Summer 2015

Hello people…It is a while we don’t write you….again :) Already back from holidays? I am and I have to say Brussels doesn’t have given me a warm welcome, indeed, here we are already in the fall … gray … rain ..:(

But let’s go back with the mind and re-think about the 30 degrees, the sea and relaxation …  This is a brief glimpse of my summer and yours, how was it?

This for me was a summer of many sunrises and sunsets … A lot, but really a lot of work, but also many “first times”. For the first time I ate tomatoes grown from us, yes, they can also grow in Brussels :) I became aunt for the second time, but this time of a beautiful girl. For the first time I visited a wonderful land as the Cilento region, and  I recommend to all of you to go there. This summer I also realized for the first time how a lot of times my body does not correspond to my head, finding myself in a festival where the average age was decidedly inferior to mine, coming home and finding myself as one of the few people I know who have not yet had children, thinking I can still do anything I want and finding myself to pay the consequences the next day :) Am I having an early midlife crisis?! We also created our “not to miss” event of the week here in Brussels, we learned what it means “venite da me per una cena pugliese” (vero Silvia?), I realised I hate papagaci, more than mosquitoes, I met friends I didn’t see in a while, I learned how to be more patient and relaxed (still working on this last part), and I I laughed a lot (Fortunately this didn’t happened for the first time!).

For those of you who are still around the world..have fun … I’ll wait you here :) And stay tuned because soon we will publish new recipes!

P.S. As you will see from my pictures, this summer I thought more on eating than on photographing…

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News number 1!

We promised you big news for this 2015 so..let’s start with the first!

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Yes, Silvia&Silvia official “chef de cuisine”  for an entire evening thanks to Open Kitchen and the event Restaurant day, and of course thank to our great super friend Berta :)

Restaurant Day is a food carnival created by thousands of people organizing and visiting one-day restaurants worldwide. The idea of the day is to have fun, share new food experiences and enjoy our common living environments together.

Do you want to participate? Registrations are open:

https://openkitchen.stagehq.com/events/3277

Very soon the first recipes!

Welcome back to us!!!

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We thought many times to stat again writing on this blog. The desire was there but the time not at all and doing something beautiful when you are in a hurry loses its meaning and becomes just another of the 1000 daily activities for which we should be stressed. This is why we waiting and we left the blog in standby.

This 2014 was an important year for us, full of (good and bad) news and changes: job, home, boyfriend, haircut, roommates, identity card, colleagues…These are just some of the many things that have changed for us since beginning 2014 and as you can imagine this means addressing very complicated and challenging periods that have prevented us to dedicate ourselves to our common passion.

But now we are back, more motivated than ever, full of energy and ready to start again this adventure with all of you. We have already great news for the next future so…

Stay tuned and spread the word: Silvia and Silvia are back :)

 

 

Carrots and changes

As you probably know I have been a little bit busy this last month…
Instead of changing my seasonal closet this autumn I decided to…change town.
and job!
:)
As you can imagine I had very few time to cook, actually I sometimes had even few time to eat.
And since I led off with the new job I started bringing a lunch box with me everyday.
This recipe is rich but not heavy, balanced and colorful, a perfect idea for your lunch box, but also for a gloomy sunday like today is.

INGREDIENTS (2 servings if you have a hungry and greedy boyfriend)
250 gr Pasta tortiglioni;
4 carrots;
1 yellow onion;
curry mix (you can find a lot of different mix, just choose yours! I actually buy turmeric, cilantro, ginger and cumin separately and add other spices that I like in order to create my own curry mix!);
3 tablespoons of pine nuts;
if necessary other spices that you like;
extra virgen olive oil;
salt&pepper.

Parboil carrots 15 mins in boiling water before pan-frying them. Chop grossly and put them in a pan with EVO oil, a bay leaf, a small minced onion and stir swiftly. Add half of a glass of water and let simmer until carrots are well-browned and cooked. Add your curry mix and salt&pepper.
Grind everything with a food mixer until creamy.
Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water.
Meanwhile pan-fry the pine nuts with a spoon of EVO oil, until well-roasted.
Strain the pasta, stir well with che carrots&curry mix and add the pine nuts.
If you like it you can grate a bit of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on the top.

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Strudel jam and..big jumps

Helly everybody, I am finally back!
Well, if you didn’t feel my absence, I hope you were at least looking forward to try my new recipes..I was surely looking forward to prepare and present this easy but astonishing recipe!

I have some big news:first of all, we left our cozy, lovely and tiny house in Bologna to move to..Bolzano!
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The reason why is the second big news: I found a new job here which looks promising and exciting, so we decided to leave Bologna after almost ten years…
Bolzano is my native town, is a tiny, cozy and beautiful city up in the North of Italy, surrounded by the Alps, specifically Dolomites. Half of the population here talks Italian, and the other half is German speaking. Everything here is neat and organized, which is an aspect that probably set the town more like an Austrian city, rather than an Italian one. By the way, one of the typical products from here are apples, besides wine and other wonderful culinary products.
Today, in Bolzano, it was definitely raining cats and dogs, that’s why I decided to propose you a delicious way to store this wonderful fruit now, when it is at its best. I called it “strudel” jam because the flavour is very similar to the famous pie from South Tyrol (ok, recipe soon..)

INGREDIENTS:

2kg apples (typical from Bolzano are Golden Delicius)
a bit of water if needed
juice of one lemon
some tablespoons of sugar (Golden is an already sweet apple and do not require extra sugar)
1 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of pine nuts
a fistful of raisins
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Put clean jars and new lids in a saucepan with water and boil at least 10 minutes to sterilize them. Leave them into the pan until water is cold again, then let dry and start preparing the jam.
Peel and finely dice the apples and sprinkle with lemon juice.
In a high-sided saucepan combine apples with lemon and sugar and stir well, paying attention that the apples don’t adhere to the pan. Just in case add a glass of water and cook slowly. Cook the jam for around 60 minutes adding a bit of water if needed. By cooking it for so long and thanks to the natural property of apples, you do not need to add jelling agents, because apples naturally contains pectin.
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Remove from heat, add cinnamon, pine nuts and raisins and fill the jars to within 1cm to the top. Close with lids, after cleaning rims from the jam. Put the jars upside down thus creating a natural vacuum and leave it until cool.
To appreciate the flavour at its best, you should leave the jars a couple of months in a cool and dark place, but in our house it never lasted that time… ;)
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You can use it to fill a pie, you can taste it with biscuits and tea, but most of the friend who received the jars as a Christmas present told me, they used to gobbled up without anything, just filling the spoon :)

…and to fight a heavy sky, a 24h of pouring rain and blue mood: try the jam while you listen to Big Jumps -Emiliana Torrini (“Me and Armini” album released in 2008).

oh..my new job won’t start until November, that’s why I’ll leave soon for my last week of holiday as an unemployed..where? guess..it’s not difficult, it’s my second home by now…and I’ll come back with funny anectodes and new regional recipes.

Enjoy!
Claudia

Less words more pics: homemade spaghetti alla chitarra

Italy is a wonderful country.
But italy is also a strange country, where -in the XXI Century- homosexuality is still something to buzz about it. Italy is a place where -in 2013- sounds normal that the manager of the biggest italian Company producing pasta talks about the traditional family as the housewife knitting, while she waits for her husband at home (for this idea of family I suggest you a textbook of Modern History: from the Fall of Costantinople, to the Congress of Vienna 1453-1815).
I won’t fuel the argument, because everything has been already said, written, posted and twitted about how Guido Barilla miserably made an ass of himself, I just think that probably he’s not so skilled in marketing, looking at the hell unleashed by his declaration about Barilla’s commercial and homosexuality on the web.

Well, we don’t care about Barilla (which is probably the most popular pasta in the world but not the best) and we propose you a wonderful recipe of homemade pasta!

SPAGHETTI ALLA CHITARRA*

Less words more pics..this is a traditional recipe, prepared with the ingredients of the abruzzese tradition, in a background that couldn’t be more traditionally set. I’m sorry for the poor Guido, who would judge the situation as a clamorous role swap, where the dough was kneaded and rolled by a man, and for one time, I was the invisible observer hidden behind the camera.

INGREDIENTS
for the dough:
3 eggs
450 gr durum wheat flour
a bit of water
salt

The exact amount of wheat depends of a a large range of factors, humidity and temperature of the air etc, so I suggest you to try and try until you get the perfect dough. Bytheway he traditional egg pasta would be one egg every 100 gr of wheat.

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Put the wheat on the pastry board as to form a sort of volcano. Make a hole on the top and open the eggs in it, add salt, beat the eggs a bit then start adding the wheat, add water if you need it and knead well, forming a sort of snake.

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Roll the dough and cut it the same width as the “Chitarra”, then press it on the strings with the rolling pin and let the spaghetti fall down on the base of the utensil.

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Let them dry a bit then cook in salted boiling water.

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Strain and serve with the sauce you prefer, we used the best homemade hot-pot sauce ever cooked.

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*the Chitarra (that would be guitar, literally translated) is an ancient utensil used in the kitchens of South of Italy. The name derives from its resemblance to the musical instrument, and it is used to prepare spaghetti with a squared section, instead of a circular one.

Happy weekend to EVERYONE!
Claudia

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Arborio rice with truffle from Abruzzi

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What a hard work to come back from the longest and probably most beautiful summer I ever spent in my entire life!
Sun is still shining in Italy, and I still don’t feel like get in the kitchen and start cooking…but as I promised you, I came back from holiday with a lot of recipes. I spent most of August travelling around the Abruzzi, our first stop-over.. from the sea to the mountains and back, all over the region.  _DSC9028

The recipe I propose you today comes from the countryside, and I have to thank Lino, Paola and Matilde for the present, but also Tobia and Havana, Lino’s dogs, who did the dirty work and found the truffle!

ARBORIO RICE WITH TRUFFLE FROM ABRUZZI

Ingredients:
6 small cups of Arborio rice
a little yellow onion
butter
beef bouillon or vegetables broth
a glass of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo
truffle-peeled and sliced thin
Parmigiano Reggiano

Mince the onion and put it in a pot with a bit of butter. Add Arborio rice and stir well.

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Simmer with white wine until reduced, then add a spoonful broth at a time and cook for about fifteen minutes, adding broth when needed.

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Turn the burner off, add truffle, parmigiano and some butter, stir and cover for a couple of minutes. Serve hot, adding some more truffle on the top of the risotto.

Have a nice weekend,
your Claudia.

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countdown and sushi

 

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Ok guys, I’m in the countdown mood, ready to leave Bologna in a couple of days. I won’t tell you my destination now, but it’s about sea, marine and forestal reserves, mountains and italian culinary tradition. I will come back with a backpack full of regional recipes, nice pics of wonderful places and funny anecdotes about food to tell you.
BUT..
Before to leave I have a present for you!
This is one of my favorite recipes ever, and this one in particular is my personal one, adapted, modified and readjusted to my taste.
I am sure you will love it, you only have to pay attention to 3 things:
1.Fish has to be more than fresh, almost alive :)
2.Rice must absorb all water but remain “al dente”.
3.Use chopsticks (or hands) and enjoy!

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Ingredients

600 grams sticky rice (in Italy you can use “riso Roma” and fits perfect)
850 ml water

125 ml rice vinegar (I actually use apple vinegar)
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt

nori seaweed sheets
raw fish (salmon, tuna, swordfish, porbeagle, shrimps)
cucumber – peeled and cut in strips
avocado – peeled, pit removed and cut into slices
whatever else you like

pickled ginger
soy sauce
wasabi

bamboo rolling mat

Rinse the rice a couple of times, until water runs clear.
Put the rice in a pot with cold water. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 mins without uncover (I use a glass lid). In a small saucepan combine vinegar, salt and sugar and cook until sugar and salt dissolve, stir well while cooking, then let it cool until rice’s cooked.
Put the cooked rice in a wooden or glass (but not iron) bowl and stir with the vinegar. Flutter with a fun while stirring as to hand out vapor and allow to cool to room temperature.

NIGIRI
Prepare fish for wrapping by slicing against the grain into thin slices. Grab a bit of rice and roll it into a small nugget in your hand. To prevent rice sticking on your hands, dip fingers in a bowl with 1 part of vinegar and 8 of water. Place the rice ball on top of the fish slice or shrimp, if you like it, you can smear a bit of wasabi between rice and fish, then squeeze gently to make it adhere.
et aside while you assemble the remaining pieces of fish and shrimp.
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MAKI ROLL
Place a sheet of nori on a bamboo rolling mat. Soak fingers in your “8 parts water-1 vinegar” bowl and spread a handful of sushi rice over half the sheet; firmly press rice along the edges.
Arrange ingredients of your choice about 2 cm from the bottom of the rice. I love the tuna-cucumber and avocado-salmon combination but you can also switch it or add other ingredients.
Roll up the maki tightly, helped by the bamboo rolling mat, leaving the last cm of the nori sheet exposed. Dip your fingertips into a bowl of water and wet the last inch of the nori, then finish rolling it closed. Cut with a sharp, wet knife, divide in two parts, then cut again both parts in two or three parts.

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I leave you with this wonderful sushi etiquette.
Have a nice holiday!
Claudia

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Tzatziki for a fits and starts summer

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Hey you!
What’s up in Brussels?
Here in Italy summer still plods on, one day we fight with muggy weather and mosquitos, the next one we spend half an hour in front of our closet looking for a buried sweater…
But the sun is really shining today and we don’t feel like cooking, we feel like eating fresh stuff that you can prepare quickly, so you can go out, to the park, to the beach or wherever you can relish from the rays of sunlight.
That’s why today I propose you a fresh appetizer (also served with main dishes as a sauce) coming from Greece but popular in all Middle East and more: Tzatziki!
Of course the recipe has tons of variations, hope you’ll enjoy mine.

Have a wonderful weekend
Claudia

here’s my recipe:

TZATZIKI

Ingredients

300 gr. Greek yogurt (I used the 0% fat)
2 cucumber
a tablespoon of dill
a table spoon of minced mint leaves
a tablespoon of apple vinegar
a clove of garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt

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Start by peeling and grating the cucumbers, then put it in a strainer with a bit of salt, squeeze a bit and leave one hour or until the excess of water is discarded. Place the yogurt in a bowl and add squashed garlic, dill, and fresh mint.

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After one hour squeeze the cucumber then add to the yogurt. Add salt, apple vinegar and extravirgen olive oil.
Stir the mixture well and put in the fridge.
You will fully appreciate the herbs fragrance if you taste it the day after you prepared it.
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A midsummer night’s dessert

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Here we go again, dear followers from Brussels and beyond!

Due to increasing degrees and amazing shining sun, we recently turned into lazy crazy viveurs, enjoying ‘la dolce vita’ and clearly abandoning our mission of spreading Italian food culture through our little blog.

We’ll try to remediate with a simple, but extremely effective recipe that perfectly deals with hot temperatures and season products (and time restraints, if you have unexpected guests at dinner!)

All you need for this dessert is some good fresh Belgian strawberries (the little and sweet ones), blackberries, peaches and other seasonal fresh fruit. Greek yoghurt together with a pinch of whipped cream and choppeed hazelnuts will complete your midsummer night’s dessert.

Ingredients for 4 cups of desserts

500 gr straberries
2 peaches
500 gr blackberries
500 gr greek yoghurt
250 ml cream (to be whipped)
60 gr cane sugar
200 gr chopped hazelnuts
4 little glass cups (or transparent cups)

Procedure

Wash and cut the fruits into small, regular pieces. In a bowl, mix the youghurt with the sugar, and in another bowl whip the cream until it get hard enough that it does not move from the boards of the bowl. Mix gently the two creams until you obtain a soft, hefty compound. In each cup, put a first layer of strawberries, and cover it with a spoon of the cream, pouring over the cream the chopped hazelnuts. Continue creating your layers alternating fruit, cream and hazelnuts. Complete the top with chopped hazelnuts, and decorating the surface according to your inspiration (using just hazelnuts, or bigger pieces of fruits,etc.). Put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving it.

A special thanks to Berta for the amazing pictures!

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DDR-comfortfood: Goulash with potatoes

 

Last weekend I was in Berlin.
Berlin is an amazing city were you can eat every kind of food, from sushi to kebab, passing trough the Vientamese, the Sudanese, and the Italian (of course!) cuisine. Except from Schnitz’l und pommes and the famous currywurst, apparently, the most difficult to find seems to be the German one! That’s why, after a couple of hours, I (happily) resigned myself to the culinary diversity and decided to postpone my date with German food.
..And my patience has been rewarded!! Indeed the last day of the trip, I found a wonderful cookbook with typical DDR recipes. As soon as I came back home I revisited a couple of them and today I propose you my version of DDR-Goulash with potatoes.

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GOULASH WITH POTATOES
INGREDIENTS (4 persons)

4 potatoes
500-700 grams of beef
2 onions
2 carrots
1 stick of celery
tomato paste (double concentrate)
cumin, paprika, grated nutmeg, marjoram, a couple of lay leaves
30 grams of butter
2-3 tablespoons of flour
1 glass of red wine
1 liter of water or broth
extravirgen olive oil
salt&pepper

Boil the potatoes for 30 mins in hot water, strain, peel and put aside in a bowl.
Cut the beef in cubes and cover with flour, then slice thinly the vegetables (onions, carrots and celery).Pour a little bit of oil in a big soup pot, tha lay leaves, add butter and as soon as it melts add vegetables and stir until well sauté. After a couple of minutes add beef cubes covered with flour and stir gently. Simmer with red wine until reduced. Squeeze the tomato paste on the top, add broth, cumin, paprika, grated nutmeg and marjoram. Cook for an hour or until the sauce is reduced. Add salt and pepper.
Cut the potatoes and pour the Goulash on the top.
DDR cookbook suggest to eat it really hot.

Enjoy!
Claudia

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Dille&Kamille…un angolo di paradiso!

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Che dire…ci sono posti al mondo dove ti senti in pace con te stessa, dove ogni brutto pensiero svanisce e torni una bimba serena e spensierata con un sorriso costantemente stampato sulle labbra. Ecco,  per me uno di questi posti a Brussels è Dille&Kamille, zona Louise. Si tratta di un vero e proprio angolo di paradiso dove è possibile trovare anche i più impensati utensili da cucina oltre che piante aromatiche, piantine per i balconi, attrezzi da giardinaggio, tea, caffè, spezie, grembiuli e canovacci, bon bons, giochi per i bambini, cose per il vostro bagno e per il vostro corpo, olio, vino, marmellate, mieli, pentole per ogni necessità, vasi e vasetti di vetro, splendide tovaglie e tovaglioli…insomma..tutto ciò che avete sempre deiderato a prezzi più che onesti. Ma come si fa a non essere felici???

Oggi per esempio ho deciso di uscire da lavoro un po’ prima, avevo bisogno di un vaso /contenitore particolare in vetro e sono andata lì…bhè..ovviamente sono uscita con qualche piccolo regalino in più oltre al vaso…

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ma come facevo a non prendere queste stupende formine per biscotti a forma di teiera per fare un perfetto rituale “tea e biscotti”?

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Oppure le marmellatine di mele e cannella e di fichi…non si poteva proprio resistere giusto??

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E allora a presto con tante buone ricettine per un perfetto tea delle 5.00pm!!

E se nel frattempo volete anche voi andare a fare una visita a questo paradiso terrestre..http://www.dille-kamille.be/fr/