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Cover: Kitchen in the city

April, 2014

24Apr 14

Salmon and fennel!

salmone-ape

This is an excellent recipe, an A+ recipe!!. Its delicious and obviously as I always say, it’s super easy !  Its easy and great,  it does not get the kitchen too messy, and you can cook it both for 2 or 50 people.

Turn on the oven at 220°. To prepare salmon I will now explain: With the tips of my fingers I touch it on the surface to make sure that there are no scales in them. And in case there are some, just make sure to take them away with some clips. Slice the fennel very very thin, it would be perfect with a slicer…

Cooking notes: One very important thing is to have the slicer.  Its fine even if it is a very small one, but don’t get one made of plastic. Do use it for the fennel not for the salmon, if you want do use it also for the fruit you may want to add with it.

And then I prepare the paper foil wrapping.  with the  paper since it is easier  and better to see than some cooking wire. You can wrap the salmon as a whole or singularly, the only important thing is that they are closed really well.

I place the salmon on a cooking paper  and season it with some pepper and salt and a teaspoon  of olive oil and to end it add some white wine. On top put some fennel. Close the wrapping and put it in the oven for 15 minutes

Cooking notes 2:  The way to cook in paper foil is extremely important for all the plates that you want a saucy final outcome and not a dry one. Its like trapping the seasoning and the flavours within the salon.  The salmon is cooking in a micro oven so that nothing can escape.

When I take it out of the oven leave it for 5 minutes before you serve it to the dinner table

 

 

 

 
Ingredients
  • 4 pieces of salmon 1 fennel Dell Olive oil Salt pepper
Instructions
  1. Turn on the oven at 220°
  2. Check for scales on the salmon
  3. Slice the fennel very thinly
  4. Lay one of the pieces of salmon on some wrapping paper.
  5. Add some flavour with salt and pepper a bit of oil and some white wine
  6. Put a layer of fennel on top
  7. Close the foil wrapping
  8. Cook for 20 min

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23Apr 14

Marseille baked potatoes

patate-Fra-ape-uk

Translation by Alessandra Dubini – marlborough College

There are some recipes in the kitchen that enhance ingredients and get the best flavours to come out. This is one ofthose recipes. Don’t let the title fool you, I don’t really know how Marsigliesi these potatoes are

A few words on Fra, she is my cousin, well technically not really but we both married two cousins, which was enough to make us what we are today, like cousins! The Dubini family is made only by men, so as you would have imagined they were thrilled to have two women join the family . The head of the family was mostly glad, and I remember him with much love, Lele class of 1908.

Fra is creative, really indie jewellery, funky stones and no diamonds, she lets her creativity loose which is amazing! Recently she has been trying to get back the tradition of the Masai Women. Look here to find more about it!

The recipes of Fra (Francesca torri) are amazing and I love them, this is because they are simple but full of life and emotion just like a diary.

First off, turn the oven at 200°. Then you chose the potatoes, remember not to pick big ones, wash them under the tap water and dry them.

I put some thick salt on a pan, cut into half the potatoes on the longer side and then lie them on the salt with the pulp looking upwards! Nothing more! In the oven they go!!

They will be ready when a kind of ‘tummy’ forms on them. As per usual the cooking time are approximate, but you have to put them in the oven for at least 35 minutes. In the meanwhile take time to do everything you need to do when you get back at home after a long day! Relax..

 

They are delicious when they are warm, with the salt to enhance their natural flavour they taste amazing! Add some chive, Fraiche cream  and sour cream.

 

Cooking notes 1: Leave the potatoes as a whole so that they become perfect to transform them into Gnocchi

Cooking notes 2: By saying Fraiche cream it is not exact. In France they call it cream that has to whipped, but in this case I am referring to the “epaissè” cream. Therefore cream with lactic ferments that give a bit of a sour taste.

 

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14Apr 14

Yogurt cake

Torta-allo-yogurt-bn-uk

Translation by Alessandra Dubini – Marlborough College

Once upon a time there was  a time there was a cake that I would make for breakfast, Just as soon as I got married I would make the cakes myself instead of taking the easy way out and buying it. I still remember when my kids used to tell me, “why don’t you do the Buitoni cake?

No matter how long it has been since I just got married, and how many changes there have been my husband still adores the smell of cake in the morning and so do I. This is a really easy recipe, I know I know, I always say it, but I promise this really is.

5 minutes in the mixer and 40 minutes in the oven

When reading and debating on weather you should attempt a recipe always look at how long it will take you overall. Because as you know, whilst cooking you always find time to do something else as well, since we as women have the capability of multitasking!

Turn on the oven to 180°, with the heat coming from below the oven.

In the mixer/stand mixer put 100g of white yogurt ( I didn’t have it so I put the one with cereal)  150g of sugar, 2 eggs, 160g of flour, 90g of peanut oil, 1 bad of yeast, 1 pinch of salt. Turn the mixer on and whilst doing that grease the mould with butter and then sprinkle it with flour.

Cookin notes: When cooking with the yogurt, but most importantly when you are using it in a recipe dont chose one which is too liquid: Normally I use the cream of the Muller  yogurt (and no, they don’t give it to me as a present) or activia oppure Activia. A small trick is to chake the yogurt when you are choosing it at the supermarket, you will immediately understand whether it is liquid or not.

Pour ¾ of cream in the mould and add 3 teaspoons of cacao in powder (bitter); turn the mixer on and pour the cacao cream on the white one in the centre.

In this way you get the brown and white colour effect..

Cook It in the oven for 40 minutes, take it out of the oven and once it is at room temperature put some powdered sugar on top.

If you want it all chocolate then add 70g of cacao powder straight away.

Cooking notes 2: For the cakes with the yeast like this one you should always use the toothpick trick, therefore stick a toothpick inside the cake and if it is clean then it is ready to eat!

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13Apr 14

Risi and bisi… guess what !

risi-e-bisi-uk

Translation by Alessandra Dubini – Marlborough College

Mondays have always been for me a day for purifying my body and soul after eating all the temptations I normally try to resist during the week. This time instead of doing the simple vegetable soup I was inspired by a bag of fresh peas that were lying around in the fridge. I have started having this obsession with fresh seasonal vegetables so I started going to the market and buying them. Googling the recipe I am about to propose to you I found out that Carlo Cracco was already giving tips on how to make a creamy broth.

Imagine Venice in the year of 1500 where ships arrived to offer the best goods from Asia, colours and new flavours, and with it also rice. It’s the 25th of April the day of San Marco and the Doge has on the menu the rice as a tradition.

Its not a soup but its not a rice, its something in between. As I said the peas are of season and they are extremely sweet which makes a great contrast with the salty flavour of ham, or bacon. The broth has to be very light of vegetables.

Lets start by getting the lightest broth only made of vegetables and by adding a very small amount of chicken. If you know where the peas come from then you can also use the pods which you will obviously wash well. If not then don’t bother using them. I dries 1kg of peas. I then got a shallot, I fried it in a pan with a teas spoon of butter and 50g of bacon thinly cut. I then added 300g of rice and peas. Not all of them keep a handful and put it in the soup and covered it with a lot of broth.

Cooking tips: If you want that the peas stay of a nice green strong colour and not to become yellow it’s better to put them through the steamy broth and with a skimmer transfer them  in a bowl with cold water before cooking them.. It’s the same trick every time, works like magic!

Nothing more. The rice has to swim in the broth. A few minutes before reaching the boiling point I blended with the blender the peas that put the broth with a bit of water, and then added the sauce that lies in the casserole so the sweet flavour of peas is enhanced., As a tradition you should pass through the sieve the pods, but seeing as I don’t really know where they come from I would rather not risk it.  Add salt and pepper and a bit of parmesan cheese grated on the top.

 

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13Apr 14

Sardinian Fregula Pasta!

fregula-sarda-ape-uk

Translation by Alessandra Dubini – Marlborough College

The Sardinian Fregula is an excellent ingredient to have in ones kitchen because it can easily become an unique main course. It kind of reminds me of the Spanish Fideuà which is just like a paella and has very similar characteristic to the cous cous. It seems that on the coast of the Mediterranean there are many similarities within the primary products used. The sea and lands produce the same products like fish and vegetables. Normally you cook it with clams but I had some squid leftovers and some fish broth and some good cherry tomatoes.

Cooking tips: The fregula is a kind of pasta that a long time ago women used to prepare from scratch by mixing semolina, water and egg in a round container using their hands.

They would work the dough until they got small little balls.

So here is the recipe:  Whilst 1l of fish broth is boiling, I warmed up in a casserole 4 teaspoons of oil with 10 cherry tomatoes washed and cut up into quarters with a clove of garlic. The garlic does not have to fry, but give up all it’s flavour, since if it burns it becomes bitter. So I left it warm up before adding 250g of Sardinian Fregula. I toasted it until it became crunchy just like you do with rice. Before starting to add a ladle of warm fish broth. The flame has to be quite high. The Fregula absorbs the broth because it wants to rehydrate so its better to keep an eye on it. After 5 minutes add 300g of squid, sliced length with the tufts. More or less it takes 15 minutes. When it is completely cooked but stil ‘al dente’ I turned out the flame and added salt and pepper and a bit of lemon.

You can decide if you want it soupy or not. Of course I would have loved to teach you how to make it yourself, but kitcheninthecity is a website for typical kitchen cooking, so I bought it like you will as well.

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10Apr 14

Pan con Tomate!

pan-con-tomate-uk

Before talking about Pan con tomate I have a question, do you know Cadaques? Its not the Portofino of Italy and it is not the Saint Tropez  of the Cote d’azur. Cadaques is Cadaques.

Just after the border of France in the Mediterranean sea hides a small white town surrounded rocky hills and far far away from the skyscrapers of Rosas. This beautiful white town is the heart and soul of artists and hippies, very indie. It’s a bit rustic looking, what now can be defined shappy-chic.

What is so special about this place? Well it’s a place where I can re-live the memories of the years in Barcelona with my Spanish friends. Every time I see them it seems like I never left them…

Cadaques, is a Catalan port, and everyday you find something new: una no white beaches, very understatement… The soul of Cataluña. An old town , winding streets and quite steep to walk on with alpargatas on your feet. Rocks and pebbles and white walls….

Sit down at the  bar Maritim, choose a spot imbetween the streets and the beach and order a “cortado” and sit back and absorb the life in the town.

In the morning we all meet in the chosen meeting point and we all go buy newspapers and some food for the picnic we would have had later that day on the boat.

And the pan con tomate? Its a small but delicious delicacy you must have when in Cadaques, a little temptation for the dinner table. In Cataluña it’s called “pa’ amb tomàquet”, I dont speak Catalan but some times i try my hardest to make the locals happy.

Its not a tapas, but a delicious bread. Its feels like all the good things are really easy to prepare. Just grate some  tomatoes, and slice some bread. The pour the sauce and add a bit of oil and salt and pepper. This year I tasted a pan con tomate which was different to the others…

Where is the trick? Firslty lets concentrate on the bread: Leavened bread. Then the bread has to be toasted in the oven. Only when it is warm, before you can serve it add some tomatoes and salt and pepper. Where did i try it?

 

Al Talla , You must go on one of your nights in Cadaques. A small kitchen and a beautiful view, delicious food and cheap prices. The chef is called _Vito Oliva- before working at  Riba Pitxot ha he worked at all’Espai Sucre, but alspo in Gaston Acurio.

For booking (0034 972 258 739)

Back to the recipe: Turn the oven at 180°.wash the tomatoes li and grate them taking away the sauce and putting it in a bowl. I will then add salt, pepper and oil. Condisco con sale, pepe e olio extravergine di oliva.

Cut the bread and put it into the oven until it becomes crunchy.

In the moment of putting it on the table, put the a lot of tomato on the bread and add anchovies and ham

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10Apr 14

Crisps with carbonara sauce

 

patatina5107-uk

Translation by Alessandra Dubini – Marlborough College

He challenged me and as my son always says “challenge accepted”. This man has the power to confuse me, when he talks to me I forget who I am and what my name is. I’m talking about Carlo, Carlo Cracco.

It all started in his kitchen: a lesson just the two of us surrounded by his army of men that were preparing all the necessary food that was needed for that night. And in a few seconds it was as if I was back at school with the teacher asking me questions on topics I was clearly not prepared for! “what are these?”  “what these close to the lungs?” I panicked, I had no idea… “Sweetbread” Clearly I cant believe I blanked on something so simple. At home I dissect lamb so often. But now I know how he cooks it, and I saw him in his kingdom whilst he was teaching me a few things.  He mastered all the techniques one needs to thrive in a kitchen. So I’m not ashamed to say that just like a 15 year old is the biggest fan of  Channing Tatum, I am Carlo Cracco’s number 1 fan.

But back to the Crisp. I was a young child and the San Carlo crisps were the only thing that I was able to buy by my self. I would walk towards the supermarket with 70 lire and then run back with my crisps and enjoy a nice break from the stressful life of a 5 year old. I would give one coin of 100 lire and would get back three coins of 10 lire, so lets recap; I walk in with 100 lire and no crisps and leave with 3 coins and a bag of crisps WHAT A DEAL!.  Unfortunately one day the price of the crisps increased, and nobody thought it was important for me to know. Hence I spent the whole afternoon arguing with the cashier because I wanted by 3 coins back, I think they had to call my mother, but I cant remember for sure.

This is what I am proposing. A crunchy crisps sweetened by some creamy carbonara sauce.

Shall I explain? Two eggs, a handful of sweet bacon, balck pepper, and a teaspoon of butter. Warm the pan, add the bacon and I’ll leave if burn a little for a few minutes. I then take the bacon off and pour two eggs which I previously beat. Make sure it does not become an omelette, it should be soft and to do that you have to work with your wrist with a spatula, take the pan from the fire to control the temperature . Actually less it is on the flame, the easier it is for the egg to stay creamy. And don’t try to be cheeky by adding cream

Try them. A pinch of salt a bit of pepper but not too much. A spoonful of carbonara sauce on each crisp and a bit of diced bacon.

Done? Have I dared too much?

 

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10Apr 14

Warm aubergine and chevre fondant!

 

w-tortino-con-chevre-ukTranslation by Alessandra Dubini – Marlborough College

I was walking around the streets of Paris in search for some inspiration, and suddenly I saw this beautiful purple shaped aubergines that really striked me. I therefore could not stop myself from buying a few to prepare something special for my special readers!

Im a strong believer that in each shape, colour and form there is a natural beauty. It sometimes has to be shaped or looked for and other times it is obvious. It is very important in my job to use these natural beauties within an ingredient to enhance the beauty of another ingreadient.

These aubergines are small and with a hard pulp, an eye catching purple. Contrasted by a sweet flavour. This morning I decided to therefore prepare an aubergine pie, a simple and satisfying recipe that only took me 15 minutes.

I turn on the grill of the oven. And I then wash and dry the aubergines, the pepper and the cherry tomatoes. In a casserole you warm some garlic with the skin with some oil and you add the cherry tomatoes ( that have been cut into quarters) and after a while the pepper which I had previously diced. I leave the pepper to soften for a few minutes and I then add the aubergine in small pieces.  After 5 minutes I then added 10 sliced basil leaves and a handful of black olives cut into half. It will all be ready in 5 minutes.

I cover an oven tray with a oven with baking paper, and I lay on it four molds and I fill them with the aubergines and peppers and on top of it I put a slice of chevre. In the oven the chevre softens. It becomes a cream, with a little touch of salty and the contrast of he sweet aubergine and the pepper. It will only take a few minutes to melt and to become gold. To help myself out to move the Pie from the oven tray to the plat I use a scoop and nothing else.

 

Cooking tips: If you cannot find the small aubergines you can youse the light purple aubergines as well. If you only have the really dark ones then you have to slice them and cover them with big salt and wait for them to make water. The water that comes out of it is the sour bit of the aubergine, you then wash them and dice them.

Warm aubergine and chevre fondant!
 
Ingredients
  • 300g of small aubergines
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 30g black olives
  • ½ red pepper
  • 2 garlic slices
  • 15 basil leaves
  • 4 chevre
  • 3 spoons of olive oil
Instructions
  1. Switch on the owen grill (70%)
  2. Clean and cut the vegetables
  3. In a pan warm garlic and oil
  4. Add the tomatoe cut in four
  5. After 5' add the pepper, sfter 10' the aubergine
  6. Cook 10'
  7. Add the remaining ingredients
  8. adjust salt and pepper
  9. Fill the mold with the prepared ingredients
  10. add 1 slice of chevre
  11. Grill for 5'.

 

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10Apr 14

Sunny tomatoes

pomodori-ripieni-di-riso-uk

Translation by Alessandra Dubini – Marlborough College

It has been forever since I wrote on my blog!, I moved to Paris and had to move everything from Milan to here. I have quite a few mixed feelings, I followed my captain knowing I was leaving my nest even though I know my children are now able to fly with their own wings. Milan is my city, no matter how gorgeous Paris is.

My new cooking? I am still not sure, its like a dress that needs to be fixed.

New shops, look for the market and try and find the names  for everything, I mean yes, there is the “Au bon marchè” but that is very easy to find and also quite expensive.

Although I still had with myself all my cooking books, and because I felt quite homesick and needed to taste my favorite flavors and I therefore looked at the book,  “il talismano della felicità”,  Hence I chose this recipe:

Stuffed tomatoes, you can eat them both cold and warm. They are simple to make and can be made in very large quantities. You have to cut the canopy of the tomato and remove the pulp and you then put it in a bowl with rice, stretched olives, sliced mozzarella and basil. The rice has to rest for 30 minutes. In the original recipe it simply said to leave the rice together with the tomato, but I prefered to blend it. Season with salt and pepper

After 30 minutes fill the tomatoes with the rice, the owen is already hot at 180°. It seems wired but the rice cooks perfectly!

 

 
Ingredients
  • 8 Tomatoes
  • 6 handfuls of rice soup (Comune o Arborio)
  • 150g of mozzarella
  • 20 Dark green olives from Liguria
  • 20 basil leaves
  • 4 spoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Wash and dry the tomatoes
  2. Cut the canopy of the tomatoes and scrape out the inside.
  3. Whisk the pulp with oil
  4. Ou the rice in a bowl, add the pulp and mix everything
  5. Add some cut up olives, the diced mozzarella and the basil leaves chopped.
  6. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes
  7. Turn on the oven at 180°
  8. Fill the tomatoes with rise and close the tomato with the canopy
  9. Place the tomatoes on an ovens tray covered with oven paper
  10. Bake in the lower part of the oven for 45 minutes
  11. Serve them warm or at room temperature, it’s up to you!!

 

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10Apr 14

Mais flour chips!

chips-di-polenta-ukTranslation by Alessandra Dubini – Marlborough College

I found the polenta chip recipe in a book of Nadia and Giovanni Santini. And it is smart and witty book that teach classic recipes for one’s everyday life. If you want to know some more just read here

Yesterday evening I prepared a meal with as my main ingredient cheese. To be honest I never really feel chuffed with myself if I only prepare cheese for an evening supper, therefore I decided to 1) prepare a jam made out of rhubarb 2) cook some chutney made out of  yellow plums and 3) try the recipe of the Chips.

A brief explanation to what this recipe is about: a thin layer of polenta which is then made to dry in an oven. As usual I decided to add something different to this recipe to make it unique: poppy seeds

There is not much to say. I turned on the oven at 180° and then I simply cooked the polenta (I chose the quick cooking which is written on the packaging), in my case then boil 250ml of water, add some salt to it, and then poor slowly 125g of polenta and mix it with a whip. As soon as the polenta thickens I lowered the flame and mixed it with a spoon for 8 minutes.

At this point I take the polenta and lay it on oven paper, I then sparkle the polenta strips with poppy seeds. I then put another layer of oven paper on top and with  a rolling pin I leveled the polenta to make it super thin. I then take the top paper oven and put in the oven for half an hour.

If you want to achieve some perfect shapes you have to take the polenta out of the oven after 15minutes and make some cuts with a knife.

If you make a lot of them try to keep them in a tin jar. They are not only good as sidings with cheese but are also really good as an aperitif main dish just like nachos which you can dip in some delicious sauce

They are fantastic if you get random hunger attacks, if you are intolerant to gluten and you can tell your kids they are chips!

Mais flour chips!
 
Ingredients
  • 250ml of water
  • 125 g polenta which can cook rapidly
  • Poppy seeds
  • salt
  • Oven paper
Instructions
  1. Turn on the oven at 180°
  2. Make the water boil and then add salt
  3. Pour polenta in the water slowly and mix with a whip
  4. Lower the flams and bring the cooking time like mentioned on the packaging
  5. Lay the polenta and divide it on two different pieces of oven paper
  6. Sprinkle with poppy seeds
  7. Make it thinner with a rolling pin
  8. Take the top layer of the oven paper off and put in the oven for 30 minutes

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