Friday, June 26, 2015

Cioccolatini ripeni alla crema di pistacchio e mandorla- Chocolates filled with pistachio and almond cream

I have already made these using hazelnut (see recipe here), once again you just need two ingredients: dark chocolate and pistachio or almond cream from Italian Foodies.

Step 1
Melt the chocolate at bain Marie and line the chocolate moulds (I used silicone moulds). For each mould you will probably need about 1 or 2 tsp of chocolate, let it run to cover the bottom and sides of the moulds and then place the mould in the fridge IMMEDIATELY so that the chocolate sets quickly (you don't want it to roll down the sides and just fill the bottom of the moulds). Use only half of the chocolate, leave the rest in the bowl and keep warm (so it won't solidify). 

Step 2
After 15 or 20 remove the moulds from the fridge and fill with the nut paste, then cover with the remaining melted chocolate. Refrigerate.

Step 3
Before serving remove from ridge, tip the chocolates out of the moulds and serve. Better to store in the fridge if it is a hot day.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Brussels sprouts taste better in a soup

Yes they do! I have a few recipes with Brussels, and I talked about my 'relationship' with the 'challenging' vegetable here, where I also published my favourite Brussels sprout cheese quiche.
But the easiest way to cook them is in a soup, a bit like a minestrone, so that all the flavors from the other vegetables, plus the starch of pasta, 'improve' the distinctive taste of Brussels sprouts.

Chop one onion, half a carrot and one celery stalk with leaves, sauté with a tbsp of olive oil and then add 1.5 l of vegetable stock. Simmer until the carrots are soft and then add the Brussel sprouts, a cube of frozen spinach and a handful of small pasta (like stelline). Simmer until the pasta and Brussels sprouts are cooked, add a little more extra virgin olive oil and black pepper to taste. Easy and yum!

 Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lenticchie in umido - Brown lentils Italian style

I love a nice big pot of lentils, preferibly with some oven fresh crusty bread or a slice of polenta or creamy mushed potatoes. But also as pie fillers, for lasagne, or as a side dish, especially now that the weather is cold in New Zealand. For this recipes wash, soak and rinse 500 g of brown lentils, and then boil them in water with just a pinch of salt until cooked but not too soft or mushy. 

In the meantime roughly chop one peeled carrot, one peeled onion, one peeled garlic clove and one stalk of celery with leaves and a few leaves of Italian parsley. This time I also added one green pepper because it was all alone in the fridge, but this is not necessary.

Sizzle the vegetables with two tbsp of olive oil until the onions are soft, then add 1 tbsp of tomato puree, and if you like a little smoked paprika or a chili. Stir and sizzle for one minute.

Add the lentils and their water and more salt to taste, but not too much as the water will reduce.
Cover and simmer until most of the liquid is gone and you are happy with the consistency of your lentils. Add salt and pepper to taste, plus a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and serve.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Quince jelly

I love quince jelly, lovely project for rainy days! Wash and quarter some quinces, removing the pips, then boil the lot with lemon juice and a little water until the fruit is soft and mushy. 

Put the pulp inside a jelly bag, cheaper if you just use a clean pillowcase (I have one which I use just for jellies) and hung it over a bowl (using a broom and two chairs) for a day and night.

This way the juice will drop into the bowl. As a rule if you like a clear jelly do not squeeze the bag! But I confess that I gave it a little squeeze… I wanted to get more out of it!

Measure the juice and add the same amount of sugar, then boil again.

I had lots, so I put half in a container to set, and added Fresh As Raspberry powder to the other half for a quick raspberry jelly. Delicious!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


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