Chocolate and semolina tart to celebrate Easter and a new book I’m working on!

aprile 16, 2014

Chocolate and semolina tart

I got off at the right stop of the metro, I walked for a while along that unknown street in Milan and I started thinking that maybe I had taken the wrong direction. She told me that I would have recognized the tower, but I couldn’t see it, just many big office buildings. I spied in every lobby I met along the way, hoping to recognize a logo, to find a sign telling me that I was in the right place. Eventually I found it, I went in in a blaze of emotion, I gave my name and they gave me back a visitor badge. “Cross the courtyard and go up to the eleventh floor”. Well, I think it was the eleventh floor, but it could have been the seventieth, I was blinded by my emotion.

I went out and I saw it, there it was the RCS tower, a skyscraper that intimidated me and at the same time made ​​me feel proud to be there. The elevator arrived and a group of people joined me in. They asked me “Which floor?” and at that moment I felt like I was in a movie. When the elevator door opened to my floor I found everything you can imagine when you think of a newsroom. Books, books and more books, people working behind their desk, colours, notes, more books. I was stepping inside BUR publisher.

One hour later I left, I had a step so light that I felt like I could fly. I picked up the phone and when I called the first four people I screamed without even waiting for a reply: I’m making a book! So now I can do the same with you: I’m writing a cookbook with BUR Rizzoli!

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Round courgettes stuffed with tuna. Our secret is in good hands.

aprile 14, 2014

Zucchini ripieni

Grandma uses a deep pot, always the same. I have a memory of that pot since the first time I tasted her stuffed round courgettes. Over the years it has lost a handle, but it remains, in her opinion, the perfect pot to use if you want to cook her stuffed courgettes. It has a thick bottom and you can easily fit in two courgettes per person, plus one which has to be left aside for when my dad comes back home from work in the evening. Because grandma knows what he likes, and he ha sa soft spot for stuffed vegetables.

Even though she tries to hide the pot, hoping to make it go unnoticed behind other pots on the stove, I am always able to find it and recognize the food hidden inside, well before I am captured by the mouthwatering smell. As soon as the courgettes are ready, I stealthy approach to the stove with a fork in my hand and I try to steal little morsels of stuffing from the top of each courgette, how can she notice it? Then I drizzle some sauce over each courgette, trying to hide the theft.

When Grandma brings the zucchini to the table she always looks at me with complicity. I am sure that our secret is in good hands.

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Artichoke and stale bread cake. Make room in your Easter picnic basket for this!

aprile 7, 2014

Artichoke and stale bread cake

We have a saying in Italy: Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi, that can be roughly translated into stay with your family for Christmas and choose your company for Easter. Christmas is a family institution, you don’t even ask yourself what you will do, because you know that you’ll spend that special day with your relatives. Don’t even try to arrange other plans.

Easter is a different matter: you are almost free to choose where and how you will spend that day. With the help of the warm season, it’s easy to opt for friends and picnics. On Pasquetta, Easter Monday, you start arranging time and place with your friends. Pot luck lunches or barbecues, walks in the countryside or in the nearby mountains are often on the list. This is quite a new habit for me, a grown up habit, and I enjoy every single aspect of the planning of Pasquetta. Needless to say that my favourite moment is deciding what to put into the picnic basket!

Today with the other girls of the Italian Table Talk we’ll see which food Italians usually put into that picnic basket: simple, seasonal and easy to be packed, spring vegetables from artichokes to fava beans are a must, along with good cheese, salame and prosciutto and bread, declined in all its shapes. In Tuscany raw fava beans, pecorino and salame are always present.

Emiko made a torta salata di carciofi, Valeria is using the delicate white asparagus with eggs for a seasonal preparation and Jasmine gathered all the favourite ingredients of a picnic to make a rice salad with spring veggies and cheese.

I was talking about recipes with Lucia, my boyfriend’s mum, and she told me I had to make this recipe from Puglia, focaccia di carciofi. It is not what you would expect form a focaccia: don’t look for a flat bread, since it is a typical savoury cake made with stale bread and artichokes. Read the rest of this entry »