Chocolate Cookies for the weekend

Hello everybody!

Here in Bologna summer has already gone, and after a couple of weeks of 30-35°C, we got back to November rains. With this horrible weather (cold, wind, storms and rain) I propose you a recipe that you will definitely appreciate, while drinking your tea on the couch (do not forget the blanket).

I tried this recipe long time ago in Canada, but now I propose you my personal and modified one.

I am talking about chocolate cookies, that all Americans, Canadians and people from all over the world love (watch out, they could cause addiction ;) ).

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I hope that my friend Gina (born in the States but with Italian origins, blood and smile) to whom is dedicated this post, will approve my version.

And I hope that all of you try it ,and let me know if you liked it.

CHOCOLATE COOKIES

INGREDIENTS (around 40 cookies):

120 gr. BUTTER

100 gr. BROWN BUTTER

2 tablespoons of HONEY

1 EGG

220 gr. WHEAT FLOUR

½ teaspoon SALT

1 teaspoon VANILLA BAKING POWDER

120 gr. CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Soften butter in the microwave for less than a minute, ten put it in a bowl and beat it with a whisk, while adding brown sugar. Without stopping beating, add one egg and a couple of tablespoons of honey. Stir flower with salt and baking powder and sift it in the bowl.

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Add chocolate chips and stir gently. While preheating the oven to 180°C, put the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes (otherwise the cookies will spread out too much with the heat of the oven). Drop cookies by the tablespoon onto a baking pun covered with wax paper.

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Bake for 8-10 mins (depends on the oven), then allow the cookies to rest and cool completely befor transferring it in your favorite biscuits box.

Happy weekend and take advantage from bad weather to bake these wonderful cookies!

Claudia

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Exotic Salad

Unfortunately winter is coming back here in Brussels but this should not stop us from preparing nice summer recipes isn’t it?

The one of today is perfect for a romantic aperitif on the terrace but also as a fast and light lunch to bring to the office. Ready? It only takes 2 minutes to prepare it!!

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Ingredients for 2:

  • 10 red prawns
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 mango (but also papaya can be a very good combination)
  • Lime
  • white wine
  • salt
  • pepper
  • a bit of chilli if you like it

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 Clean and shelled the prawns, then cook them for few minutes in a pan adding a bit of wine till when the the wine has evaporated and the prawns have done a bit of crust. At this point add the prawns to the avocado and the mango (both cleaned and cut in pieces) and seasoned all with the juice of 1 lime, olive oil, salt, pepper and chilli (optional)!

I didn’t have at home but I think that that also some mint leaves and maybe some fennel could be a very good alternative!).

Now you just need to open a good bottle of white wine very cold and…enjoy!

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Italian meets Asian…in Brussels!

A couple of weeks ago I went to visit my friend Silvia (S.) in Brussels.
We are good friends, we studied together at university, and we have in common is the love for food. We love to eat, cook, talk about it (of course, we are Italians!), try new flavors, invent new recipes, and we both love to take pictures.
Oh, I forgot: she and her friend Silvia (C.) have a blog (this one)…
That’s why after a weekend of drinking, eating, laughing, eating and drinking again, we decided to start a new project about regional food, and I’m very proud and grateful to both of them because they will host my posts every week (for Italian version see my tumblr scattincucina.tumblr.it and follow me on twitter: scattincucina). I’ll talk about Italian food of course; in particular, recipes from the different regional traditions, sometimes mixed with my passion for cooking.
The project will start in September, so don’t worry: if you lucky guys go to the sea you won’t miss it!
BUT..
..for the ones who stay in town, I’ll post in the meanwhile a bunch of recipes from different regions of the world. I will post on Fridays, but I might surprise you, so stay tuned! And follow me and your Italian cook mates, Silvia and Silvia.
Oh.. I’m Claudia by the way!

and here’s the recipe:

UDON NOODLES WITH SHRIMPS AND BRUSCANDOLI* 

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INGREDIENTS
(2 persons )
  • 90 gr udon noodles
  • 12 shrimps
  • 150 gr bruscandoli
  • a fistful of soy sprouts
  • 600 ml of water
  • 3 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger
  • garlic
  • 3 tablespoons minced parsley
  • thai hot pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of miso
  • white wine (less than half glass)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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Peel and devein shrimps and put it in a bowl.
Prepare a “quick brodetto**”: put heads and shells of shrimps with oil, garlic, parsley and hot pepper in a pot and press the heads a bit with a wooden spoon, as to release fluids. Simmer with white wine until reduced, then add water and boil for 20 minutes.
Filter with a strainer and put aside in a bowl.
In a slightly oiled pan sauté sprouts with bruscandoli for a couple of minutes, then add shrimps and ginger (and more hot pepper if you like it really spicy).
Cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile cook the udon noodles for 8 minutes, strain it and add it to the pan with the “brodetto” you put aside and miso.

Stir well for a couple of minutes, put in two bowls and serve.

Eat with chopsticks of course!

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GLOSSARY:
*Bruscandoli: bruscandoli are the turnip tops of Humulus Lupulus, better known as Hop and main ingredient of many biers. In the Italian culinary tradition has a similar use as asparagus, that’s why throughout Italy is often called wild asparagus.
**Brodetto: the brodetto is a light broth made with different fishes, cuticles, claws of shellfish. Every seaside italian Region has his different Brodetto recipe. This one is a very quick and revisited one, invented just not to waste shrimps shells.

Happiness is homemade: the collection in pdf and youritaliancookmates is in there!!

Did you remember the contest “Happiness is homemade” to which youritaliancookmates has participated with a spring salad?  http://youritaliancookmates.altervista.org/happiness-is-homemade-insalatina-primaverile-from-brussels-with-love/

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Unfortunately we did not win the contest but we have been selected by Roberta Paris from The Dreaming Seed for being part of the pdf collection with the most interesting recipes that participated at the contest!

Here is the introduction to the pdf:

With the excuse of lack of time, of a thousand things to do, thoughts, and commitments, often people end up thinking that cooking is a gesture that can been done only by few privileged who have nothing better to do from morning to night. However, we often forgot that a pasta with fresh tomato, a little bit of olive oil and a basil leaf, is one of the best dishes in the world that gives off scents that are a real dose of well-being and for which we need few minutes of preparation!

Take twenty minutes of time to devote to the ancient gesture of preparing food, soaking your hands into the ingredients, smelling the scents that emanate fresh products, it’s a great choice for many reasons: to rediscover simple pleasures of forgotten taste, to  take care of ourselves and people we love by choosing healthy and natural foods, to contribute to the development of a food that is more human-scale ……
And then from these considerations started the idea of a contest before, and this collection then.
Seven menu, 28 recipes, quick, tasty, healthy, but with an eye to raw materials, the seasonality of the products, the production chains ….. because eating does not mean only feed, and choose well today is more than ever an obligation to ourselves and to the world in which we live.

Are you curios to discover all the recipes? click here to download for free the pdf and have fun in cooking!! Inside there are many interesting ideas for good and easy menus!

Our salad is here:

Menu dall’Orto #2
Insalatina primaverile from Brussels with Love di Your Italian Cookmates
I fusilloni allo yogurt di Con Un Poco di Zucchero
I fiori di zucca ripieni al profumo di timo di Mariintkitchen
La crema al caffè di Zucchero Pandizucchero

The first workshop, the first winner, a great success!!

Hello Brussels!

First of all we apologize for the delay of this post and for this week of silence but, unfortunately, a small accident happened while I was cooking: indeed, I cut part of my finger with the elettric slicer..:( Thus, I have some difficulties in typing!

However, last Sunday, despite everything, the first Italian Cookmates pizza workshop took place with 5 amazing participants that we want to thanks!

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All the girls had the opportunity to make their own dough and to create their own pizza following their preferences and tastes!

Do you want to know the results? Check yourselves:

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Everyone had the opportunity to bring home a small italian present (girls we are waiting your recipes!!)

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but the winner of the best pizza competition received also another small price:

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Congratulations to all of you!!!

Girls we are waiting your comments on that day and for all the others who couldn’t participate…we are waiting you at the next one!!! 

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Italian Pique-nique

I know we have already written this many times but..this seems to be the right one: spring is coming in Brussels!! The weather forecast predicts till 23 degrees for this week end so…We have to profit of the sun spending as much time as possible in the park and what a better way if not a pique – nique?

My recipe for this occasion is an amazing stuffed focaccia. The focaccia bread is a flat and baked bread. Of Italian origins, it is historically linked to the pizza, indeed, the style and texture are similar consisting of wheat flour, oil, water, salt and yeast. The focaccia is usually seasoned with olive oil and salt, sometimes herbs, and possibly onion, cheese, and vegetables.

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The ingredients are very simple:

  • around 300ml of water
  •  extra virgin olive oil (more or less 130ml)
  • 500g of flour 00
  • 10g brewer’s yeast
  • a bit of salt for the dough
  • a bit of coarse salt
  • a small spoon of honey
  • Rosemary

Dissolve the normal salt in warm water and put it into a bowl with the honey, a bit of olive oil, and half the flour and stir to form a smooth batter and fairly liquid. United at this point the crumbled yeast and knead for another 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining flour and knead again until you get a smooth mixture (which will be quite sticky). Put around 50ml of extra virgin olive oil on the baking sheet for baking the cake, place the dough on the oiled baking pan, give it a rectangular shape and place it covered to rise for about an hour inside the oven off until its volume will be doubled. After this time, take the dough for focaccia and redistribute the dough on the entire surface of the pan, taking care to assure that below it there is still plenty of oil. Brush the surface of the cake with oil and sprinkle with coarse salt, let rise again for about another hour. It ‘s time to bake the cake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for at least 15 – 20 minutes, but before you do that you will have to spray the surface with a mix of oil and water sprinkling the surface of the focaccia with the coarse salt and a bit of rosemary.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool, then leave the cake on a wire rack before cutting and stuffing it with what you prefer.

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However, if you don’t have time, you can easily buy the “already done” dough for focaccia or pizza at the supermarket! It is of course not the same but it will be good as well! but schhhhhh, do not say it:)

The focaccia is very good already simply like this. Otherwise, as I did, I suggest you to stuff the focaccia with ham and cheese or with boiled potatoes and cheese! In this case fill the focaccia before putting it into the oven: roll out 1 layer of dough very thin, then add the ingredients and finally cover all with another layer of dough sealing well the edges. Always remember to spray the surface with a mix of oil and water sprinkling the surface of the focaccia with the coarse salt and a bit of rosemary.

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If you buy the dough it is better to buy 2 of them so that you can roll out 1 dough, add the ingredients for stuffing it and cover it with another dough before putting it into the oven.

A special thanks to Claudia for the amazing week end and for this idea!!