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Smoked duck breast & pomegranate salad

The Middle Ages is one of my favorite periods in history. I still remember that my high school Italian teacher used to tell us that was absolutely wrong to define dark that era, because it was in that very period that the culture was reborn, in abbeys, castles, and the first markets where trading resumed slowly.

Now you would consider me a crazy person, but suspend for a moment any judgments, especially the historical ones… when I saw the pictures and the colours of this pomegranate and smoked duck salad – a magret de canard fumé that comes straight from Paris, a gift from my parents – I thought: this looks like a medieval dish! There is meat and fruit (it is a medieval habit to mix them into the same dish), there is a sense of long nights in dark castles in front of a fireplace, the wind blowing outside, the Lady of the manor housing a pilgrim, seasons going by…

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Gourmet Gifts and cooking generosity

Cooking is a matter of generosity. This is the sum of my experiences so far, including cooking classes, sharing recipes and memories on my blog, meetings between foodies and projects developed thanks to the essential cooperation with friends. Last week I was explaining a Tuscan recipe to a group of Americans, and I realized that rather than giving precise doses I kept on with recommendation like this: “add a generous handful of almonds,” “season generously with extra virgin olive”… is it lack of precision and professionalism? maybe. But I’d rather consider my behaviour as living cooking with generosity and passion.

The very same generosity that you can infuse into wrapping up parcels of sweet treats or bags of care and snacks can be found, multiplied, into the eyes of those who receive them. Now I can adfirm that the affection that I have put so far into sharing recipes, experiences and treats is coming back toward me as friendship, a generous and disinterested friendship that confuses and touches me.

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Ricotta and eggplant tart with slow roasted cherry tomatoes

One of my best recipes – humbly speaking – before getting to London: OHMYGODIMSOTHRILLED! Finally, after months and months of chats, e-mails, dreams and great expeectations, the moment of the food blogger event of the year – Food Blogger Connect – has come! And I’m ready, almost packed, to live one of the most eciting experiences of my life. Foodies I’m coming!

This tart shell made with spelt flour and stuffed with ricotta, eggplant and sour cream is one of my most successful recipes. I’m very proud, yes! It is, apparently, a long and laborious recipe, but the important thing is to do everything step by step, and you’ll get through without even noticing! Let’s start with the slow roasted tomatoes. Compared to all the recipes I found on the Internet, mine asks for whole tomatoes, not cut in a half. This produces a surprise effect that I find barely amazing: the tomato explodes in your mouth and releases all its Mediterranean flavor. Obviously you can make slow roasted tomatoes in abundance, and store them in extra virgin olive oil to serve them as a last minute side dish!

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Asparagus & Zucchini Crumble

Sweet crumbles are my passion: stewed fruit – again – but with a crispy layer that hides beneath its mysteries and its tasty predictions of softness; almost infinite choice for taste and flavoring. You can eat them hot, as they are, or with a scoop of ice cream, or a bit of plain yogurt for a special breakfast. A few days ago, Sara aka Fiordifrolla instilled in me the desire to decline crumble to salty. I’m an impatient and eager to try girl, so I put together the best ingredients in my fridge and pantry, and made this delicious crumble.

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Roasted potatoes with salted butter and rosemary flowers

Afternoon, at Juls’ Kitchen. The family is gathered around a table with two pats of butter on the table. Everyone prentens to be an expert and connoisseur to taste that secret ingredient just arrived by mail, perfectly chilled. Curious, aren’t you? What will ever be this secret ingredient that has come down here? Thanks to the competition L’ingrediente Segreto (The secret ingredient) organized by Sandra from Un Tocco di Zenzero and Fattorie Fiandino, I got home a stick of butter Burro 1889 and two pats of salted butter Burro Salato 1889. This Salted Butter from Fiandino Farms is made from 100% Piedmont milk and Sicilian salt from Culcasi Nubia saltworks at Trapani, hand-picked and a true heritage, as to be a Slow Food product.

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