Cranberry and vanilla rolls

giugno 20, 2014

Cranberry and vanilla rolls

I made these cranberry and vanilla rolls for two reasons. The first one is due to my need to do something physical. The more I work on the cookbook, cooking and writing and shooting, the more I need to work out the stress. As I am not such an enthusiastic gym devotee, nor the most constant runner, I choose my workouts in the kitchen. Kneading the dough to later enjoy Italian croissants is definitely a win-win situation.

The second reason is a new cooperation with Madi Ventura, a leading Italian company selling dried fruit and nuts. My love for dried fruit, nuts and seeds is showed in a long shelf of my pantry, completely crammed with glass jars filled with these precious ingredients. I can spend hours watching that shelf, the colours shifting from the hazelnut dark brown to the bright orange of dried apricots. Often chopped nuts are the secret ingredient of many of my recipes, the final touch which deepens the flavour or adds a pleasant crunchy sensation. I’m a generous cook when it comes to sprinkling nuts on salads, cookies or even having them directly from the jars, as a quick and healthy snack.

Nuts and dried fruit and berries have always being so fascinating: they make me think of woods, mountains, hedgerows, legends and myths. In my extremely romantic vision of life walnuts are the fruit of the trees which the witches choose as shelter in the darkest nights and are picked during Saint John night to make their liqueur. Almonds come instead from a sunny land and are rich, sensual, oriental nuts. Read the rest of this entry »

Grab your spoon. Chocolate pudding

giugno 17, 2014

Chocolate puddingIn how many ways can you eat your dessert?

You can stuff your mouth with chocolates and pralines, tiny puff pastries and tartlets overfilled with custard, meringue kisses, cookies and biscotti or candies and toffees from a paper bag. It is just like with cherries, they go one after the other, and you can’t stop yourself from grabbing another one until you see the empty bottom of your basket.

There are cakes that demand to be neatly sliced and presented on an elegant plate or, even better, a cake stand. Just imagine a Sacher torte, a Dobos Torte or a multi layer chocolate cake. Think at the banana bread and at all the thick slices you can have, perfect to be toasted and spread with butter in the morning.

Other sweet treats have the specific task to be enjoyed decadently with your hands, a sensual and satisfying approach. A choux pastry asks for excited hands, which will hold it as you go bite by bite. The custard will spill everywhere and you are supposed to lick it from your fingers. The same will happen with a bombolone or the peach made of brioche and crema.

There is also another special group of desserts which in Italy is known as dolci al cucchiaio, literally spoon desserts, which includes everything you’d enjoy with a spoon. Read the rest of this entry »

Meringue kisses with icecream and chocolate.

giugno 13, 2014

Meringue kisses with ice-cream

It might be one of the first signs that I am getting old. I am changed, I am not the same person as before, I do not have anymore that resistance I was so proud of. I am not talking about party life resistance, I’ve never been famous for staying up late, dancing until the next day on high heels or going out every night of the week. Indeed, if possible, in this I am improving with age.

My problem is that I am not able to work for many hours in a row. I crave for care-free weekends, I physically need to unplug and go off-line after dinner, I love being able to do something which is not filed under ‘work’, or I dry up. A few years ago I would work in the office for the canonical hours of an employee in marketing and communication, then I would go home, wear my apron and begin my second life, which I would usually stretch up until after midnight, writing, cooking, having fun.

Now I wear my apron all day long, I write about products that excite me and recipes which I grow fond of day after day, but I need to take a break from time to time.

Read the rest of this entry »