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Cappelletti with Parmesan and breadcrumbs… I’m a fresh pasta maniac!

Cappelletti di magro

Tuesday the 1st of February was Juls’ Kitchen second blogiversary.

In these two years I discovered how essential is to blog for me – I would say almost vital – although I had never written a diary before, except for brief moments while I was suffering from a mild form of graphomania.

I discovered that, along sophisticated recipes made with unusual ingredients and preparations, I wanted to find my culinary roots in Tuscany and Lucania, with the help of my family.

I found out that I like photography, as well as cooking: time to confess a deep fondness for colourful paper napkins and white dishes and bowls, along with a primitive, almost pagan, reverence for light.

I discovered that I love writing more than I remembered, both in Italian and in English: it is my favourite manner to to fix not only recipes, but also moments, thoughts, stories and memories, myself into words.

I discovered that through these pages you can make true and very important friendships, because a shared passion gets people together and deletes distance (and RyanAir helps, too!)

I discovered that my favourite thing to make, being it early morning in a kitchen softened by the first daylight or a slow drowsy afternoon, is fresh pasta. Grandma taught me the basics, the movements and the patience. Grandma lent me indefinitely the pasta maker to roll out pasta, the very same pasta maker that my grandad gave her more than twenty years ago. Now, grandma looks at me proudly when I roll out the fresh pasta and says: you’re very good in making fresh pasta, dear! but now it’s time for you to learn how to make cream puffs as well. You’re not yet good enough in baking them!

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DB Challenge: Biscuit Joconde Imprime and an Entremets dessert

 Biscuit Joconde Imprime

This has been a real challenge, a double, triple challenge. The first time the pattern was perfect, elegant, a real designer masterpiece! But the filling was definitely too liquid, so the external biscuit mould got soggy in a few hours, loosing its perfect and regular shape. Beside this, I decides to use two different fillings in the same time, a brandy & vanilla Bavarian cream in the bottom and a coffee and cardamom Bavarian cream on the top. Giulia, aren’t there too many flavours in the same time? But my answer was nothing else but disdainful: Mum, com’on! I’m a foodblogger, I have to experiment, I took the oath over the sacred Nigella’s book! Silenced, she went away shaking her head.

I kept on adding elements and ingredients. A layer of whipped cream, spread on the top, to cover the soggy biscuit and the way too liquid Bavarian cream. Uhm, what else? Got it! I need something fanciful to capture the eye and conceal the flaws. I melted some sugar to make a hazelnut brittle, like an elegant stained glass. My idea was to decorate with refinement the top of the Entremet, diverting the attention from the melting bottom. As soon as I brought it to the table, my guests asked: what are them? broken glasses?? We need a spoon to serve the dessert? Mmh, sweet, but, which is the main flavour here? Total failure! My mistake? Exaggeration! So I decided to keep it simple with my second attempt and the result was definitely a huge success!

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Cappelletti. Fresh filled pasta

Cappelletti

A yawn, the smell of coffee coming from the kitchen, my eyes opening slowly on the new day and the new year begins. No fireworks, pin-wheels and spangles, this new year begins quiet, slow, curious, reflective and happy. This brand new year makes its first steps with sunny days and a new dress for Juls’ Kitchen, tailored again by Kia‘s magical hands in her haute couture tailor’s shop, a brighter and easier dress. I don’t know if it will be the final design, or whether it will evolve again, but I know that this dress it’s me, it is the 2011 Giulia, and it is a great achievement for me!

I’ve been thinking about the recipe that would have opened the 2011 and the new blog design and I finally chose the recipe that has had the leading role in my Christmas lunch and New Year’s Eve dinner, Cappelletti (fresh home-made pasta filled with a meat mixture typical of Emilia Romagna).  I tasted the real Caplèt (how they call cappelletti in Emilia Romagna) years ago at Valli’s, one of my best friends, and since then I’ve dreamt of making them again. In our daily email exchange she kept telling us of the epic deeds of thousands of folded (and eaten) cappelletti, of the heavenly cappelletti filling scent that follows her from home to office, of the festive meals based on dishes full of cappelletti… I could not wait any longer, I had to have that recipe!

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Raw Salmon and the praise of lightness

I am back from the swimming pool, I feel good, I feel light, I feel satisfied. I walk with a more confident step, lighter than usual, the  swimming bag on my side holding me back with its weight, bringing me back to earth and, by contrast, making me appreciate more the lively dash I feel in my legs. I get into the car, turn on the radio and on the way back home I search for a song to inspire me, something cheerful, light, not to burden my mood but to put wings to my thoughts and my dreams.

Everything I do brings me back to this word, a concept that goes far beyond its literal meaning: lightness. Vague memories from high school bring back from the mists of time the first chapter of Six Memos for the Next Millennium by Calvino*, Lightness.

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