Rice pilaf with radicchio, speck and pecorino

The evening of the 15th is approaching and rehearsals begin. We need recipes that are easy to eat, tasty, typical and of course which have an aesthetic effect!  What do you think about these cubic of rice??

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Ingredients:

  • Pepper and salt
  • 60 g of butter
  • vegetable broth (about 8 dl)
  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 350 g of long grain rice, Basmati
  • 100 grams Speck (or bacon)
  • 2 small heads of radicchio Rosso
  • 100 grams Smoked scamorza or young pecorino

Prepare the ingredients: cut the radicchio into strips, wash it and dry it; chop the speck or bacon. Put the rice into a bowl and wash it under cold running water. Measure twice the rice’s volume of broth. Heat the broth and, meanwhile, turn on the oven to 170 ° C.

Make the sauce. Make the butter in the pan for a few minutes, add the speck/bacon till it become crispy, then the radicchio previously cooked and mix. After 1 minute, add the rice. Toast it mixing it with all the ingredients until it will be glossy. Add, all at once, the hot broth. Adjust salt and pepper, cover the pan and put in the oven for 16-18 minutes. Without stirring the rice, check the cooking. When ready remove the pan from the oven.

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Let cool rice and at this point creates mall square with a “coppa pasta” or simply small balls. Lay over each piece a small piece of pecorino or scamorza and brown in the oven for 5 minutes.

What do you think about the result?!

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Irish seafood Chowder – a record from Carrick-a-Rede with a Belgian variation

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Irish seafood Chowder is officially on my Top-Ten-favourite-food-list since I’ve tasted it for the first time during a trip to Ireland, last October. The Irish weather blessed my journey to Dublin and Belfast with a beautifl autumnal sun (yes, there is sun in Ireland, and it just adds more colour to that awesome, magic country) shining all day long. After a 4 hours trip from Dublin, I finally got to the northest peak of Eire, headed to the famous rope bridge of Carrick-a-rede, surrounded by a magnificent emerald landscape and a sea as crystalline as the finest glass. With my greatest  happiness, after few hours spent contempling that piece of art which is the Irish generous nature (and wondering what the hell we are still doing in Belgium, overwhelmed by paperwork and burocracy, when we could just quit, easily live by the sea and fishing salmons), we found shelter from the northen cold wind in a lovely Irish Pub, where they served their “Suggestion of the Day”: a delicious, hot and creamy chowder, which definitely made my day.

I have been desperately looking for a recipe which could have (partially) reproduced such delicacy. The ingredients are simple, and easy to find (especially in Brussels, where the quality of the seafood is, I have to admit, absolutely excellent). It does not take too long, and the procedure is rather simple. Nonetheless.. There is something that might compromise the achievement of your perfect Irish seafood chowder. It has to be creamy. The broth where you have been stewing the vegetables and the fish, doesn’t have to be a broth anymore. Fish and veggies have to melt in your mouth, together with this dense, thick and savoury mixture that just tastes as a sunny, windy day on the Northen Irish coastline.

Ingredients and procedure (serving 4 people)

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  • 1kg mussels
  • 300 gr code (preferably fresh)
  • 400 gr salmon (preferably fresh)
  • 300 gr shrimps
  • 200 gr smoked bacon
  • 7-8 potatoes
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 leak
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • black pepper
  • 100 gr butter
  • 200 ml cream
  • 2.5 l of fish stock.

First of all, you prepare a hot, tasty broth of fish stock. In a large pot, you add 100 gr butter, the chopped leak, onion and garlic, and you gently cook for 5 minutes.

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You add the sliced bacon, keeping on stirring, then you add the bay leaves and a pinch of salt. Cut the potatoes into cubes 3cm larges, as well as the carrots, and add them in the pot. Keep on stirring for other 5 minutes, so that all the ingredients get flavoured.

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Now, start adding the broth, covering the mix of vegetables as you would do with a risotto. You wait that the liquid is almost absorbed by the vegetables (keeping a medium/low fire), then you repeat the procedure, pouring more broth when needed. When the potatoes are well cooked and soft (just being sure to leave some liquid to always cover the ingredients), you start adding the salmon pieces, the cod and only at the end the mussels and shrimps.

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Once the fish is cooked (you see it getting mashed a bit, but watch out not to overcook it!!), add the cream and softly turn the mixture. The cream, together with the stewed vegetables, should give that thicken shape to your chowder. Serve immediately, just checking salt and pepper taste. The top tip would be eating the chowder with some slices of typical Irish soda bread, and some salty butter.. But this, is another recipe, and another story ;)

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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

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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Napoli e Sorrento..

Hello people!

I would like to apologize for the the long silence from my side but after the end of my job contract here in Brussels I took advantage of my days off to travel a bit. And what better place than an Organic Agriturismo on the Costiera Amalfitana for regenerating, recharging the batteries and savoring again the taste of simplicity? I suggest it to all of you.

The Agriturismo is called Le Tore http://www.agriturismosorrentoletore.com/. It is not very cheap but..it’s worth it! You want evidence? In this case I think that images can express better than words what I mean so…I leave you with some pictures and see you soon with new recipes!

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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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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

gulasch

 

 

 

 

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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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.