Archive for the 'Cucina regionale' Category

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Il limoncello

qui tocca anche a noi poveri la nostra parte di ricchezza
ed è l’odore dei limoni.
Vedi, in questi silenzi in cui le cose
s’abbandonano e sembrano vicine
a tradire il loro ultimo segreto,
talora ci si aspetta
di scoprire uno sbaglio di Natura,
il punto morto del mondo, l’anello che non tiene,
il filo da disbrogliare che finalmente ci metta
nel mezzo di una verità.

Montale, I limoni

  Non potevo non provarci, a fare il limoncello, visto che la mia sorellina mi ha portato dei bei limoni profumati dal Ponente ligure. Per la ricetta ho gironzellato per internet e alla fine sono arrivata a questa mia versione adattata. Ho cercato di ottenere un liquore non stucchevole, non troppo dolce e con un certo carattere (è un po’ fortino, in effetti, ma mi dicono che deve essere così). La base della ricetta l’ho desunta dal sito ufficiale del Limoncello di Sorrento. Continue reading ‘Il limoncello’

Lentil and mushroom curry

lentil and mushroom curry

The idea to make this wholesome curry came from my son Tom, who, just like his mother, enjoys experimenting in the kitchen. We often swap ideas and recipes over the phone. I kind of made up this recipe as I went along: I looked at what ingredients I had available and used them so I’m sure you can alter/adapt/add. It’s a very simple dish to make and surprisingly tasty.  It was even nicer the following day. I served it with a home made naan (see recipe here) as you can see from the picture.  By the way I have effectively become vegetarian. I  still eat meat when I go to people’s houses , etc. but I have stopped buying it. I only buy fish. I’m sure I’ll be all the better for it. Anyway, the point is that I have to make sure to eat a balanced diet which doesn’t mean a slice of cake in both hands. 😉 That’s why I like eating pulses: they are a good source of proteins , they are  cheap, low-fat and also contain precious fibre, vitamins and minerals. What more can we want? Continue reading ‘Lentil and mushroom curry’



Instead of making the famous pancakes with sugar and lemon that in England are traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday ( martedì grasso in Italian) this year I decided to make kaiserschmarrn. Impossible to pronounce, I know, unless you are German. This dish is in fact Austrian and translated it means “the emperor’s mess”. And a mess it certainly looks when cooked, as it is basically a thick pancake brutally torn into pieces, sprinkled with icing sugar and served with plum sauce. I reckon that  it was born a misdemeanour and got later dressed up as a dessert, personally! 😉 Still……I had it for the first time in the famous Café Central in Vienna when I went there at Easter. I confess I found it a bit stodgy and couldn’t even finish it! I then had another lighter version of it in one of the Italian rifugi (mountain huts) in the Dolomites and a different experience it was too!  Much fluffier and nicer (and cheaper to boot!). Anyway, I have done my research. There are several recipes out there. Some of them contain rum and raisins and are therefore richer in taste. But I didn’t have rum nor did I have any raisins so I decided to make a very simple, straightforward version and served it with homemade warmed up blackberry jam. I have seen recipes serving it with apple sauce, strawberry sauce and of course the traditional plum sauce. I thought it was rather nice for a first attempt and different from the usual boring pancakes. Definitely something on the filling side to indulge in if you are in need of comfort food. Continue reading ‘Kaiserschmarrn’

The legendary pretzels


I absolutely ADORE pretzels but I always thought they could only be done professionally hence never attempted making them. Until very recently, that is. As you know I am experimenting with all things yeasty at present so decided that the moment had come to try them out. Why not? At worst they were going to be a disaster not to be repeated and blogged as a misdemeanour, right? So imagine my surprise when I sank my teeth in my very first pretzel and ….. WOW! I discovered it tasted damn close to the real thing! Ok, ok…I am sure that what I produced was not 100% kosher and a German person might very well turn his/her nose up at my creation (Beate? Your comment, please) but oh boy! They were soooooooo good!! I made them reasonably big in order to be able to cut them in half and butter them. I have tried them three times now and every time they were a success. They are not dissimilar from bagels in the sense that you need to boil them in water first before baking them. But that’s hardly complicated, right? The recipe was found on the BBC Good food website. I have adapted it slightly. If anyone out there likes pretzels DO HAVE A GO! You will be surprised about how easy they are. By the way I had to put a search on google for a video to show me how to knot them up. If you just go on Youtube  you’ll find more than one. Once you have learnt the technique you can do them with your eyes shut. I promise! Rocket science it ain’t!

Continue reading ‘The legendary pretzels’

Blinis with cream cheese and smoked salmon

blinis with cream cheese and smoked salmon

I don’t know about you but sometimes I get stuck when I have to produce starters or canapés. Heaven knows why as  there is all sorts of things one can do! Still the imagination sometimes lets me down. And that’s where these little babies can come in handy! Blinis are small pancakes made with buckwheat flour. They are traditionally made in Eastern countries. Candi must know about these as they are popular in Russia. They have become widely known here in the UK too ( I am not sure about Italy) and are sold even in supermarkets. However, it is much more satisfying to produce your own, don’t you think? I had never tried to make them before but I tell you now: I shall do them again. They are really very straightforward and can be made in advance and garnished at a later stage making them ideal as finger food at buffets and parties. Obviously you could top them with lots of other things. Caviar would be very nice, I reckon, if a bit expensive! For this recipe you could use crème fraiche as an alternative to cream cheese. There are many recipes out there to make blinis. I simply used the one written on the packet of the buckwheat flour I bought, which tasted perfectly nice. So here I am sharing it with you. Continue reading ‘Blinis with cream cheese and smoked salmon’

Canederli agli spinaci

canederli agli spinaci

As I promised on my return from my summer holidays in the Dolomites here I am blogging a typical dish from that area ( which I finally got round to making) : the legendary canederli. What are they? I hear you ask…. Well, the best way to describe them is they are big bread dumplings which are cooked in boiling salted water. A bit like gnocchi. They were originally a peasant dish. I have made the vegetarian version (with spinach and cheese) but the traditional ones contain speck which is a smoked ham from those mountains. I tried both versions when I was in Italy, as well as those made with beetroot. All delicious,  and a great way to use stale bread. They are not difficult to prepare and are very tasty (as well as VERY filling). Recipes on the internet vary but here’s what I did. It worked first time. Continue reading ‘Canederli agli spinaci’

Red lentils dal

red lentils dal

Nothing for ten days and then two recipes all at once? What’s going on? Well….why not, eh? I like living on the edge, me! Seriously, the reason for my absence was simply that I have not been in residence. Like previous years I went to spend a few days in Edinburgh for the fringe festival. Brill! While I was there I met up with my youngest son Tom and , as it’s often the case, we ended up talking about food. Like mother, like son…He loves cooking too and this dal recipe is one of his favourites. So much so that apparently he “inflicts” it on his girlfriend at least once a week (I’m sure she is getting a bit fed up by now, good though it is!).! Anyway, dal is a very common Indian dish made with pulses. This simple but flavoursome version is based on red lentils. What I like about this recipe is that it’s very straightforward and can be used as a base. You can try adding other vegetables to it such as chick peas, potatoes, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes etc.. I have seen many variations on the internet. Served with the naan bread I have just blogged works really well! :-) Continue reading ‘Red lentils dal’

Naan bread

naan bread

I bet I’m not the only one who loves naan bread!  I often order one to accompany a curry when I go to an Indian restaurant. It’s one of my favourite things. Despite my love for it, for some reasons, I never attempted making one until now. I thought it was complicated and you needed a special oven. But apparently not so:  you can use a normal oven at a very high temperature. A bit like what you would do for a pizza. So I had a go (being very interested in bread, as you know) at making some to accompany a vegetarian Indian dish called  dal recommended to me by my son Tom (recipe to follow).  The naan bread turned out just as it should be: lovely and fluffy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. Great! Definitely something I shall do again. By the way the recipe I used is by Madhur Jaffrey, slightly adapted. Continue reading ‘Naan bread’

L’aringa in pelliccia. Seljodka pod  šuboj

Cosa si porta dalla Russia un’italiana golosa? Caviale, vodka, storione e šampanskoe? No di certo, anche se qualche scatolina di caviale rosso ci scappa (quello nero mai, non bisogna mangiarlo, a parte il prezzo, bisogna lasciarli nascere questi storioni). Io mi porto dolcetti (cioccolatini “Ottobre rosso”, pomadka e zefir vari), ma soprattutto fegato di merluzzo (per l’orrore dei più) e aringa. Sì: aringa, la regina delle chiacchierate in cucina, la compagna dei bliny poveri, quando il caviale è finito, il viatico verso un altro sorsetto di vodka, l’amabile che va d’accordo con tutto, patate, smetana, cetriolini, mazzi di aneto e altre erbette verdi, cipolline dolci e meno dolci.

L’aringa che si trasforma in una dama di gran classe e per le feste, a Capodanno in particolare, si riveste di pelliccia.

Lo so che le aringhe non hanno bisogno di pellicce con questo caldo. Ma si tratta del mio piatto russo preferito, la mangerei tutti i giorni e con l’aringa che mi ha comprato Ženja (“ehi, Candi, non vorrai comprare l’aringa già sfilettata e disliscata, ma lo sai che lo fanno con l’acido?”) e che mi sono portata sottovuoto in valigia da Mosca non potevo non provarci. Mi perdonino tutte le massaie russe e tutti i culturi di filologie gastronomiche varie. Ho tentato di essere precisa, ma mi sono anche concessa licenze quasi imperdonabili. Per esempio, ho usato la barbabietola già cotta al forno. Qui da noi non si trova facilmente cruda. E comunque per la prima volta me la sono fatta a casa. E gli altri non sono nemmeno scappati. L’hanno mangiata (a parte l’allergico di casa). Ed è perfino piaciuta.   

Continue reading ‘L’aringa in pelliccia. Seljodka pod  šuboj’

Metti una cantante a cena… La šarlotka di Yulia

Se hai in casa una magnifica cantante non puoi farla cantare, povera, sarebbe come sfruttarla una volta di più. Ma la puoi far cucinare… Ecco quindi una superclassicissima torta di mele che in Russia si fa in tutte le famiglie ed è un po’ diversa da quello che intendiamo noi con charlotte, ognuno ha la sua ricetta naturalmente, questa è quella di Yulia Ziganshina, che chiacchierando chiacchierando l’ha fatta in pochissimo tempo e con le scarne provviste che avevo in casa. Perché, come racconta Yulia, la šarlotka si fa con quello che in casa più o meno c’è sempre: farina,uova, zucchero, sale, un po’ di lievito. E le mele, naturalmente. Se poi ci si è imborghesiti, si può mangiare con un po’ di gelato.

Continue reading ‘Metti una cantante a cena… La šarlotka di Yulia’