My first cookies

Well, almost. I remember making some give away cookies something like 20 years ago. But that was pretty much it. I don’t know why, but cookies were never my thing. And of course this morning I woke up with just thoughts about baking cookies. This was my first attempt, with cat shapes made with my daughter’s favorite playdoh cutter. I think they came out pretty well and they tasted real good with some tea.

Ingredients for FROLLINI                                                                                                            250 gr flour                                                                                                                                      175 gr butter                                                                                                                                        4 egg yolks                                                                                                                                          75 gr sugar

Mix the flour with the butter, add the eggs and the sugar and work it with some energy with your hands. Make it into a ball and keep in the refrigerator for ½ hour. Flatten the dough until is about ½ a cm high and use cutters to shape the cookies that you will then bake for about 20 minutes (or until slightly golden) on baking paper in a preheated oven (160 degrees). Oh, and you can sprinkle them with sugar before baking them!

I like this recipe because it does not include any chemical baking agent and uses ingredients that can be usually found in any kitchen’s pantry. Sorry if the measures are European, I will eventually translate in American terms. Later…

Posted in Dolci - sweets | 4 Comments

Easy cranberries bread

I know I should have been doing something else.  But I was home with Ada having an eye infection and I was feeling uninspired. So as soon as when she fell asleep I did not do any of the dozen of, oh so very important, things I knew I had to do like… tidying up the apartment, watering my plants, making those urgent calls, or work at least a little bit by my laptop. No way, there was another urge that had to be fed first. Something that might have given sense to my whole day.

Just HAD to BAKE.

Luckily, in my pantry there were all the ingredients for a wonderfully looking cranberries bread a friend (http://redsroost.blogspot.com/) recently posted. And since I can never cook according to recipes, I used whole wheat flour instead of only white, increased the amount of oil, used yoghurt instead of buttermilk, decreasing the amount, and here comes the modified recipe.

1 cup all-purpose flour 
1 cup whole graham flour                                                                                                                   1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup olive oil
juice and zest of one orange
2/3 cup 3-4% fat yoghurt
1 egg
1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 (180 in Europe)
Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix oil, juice and zest of orange, buttermilk, and egg. Add to dry mixture and barely stir together. Add cranberries and walnuts. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 66-60 min.

Of course when Ada woke up I had no time to do all those important things. But she was very happy to have something freshly baked to eat.

Posted in Dolci - sweets | 1 Comment

Tagliatelle al sugo di manzo

Here I am, food-blogging again. I chose this dish because… well… good pasta meals do not need special reasons. They just are.
The inspiration actually came to me from a very gifted Swedish blog writer and cook, Anne http://annesfood.blogspot.com/, and was originally posted by Jamie Oliver. Jamie, who is indeed my favorite British food writer, named this dish “amazing slow-cooked meat” but, when I look at the ingredients, it was a recipe for pasta meat sauce. Not the Bolognese though. The “real” slow cooked meat sauce with big, juicy, pieces of beef that melt in your mouth… “sugo di manzo”, in my grandma’s terms, a staple of Italian traditional cooking. So it was Sweden-England-Italy… what a long way for this recipe to come to life again.
Here is the slightly modified recipe.

Ingredients (my way)                                                                                                                   1 kg braising meat – I used chuck-steak, which is “högrev” in Swedish
1 handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked
A few bay leaves
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 wineglasses of good red wine – I used organic-grown San Giovese, from Tuscany
500g of plum tomatoes, crashed
500g cherry tomatoes, whole
2 tablespoons pearl barley
fresh or dried tagliatelle – pappardelle or fettuccine are just as good
salt and freshly ground black pepper
grated Parmesan cheese

Roast the cherry tomatoes on an oiled baking pan in a preheated oven (225 degrees/450F) until they start breaking. Finely chop the herbs and vegetables. Cut the meat in big chunks and remove most of the visible fat. In a deep casserole pan fry the meat with olive oil — add more if it looks dry. Fry the meat until golden brown then add the herbs, onions, garlic, carrot and celery. Turn the heat down and continue to fry for 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened. Add the red wine and continue to simmer until the liquid has almost cooked away.
Add the crashed plum tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes without the skin (it will come out so easily after the oven “treatment”), the pearl barley and just enough water to cover the meat. Put a lid on the pan and cook on a really low heat for about 2-3 hours. I was actually able to make this on a week day, by simply doing most of the cooking one night ahead.

At this point, remove the bay leaves and, using 2 forks, pull apart the pieces of meat into tiny chunks. Put the meat back in the pan on a low heat.
Serve with tagliatelle and some good grated parmesan.

                       We all really enjoyed this meal…                                

…including our 21 month old picky eater.

Posted in Primi - Pasta, Rice, Soups | 5 Comments

Buongiorno mondo…

This is my very first blog… here. I used to blog on myspace. The reason I started then and I am re-starting now was and is to keep track of my favorite recipes and help me to find my cooking way around. Let’s see where this leads me to this time.

To update myself on this evolving food blooging world I am surfing. And surfing. And surfing. As a result I am finding an amazing lot of beautifully written food blogs, which, as soon as I find out how to, I will fastidiously list one by one in my page to help me to feel “connected”. Oh my, such a long way ahead of me!

Posted in Whatever | 5 Comments