Spiced white hot chocolate.

Yes I've decided to indulge in one more seasonal treat...Hot chocolate.
It's delicious in every shape and flavour but the version I created to appraise a wonderful saffron from Sardinia called San Gavino have that special flair that make you say "let's do this again".
My hubby doesn't like saffron very much, he usually can just stand it into a risotto alla milanese but I swear he drank two cups of this chocolate and asked for more.
For 2 plenty servings:
1 cup white chocolate chips
1  cup heavy cream
4 cups half-and-half
1 bag saffron powder
a big pinch of ground ginger
few saffron pistils to decorate if you have
In saucepan over low heat, combine white chocolate chips and heavy cream.
Stir continuously until white chocolate chips have completely melted.
Stir in the half-and-half and stir until thick then add the saffron powder and mix very well.
Pour into cups, sprinkle a pinch of ground ginger on top (as much as you like) and few saffron pistils to decorate.
Serve with dark chocolate cookies and enjoy you holidays!


Salted caramel toffee.

A nice, quick and easy treat for the incoming holidays.
You just have to wrap each candy into clingfilm or tin foil.
If you leave them free they stick to each other.
You can pur them into chocolate molds or into a baking pan (if so cut them into squares when they're cold).
With this recipe you'll have about 30 toffees the size of a chocolate.

2/3 cup granulated or raw sugar (I used raw, Muscovado)

4.5 oz. fresh milk cream

0.7 oz. honey or corn syrup ( I used honey)

1.4 oz. butter

vanilla flavour

2 teaspoon fleur de sel

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan but a teaspoon of salt (sprinkle this one on the bottom of the pan/moulds).
Let it simmer on low fire untill you have a sticky mixture then try to pour a drop of caramel into a glass of cold water: if it melts you have to cook it more, if it forms a gummy drop it's ready.
Pour the liquid caramel into moulds then let it cold, you can store the moulds into the fridge, the candies will be hard and easy to be wrapped into film.
Then store in an airtight box.


Potato gnocchi with leeks and blue cheese fondue.

Yesterday I spent the day visiting a big fair in Santarcangelo di Romagna: many many sellers, clothes, home clothing, underwear and...Food.
Food, food, food with producer from the whole country, from Trentino Alto Adige (North of Italy) to Sicily (the deep South) with great cheeses, breads, sweets, meats...
As usual I bought some fresh black truffles then I found a producer from Vallecamonica ( near Brescia, Lombardia) with some cheeses...
They were so smelly and tasted sooo good I had to bought them!
I had a Fatuli' (smoked goat cheese) and a Blu di capra ( blue cheese half goat milk half cow).
I used the last one to make this recipe, I don't think you can find it easily outside Italy but you can use Gorgonzola cheese or a blue cheese.
2 servings:
1 medium leek
14 oz. potato gnocchi
1 tablespoon butter
2.5 oz. blue cheese your choice
Put on stove a big pot full of water, bring it to boil then add a pinch of salt.
In a large pan put butter and finely sliced leek, let it golden, add a little water if needed.
When the leek is soft turn off fire and add the blue cheese in little dices, cover with a lid.
Cook the gnocchi into the boiling water then drain them and pour in the pan.
Pan-fry for a minute, be careful not to broke gnocchi then serve hot.
With my blu di capra I didn't add any salt to the sauce, it depends on taste so try it before seasoning your gnocchi!
Serve hot.


Salone del gusto 2012, Turin.

I had so much fun attending this important food-related event, I've been so lucky to enjoy the perfect organization of tastings and cooking shows made by Pasta Garofalo and the breakfast workshop at Lavazza training center.
I met some beloved food-blogger from my country and many food-lovers from different countries, I introduced, with a producer from Acetaia del Cristo, the great tradition and taste of traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena and I bought some thigs I've never seen before like beer jelly (a great treat with cheeses, sweet breads and others), hops' cream ( to make bruschetta or to season pasta), wild roses' ketchup (it's fantastic!) and I've tasted so many nice typical food presided over by Slowfood.
I really hope to repeat soon an experience like this, can't say how grateful I am to all the people who made all this possible.


Pumpking hot soup.

This is a great treat for the incoming season: it's easy and smooth, it's light but you can enrich it with bacon or cheese or whatever you like.
I made it for two-three persons, I added some bacon and a slice of fatty cow cheese 'cause I had some leftovers in the fridge but you can toast some country bread or add any spice or herb you like.
3 medium potatoes
12 oz. pumpkin pulp
2 shallots
2 tbspoons extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Dice the shallots and stirfry them in a pot with olive oil, add diced potatoes and diced pumpkin.
Mix a little and add a 2-3 cups of water and let it simmer untill the vegetables are tender.
Add salt and pepper and the spices you like then blend untill smooth.
You can choose the thickness of the soup adding more or less water but pay attention to add water enough to cook the vegetables completely!
I always prefer thick soups as you can see in the photo. :)
Serve hot or warm alone or with something you like as cheese and/or bacon.
A nice Italian touch?
Add once the soup is in the serving dish a small amount of good and thick balsamic vinegar, its taste is great with pumpkin.
I usually don't specify what kind of herbs/spices I use, this is because I usually use an aromatic salt called in Bolognese vernacular "salarol" that's made of sea salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, sage and more.
Maybe I'll give you the recipe one day. ;)


Parma ham layered cake.

It's a great appetizer I discovered in a historical gourmet shop in Bologna called Tamburini.
You can learn more about all the great things they sell HERE , it's a place where I often buy something for dinner when I spent my saturday in Bologna's downtown and sometimes I also stop there for luch because it's truly worth a stop if you want to try real bolognese cooking at a fair price.
For this recipe I don't want to give you measures because I do it using the scientific method "a little of this, a little of that"; I'm sure you can follow this method too :D
Parma ham in thin slices
green salad
processed cheese slices or cheese in thin slices
black truffle sauce or mayo and black truffle
In a pan or on a dish make a layer of ham, put on top black truffle sauce or some mayo plus some truffle then green salad and arugola in small pieces.
Make another ham layer then add the cheese slices, add some more truffle sauce or truffle mayo another green salad and arugola.
End with a last layer of Parma ham.
Let it set for a couple of hour into the fridge covered with clingfilm to let the tastes combine together and serve in small squares of about 1.5X1.5 inches.
If you have a pizza slicer you can use it to make squares, if not use a very sharp knife.


Skinny Bolognese sauce.

Usually skinny means "not as good as the original version": here I can't say this sauce is great as a well done Bolognese with all the fats, the sausage, the vegetables stirfried and so on but it's quite tasty and really skinny and ideal if you are on a diet, if you have digestive problems, if you have a toddler with a passion for pasta with Bolognese and you don't want to overload him/her with fats.
This is my toddler's choice and he's a gourmet ;)
You can cook it while you cook your pasta, no need to make it hours in advace or cook it for hours.
You can freeze it in small portion and defrost it room temperature or into the microwave.
Serving 2:
a cup of veal minced meat (or beef or skinny pork meat)
1/2 cup skimmed milk
salt and pepper to taste
a sprinkle of dried garlic
1/2 cup tomato sauce
Put minced meat in a pan over medium heat and crush it with a fork, add milk and crush again untill the meat is evenly hulled.
Add garlic if you like then salt and pepper and tomato.
Stir well and put a lid on the pan, turn the heat to low and cook untill your pasta is ready.
You can complete your dish with a little extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.


Pork loin with shallots and balsamic vinegar glaze.

Good good recipe, even really quick if you use a pressure-cook pot.
I use pressure-cook pot to shortcut some long recipes like bolognese sauce, roasts, minestrone soups and to steam-cook vegetables like potadoes or fennels.
It's time-saving and a really healty way to cook, it's easy to use just need a little bit of attention ;)
4-6 serving:
7 medium shallots
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
1 garlic clove
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 and 1/2 pound pork loin
1 cup water
In the pressure-cook pot or in a plain pot pour oil and add the garlic clove, turn on the fire then add the meat and let it brown on every side.
Add the sliced shallots and let them golden with the meat then pour vinegar, pepper and salt.
Cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes then add water then close the pressure-cook pot, put the heat on maximum untill it whistle then turn heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes.
If you use a plain pot add water and close with a lid, turn fire to low and cook untill ready.
When the meat is done take it off the pot and if the sauce is too loose turn heat on and let it reduce untill it's tick like a glaze.
Slice the meat when it's cold then re-heat with sauce and serve with a good potato mash.


Crazy crust, pasta matta.

As promised I'm back not only with news and chats but also with recipes!
Today I post you a basic recipe that will come on hands to you, I'm sure!
This is a good recipe to make tarts and pies, especially salty ones.
This is low on fat and really cheap, a good alternative to phyllo pastry or puff pastry.
It's good with soggy fillings and keep a good shape after baking.
This is a recipe for a 4-6 serving tart.
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup sparkling water, cold
Mix all the ingredients untill you have a smooth and non sticky dough, you may need more or less water, add it little by litte.
Let the dough rest for few minutes then spread it and use it for your pie or tart.
You can bake it but also deep fry it, making little calzoni with tomato and mozzarella cheese for istance.


Back from holidays.

Yesterday we landed to Milano Malpensa after a long month of holidays, we had a nice time but sadly my grandma passed away while I was abroad and with no chance to come back.
The most important thing is that Lorenzo had a very very fun days made of swimming, playing, eating ice-creams...
A real toddler's dream.
Now that we're back I had to spend some time cleaning home and clothes washing plus a big groceries shopping  because my fridge is very similar to the one in the photo!

Anyway from the first days of september I'll be ready to cook again: I bought some food magazine from Australia and U.S.A. and a book about Thai fried rices I think I'll have so many things to try this autumn.


Zucchini and saffron farfalle.

A delicious pasta dish, easy to prepare but with a sophysticated allure due to the basil and lemon notes.
It's seriously one of my favourite for the spring-summer season.

Ingredients for 4:

14 oz. pasta (farfalle but you can also use fusilli or penne)

3 oz. creamy cheese like robiola or philadelphia

3 small zucchini

1 bag saffron powder

2 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil

salt & pepper

4-5 basil leaves

lemon zest

Cut zucchini in small dices, sautee in a pan with oil, salt and pepper.
When zucchini are golden add saffron, mix then add the cheese and the basil leaves roughly cutted, mix again.
Bring salted water to boil then cook your pasta, drain it and pour into the pan with 2-3 tablespoon of cooking water.
Turn the fire on and mix very well.
Put your pasta into dishes then add lemon zest on top.
Can't be easier uh!?


Cheese cigars.

This is a quick-quick-quick appetizer recipe, you can put the cheese you prefer inside, in the picture you can see cheddar because that was the cheese I had at home at the moment but they're fabulous with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese too or parmesan, a little mozzarella and rosemary.
You need:

toast bread in slices

same amount of cheese slices or diced mozzarella and tomato sauce

a little butter

Cut out the crust from bread slices, pass them under a rollpin to flatten then put on every slice a slice of cheese or a little tomato and mozzarella.
Roll the cigars, melt a small amount of butter in a pan then cook untill golden (first the seam side down to prevent them from open).
Serve hot, if you make the tomato-mozzarella version be aware that the filling will pour a little more than with plain cheese.


Nocino ( Walnuts liquor).

Tradition says if you want to make nocino you have to pick up walnuts the night between 23rd and 24th of June, the night of San Giovanni, often called "witches' night".
Walnuts are still green and not good to eat but the result of your liquor will be great.
This is a old family recipe but not from my family so I have to thank a friend for it :)

With this recipe you'll make about 34 oz. of nocino.

24 walnuts

34 oz. alcool (the one you use for liquor)

1 teaspoon grinded cinnamon

5 cloves

a piece of dry lemon zest

a piece of dry orange zest


35 oz. sugar

3,5 oz. alcool (the one you use for liquor)

Cut the walnuts in 4 parts, put them in a mason jar with zests and spices plus 34 oz. of alcool.
Let it rest for 40 days in a dark place.
After 40 days make a syrup with the sugar and about the same quantity of hot water and 3,5 oz. of alcool.
When the sugar dissolved pour the syrup into the jar, let it rest again for 20 days.
After 20 days filter it with a fine strainer, pour it in bottles.
It will be ready after 1-2 months.


Honey buns extra-light.

This recipe came out from a magazine clipping that arrived to me through a close friend some years ago.
It was about "honey cookies" but, even if I followed it to perfection, what I had at the end was very far from a cookie!
Anyway the taste is good and dainty and this recipe is so light that can become a non-guilty treat.
You need:

1/2 cup milk or less

1 egg

2 cups 1/4 all purpose flour

1/2 cup honey

baking powder

Mix warm honey with flour and baking powder, add egg then milk enough to have a smooth dough.
Let it rest for about 1 hour in the fridge, covered, then knead again and divide it into pieces of about 0.70 oz., put them on a baking tin, brush with a little milk then bake for 15-20 minutes at 355 F°.
They're good but the day after they become a little bit stale because they have no fat inside, keep them in a plastic bag to prevent it or heat them a little before eating them.
You can add about 1/2 cup of butter to the mix to have a richer treat.


People from Emilia- Romagna are just like that.

People from Emilia-Romagna are just like that.
They need a car? They build a Ferrari, a Lamborghini or a Maserati.
They need a motorbike? They build Ducati
They want cheese? They make Parmigiano
They need to create a quick pasta dish? They open a Barilla factory
They want a good coffee? They open a Saeco factory
They need some good songwriters? They give birth to people such as Dalla, Vasco, Morandi and Ligabue.
They need tiles? They end up with beautiful majolica tiles
They are just like the Japanese: they never stop, if they have to do something they make sure to do it in the most perfect, beautiful and useful way for everyone.
Will there be bricks available after this earthquake? They’ll end up using them to build cathedrals!

This is a translation of a piece from " Il Resto del Carlino", thanks to Silvia Somaggio, she helped me translating it the best way.


Eggplants' minipizzas.

Ok we're still shaking, many families lost their homes and maybe even worst their workplaces (it's a place full of factories, stock-breedings and dairies) but we're strong and ready to rebuild everything bigger and better.
I'm trying to do my part with some clothes and other things donation and today I'm back here with a recipe, sign that lie goes on anyway.
It's easy and light, very yummy and I have to thank my friend Miky for it!

Serving 2:

1 big eggplant

tomato sauce

mozzarella cheese

basil or oregano

salt and pepper to taste

anything you like to top your pizzas with

Cut your eggplants into about 0,30 inches round slices, sprinkle with a little salt, let them rest untill some water appears on the slices, dry them with kitchen paper and put on a slightly greased baking tin then cover with a spoon of tomato sauce, some mozzarella, salt and pepper and theherbs you like.
Bake for about 15 minutes at 390 F°, when they're almost ready add other toppings if you like.


Earthquakes & more.

About 10 days ago a strong earthquake stroke my country, epicentre was just few miles from our home.
We didn't have damages or got hurt but so many around us did.
I was very worried about it because we had many other jolts even if not of that magnitudo and I was also very busy because my grandma is spending her few days on earth and it's so sad even if it's just something that have to happen.
Today, early in the morning, another big one stroke and while I'm writting two more jolts made me and my husband jump and decide to get ready to grab Lorenzo and exit the house.
We sleep with shoes in front of the door and a bag packed with some things, you can imagine I have no time and no will to post recipes, I really hope all this will stop asap!


Zucchini bites.

Lovely idea found somewhere on Pinterest: I've tried them, they're simply and delicious.
I prefer them room temperature rather than hot or warm, not tried cold.
I used a mini muffins pan (so hard to find it in Italy...Two friends of mine ordered it and gave to me as Christmas present and I still say thank you!), I don't think they would turn out well in a regoular muffin pan: too big, there's the risk they remain soggy inside.
This week end in my city there's a big flower fair: if you like flowers and gardens give a look to my facebook page, I've posted a lot of pics!

For 12 mini muffins:

1 medium zucchini grated

1/2 onion grated or finely diced

salt & pepper

1/2 smashed garlic clove

1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1 egg

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, if it's seem too liquid add a little more bread crumbs, put the mixture with a spoon into the muffin holes (grease them if you don't have a non sticky pan).
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 F°, serve room temperature.


Ricotta braids.

Time for a new recipe today!
A great treat for your mornings, lovely to see delicious to eat!
They're also light, no eggs, no butter!

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup 1/2 sugar

1 cup 3/4 fresh ricotta cheese

baking powder

grated zeist from 1 organic lemon

1 pinch salt

milk and sugar to decorate

Knead all the ingredients till you have a smooth loaf, divide it in bites about 2 oz. each, roll to have a cilinder then fold in two and twist the two parts.
Put the braids on a baking pan then brush with some milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake about 20-25 minutes at 340 F°.
Once cooled you can freeze the braids; when you need one just pick it up from freezer, wait 3-4 minutes then heat for a while in the oven.
They will be as good as just baked.


Apple & curry dip sauce.

This idea came from my friend Elisa, she said she cook curry chicken with apples, I had some and I've tried.
It turned out a nice dip sauce in which I dip chicken bites and vegetables, I like it very much and it's really simple.

2 sweet apples like renetta

1 onion

curry powder

1 tablespoon butter or extravirgin olive oil

a pinch of salt

Cut the onion in slices and put in a pan with butter (or oil), sautee until golden then add apples in thin slices, let cook until apples are creamy then add curry and salt as much as you like.
To have a smooth consistence blend the sauce and serve room temperature with chicken or vegetables you like.


Ricotta cheese rolls.

Nice recipe for a light afternoon break, for a children party or even for a simple treat for the whole family without regrets.

2+1/3 cups all purpose flour

7 spoons skimmed milk

7 spoons seeds oil

3 spoons sugar

2 cups fresh ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla flavour

1 egg white

1/2 cup hazelnuts toasted and minced

1/2 dark chocolate drops

Mix ricotta cheese with milk, add sugar, salt, oil then the flour sifted with baking powder.
Knead untill you have a smooth loaf and let it rest into the fridge for about 1 hour.
Divide the dough in 2 parts, same size and with a rollpin spread them in a rectangular shape, spread the dough sheets with egg white, lightly whisked, then sprinkle with hazelnuts and chocolate drops.
Roll the two parts and cut each into slices about 1/2 inch tall.
Put them on a baking pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 356 F°.
When cold sprikle with icing sugar.

You can choose many other filling: cinnamon and apples, almonds and chocolate...Just chop them in tiny pieces!


Gluten-free chocolate cake.

This flourless cake is very very similar to a chocolate cake made in Ferrara (North of Italy) that's called "Tenerina" (softy cake) and made the first time in honour of Elena Petrovich from Montenegro, married to Vittorio Emanuele III and their tender love.
It's really really easy and everyone can make it but it's really good.

4-oz dark chocolate coarsely chopped

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup cocoa powder

Melt chocolate with butter into the microwave at low temperature mixing now and then, add sugar, mix untill warm then add eggs one at time mixing well.
Add vanilla extract and sifted cocoa, mix and pour into a slightly greased 8 inch pan.
Bake at 375 F° about 20-25 minutes, cake will remain short, soft and moist.
Serve at room temperature with a sprinkle of confectioner's sugar.


Let me try...

Let me try if it's working again!
I had a lot of trouble with Blogspot editor, so many my will to post expired for a long time.
Now my almost-2-years-old Lorenzo is out with grandma and I have a little time to try: if it's working good I'll start posting again recipes and more.
I was so busy with my new site www.lamoraromagnola.it , it's all in Italian and I feel the need to have a more international corner but I'm too lazy to translate the whole site!
Shame on me!
Now I post, 3, 2, 1...