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Eggplants, tomatoes & pecorino: the last taste of summer

eggplant pecorino tomatoesIt’s always sad come back from holidays and it’s even sadder if you leave sand, sea and sun and find yourself already in autumn! So, even if outside it’s raining, I love to cook something that keeps my mind on the beach, that reminds me of blue sky and lazy afternoons. One of my favourite summer ingredient is eggplant: my love for them is quite an addiction! They are so full af flavors that it’s enough to mix them with simple ingredients, like tomatoes and pecorino, to get a dish able to surprise everyone, like this one… hope you like it!

Ingredients:

– 2 eggplants

– 5 tomatoes

– 2 cloves of garlic

– 2 tablespoon of oregano

extra virgin olive oil

– salt and pepper

– 3 tablespoon of pecorino cheese, grated Read more

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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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Focaccia with cherry tomatoes & black olives: comfort food for mom’s thoughts

focaccia with cherry tomatoes and black olivesI suppose that something like that happened almost once to everyone: you wake up in the morning, look back and ask yourself how it’s possible that your life has changed so much in so little time. If you are a new mother like I am, this probably happens almost once a week! In few days my little daughter will be 16 months old and I’m really astonished: she changes everyday and everyday is a new challenge. Then of course there’s the “mother trick”: if you are back to your job you miss the baby so much but, if you are still at home you miss your job so much! You know, when we decided to have a baby, I knew that my life would have been different but I was a little bit scared: what, I thought, if motherhood will change not only my life but also myself? After 16 months I’m happy to quote my best friend that, speaking with my brother, told: “Cristina? Noooo, she’s not a mother… she’s just Cristina with a child!” So, after all, I’m the same old witch I used to be…. still in love with shoes and bags (stroller walk with heels should be an Olympic sport), still interested in politics and literature and art, and food of course! And if you’re asking yourself why so much time passed since my last post now you have probably guessed that the little adorable monster took all my time in the last weeks… haven’t I deserve a spectacular comfort food like this focaccia? Trust me: this is the perfect end for a hard day! Buon appetito!

focaccia with cherry tomatoes and black olives

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Broccoli cannelloni & a macaroni factory in Brooklyn

milianelli macaroni factory brooklyn

When I started this blog, I did it thinking that in every kitchen you can find pots, pans, ingredients of various types but over all stories, emotions and memories. So it may happen that you come across an old picture, yellowed by time and memories, and meet a nice person like Elisabetta that tells you a story of pasta and dreams, of Italian flavors in American sauce and of difficult times and solidarity. It was 1920 when Elisabetta’s grandfather left Italy, a country which was just emerging from World War I and, with his brother Santi, after a long travel by sea arrived in the promise land. After years of war and weeks in the ocean, New York must have seemed closer to hell than to heaven but Giovanni and Santi, like many others, managed to find their way. From the work and the determination of these 2 brothers was born the Milianelli Macaroni Factory, a laboratory – shop where they produced tortellini, macaroni and tagliatelle. The Italian community was very close and the Milianellis brothers hired only Italians, a great help for those that, coming from far away in a country with different cultures, different traditions and over all a different language, felt lonely and lost. Read more

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