Archive for the 'cakes' Category

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Torta caprese al limone… di nuovo la maizena

Ho adattato e rifatto una ricetta di Giallo Zafferano per questa torta un po’ calorica ma davvero goduriosa. Niente farina, solo maizena e mandorle che le danno corpo. Io sono partita dalle mandorle intere (mi erano appena arrivate dalla Sicilia) che ho sbucciato tuffandole per qualche minuto in acqua bollente, ma niente impedisce di comprare la farina di mandorle che si trova dappertutto. Dà veramente tante soddisfazioni. Continue reading ‘Torta caprese al limone… di nuovo la maizena’

Rhubarb and creme fraiche tart

rhubarb and creme fraiche tart

I fear this recipe will cause some problems for the Italians as rhubarb is something unknown in Italy. You can’t buy it in supermarkets over there, for example . In fact I would be surprised if an Italian knew what rhubarb looks like. Am I right? Please Candi/Italians, correct me if I’m wrong. However don’t despair: you could probably adapt this recipe and use another soft fruit instead, like raspberries or blueberries. I don’t know about you but I really love rhubarb. It’s really lovely stewed with some sugar and then eaten with yoghurt. Would you believe that  in Holland it is classified as a vegetable and eaten as a side dish to accompany meat? Really quite bizarre! Anyway, this tart was made by one of the ladies that belongs to my book group. I liked it so much that I asked for the recipe. I have already made it a few times, slightly adapted from her original one. If you have the time to make your own shortcrust pastry this is a lovely dessert worth the faff. Continue reading ‘Rhubarb and creme fraiche tart’

Plum, almond and oat muffins

plum, oat and almond muffins

And after the brief healthy interlude of my roasted vegetables soup we are back to cakes! But what’s a girl gotta do when the weather turns dark and depressing? Resort to comforts of the sweet variety, naturally.  It works every time. I made these TWICE a couple of weeks ago, following the gift of a lovely bag of plums from my friend Carmelita (I love presents of the edible variety). Both times they turned out deliciously lovely and light, undoubtedly helped by the good quality of the plums which were incredibly sweet and tasted simply divine (I have also made jam with them. Great!). By the way, I think this has been a particularly good year for fruit in the UK, or so I hear. Anyway, back to muffins. I really like them but sometimes they can be a bit disappointing: heavy and stodgy (obviously these don’t get blogged…), but not these babies! The combination of plums, oat and almond works really well. I found the recipe on line but adapted quite a bit. For example there were no ground almonds in the original recipe , while the quantity of porridge oats was higher. I personally think that the ground almonds make the muffins airier. Try them for yourself! Continue reading ‘Plum, almond and oat muffins’

Blueberry and lemon friands

blueberry and lemon friands

I bet I’m not the only one that when faced with leftover egg whites puts them in the fridge in the vain hope of using them for something else in the near future, only to admit defeat and throw them away a week later , still unloved and unused. I have done it so many times it’s embarrassing to mention! I might as well throw them directly in the bin rather than having this ridiculous pointless charade to go through purely to spare me from guilt feelings (I hate throwing food away!). I have made meringues in the past, of course, but my repertoire in the egg whites department is pretty limited (I have been meaning for ages to make macaroons, for example, but haven’t had the courage yet). So when I chanced on this recipe from the BBC Good food website which actually requires egg whites, I made a note of it and promised to myself I would try it out next time I was left with the blasted things. As you will recall, this was the case after my disastrous attempt at making custard tarts (I was left with SEVEN egg whites!! Eeek!) . Well….unlike my somewhat disappointing tarts these dainty little cakes were fabulous! And really simple to make. Continue reading ‘Blueberry and lemon friands’

Egg custard tarts ( a misdemeanour)

egg custard tarts

True to the spirit of this blog allow me to share with you a somewhat disappointing bake I did today. Even Tomik the cat is not happy about appearing in the picture as you can see. Well…I can’t always brag about my successes, can I? So let me share with you what went wrong in attempting to bake these egg custard tarts. Ok, I am being a bit harsh on myself as they weren’t a COMPLETE disaster BUT they were far from being perfect. VERY far. First of all let me tell you why I decided to bake them in the first place: it was the result of watching the Great British Bake off  programme on Tuesday (which I LOVE, by the way)! For the Italians reading this blog: this is the fourth series of a very entertaining reality TV programme shown on BBC 2. It’s actually one of the few things I watch these days. It inspires me to try new things never attempted before (I made bagels following one of the episodes in the previous series) and it’s highly entertaining. For anyone who has an interest in baking, that is. Every week the contestants have to bake three things: two that they have known about in advance and one they haven’t. The worst baker gets knocked out. This week the “secret” recipe (or technical challenge as it is called) was indeed egg custard tarts. Well…what could be difficult about them? They seem rather innocuous, right? WRONG! Continue reading ‘Egg custard tarts ( a misdemeanour)’

Parmesan and rosemary scones

parmesan and rosemary scones

I am a HUGE fan of scones, particularly the cheese variety. They are often what I go for when I visit a tea room (provided they look home made, that is!). Strangely enough I find they are often disappointing (read :tasteless or stodgy or both).  I often judge how good a particular café/tea room is by its scones and if the cheese ones are good they can count me in as a regular customer.  I baked this particular batch on Saturday in honour of my annual posh tea party with the English book group ladies which always takes place at around this time of the year at my house. In theory it should be an al fresco event, read: in the garden. In practice  the weather is always bad (this is England after all!) so we end up staying indoors. And this is what happened this year AGAIN:  it was nice the day before, it was nice the day after but on the actual day it peed down! Anyway for this event tradition wants that I take out my best china, splash out on some expensive tea (this year was Countess Grey by Fortnum and Mason) and lay the table for a posh do. Continue reading ‘Parmesan and rosemary scones’

Torta di ricotta al profumo di lavanda

 Per fortuna c’è Lucina! Accidenti sto trascurando il blog in modo vergognoso. E sarà sempre peggio, visto che domani parto per le mie settimane russe e sarò un po’ qui e un po’ là. Fino a metà settembre niente cucina, poca Internet, ma incontri, seminari, tanto Tolstoj, Puškin e Volga, Volga, Volga…

Per farmi perdonare e per salutarvi per un po’, posto questa tortina in mezzo a valigie da strizzare, regalini (quasi tutti alimentari) da stipare e relazione del seminario ancora da correggere.

Se una amica va in Provenza e ti porta un sacchetto di lavanda da cucina profumatissima, qualcosa ci devi fare. Già penso a un risotto che ho assaggiato in Svizzera, ma in casa avevo della ricotta di pecora da godere e così ecco qua la torta. La lavanda mi piace molto in cucina, l’unica accortezza è stare molto attenti alle dose. Il rischio-saponetta è in agguato. Grazie Elena!!!

Continue reading ‘Torta di ricotta al profumo di lavanda’

Torta di farro alle albicocche e pistacchio

Lo so che è un tormento accendere il forno con questo caldaccio. Ma lo si può sempre fare alla mattina presto per avere questa torta estiva pronta per mezzogiorno. L’acidulino delle albicocche la rende quasi dissetante. E poi il verde dei pistacchi è così carino con l’arancione della frutta. Ho preso e modificato questa ricetta da un vecchio post di cavoletto, l’ho resa più leggera diminuendo il burro e mettendo un po’ di olio. Ho sostituito la farina normale con quella di farro, così da variare un po’. Poi l’ho fatta più sbrigativa eliminando il montare gli albumi a neve. Per pigrizia e il risultato non è stato male lo stesso. Vedete voi… Continue reading ‘Torta di farro alle albicocche e pistacchio’

Chocolate and beetroot brownies

chcocolate and beetroot brownies

WHAT? Someone is having a laugh, right? And that’s not just Tomik, the ceramic cat. How can you possibly combine beetroot with chocolate? Impossible! Well…you are wrong and I can guarantee that you would be amazed by the end result if you tried it. Inspired by Candida’s latest posting I have decided to blog this unusual brownie recipe by Hugh Fernley Whittingstall (who else?) which I have successfully baked several times before. Brownies are very easy to make and are rather versatile as they can be eaten warm as a pudding accompanied by lashings of good quality vanilla ice cream or cold with a nice cup of tea/coffee. A warning: they are not for people on a diet, I am afraid, as they contain a high amount of butter but hey! Now and again one must overindulge a little, don’t you think? You can always go for a long walk with dog or a punishing bike ride afterwards to atone.  Continue reading ‘Chocolate and beetroot brownies’

Eton mess

Eton mess

What a peculiar name for a sweet, don’t you think? Translated in Italian this would be “il pasticcio di Eton“. Hardly a recommendation in truth!  So who or what is Eton? I hear the Italian people ask…Well, it’s one of the most famous public schools in the UK.  And by the way,  be aware of a false friend  here. “Public school” doesn’t mean “state school” (= scuola pubblica in Italian). It means “private school”. Eton is in fact, one of the oldest, most traditional, exclusive and expensive boarding schools for boys in England. Many famous people went there, including the current Prime minister David Cameron….But what has a public school got to do with the sweet? Easily answered: apparently it is  traditionally served on 4th June at Eton College’s annual cricket game against the pupils of Harrow School.  And now let me tell you exactly what this “mess” is….: it’s basically a Pavlova gone wrong, in other words a mixture of whipped cream, crushed meringues and strawberries (but there are variations using other soft fruits), all folded together. As to the meaning of its name there are several theories out there, which I won’t go into, as life is too short (go on Wikipedia if you are interested). Whatever its origins it is an easy dessert to put together and rather yummy, particularly if you make your own meringues which, ladies and gentlemen, I DID! In that respect it’s an ideal way to use unwanted egg whites. Continue reading ‘Eton mess’