Artusi’s ricotta pudding. My shelter in times of trouble.

aprile 3, 2014

Artusi's ricotta puddingThe kitchen has always been my refuge. I still remember too clearly when I used to come back home tired or demoralized from the office: there was no other place in the world I’d rather be but within the four walls of mum’s kitchen. Usually I didn’t even take time to change my office clothes. I would jump directly into the kitchen, open the fridge and search for calmness there, wrapped by a thin cold light. It had the same effect of a steaming cup of black tea in a rainy afternoon, a warm hug from inside. I could finally think again with my own rhythm, my values.

I was suddenly waken up by mum, who would ask me to please wear at least my home clothes before starting to cook, otherwise she would have to fight to remove the grease stains from my good shirt or pullover. You know, I’ve always been clumsy in the kitchen.

So, defeated, I would run to my bedroom to wear comfortable clothes, often directly my pyjamas, and then back in the kitchen, my realm, to move reality as I wanted. There everything was possible. I was finally able to direct the events, just as I was doing with fresh pasta and risotto, nothing could scare me.

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Whole wheat crostata with lemon marmalade. It took me some time to fall in love with crostate.

marzo 28, 2014

Whole wheat crostata with lemon marmalade It took me some time to fall in love with crostate. I had my loves at first sight, my temporary flirts and my long term relationships as it happens to everyone, especially to those who have a sweet tooth and who could never say no to a dessert. I had a summer love with ice cream affogato in a steaming black coffee, a teenage crush on red berries cheesecake and childish romances with sponge roll filled with cream or chocolate.

Growing up, especially during the first months of life of this blog, I swore eternal love to muffins and cupcakes. Even that period of my life had to come to an end, leaving as only memory a wooden box full of colourful paper cups. Perhaps my most enduring love story is the one with pound cake, a relationship I do not grow tired of, which surprises and amuses me, a safe haven to return to after the most audacious experiments.

The crostata had to struggle and use all its charm to creep into my heart. Now it has a special place and no other dessert could never steal it.

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Biancomangiare, a Sicilian almond pudding

marzo 20, 2014

Biancomangiare

Have you ever thought about the colour of your food? Now you can range from the bright orange of a pumpkin tart to the deep green goodness of kale, spinach or Swiss chard, the pale spring-like green of a chilled pea and mint soup or the ruby red of a jewelled pomegranate salad. Colours often inspire recipes, matches and whole menus.

Think for a second now about white, the pale lunar white. Nowadays it is quite common to find elegant cakes decorated with pure white laces, milky white vanilla ice cream or pearly fragrant basmati rice, but back in the Medieval times it was quite a rarity to spot white food.

Biancomangiare, white dish, has a long history, it was by the end of the 14th century a refined item of most European noble banquets. It was made with white meat, usually chicken breast, white starch and sugar. It would stand among colourful or brownish food for its colour and obviously also for its costly ingredients. Biancomangiare was a generic name, it could also be made with ground almond, rice, expensive white sugar, white breadcrumbs and spices such as ginger and cinnamon. Read the rest of this entry »