Jul 13 2019

Aubergine and Coconut Millefeuille Cake

 If you like it different, try this recipe! It is an unusual dessert, with a very festive Sicilian touch in the combination of chocolate and aubergines (did you know that the original Caponata included some cocoa as well?)  and besides, it is perfect for summertime when aubergines have the best flavour and colour.

Serves 4

  • 2 round aubergines
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated or sliced coconut
  • 150 gr dark chocolate (70% cocoa), better if flavoured with red chilli pepper, chopped with a knife
  • 150 gr double cream
  • 1 tin coconut milk (400 ml)
  • 125 ml whole milk
  • 50 gr rice flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • peanuts oil for frying

Wash, drain and dry the aubergines, then slice them thin. Fry in hot oil and place over kitchen paper and pat dry in order to eliminate any exceeding oil.

In a saucepan pour the two milks, whisking well with the sugar and flour. Cook over low heat,  always working with your whisk, until as thick and smooth as a béchamel. Cover with cling film, placed directly on the surface so that the cream won’t crack.  Let it reach room temperature, then rest in the fridge for 2 hours.

In another saucepan pour the double cream and bring to a boil over an extremely low heat: be careful not to burn the cream.  Incorporate the chocolate and  mix thoroughly until the ganache is glossy and any chocolate lumps are perfectly melted. Set aside.

Start composing the millefeuille cake: place one slice of aubergine onto a serving dish, scoop some coconut cream over (see above) and repeat until you reach the height you like. At the end pour the ganache, scatter the fresh coconut on top and serve immediately.

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Posted in Desserts, Recipes
Jun 29 2019

Hasselback Potatoes

Normally served with game and soaked with butter, these potatoes are of Swedish origin: crispy golden stacks of delicious potatoes cooked in the oven with a zing of lemon and herbs are perfect with whatever main dish you like, be it meat or not. As an Italian, I normally go for extravirgin olive oil, but if you fancy using butter, feel absolutely free to do so.

Serves 6

  • 1,5 kg potatoes, peeled
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 100 ml extravirgin olive oil (or butter) + extra for the oven dish

Slice the potatoes about 0,25 cm thick using a mandoline or the food processor and place in a bowl with cold water.

Finely chop the zest of the lemons, add to the garlic and combine everything with the oil (or melted butter)and herbs.

Drain the potatoes, pat dry and stack the slices around the edges of an oven dish, previously greased with oil or butter, alligning them tightly so that each stack supports the other. Drizzle over the sauce, add some sea salt and pepper to your taste and bake in the oven at 180° C with fan.

Bake for 75 minutes, until crisp and golden: if the potatoes are going too brown, cover with aluminum foil.  Test the potatoes with a skewer to make sure they are properly cooked through, then remove from the oven and serve hot.

 

 

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Posted in Sides, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian
Jun 12 2019

Marinated Egg with Agretti in Caper Sauce

Agretti are now in season and this recipe enhances their peculiarly earthy and mineral flavour through the delicacy and sweetness of egg yolks. Seemingly simple, this dish instead features an intriguing complexity that balances all the ingredients’s properties.

Serves 4

  • 4 free range eggs (prepare extra to leave room for error)
  • 160 gr sea salt
  • 40 gr brown sugar
  • 4 bundles agretti
  • 2 tbsp salted capers
  • 6 anchovies in oil
  • 6 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon

Eliminate the hard stalks from the agretti, thoroughly wash and boil in slightly salted water for 3-4 minutes. Rinse with running water to keep the colour.

In a food processor place the capers after rinsing well, anchovies, oil, lemon juice, two stripes of zest and whizz until smooth.

Season the agretti with the sauce (keep some for the decoration) then form 4 nests on 4 individual plates.

Mix the salt and sugar, put on a plate and even the surface. Very carefully lay the egg yolks over the mixture and leave to set around 30 minutes. Using your hands, very gently take the egg yolks from the mixture, shortly rinse under running water and lay on the center of the agretti nests. Decorate with a glug of sauce and serve.

 

 

 

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Posted in Starters, Recipes, Light recipes, Main dishes, Vegetarian
May 29 2019

Three Colours Rice Ring with Stracciatella

There is an unmistakable touch of Sicily in the flavors and colours of this dish (although the rice comes from Piedmont), which goes all too well with the delicacy of the stracciatella, or burrata if you opt for that one. It features a magnificent look, full flavours and you can even make it the day ahead. 

Serves 10-12

  • 250 gr red wild rice
  • 250 gr black rice
  • 250 gr white Arborio rice
  • 80 gr pecorino cheese, grated
  • 80 gr almonds, skin removed, coarsely chopped
  • 170 gr dried tomatoes, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 12 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed under running water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 600 gr fresh stracciatella (it is the stuffing of burrata: you can use a burrata as well, thoroughly chopped)
  • 80 gr black olives

Boil separately the three kinds of rice and let cool to room temperature.

Combine the tomatoes, almonds, pecorino cheese and capers in a food processor and work until you reach the consistency of a rough cream.

Divide the sauce in three parts, and with each one dress the rices, one at a time. Squeeze the lemon juice into the rice, mix well and set aside.

Grease a tin with some oil and first place the black rice with the help of a spoon. Even the surface, then add the white rice, and finally the red one on top. Press well with the spoon in order to eliminate any bubbles and tap the tin on the table to stabilize the content. Close the tin with plastic film and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Unmold the tin on a plate, pop the stracciatella into the center and decorate with some black olives and additional whole almonds.

 

 

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Posted in First course, Vegetarian
May 24 2019

Hazelnut and Ginger Pak Choi

Serves

This recipe is the result of a melting pot between a Chinese vegetable like Pak Choi and a very typical North Italian ingredient like hazelnut. I hope you appreciate the flavour as well as the easy and extremely quick cooking.

Serves 3

  • 1 tbsp  fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped as well
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil, or whatever oil you like
  • 2 tbsp hazelnuts, skin on
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 medium pak choi, washed, well drained and cut into stripes of 1 cm

In a small pan roast the hazelnuts, let cool to room temperature and reduce to a medium crumble. Set aside.

In a wok or a large, heavy-based pan heat the oil and gently fry the ginger and garlic.

Place the pak choi in the pan, stir well, add the soy sauce and let cook on a medium heat for 2 minutes, frequently stirring. Scatter with the hazelnut crumble and serve hot.

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Posted in Recipes, Light recipes, Main dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian
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