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Macarons… macarons… I have tried them the first time at a famous French pastry shop, Ladurée. They were very sweet but somehow I start liking them more and more… not that I like eating macarons but I am fascinated by the way they are made. It is a challenge… since then I had looked for some information about recipes, tips and tricks how to make it perfectly… I have to say that I am NOT an expert, I’m just someone who would like to share these lovely recipe in my blog ^^ hope you enjoy!

For the shells: (made 10 pairs)
35 gr egg white (about 1)
12 gr granulated sugar
60 gr powdered sugar
30 gr almonds
red powdered food coloring (the end color will depend on how much you use)

Egg whites: separate your egg and store the white at room temperature in a covered container for at least 48 hours. In this way, it will decrease the humidity, which is in a better condition to make macarons. In a large bowl, use an electric beater to beat the egg white. When it starts foaming up, gradually add the sugar and powdered food coloring. Keep beating until it turns into a glossy texture. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse them until they are finely ground. Or you can use almond meal and icing sugar, sift them in a small bowl, and use a little spoon to mix them well together. In this way, the almond meal and icing sugar will spread out evenly. Add them to the meringue, fold quickly to break some of the air and then fold carefully until a batter flows like lava. The whole process should not take more than 25 strokes. To see if the mixture is ready, drop on a small plate, if the tops flattens on its own then it is ready. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of folds.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper lined baking sheets or Silpat. Preheat the oven to 140c/275F/Gas Mark 1. Let the macarons sit at least an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 18-20 minutes, depending on their size. I suggested you to leave the shells until they have a texture like play dough… when you touch them, they don’t stick to your fingers… that’s when they’re good to go. (On a rainy day, there is a high humidity in the air… it might take more time, several hours for the shells to harden)

The baking part is very tricky. Each oven works differently. The upper part of my oven is quite warm; I needed to put the tray on the bottom part of the oven, use top and bottom heat without fan… Some ovens work well when baking macarons with fan turned on. Some give a perfect macaron’s shape when you put the tray in a middle part… it depends… I guess you will have to find out how yours work by trying it a couple times.

Once macarons are baked and if you are not eating them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.

To make macarons, pipe the butter cream on a center of macaron shells then put another empty shell on top. Gently push them together (if the cream is too thick, you may use a finger to help spreading the cream out evenly)

Rose Butter Cream
Ingredients:
50 gr rose jam
50 gr unsalted butter (at room temperature)
10 gr granulated sugar
2/3 cup of milk
½ tsp of all purpose flour

In a small sauce pan, boil milk with low heat and gradually add the flour… stir constantly until it gets thicker Turn of the stove and let the milk cool down. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and gradually add sugar. Beat the mixer until it becomes fluffy then add rose jam and milk mixture. Keep beating at low speed until it is mixed well and becomes creamy.
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Beat egg white and gradually add granulated sugar
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Add red powdered coloring and continue beating egg white until it becomes glossy
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Add ground almond and sugar into the mixture… fold quickly a first few times, then carefully fold until it becomes like lava texture
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My macarons…
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Macarons with Rose Butter Cream
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My macarons with a very cute box (from Ladurée)!
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Macarons with Rose Butter Cream (with purple color)
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As you can see that the ingredients are quite simple, but the procedure to make is somehow not that simple. There are so many factors involved; humidity, temperature, oven, etc. Macarons like dry and cold weather. The shell will harden easily, which is good. This will prevent the face to break (or crack) when you put into the oven. If the surface is not hard enough… the heat will damage its look. If the temperature is too low, the legs of macarons might not go up. Or if your oven is too hot, it might burn macarons…But once you tried to make a couple times then you’ll get a hang of it… and see how they are going to turn out… hope you enjoy, good luck!

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Mondeghili (MON-deh-KEE-lee) are deep fried meatballs. The recipe is originated from Milan, Italy. Most of Italians know them as “Polpette” (pol-PET-teh), means meatballs. The word “Polpette” are widely used among people who are not from Milan.

They are considered as peasant food (food for poor people). The idea of ingredients is to use leftover meat and bread to create meatballs. Nothing wasted in the old time… good idea even for the present time.

It is normally served as second course, accompanied with salad or grilled vegetables. Sometimes it is served with tomato sauce.
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Ingredients (for 4 people)
Ground beef 400 grams
Mortadella Bologna 150 grams
Italian sausage “Salsiccia” 150 grams
Bread (any kind) 100 grams
Grated parmesan cheese 100 grams
Milk 1 cup
2 eggs
Butter 20 grams
Garlic 1 clove (minced)
Chopped parsley 2 teaspoons
Salt 2 teaspoons
Black pepper 1 teaspoon
Breadcrumbs (to coat meatballs) 1 cup
Oil (to fry) 2 cups
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Directions
Slice bread into little pieces then soak them in milk. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
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Slice mortadella into small pieces then put them in food processor until it is minced well.
For Italian sausage “Salsiccia”, remove the skin and take only the meat inside.
Mix all 3 kinds of meat together; ground beef, mortadella and salsiccia.
Add the rest of ingredients; soaked bread, grated parmesan, 2 eggs, butter, garlic, chopped parsley, salt and black pepper.
Mix well altogether.
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Form the mixture into meatballs. Make them into round shape (4-5 cm), with height around 1-1.5 cm.
Coat meatballs with breadcrumbs.
Deep fry into a pan with low heat.
Mondeghili could be served as hot or at room temperature.
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Bread (Bocconcino Morbido), it was our leftover… perfect to use for mondeghili.

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Slice bread into pieces then soak them in milk

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Salsiccia and Mortadella
Mortadella is cured pork, which contains 15% fat. It is slightly smoked, originated from Bologna, Italy.
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Slice mortadella into pieces then put into food processer.

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Remove salsiccia’s skin, we only need the meat inside.
Salsiccia in Italy is made from ground pork, marinated with some spices such as garlic, pepper, nutmeg, etc. A tradition form is like sausage with long shape.

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Mix all the meats together

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Mix well all the ingredients.

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Form meatballs into round shape, it also could be form into oval shape (like egg).

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Coat meatballs with breadcrumbs and deep fry in a pan.

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Let them sit on paper towel for a bit so they will not be too oily before serving.

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Mondeghili or Polpette Milanesi — ready to serve.

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I have created some ideas about making Halloween treats… A couple weeks ago I was at the supermarket close to our home and saw nice oranges from Sicily (they are called “Valencia” oranges). Sure enough I picked up some of them and started to think about making orange pudding.

“Jack O’Lantern” came across my mind… and now here we go “Jack O’Lantern Orange Pudding”

Italian word for pudding is “Budino” (boo- DEE-no). Orange pudding is “Budino all’Arancia”.

Recipe: Jack O’Lantern Orange Pudding

3 Oranges (I used Valencia Oranges from Sicily)
Orange juice 2 cups
Granulated sugar 1 cups
Heavy Cream 2 cups
Corn Starch 2 tablespoons
Gelatin Powder 1 teaspoon

Directions
Prepare oranges
Cut the top off neatly, make them look like lids
Use a little knife to clean out the inside of oranges
You may use a little spoon to help
This step you will get orange juice around 2-3 cups
Use a strainer to filter seeds and pulps
Keep the juice for 2 cups (we’ll make pudding from it)

Keep the oranges (with inside emptied) as containers
We’ll use them to make “Jack O’Lantern”

“Making Pudding”
In a medium size pot, pour in orange juice
Put on a stove with medium heat
Slow pour in granulated sugar, mix well
When sugar was all melt, add in corn starch
The texture will form like orange jam
At this point, slowly pour in heavy cream
Keep stirring until it becomes thicker
At the end add in gelatin powder

Use a spoon to put the pudding in orange container
(bowls that are made from oranges with inside emptied)
Leave until they all cooled down
Then put them in a fridge for at least 2-3 hours
Pudding will form soft and thick texture, ready to serve

Decoration as Jack O’Lantern
We will need black papers
Cut into triangle shapes to make eyes and noses
For the mouth, you may create with different shapes you like

“Valencia” oranges

Cut the tops off, make them look like “lids”

Empty the inside of oranges, you can orange juice for 2-3 cups

Add in sugar, corn starch, heavy cream and gelatin powder

Mix well, then pour them back into oranges (with inside emptied)

Cover with lids before serving… does it look like “brain”? haha!!!

Decoration papers…

Decorate with black papers cut into different shapes for eyes, noses and mouths. Stick them on the oranges with glue

Jack O’Lantern Orange Pudding… ready to serve

Hope you enjoy!
Buon Appetito.

Insalata di riso is very popular as an Italian summer dish. The word “giallo” simply means “yellow” in English. It is one of the classic dishes in Italy. Many people switched from hot risotto to insalata di riso when the weather gets warmer. Beside that you can make large amount and store it in the refrigerator for several days.

You can add different kind of ingredients, beside what is in this recipe, such as artichokes in olive oil, baby pickles, champignon in olive oil, anchovies, tuna, etc.

 

Insalata di riso giallo

Ingredienst:
Arborio Rice 300 gr.
Prosciuto Cotto (diced) 100 gr.
Peas (cooked) 100 gr.
Red bell peppers 80 gr.
Olives (sliced) 60 gr.
Baby onions 40 gr.
Fontina Cheese (diced) 100 gr.
Saffron 2 teaspoons

Directions:

In a large skillet, cook the rice. When it is almost done, add saffron to make the rice yellow. Leave it until it has cooled. When the rice is ready, combine with the rest of ingredients and mix well. Serve at room temperature.

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Prepare ingredients

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Prepare each ingredient: cut bell peppers into little pieces and slice olives. Baby onions can be used as they are. Cook green peas or you can use them from the can.

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Diced fontina cheese and prosciutto cotto.

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Cook the rice.

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Add saffron, rice will turn into yellow. Leave the rice on the pan until it is not hot anymore.

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When the rice is at room temperature, put in the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

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Insalata di riso giallo

First of all let’s get to know some Italian words; Carciofo is “Artichoke” in English. Most of the time the plural form is used, which is “Carciofi” or “Artichokes”… you can guess it is because we normally use more than “one” artichoke to make a meal.

Carciofo (singular) = Artichoke

Carciofi (plural) = Artichokes


Let’s see our menu today; Pipe Rigate con Carciofi

 

 

 

Ingredients for 4 people

Pasta Pipe Rigate 350 grams

Artichoke (in olive oil) 150 grams

Heavy Cream 200 ml

Grated Cheese: Pecorino Romano 40 grams

Extra Virgine Olive Oil 1 tablespoon

Dried Marjoram 1 tablespoon

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

 

 

Directions

Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Drain the water and leave it aside.

Cut each artichokes into bite size. In a large skillet, fry artichoke, add salt and pepper as you like.

Pour cooked pasta and mix it with fried artichokes.

In a small sauce pan, mixed heavy cream with grated pecorino romano and boil with low heat.

Add dried majoram to mixed sauce (cream and cheese).

Pour mixed cream sauce over pasta Pipe Rigate and artichokes, serve hot.

You may sprinkle a bit of dried marjoram on the dish.

 

 

 

Pipe Rigate

 

 

 

 

Grated Pecorino Romano

 

 

 

 

Carciofi (Artichokes) – fresh

 

 

 

 

Artichokes in olive oil

 

 

 

 

Majoram (or Maggiorana in Italian) – we use dried one.

 

 

 

 

Directions

 

 

 

 

Fry artichokes in a large skillet

 

 

 

 

Pipe Rigate mixed with artichokes

 

 

 

 

Mix heavy cream with grated Pecorino Romano

 

 

 

 

Boil heavy cream with Pecorino Romano, then add dried Marjoram

 

 

 

 

Pour the mixed sauce over pasta and artichokes

 

 

 

 

Mix all the ingredients well

 

 

 

 

Add a bit of dried Marjoram, ready to serve.

 

 

 

 

Menu of the day – Pipe Rigate con Carciofi

 

 

Buon Appetito!

Trofie alla Genovese is a typical dish from Genoa (or Genova in Italian), a city in the region of Luguria, Northeast of Italy. I tried it first time there… so good… couldn’t resist to find a recipe and make this at home. It is so simple… delicious with authentic Italian flavor.

Ingredients: (4 servings)

3 cups of Pasta Trofie

½ cup of Pesto

2 medium Potatoes (cubed)

1 cup of Green Beans (chopped into bite size)

Salt to taste

Directions:

In a large skillet, boil cubed potatoes until it is almost done. Add pasta Trofie, cook for 8-10 minutes, then add chopped green beans. Boil until everything is cooked. Drain the water then mix pesto sauce with pasta, potatoes and green beans. Serve with a few fresh basil leaves.

Recipe for Pesto:

3 cups of Basil Leaves

2 cloves of Garlic

½ cup of Pine Nuts

½ cup of Olive Oil

3 table spoons of grated cheese – Parmigiano Reggiano

2 table spoons of grated cheese – Pecorino Romano

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions for making Pesto:

Combine basil leaves and pine nuts, blend in a food processor. Then add garlic and pulse a few more times. Slowly add olive oil, blend very well until it is creamy. Add both types of cheese, pulse a few times. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Basil leaves and Cheese – getting ready to make Pesto

Pesto – the main ingredient for this dish

Making Trofie alla Genovese

Mixing pesto with pasta

It’s ready… here we go! Trofie alla Genovese

Buon Appetito!

There is a story behind this dish, Pasta alla Norma. It is originally from Catania, Sicily. Back at the time when dinner was served during the opera show, the cook invented the dish of pasta with eggplants. “Norma” is the name of the opera, written by Vincenzo Bellini. This particular dish was served during “Norma” show… finally it is named “Pasta alla Norma” after the famous opera from Sicily.

Ingredients

1 eggplant
1 clove garlic
4 large tomatoes
80 grams of  Ricotta Salata Cheese, grated
olive oil
400 grams of Pasta (Maccheroni or Penne)
10 basil leaves
salt
pepper

Preparing the Ingredients

Eggplant – Slice the eggplant and place on a cutting board propped on a slant, cover with salt and leave under a weight for one hour until the bitter water comes out.  Then chop to bite size.

Tomatoes – peeled, diced, and seeded

Garlic – chopped

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, brown the garlic in olive oil, add the tomatoes and salt.
  2. Bring to a simmer over low heat and continue cooking, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add basil leaves, salt and pepper as you like.
  4. Add chopped eggplant. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  5. At the mean time, cook the pasta until it is almost done.
  6. Add pasta to the simmering sauce (eggplants, tomatoes, etc.)
  7. Toss in the skillet until all the ingredients mixed well.
  8. Add grated Ricotta Salata, and place on the dish
  9. Garnish with a few basil leaves, … now the dish is ready to serve!

Preparing the Ingredients:

Cooking – Pasta alla Norma

Pasta alla Norma – ready to serve!

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You can create a romantic dinner at home — with a famous Italian dish — “Pasta alla Norma”.
So yummmm! So good!

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