dish, which comes from the need to reuse the waste from the harvest (the main ingredient is, in fact, grape must) and the excess production of autumn fruits. This is enriched with dried fruits (needless to say, the special guests are Piedmontese hazelnuts) and some spices. In the past people didn't keep in jars, but simply in an earthenware container (called the Tupina. Piedmontese small note: a very similar word, tupin, is still used in Piedmont, more than every day, to call a generic container, from a jar to an airtight container and so on. So if a Piedmontese says "put it in a tupin", he/she is not saying that you have to stuff a rodent. PS. in Italian "topo" means "mouse", so there's a little word pun, here) covered by a plate.
You'll wonder how you use this delicacy … traditionally, since it was born a poor dish, cugnà was especially eaten with polenta (I'll have to try this use), while the wealthier used it to accompany boiled meat (which is very typical here in Piedmont) and cheeses; however,as I already said, it was also used like an usual jam, so spread on bread. The choice is yours!
Category Conserve, Dried fruit, Fresh fruit, Home-made is better, Jam, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: almond,apple,cinnamon,clove,cognà,conserve,cugnà,dried apricots,dried figs,dried fruit,fresh fruit,hazelnut,home-made is better,madernassa pears,most,pears,quince,renette apples,walnut | 31 Comments
October 16, 2011 by Giulietta
When Katherine asked me to write a guest post for her beautiful blog, while she is on vacation, I wondered what recipe I could write about, since I wanted to share an Italian dish at all costs or, even better, a recipe typical of my Region, Piedmont. So, after all this thinking and after a lot of exclusions (but you'll find these dishes on my blog, anyway), I found out that the perfect recipe was already in my mind all along, waiting for the right trigger … and so, here I am with my meliga pastries.
So, if you want to read about my first experiment, my misadventures and my memories about these amazing cookies, come and read my post here, and take a look at Katherine blog… it definitely worths a visit!
Here you can find only the recipe
Category Cookies, Dessert and Sweets, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: butter,cookies,corn flour,dessert and sweets,guest post,Piedmont,regional italian cuisine | 23 Comments
August 11, 2011 by Giulietta
Unfortunately my holidays in Verona and Berlin are over, and they were wonderful: Verona (we used Verona as a base to go to Villafranca, where we went to Ben Harper's concert: I still have goose bumps only thinking about that concert, but I'll tell you later) is a calm city, with a delicate and subtle beauty, while Berlin is a city rich in recent history, full of life, modernity, movement. As soon as I can I'll show you some pictures of my holidays, as soon as I have time to reorder them, and with them to reorganize my memories … I promise that soon I'll tell you with pictures and words these places and the emotions that they left behind, but probably I'll do it after (or during, who knows?) a last (or penultimate?! I'm very cryptic, today) and unexpected seaside holiday to Albenga (in Liguria), where I want to devote myself to seaside, relax and detoxification from Berlin's food (don't worry … I'll tell you later all the unspeakable things that I managed to swallow down).
But, before leaving, I had to leave a recipe that highlights this one day of homecoming, with a sweet typical (veeery typical) of the Piedmontese summer: peaches stuffed with amaretti and cocoa powder.
I want to play it safe: being a traditional and familiar recipe, there are thousand of them and almost all aren't based on established quantities, but they go "to the taste". I'll try to give you some indications, but it's, as always, a matter of taste and preferences. There's one certainty in all this: however the filling comes out (too soft, too hard, not so sweet, too sweet), your stuffed peaches, once you'll get them out of the oven and once they're cold, they'll be divine …. And this is not trivial.
Category Chocolate, Dessert and Sweets, Fresh fruit, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: amaretto,chocolate,dessert and sweets,fresh fruit,peach,Piedmont,regional italian cuisine,unsweetened cocoa powder | 24 Comments
June 29, 2011 by Giulietta
I don't know what you think, but for me the combination between white and red colors means summer. First of all for clothes, 'cause in summer white is THE color and its combination with red is simply divine (I have an unbridled love for sailor t-shirts in red and white, but maybe that's just my mental disturbance) but also for food.
If you think about it for a moment you'll realize that I am not ranting (not too much, at least): think about caprese salad (tomatoes and mozzarella is the red and white combination par excellence), think about the whitish cold pasta that goes well with the juicy summery cherry tomatoes (and other things necessary to make a pasta salad), think about the multitude of red summery fruits … and, to honor this latter category, I decided to combine strawberries and something white and succulent. So, since I'm a true Piedmontese (yes, we invented it, let this be known), I immediately thought of panna cotta. Should I comment on the result, or my pictures (now under the label in loving memory, since the panna cotta is gone) speak for themselves?
It's a fresh and summery dessert, that's for sure, and you can combine it with any fruit you want, and like this it will be lighter than the traditional caramel panna cotta (or chocolate panna cotta): you could use strawberries, raspberries, apricots, blueberries, peaches … in short, whatever you like, and the result will be unbeatable.
Category Dessert and Sweets, Fresh fruit, Piedmont, Pudding, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: fresh fruit,panna cotta,Piedmont,pudding,regional italian cuisine,strawberries,whipping cream | 21 Comments
May 30, 2011 by Giulietta
If you have never tasted meliga pastries, you don't know what you have missed!
Meliga pastries, in fact, are the best cookies in the universe (IMHO) … they have Piedmontese origins (they are particularly typical in the area of Mondovi, but they are also produced in other parts of the region) and the key ingredient of these cookies is the meliga or melia, ie, in Piedmontese dialect, corn. In fact they are largely composed of corn flour, ground more than the corn flour used to prepare polenta.
These cookies are similar in their composition to simple shortbread, but I think they have the proverbial extra gear, 'cause of this yellow flour, which makes these pastries crunchier and with a very particular taste… you have to try them.
They are perfect for tea time, 'cause their taste is so simple but yet different from usual cookies, 'cause they are crunchy, also when soaked, simply because they are divine. The combination of meliga pastries and a good hot tea (but the tradition suggests to serve them with wine, sweet or not, or with eggnog – but maybe is best to avoid eggnog in this hot season) is so good that I always hope in the arrival of tea time, even if it's only about 8 AM.
So, when I found, during a trip to the Piedmontese Langhe, a package of otto file (aka eight rows) corn flour (this is an old Piedmontese type of corn, forgotten in the past, but now increasingly rediscovered by growers) finely stone-ground (perfect for my beloved pastries), I just couldn't resist, and now I'm here to describe the perfect tea time.
Category Cookies, Dessert and Sweets, Egg yolks only, Piedmont, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: butter,cookies,corn flour,dessert and sweets,meliga,Piedmont,regional italian cuisine | 17 Comments
March 1, 2011 by Giulietta
Courtesy of Siamo Donne
Here I am, struggling with my first recipe typically, all-Piedmontese: I'm talking about a great traditional dessert, maybe THE Piedmontese dessert par excellence, the Bonet (you may not know that, but it reads bunet). The Bonet that I know of is from the Langhe, but this dessert has spread throughout the Piedmont, so there are several variations, some involving coffee, others replacing rum with Marsala wine.
As with all traditional desserts, this one brings stories: in fact, why the Bonet was called Bonet?
The "Bonet" in Piedmontese dialect is a flat hat, and there are two reasons why this word has been chosen to indicate this dessert. The first explanation is related to the shape (truncaded cone) of the mold in which the bonet is cooked, shape that could remind a flat hat. Instead, the second one is a more pragmatic explanation, related to the role played by the Bonet in the meal, because it is served at the end of the meal.
Category Chocolate, Dessert and Sweets, Piedmont, Pudding, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: amaretto,chocolate,dessert and sweets,Piedmont,pudding | 1 Comment