Friday, March 30, 2012


The sun is shining and I'm about to go out for some shopping, but before that I'd like to tell you about the gorgeous recipe I made up last Saturday.

Serving 6 starving people

600 g of Fidanzati Capresi (it's a lovely pasta shape made by Gragnano)
300 g of sheep ricotta
2 dried tomatoes, chopped
1 good handful of roasted, peeled and chopped pine nuts, walnuts and hazelnuts
1 garlic clove
about 10 fresh basil leaves, washed, drained and roughly chopped
5 tablespoons of extravirgin olive oil
black pepper
half a glass of fresh milk
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Pour the extravirgin olive oil in a large frying-pan, add the garlic clove, the chopped dried tomatoes, the chopped nuts and let cook on a high flame for about 3 minutes, then get rid of the garlic clove, add the ricotta, the milk, some salt and stir until creamy. Turn off the fire and allow to rest for few minutes. Drain your pasta but not completely: leave some water in order to avoid drying off. 
Transfer into the pan, add the basil and stir well for half a minute. Serve with some ground black pepper and parmesan cheese.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Today is a grey day, the first cold wintery day. I'm sure you have those days in which you just wish to spend your afternoon and evening rolling from the sofa to the carpet and a cat with its puppies...possibly with your oven switched on...
This is what we proudly baked a while ago...

Ingredients for 12 cupcakes

125 g of flour 
125g of caster sugar
125g of soft unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of milk
12 muffin papers

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line the tin with the muffin cases.
Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs with a little of the flour.
Add the vanilla extract and add the rest of the flour, pour the milk in order to get a fluid texture.
Spoon the cream in, filling each case equally.
Put in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cup cakes are cooked and golden on top. As soon as bearable, take the cup cakes in their cases out of the tin and let cool.
Decorate with the toppings you love. We made a lovely and light icing, mixing a little water with icing sugar (125 g should be enough) and adding different food colours to it. 
Easy and sooo pretty!
And while cupcakes were cooking...they were painting... 

Saturday, November 26, 2011


You all almost certainly know the famous, lustful and to-die-for hot chocolate fondent pudding.
Well, i have to admit I truly adore it, but lately I'm not in that chocolatey mood at all. So yesterday evening I thought I'd change it a bit and came up with this lovely and creamy hot lemon fondent pudding. 
I'm so proud of what I baked!

Ingredients for 4 hot lemon puddings

60 g of softened butter
      2 egg yolks
200 g brown sugar (I've used Demerara)
      50 g Corn Flour
finely grated rind and juice from 1 small lemon
200 ml Milk
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (or less, depending on one's taste)
a tablespoon of icing sugar for the topping

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees

Cream the butter with the sugar and the ground cinnamon until soft, add the egg yolks and beat together

Add in the corn flour, the grated rind and juice of the lemon, and then the milk. If the mixture appeared lumpy it would be a good idea to smooth it with a mixer. 

Pour the custard into 4 ramekins and bake in the preheated oven for 25 mins, or until just set.

Cool slightly and dredge icing sugar over the top.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Lemon and poppy seeds. Without a doubt one of the happiest union in my bakery repertoire.
I had tried almost every solution, from the birthday cakes to ricotta cheesecakes, from my creamy lemony mousse, so refreshing after an "important" meal, to the fragrant muffins that remind me so much of those I used to buy every sunday from a californian gentleman who had a bakery stand at People's Park Market in Dun Laoghaire.
There was only one thing left to try: biscuits or, as we call them in Italy, frollini.
It was a grey, rainy evening but my kids and I had a lovely time making them and they were so delicious that we couldn't keep our hands off!

250 g of flour
100 g of caster sugar
70 g of butter (take it off the fridge a  good 30 minutes before and let it soften)
1 egg
8 g of baking powder
few drops of vanilla essence
half a teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of poppy seeds
the grated zest of two lemons

In a large bowl cream the butter with the sugar and the vanilla essence, then add the egg and keep beating until soft, foamy and smooth.
In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt, poppy seeds and grated lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients to the butter cream and work with your hands until you get a dough.
Wrap it with clingfilm and store in the fridge for about one hour.
Meanwhile get your work surface ready.
(note: I generally start by placing a sheet of baking paper on the table, I flour the rolling pin and the biscuits cutters and I cover the baking tray with baking paper)
After one hour switch on the oven and turn the temperature to 180 degrees, take the dough off the fridge, lay it on the baking paper sheet you have placed on the table and roll it to the thickness of half a cm.
Cut the biscuits with the cutters and place them on the baking tray. Cook for 10 minutes then take off the oven and dust with icing sugar.
Try them with fruit jam or even Nutella or, simple as they are, with your "cuppa tea" at five o' clock.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Is it ever possible for a person to wake up in the morning with the only idea of baking some bread? Well I don't know if it is, but it happened to me!
I was dreaming of  nice, fragrant bread, just popped out of the oven, with a gorgeous crunchy crust and a soft inside; so soon after my breakfast I found myself kneading with all my energy.
It isn't "just" bread, because I sprinkled some poppy seeds into the dough to make it even crunchier and to add a touch of romantic femininity and because I used no ordinary flour but Molino Manitoba flour which is indeed of a superior quality!


1 kg of Manitoba flour
400 ml of milk
300 ml of water
25 g of brewer's yeast
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of poppy seeds

Pour flour into a large salad bowl and, little by little crumble the yeast in with your fingertips.
Add milk, water, oil, sugar, salt and mix well.
Finally work the poppy seeds in, kneading the dough quite quickly.
Form a ball, cover it with clingfilm and let it stand for 10 hours at room temperature.
Then take your dough and knead it in order to obtain few loaves, about 4 or 6, depending on the size you want to get.
Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Lay the loaves on a baking tray covered with baking paper and cook  for about 40 minutes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Happiness has many faces.

I've seen one today, actually, two. 
Those of my children, being back from a visit to the cultivated field of a family friend.
My parents, extraordinary granparents, drove the two rascals to the beautiful garden, while my husband and I stayed home with little Mickey Mouse, downhearted with his roseola infantum.
They were back in three hours time, with a massive crate filled with fruit and veggies such as peppers, leeks, aubergines, black cabbage and green beans. 
They, of course, brought me an incredibly fragrant bunch of multicolour flowers as well, which I placed into a vase at the centre of my table.

I cooked the aubergines straight away and here is what I made.


2 small aubergines cut in slices (1 cm thick)
200 g of caciotta cheese (but mozzarella would do the trick as well!)
200 g of grated mature sheep cheese or parmesan cheese
a handful of basil leaves
3 eggs
salt, as needed (I don't use much anyway)
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs

Stirfry the aubergines in a large pan with the olive oil and add very little salt. 
When they change their colour into a slight golden shade turn the heat down and cover with the lid. Cook for about 20 minutes.
Apart beat the eggs with the black pepper and sheep cheese or parmesan, depending on what you have in the fridge.
Arrange the first layer of aubergines in an oven dish, top with basil leaves and thinly sliced caciotta (or mozzarella, again depending on what you have) than lay the remaining aubergines on top. Finally pour the beaten cheesy eggs on the whole surface and garnish with breadcrumbs and more grated cheese.
Pop in the oven and cook at 180 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Perfect for a rich pic-nic in the country, but also nice as an apetizer, cut in small, nit square, while you're sipping a glass of fresh, sparkling, white wine with your guest, waiting for a special pasta to be cooked "al dente".


4 eggs
1 red pepper (remove pepper's stalk and seeds and dice it)
2 potatoes speeled and diced
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
100 g of grated parmesan cheese and 50 g of grated mature sheep cheese
1 small courgette (for a nice hint of green), sliced in rounds
1 teaspoon of dry rosemary
1 teaspoon of dry marjoran 
ground black pepper
4 tablespoons of extravirgin olive oil for stewing the veggies and half a glass of olive oil for frying the frittata

In a large pan, stirfry the red pepper, the potatoes, the courgette and the shallot. Add salt, black pepper and the herbs. Let the veggies get a nice golden colour on their surface, turn the heat down and cover with the lid. 
Apart beat the eggs with parmesan and sheep cheese and very little salt, add to the veggies and blend. Pour the nice chunky mixture you got  in a frying pan with half a glass of olive oil and fry carefully both sides of your frittata.
Serve at room temperature