dicembre 13, 2013
Here we are, time to share the main dish of my Christmas menu for Ferrari Formaggi. It couldn’t be anything else but a glorious piece of roast meat, because there is no Christmas without the heavenly smell of roast coming out of the oven and welcoming your guests as they enter the house. Yes, I know, I also said that it is not Christmas if the pasta is not melting with stringy cheese, but what can I do, I am a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas menu. It doesn’t mean that we have the same dishes year after year, but surely there is a constant thread, a reassuring and classic character which permeates every Christmas menu. Whether pork, salmon or chicken, at Christmas you eat a roast.
You begin in the early morning, you have your strategy and timing, something that would make green with envy the best military strategists or experienced Risk players: bake lasagne, roast the meat and the vegetables on the side, toast the bread and do not forget the spinach flan, oh luckily we baked the cake yesterday… at the end of the morning everything is ready, warm, filling the kitchen with a festive smell.
This year I chose to make the stuffed roasted rabbit, a recipe I was willing to make in a long time.
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dicembre 11, 2013
Today I’m here just for a quick dessert oriented post, it’s time to share with you the recipe for The Great Foodblogger cookie swap, which for the third year in a row kept me waiting for the postman with the same happiness in the eyes of when you wait for Santa Claus in front of the fireplace. I chose again sweet treats crammed with nuts and dried fruit, just like the cookies I baked last year. Walnuts, almonds, dried figs, raisins, cranberries, all these ingredients just scream Christmas for me, they make me think about abundance and generosity.
This is not the classic panforte from Siena, if you want the authentic recipe check this post from last year and you’ll make a tested and completely approved panforte as you could enjoy in Siena during Christmas time. I took the classic recipe and played some magic: not just the traditional almonds but also pistachios and walnuts, plus I replaced the orange and citron candied peel with raisins, cranberries, apricots and dried figs. Stir all together, pour over a golden honey and sugar syrup and baked for half an hour. Once cold, cut the panforte into bit size slices and let the fun begin. You can find walnuts, slightly bitter and woody, or a sweeter piece with dried figs and almonds, you might bite into tart cranberries and pistachio, or into a sunny slice of apricot and raisins. They are never the same, you have to try them all!
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dicembre 9, 2013
Grandma would visit my granddad relatives in Melfi, a mid mountain town in Basilicata, in the South of Italy, about twice a year, in summer and shortly before Christmas. In summer I usually joined her and granddad, but I couldn’t skip school in December, so I would wait for her at home, dreaming about the bags of goodies she would bring back.
There was mozzarella, milky, flavourful, shaped in tiny knots, nothing even similar to the mozzarella you could buy here in stores. There was provolone piccante, a hard biting cheese I didn’t appreciate much as a child, but I loved the crescent shape of the slices she would bring us. There were scamorza and the thick salty bread with a yellowish breadcrumb and a dark crust lightly dusted with flour, there were bags of almonds and tiny jars of precious wild oregano. Then there was what I was secretly waiting for, my favourite cookies ever, still my choice if I had to choose among shortcrust cookies, jam or marzipan cookies… there was a big bag of calzoncelli, tightly sealed with a string. She could either buy them in a bakery near my aunt’s house a few hours before leaving, or bring me the calzoncelli made by my granddad’s nieces. It was a feast, and I had to fight over those cookies, because they were not just my favourites, but my father’s, my mum’s and lately, when Claudia arrived, also her favourites! Read the rest of this entry »