May 30, 2009

city garden

in the heart of the city it is uneasy to create green spaces, especially if you don't have a balcony... as a matter of fact what you can see here is an exterior staircase (used in a very old houses of a very low standard that presently are extremely fashionable) where a small city garden has been organized. well, maybe it's too tiny to be a called a garden, but who cares? we like it like that!

we have here a large variety of flowers and plants: ivy, pansy, roses, lavender, myrtle, cactus, fuchsia, bamboo, daisy, jasmine and many others. moreover there are plenty of birds flying around from here to there and singing their songs.

maybe the only missing thing is the grass ;)

so, to organize a garden like this it is not necessary to be neither land owners nor professional gardeners. it is enought to water the plants once a day and dedicate a couple of hours during the weekend for "extraordinary operations" - satisfaction and neighbours' envy guaranteed. so, working class - let's go gardening!

May 29, 2009

spinach and feta - best cake in the world

usually i'm modest, but for my spinach and feta cake i'm sure to be a magician! it's easy and fast to prepare and always appreciated by everybody. it's perfect both hot and cold and goes well as a main course (with a simple salad) or as aperitivo.

you will need:

- briseè pastry (the one from the supermarket is ok and makes the receipe much simpler :)
- fresh "new" spinach leaves (about 150 g)
- feta cheese (150 - 200 g) cut in cubes
- crème fraiche (150-200 ml) - rigorously french and sour!
- 3 eggs
- 1 table spoon of butter
- pine nuts
- salt and peper

roll out the pastry in the previously buttered pan (for the ready-from-the-supermarket pastry you don't need a butter as there is a paper). make small hals with a fork and put feta cubes on it. boil the spinach leaves in a salted water for 1 minute. drain the leaves, add the butter and cook for 5 minutes on a moderate fire. take of from the fire, add eggs, crème fraiche, salt and peper and mix it all together with a wooden spoon. put the mixture in to the pan and sprinkle with pine nuts. put in the oven (pre-heated
to 200 C degrees) and bake for about 30 minutes.



quick ideas - goat cheese with herbs - a lovely aperitivo

a  nice idea for a summer aperitivo is a fresh goat cheese (caprino) with fresh herbs. it takes only 5 minutes to prepare and is really delicious!

you will need:

- a fresh goat cheese
- few leafs of parsley, oregano, mint, thyme and basil (rigorously from your own garden:) finely chopped
- crackers, bread, carrots or celery to spread on

as my violet pansy is blossoming profusely in this period i used it as adornment together with few ivy leafs. strawberry jam and honey are here for another reason as the aperitivo was compound also of different kinds of cheese (emental, camembert, brie, parmigiano) that taste pretty good with jam and honey as well as with grapes.

for the drinks the best option is a glass of a well chilled white wine or of a gorgeous brut champagne.

relaxing and warm

this project has been carried out in my 75 square meters apartment in the centre of milan. the owners (me and my husband), are a busy and hard working young couple who need their house to be a relaxing and a warm place.

some of the furniture is simply a customized ikea, while the more precious pieces, like the bed or the mirror behind the sofa, come from an absolutely magic place nap atelier.

the bedroom dressing table with a marble counter is an original antique piece, typical from the south of italy, as made of tinplate which pretends to be wood.

sunday morning cheesecake

it is no necessary to be professionals to bake the cheescake, but in this case the receipe comes from a professional - my aunt basia.
there is nothing to say, she has always been a number one in the matter of baking in the whole family.
what i did was preparing small portions in a tiny cake pans, ideal for a sunday morning breakfast for two in bed...

you will need:

- two eggs
- 300 g of ricotta cheese (or similar)
- 100 g of butter
- half cup of sugar
- lemon and vanilla aroma
- 1/2 spoon of baking powder
- rasins or pieces of fresh peach to add
- shortcrust pastry (better if home made) for the bottom

roll out the pastry in previously buttered small cake pans (preferably pottery), make small holes with a fork and put in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. leave aside to chill. work the butter with a wooden spoon or mixer. add yolks, sugar, ricotta, baking powder, aromas and rasins or peaces of peach.
put the mixture in to the pans and put in the oven (pre-heated to 200 C degrees) for 20 minutes.
the best way to eat it is in my opinion a sunday breakfast in bed (especially if you can share it :) with a cup of cappuccino. however is also lovely to taste it after lunch or, as my aunt basia does, at 11.30 am, with a cup of tea or a long coffee, as a second breakfast!


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