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Posts from the ‘Dessert corner’ Category

Cocoa & nuts cake: celebrating a new UNESCO site in Italy

BeFunky_cake1.jpgHallo world, if you follow this blog you know that I often say that Italy is one of the most beautiful country in th world. It’s not only that we have tons of incredible masterpieces of art from different ages, we were also blessed with breathtaking natural landscape. We are surrounded by sea with million nuances of blue, we have mountains so beautiful that seems natural sculpture and we have lovely country side. I know, you’re thinking about Tuscany, but that is just a small part. We are celebrating now a new entry in the Italian Unesco sites. Italy has the world record: 50 UNESCO site in such a small country!! The new one is in Piedmont and is Langhe & Monferrato, in northern Italy, few km from Milan, This landscape made of rolling hills, with castles and antique mansions surrounded by vineyards is also the place where lot of delicious typical Italian food has its origin. In particular in Piedmont they produce a very good quality of hazelnuts ( I suppose there’s a reason Nutella, the most famous nuts cream in the world, has been invented here….) so, giving that I’m so happy that another breathtaking piece of my country is now recognized as something to be protected for future generation, I decided to celebrate with a cake with nuts 🙂 I advise you: this is sinful….. so don’t have too much, and enjoy the feeling at every bite!

Vigneti-Monferrato-br

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White chocolate & blueberries panna cotta: dessert for desperate housewives!

white chocolate blueberries panna cottaAs far as I can remember, I’ve always been a bookworm, totally happy when I feel the sensation of the paper under my finger and when I can lose myself in a story, fall in love with the characters… a special place among all the book I’ve read in my life is taken up by books related to food. The funniest thing is see how the people in these books stay in the kitchen: there’s no place for hurry and stress, they always cook like they have all the time in the world. Then, of course, I close the book and I find myself catapulted into reality: people coming for dinner, a daughter jumping and screaming around, a husband that has no time to make grocery shopping…. I’m sure you know the picture. So, keeping in mind how beautiful it would be have 5 or 6 hours to spend in the kitchen cooking without hurry, I find myself composing a menu with dishes that I can cook the day before, so that I don’t have to spend all the time before the dinner running around arriving at the table looking like a mad witch. For this reason panna cotta is often a good choice for me: terribly simple to do, FAST, and always good to strike the guests. Here you find my version with white chocolate and blueberry, hope you’ll like it! Buon appetito!

white chocolate blueberries panna cotta

Ingredients:

– 250 ml milk

– 250 ml fresh cream

– 50 g white sugar

– 150 g white chocolate

– 4 g jelly sheets

– 250 g blueberries

– 2 tablespoon of white sugar

– juice of 1 lemon

Put the gelatine to soak in cold water for the time indicated on the package. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, put the coarsely chopped white chocolate with milk,  cream and sugar. Let them reach a light boil, stirring to completely melt the chocolate. Combine the gelatin and stir again, putting on the fire until it dissolves completely. Filter the mixture and pour into the glasses . Make cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or until the panna cotta you will be solidified.

Now you’re ready for the coulis: pour the blueberries, the sugar and the lemon juice in a saucepan, cook at low flame for around 10 minutes, blen with a hand blender and pour on the solified panna cotta.  Enjoy!

 

Plum & yogurt muffin, a birthday and a walk at Mariastein

plum and yogurt muffinA birthday is always a special occasion but, since we left our country, we consider the possibility to celebrate with our family a great gift. During the last years it has been difficult to have the family together in these special occasions so I was incredibly happy to have my mother here in Switzerland for her 59th birthday. I decided to celebrate with a “mother&daughter” afternoon and I organized an excursion in a special place called Mariastein. My mother has a strong faith, so I was sure that she would love the place, but Mariastein is a very special place, able to communicate at everyone heart. The legend says tha a young mother fell asleep while her son was playing on the hill and the boy fell from the cliff. When she woke up and realized what happened she was sure to find her baby dead, but her son was miraculously save. He told her that a beautiful woman saved him and told him that she wanted to be venerated in that place. Read more

The Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake: a luxury experience starts in the kitchen!

ritz carlton lemon pound cakeI’ve always been fascinated by luxury hotels, especially by the oldest ones. It’s not a matter of being a chick with expensive tastes (which undoubtably I am!) but it’s more related to the stories these places tell. Sometimes, sitting there and watching around, you can feel yourself thrown in another time. Every hotel has its own story and contributes to draw a picture of the social life of a city (so it’s normal find in the latest Ken Follett’s book, set during the II World War, few scenes inside the Claridge’s: the aristocracy meeting point, the right place to have a decent Martini even under the bombs!), but among the luxury hotels of the world, the Ritz-Carlton is a chapter on its own. It was Mr. Ritz that redefined the entire concept of luxury accommodation starting from the Ritz hotel in Paris and the Carlton hotel in London. A very important part of the new luxury experience offered by Mr. Ritz started in the kitchens, thanks to work of one of the biggest chef of its time: August Escoffier.

Mr. Ritz’s hotels became the “place-to-be” and the suites of the Ritz in Paris todays have the names of some its unforgettable clients. In the first part of the 20th century it was common see there Ernest Hemingway, Greta Garbo, Marcel Proust, Charlie Chaplin, … Coco Chanel lived inside the Ritz for more than 30 years! How can you resist the charm of a place like that?

So today in this blog we celebrate the never-ending charm and the high level cooking of the Ritz, not only a luxury hotel chain, but a “concept” and a piece of living history. We do that cooking (and eating of course” this incredibly good lemon cake. A special thanks to Stephanie of the plein chicken‘s blog that shared the recipe and her experience at the Ritz Carlton cooking school.

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Pistachios friands & the journey of a future queen

pistachios-cocoa-friandsSometimes it happens that you are in a city almost accidentally and, after 10 minutes, you are completely in love. That is exactly what happened to me the first time I visited Strasbourg. Today the city is famous because is home to the European Parliament (and certainly a visit to this part of the town is interesting), but the true heart of the city is the Petit France: a medieval area (Unesco World Heritage) that has its soul in the Gothic cathedral which seems to rise up to the sky. It’s wonderful walk in these streets, breathe this so romantic atmosphere and spend time in the many shops full of culinary delights and local crafts. Then, walking near the cathedral, your eye catch something different, not a medieval building but a palace, something that recall Paris: it’s the Rohan Palace and here, with a following of 57  carriages and many cheers from the crowd, a future queen entered her new kingdom. Read more

Cranberries cake & the kitchen sabotage

cranberries cakeI suppose that something like the story I’m about to tell happened to you too, no matter if you have or not a food blog.  You wake up and decide that you want to cook something so you go out, do your shopping and wait for the right moment to cook. This week I really wanted to cook an apples and nuts cake so, the day after the food shopping, I started to cook. I did everything in the right way and when the dough was ready I just reached the fruit bowl to take 2 apples…. but… WHERE ARE THE APPLES??!! Guess what.. your husband has eaten all your wonderful apples…. For a moment you can feel just panic “OMG what I will do with this dough now?!” then, luckily, I realized that I had also cranberries in my fridge. I bought them without know how to use them but I never found them in Italy so, seeing them at the market, I didn’t resist the temptation and I bought them just to try something new. So, here you can find the recipe of a cranberries cake that wanted to be an apples cake. It’s really good,  especially if you love contrast (cranberries are acids while the dough is sweet). The reality is that if you have a very good basic dough (and this is incredibly good, not because I’m a kitchen genius but simply because the original recipe is by Maurizio “Black” Santin, one of the most famous Italian pastry chef) you can put nearly everything inside it and get always something incredibly good! Enjoy! Read more

Carrots mini cakes and a postcard from Sardinia

carrots mini cakeHallo world, here I am after a long period spent in Italy, enjoying good food and staying with nice people. I spent my holidays in Sardinia, an incredible spot of land and rocks in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. I really hope that my words are good enough to describe you the wild beauty of this place, where rolling hills become fearful rocks overhanging the sea, where the waves and the Maestrale (the North-West wind) sing together thousands of different lullabies for your soul, where the trees are carved by the wind and become nature works of art . Everyone has been here: the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Saracens, the Spanish… and they all tried to conquer the island but no one has really succeeded in doing this. They came, took something, left something, but nobody has been able to tame the spirit of this land and these people, which has millions of different colors like its sea. I invite you to visit the island, go beyond the luxurious resorts and the beautiful yachts and lose yourself in the beauty that surrounds you in every corner. If you don’t trust me, here are few pictures…

sardinia trees sea and wind

Trees  carved by the wind

Sardinia Orosei Gulf

Incredible blue waters in the Gulf of Orosei

Sardinia La Caletta

Between sky and sea

Going back to the recipe, when you come home after a great holiday like this, you need a sort of “comfort food” and I choose to cook this carrots mini cakes, so similar to the snack I ate as a child. They are soft, not too much sweet and perfect with a cup of tea! Hope you’ll enjoy them!

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