Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tagliatelle ai funghi, in memory of Antonio Carluccio

When I learned that Antonio Carluccio had died I was really sad, I didn't know hime well, but I did meet him twice, and wrote to him once (and got a reply!), he was an inspiration. When I was young and poor and constantly hungry and cold in London I used watch his programmes, and dream of Italy, sun and endless food. I met him in the street there but I was so shy that the only thing I could say was Buongiorno and run away! After writing my first book I emailed him (his publisher) to send him a copy, and got an email reply (signed by him, but I will never know if he wrote it) and a thank you and well done!. Then I met him two years ago at Gusto at the Grand in Auckland, and that was fantastic, I was sitting at his table so I managed to chat a bit with him. What a great memory!

So to honour his legacy I took out my pasta board and went out in the garden, (it was a lovely day), and made some tagliatelle. I even added some flowers to some, just for fun. To make pasta I just use an egg for every 100g of flour, this is good for two people, so double for 4 and so on. Since I have two teenagers I used 300g of flour and 3 eggs :-). 

Then I made a sauce, I had a big pack of dried porcini mushrooms which a soaked, and some other mushrooms, which I cut, and since I didn't have many I added some eggplant, cut and salted (to sweat). If you add eggplant to mushrooms it will absorb the flavour and the texture is a little similar so you can dream that you have lots of mushrooms. I sautéed the fresh mushrooms and eggplant with a little olive oil, chopped parsley and garlic cloves and then added the dried mushrooms and their water, a big bottle of tomato passata,  extra tomato puree and salt to taste. At the end I had a huge pot of sauce, even after I cooked the lot for one hour (to thickens the sauce), I used some for pasta the first day and for a pie the day after.

We had the tagliatelle and mushrooms with Parmigiano, and a glass of red whine, and toasted to Antonio. Goodbye Carluccio, sit tibi terra levis.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Panna cotta alla rosa - Rose panna cotta

These little roses from my garden smell delicious, I often use them for desserts, liquors, decorations... anything I can think of. They are organic and safe to eat (otherwise I wouldn't be here writing this!)

Panna cotta alla rosa

tiny rose petals, as many as you like
150ml water
a few drops of lemon juice
3 tbsp sugar
500 ml cream
100 ml milk
1 tsp rose water (optional)
half tsp agar agar
more rose petals to decorate

Pick the rose petals and rinse with cold water, then place in a pot with the water, lemon juice and two tbsp of sugar. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Let them cool down, the water will turn pink. Add the cream, milk, remaining tbsp of sugar, agar agar and, if using, rose water, and bring back to the boil. Divide between 4 (or 6 smaller) pudding bowls (this panna cotta is very soft, not to be flipped)
Chill and serve, with a few fresh rose petals. Just amazing!!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A carrot soup that actually tastes good!

Do you want a carrot soup that taste carroty but not too much? Carrot taste can be a little 'overpowering' and I am tired of seeing so many carrot and coriander soup recipes, so here is a variation with onions and thyme.

1 kg carrots
1 large onion
olive oil
Fresh thyme
vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to season
Yogurt to serve (optional)

Clean and steam the carrots. In the meantime slice the onion and cook in a frying pan with a little olive oil, salt and a few sprigs of fresh thyme until translucent. Place the steamed carrots and onion in a mixer and turn into a puree. Place into a soup pot and cover with vegetable stock. Simmer on low for 20-30 minutes (the longer the better). Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with a few fresh leaves of thyme and, if you like, a dollop of yogurt (dairy or vegan).

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


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