November 23, 2011
A while ago, Sigrid asked her readers to share a grandmother’s recipe for an apple cake or pie. Adding the link, I realized it was quite a while ago, much longer than what I intended; on the other hand, this is just the best period ever for making apple cakes. I actually have two of those recipes that are part of my tradition; they both are recipes my mother regularly made for me. One of them is a simple, moist apple cake, perfect for dunking in milk. I think the recipe comes from my grandmother, but who knows where she took it.
The other recipe is a more challenging and ‘grown up’ dessert: strudel di mele. Strudel is a thin layer of dough rolled with something in it; it can be savoury, or more often sweet. Most people are accustomed to the variety made with puff pastry, quite greasy and sugary, which I don’t particularly like. The original has a thinner, less fat dough, quite common in the (also) German-speaking part of Italy and in Austria. In the regions where Austria met the Balkans, like Slovenia, an even thinner version is wide-spread, with almost no fat in it: actually, given that Wikipedia traces the origin of strudel to Levantine pastries like baklava, this is probably the most faithful version. The recipe we use in my family definitely belongs to the latter group; it comes straight from a lady who ran from the occupied Istria to Italy at some point. She was Italian – or rather, she spoke Italian as a first language, but her hair was blonde, almost white, and her eyes were blue; I’m not sure whether she would have considered herself being Italian, since these otherwise straightforward adjectives can be quite unaccurate and very dangerous when applied to some sensitive parts of the world. Her granddaughter is my mom’s best friend. She too is blond, in a way very few Italians are.
read more »
November 16, 2011
This is not exactly the post I had in mind when I decided I had to share this soup with you. While living with my parents I was not cooking much at all, and I was not cooking the type of food I crave daily. That food, after a few days of feasting on cheese, was essentially one: soup, loaded with vegetables, legumes, fibers, spices, herbs, chillies, hot, filling, easy to digest. I am addicted to that feeling of a warm and full, but not overloaded, belly. I then decided that to celebrate the control I was going to regain in my kitchen and my life, I’d share a lot of soup recipes, whether from blogs, books, or my own fantasy. We all need more soup in our life.
So when I made this soup whose recipe I found in Smitten Kitchen, and it exactly what I had been craving for: hot, filling, spicy, comforting, great leftovers… I thought I finally was starting to get it. I had the first soup of a long series of soups to share.
read more »
November 10, 2011
It is easy to overlook things I am used to. I don’t think much of them, I have always done them in this way, and I take them for granted. A wrong attitude surely, and particularly undeserved when it is directed to Italian classics. I always have some ace up my sleeve, that makes it easier to smile and invite someone over for dinner, even if it is late in the evening and I have prepared nothing, or to resist to another greasy takeaway, considering that more or less with the same time and effort I can have a plate of home cooked food ready at the table.
The secret to all of this is pasta. You probably already know that, given the popularity of events such as Presto Pasta Nights. It is all too easy to turn pasta into one ‘piatto unico’, a little feast that will leave everyone with a happy belly and a smile on their face. I have a few recipes I always resort to, and this is one of my favourites. It is easy to tweak and twist, but complication is not really required, and actually, it should probably be discouraged here.
read more »