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Cover: Kitchen in the city

April, 2014

06Apr 14

My secret for the best roasted Chicken!


Translation by Alessandra Dubini – Marlborough College

Most of my friends ask my why I would make so much effort to make chicken when you could buy it already cooked and ready to be served. To be honesty I completely understand where they come from, you get back from work really late you have to sort out the mess your kids have made and while you’re at it you have to argue with your teenage daughter. So where is the time to make roast chicken at home?! Quite frankly I dont think anyone likes to eat dry chicken, and that is normally how it tastes on the inside. Roast chicken is good because of its juiciness, but unfortunately in the way it is being cooked it loses all it softness.
Every time I go in the kitchen to make roast chicken I have the vivid image of the small chicken my husband and I have in hut Varush val Trunchun (Swiss national park, comfortable leisurely walk that starts from Zuoz).


First reflection: The chicken has to have a crisp skin, and to become crisp it must be properly oiled and seasoned with salt and spices. But the real secret I show to get the meat of the chicken as soft as butter. Well I am about to reveal that to you. The softness depends on the humidity that the meat gets a hold, the water between the fibres. What I invented? A small chicken massage with butter, salt, pepper and paprika. The butter does not evaporate; it does not slide as oil. Salt and pepper have so be put well into the belly of chicken. The paprika gives it a unique taste and does not burn

Here you go … There are two lemon slices into the belly of our friend, this takes away the grease within the final taste to then lighten the taste. This is the small chicken after the massage.

And for softness? To achieve softness use aluminium that covers the chest and closes the cavity behind. A kind of protective mask to wear for almost any cooking. Only in the last quarter of an hour you are allowed to remove it, allowing the skin to become crisp!pollo-arrosto-con-alluminio

My secret for the best roasted Chicken!
  • 1 chicken
  • ½ lemon
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 medium potatoes
  1. I turn on the oven to 220 °
  2. With knobs of butter, salt and pepper the chicken massage
  3. Add a sprinkle of sweet paprika
  4. I flavour the inside of the chicken with salt, pepper, a pat of butter two quarters of lemon
  5. I cover the breast of the chicken until the cavity with aluminium
  6. Sheath a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake the chicken rest for 40 minutes
  7. Take off the aluminium and bake for an extra 10 minutes
  8. I turn on the grill and I end up with 5 minutes


And the potatoes? Peel, cut into pieces and cooked for 10 minutes in boiling water, dip them in the pan were the chicken has been previously.

Total cooking 50 minutes at 220°, the last 5 with the addition of the grill!


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05Apr 14

Bread Crumbs spaghetti! Pasta Ammuddicata!


Translation by Alessandra Dubini – Marlborough College

Pasta ammuddicata, with the crumb. There are recipes that belong to the Mediterranean coast. Take the following ingredients: long pasta, anchovies (fresh or pickled), and breadcrumbs. Put them in the Google bar and you will discover what globalization means. As usual kitchen docet, globalization is born with ladles and pans, along with this recipe. Ammuddicata Mediterranean notes … but strongly urban recipe, because it is good and fast.

This recipe can reminds me very much of Shrove day, also known as Pancake day were Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar. Likewise this is a recipe made to empty fridge, because even when there is nothing left I always having a jar of anchovies and breadcrumbs, believe me these two ingredients are essential, always.

In Calabria it is called the “pasta ammuddicata”, in Salento is the generous addition of fresh tomatoes, even in Basilicata it is quite commonly found, Sicily is the “pasta cu ancioi and ‘to muddica.” Its important to know that in Spain the anchovies are called “anchoas” and especially the Cantabrian are very good, some say the best in the world, because the sea in which they breed is cold and rich in nutrients. In Italy there are anchovies from the Gulf of Cetare (Campania) and those of Cefalu. The best are the spring, and are also less fattening.

But back to the recipe. If it is possible try to make your own anchovies lying in oil and make your own breadcrumbs since they are easy to prepare.

Although I had the Zarotti’s anchovies in oil, in the version Cetara grandicelle and more flavourful, and a half a pack of pasta Coconut calling from the pantry. (This is free advertising … let this be known)

What is missing? Extra virgin olive oil, garlic and chilli.

Then it’s really simple. While the water is boiling in a pan large enough to fit all the pasta, I warmed to low heat 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic with hot pepper. After two minutes, I added at least 6 anchovies in oil well drained and waited line-up. Every now and then I used a wooden spoon to mix all the ingreadients to make sure that nothing would burn, the garlic gives a bitter taste if it burns.

As soon as the pasta is al dente, with the clamp (not the colander!) Move it to the pan, add a spoonfull of cooking water and wait for the sauce and pasta to blend.  With no hurry at all stir the pasta and the sauce together and if needed add more of the cooking water, rich in starch which makes it well tied. Finally the breadcrumbs.



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05Apr 14

Little Daisy Biscuit


Translation by Alessandra Dubini – Marlborough College

As the rain and the darkness settles within the city of Milan, a terrible feeling of laziness wraps me up. Every time I host the book club the ladies expect a little something to nibble on whilst talking about the book and some girly gossip.

The book club is a very girly night, therefore I decided to make some snacks that would enhance the characteristics of a girl’s night. Hence I thought of daisies. Daisies of Stresa, these daisies take me back to the summer of the 70’s where the flower power was everywhere I looked.  My grandfather had a green thumb, but his idea of flowering plants was very antique, he took care in every single flower in his garden with a watering can.

This recipe arises from a special pastry, made from egg yolk hard and powdered sugar. Of course, the original recipe is top secret, but I followed that of Pinella, which is just as reliable.

I boiled 4 eggs for 10 minutes into a pot and the I cut into cubes and mixed 250g of butter with 120g icing sugar, sifted if better. Personally I find it easier to do everything in the Mixer, but if you have not, at this point, better to make a fountain with the flower and in the middle of it add the other ingredients: the grated skin of half a lemon, 200g and 200g of potato starch flour (sifted…) and 4 egg yolks passed through a strainer.

I mixed the ingredients quickly until it became a homogeneous crust. Then you wrap it in foil and you let it rest for at least 1 hour.

Clipboard kitchen: when the books say “at least” a certain time, it means that if you overdo it, nothing happens. In this case one can prepare the dough the day before, for example, provided rest “at least” 1 hour.

After a short rest I floured my work surface, spread the dough with a rolling pin height of 1cm in a mould with a flower made 50 of daisies.

Clipboard kitchen 2: for the best shortbread uses if possible a marble shelf, which keeps the dough cool. The plan of wood for homemade pasta and gnocchi, because it absorbs excess moisture.

Like all the shortbread, at this point it is best to cool the dough again, so I put daisies on a non-stick pan and then in the fridge while the oven comes to temperature (180 °)

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar when they are cold is all they need.

Little Daisy Biscuit
  • 250 grams of butter
  • 200 grams of flour 00
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 grams of potato starch
  • 120 grams of icing sugar
  • Grated zest of ½ lemon
  • A pinch of salt
  1. Boil the eggs for 10 minutes to the boil and then cool them
  2. Working the sifted icing sugar with the butter cut into small cubes
  3. Making a fountain and add flour, starch, lemon zest and salt
  4. Pass through a sieve and add the yolks firm
  5. Working quickly, make a ball and let rest in refrigerator for at least 1 hour
  6. Roll out the dough and get a stencil with daisies
  7. Let it rest in refrigerator while the oven reaches 180 °
  8. Bake 10 '
  9. When they are cool sprinkle with powdered sugar


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05Apr 14

Florence Panzanella, weekend top lunch!


Translation by Alessandra Dubini – Marlborough College

Yeah I know the panzanella isn’t something you would consider for your daily snack. A new recipe book called fascinated me: “ l’ora Della merenda”. This is a recipe book that has some simple and authentic recipes. But

I met Nicola Santini in a TV program “La prova del cuoco”, and I was struck by his politeness. I smile when I read his sharp comments because they could not be more real.

Nicola knows that I do not like the “celebrities” who pass by the scents in the kitchen, and when he told me about his book, in all ways wanted me to understand that it was to tell the true flavours and mouth-watering recipes of his family or friends. Do not let me down.

Everything is told with simplicity and recipes are those that create plates that enhance different individual flavours. Why “tea-time”? Why the snack is absolutely the most delicious moment. You can also buy the book I can promise you will not regret it.

But back to his Panzanella. A dish that may not be for everyone’s taste but it is very simple to prepare. In Milan, it’s hard to find Tuscan bread, but do not give up on this …

In his recipe, there are also eggs, which for the purists do not go there, but as I said … this is the recipe of his mother, and his mother is always right! Here is the recipe:

Florence Panzanella, weekend top lunch!
  • 800g stale bread
  • 1 red onion, Tuscan
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 large tomatoes salad
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 2dl Tuscan extra virgin olive oil
  • 1dl red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. I crumbled the bread in a bowl and I doused with cold water
  2. I boiled the eggs with the shell, for 10 minutes from boiling
  3. I washed and cut the tomatoes into small cubes, onion slices and chopped basil with your hands
  4. In a bowl I mixed the squeezed bread, tomatoes, sliced onion, hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters, basil
  5. I seasoned with vinegar, oil, salt and pepper

Panzanella? The teatime, and only good things delicious

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05Apr 14



Translation by Alessandra Dubini – Marlborough College

Here’s my ideal kitchen urban fresella + cherry tomatoes, olives and olive oil with thyme and basil.

It’s not even a recipe; it is a mere exercise in fantasy. Corn and tomato are the essence of the kitchens that overlook the Mediterranean panzanella, pappa al pomodoro, couscous, gazpacho, pan con tomate … are the two ingredients that I would take on a desert island.

I always wondered how my husband would have survived if he had lived before 1492, when tomatoes were not available in Italy!  No spaghetti with tomatoes sauce and no pizza, a real nightmare!! At the time it must have been like going from black and white television to colour one. Everyone who belongs to the class 60s’ like me will understand what it felt like looking at programs like”Scacciapensieri” on Swiss TV a my friends house.

But back to the freselle …

Notes of cuisine: the fresella is nothing more than a bun cut in half and put in the oven to give it a bit of crunchiness. Hard and rough, less fat fresh bread, it should be softened with water before being seasoned to taste. Once softened you can crumble (if you do not have to throw the Tuscan bread) and use for the panzanella.

But here’s the recipe: I soaked for 5 minutes in a bowl with cold water freselle about a head, depending on hunger.

Meanwhile, I diced the tomatoes (about 400g) ribbed, nice crisp-skinned and have them topped with a sliced ​​onion, the olives, salt, pepper and 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil which had s 5 basil leaves and a few sprigs of thyme.

It ‘important to choose ripe tomatoes and not watery ones and if you prepare the sauce with a little’ ahead is even better, because the flavours blend and smells grow. But if you do not have time…. does not matter!! Because one of the rules of my urban kitchen is not to give up the whole recipe if you miss just one element (in this case time).

Put the sauce on fresella, even a sprinkling of pepper, a few leaves of basil and thyme. Total of 15 minutes for a simple and tasty dish.

Obviously, the variations are endless: the fresella is an excellent neutral base …



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