September 29, 2009

almond custard tart

to make your tuesday and wednesday more sweet here for you a lovely recipe for the almond tart. it's very very delicious and you will certainly love it!


to make this refined dessert you will need:
-shortcrust pastry (better if home made)
-120 g of minced almonds (almond flour)
-120 g of butter
-120 g of icing sugar
-1 egg and one egg yolk
-2 table spoons of cornflour (or normal flour)
-few drops of almond aroma
prepare the shortcrust pastry for blind baking: butter well the baking pan, spread the pastry and make small but many holes with a fork. cover with baking paper (creased to make it softer) and fill with raw rice or beans. bake for 15 minutes in a preheated oven (180°C), take away the baking paper with beans and put again in the oven for 10 minutes or until the pastry becomes gold. leave for cooling.
in the meantime prepare the almond custard. work well the butter with a wooden spoon until it becomes very soft (the butter must have a room temperature and must be cut in small pieces). add slowly the icing sugar and almond flour. mix well and add the egg and the egg yolk. add the cornflour and almond aroma. spread the custrad on the baked pastry and put in the already hot oven (160°C). bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the custard becomes brown. cool completely before serving. serve with icing sugar.

September 27, 2009

fresh pasta

what i show you here is unfortunately not my product.. i didn't try, at least not this time, to make by myself the fresh home made pasta. the fortune is that we have downstairs a lovely pastificio (pasta shop) founded at least 30 years ago: long tradition, great taste and (very) high price... the fact is that i was looking for some pumpkin ravioli (as we have a pumpkin season right now) but they were already finished... eventually i bought some ricotta and erbette ravioli (ricotta cheese with a kind of spinach) and i certainly don't regret! i made them with some butter and fresh sage (for who likes it also some parmigiano can be added). as for the pumpkin there is still time to taste it this autumn. we'll try the next week!


if you want to try to make it by yourself here is the recipe (i checked it with stefania, the owner of pastificio - of course she didn't give me her recipe, she would never do that. it's a family secret :).
you will need:
for fresh pasta:
- 3 eggs
- 400 g of flour
- some water
- salt (less than a half of tea spoon)

for the stuffing:
- 300 g of ricotta cheese (or similar white fresh cheese)
- 100 g of boiled spinach
- 1 table spoon of butter
- 1 egg
- 5 table spoons of grated parmigiano or grana padano
- half tea spoon of nutmeg
- salt  (half tea spoon)

boil the spinach, mince well and put in a saucepan with butter. take away from the fire and leave for cooling for 10 minutes. add ricotta, parmigiano, nutmeg and salt to the spinach and mix well. add the egg and mix again. leave in a frige for a while. in the meantime prepare the pasta. put the flour on the desk or in a big bowl. make a small dimple in the middle and add the eggs and the salt. work well of the ingredients with your hands. if needed add some water. at the end create a ball and leave for 30 minutes covered with a kitchen towel. work the pasta with the rolling pin in order to make it very flat (less than 0,5 cm). make small balls of ricotta and spinach stuffing. distribute the balls on the one side of the pasta (leave 5 cm distance between each ball) and cover with the second part. cut with a knife or a special ravioli form. stick well each of ravioli. before boiling in the salted water leave in the frige for at least 30 minutes. serve with melted butter, fresh sage leaves and parmigiano.

September 25, 2009

home perfume

it happens often to me that some of my guests when they enter our house say "oh, what a lovely scent". it's nice to hear that. the secret is in the "home perfume" i placed in every corner of the house. here for you some of it. above the bathroom with scented candles. doesn't it look a little bit like a personal beauty farm ;)

 

still in the bathroom: pink is my favourite colour and lavender is my favourite scent. this lovely lavender scented bags are souvenirs from my honey moon in scotland (from fort william to be more precise). that was really a beautiful journey...
above some more of parfumed home details: scent diffuser in the antechamber (on the left) and lavender scent diffuser (again) from the bedroom. below some parfumed details from the dressing table in the bedroom.

finally my favourite: this lovely ceramic perfume diffuser form millefiori milano that i keep in the living room. among plenty of scents for this diffuser my choice was myrtle. it's adorable and relaxing.

i wish you all a great weekend and hope to hear from you!

September 23, 2009

strawberry and panna cotta stripes

oh i know that the strawberry season is over but i had a very special request from my colleague stefano to make a panna cotta for his party (tomorrow he makes an inauguration party of his new loft!), and i thougth that the best would be a mix of panna cotta and strawberries. here for you the recipe! even if it looks a bit complicated it's actually very easy (only some patience is needed).


you will need (for six cups):
for panna cotta:
-250 ml of milk
-250 ml of fresh cream (not very dense)
-70 g of sugar
-10 g of gelatine leafs (usually 2 leafs)

for strawberry mousse:
-250 g of fresh strawberries
-2 table spoons of sugar
-10 g of gelatine leafs (usually 2 leafs)
put the gelatine leafs (both for fruit mousse and panna cotta) in a bowl with a cold water. in a saucepan mix the milk with cream and sugar. keep on fire until the mixture boils. take away from the fire and divide the mixture in two parts. add to the one part a half of the gelatine destined for panna cotta and mix well until the gelatine melts completely. put the mixture in the cups and transfer in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.


in the meantime prepare the strawberry mousse: mince the strawberries with the blender. divide in two parts. put the first part in a saucepan and heat it on a small fire (don't make it boil). when it's hot add a half of gelatine destined for the mousse and mix well together. leave for cooling for a while. take the cups with panna cotta and add a stripe of strawberry mousse on the top. put again in the freezer for 20 minutes. take the second part of panna cotta cream and add the rest of gelatine. make another stripe in the cups. repeat now the same with strawberry mousse (always keeping the cups for 20 minutes in the freezer between one stripe and the other). leave for cooling in the frige for at least 2 hours (the best would be whole night). i'm sure you'll love it! enjoy!

September 22, 2009

red fruits muffins

as recently the weather was rainy i spent some evenings in the kitchen (the best place in the world) testing some new recipes. here for you one of my last experiments (that turned out very well) - red fruits muffins.



you will need:


30 g of butter
1 egg
80 g of sugar
150 g of cream (crème fraiche is the best!)
120 g of flour
2 g of salt
6 g of baking soda
100 g of frozen red fruits (raspberry, blueberry, redcurrant)

preheat the oven to 180°C. butter 6 big or 10 small muffin pans. melt the butter in a saucepan on a very small fire. in a bowl mix the egg with sugar. add the butter to the egg mixture and the crème fraiche afterwards. mix well together. separately mix the flour with salt and baking soda. add the fruits (still frozen) to the flour. mix gently the flour with egg-cream mixture. avoid mixing for a long time – your muffins will be softer. fill immediately the pans (don't fill them up to the edge as they will grow a lot) and put in the oven for 25 minutes (15 minutes if your muffins are small).


muffins are the best in the morning! taste them with a cup of cappuccino - will just be lovely!

September 21, 2009

amaryllis



as i promised you the last time here is my amaryllis. after some weeks since i brought it in the kitchen it finally started to blossom and the efect is just lovely... i like amaryllis flowers so much! they make me always think about my childhood as they have always been my grandma's favourite flowers. such a lovely time, i miss it..

by the way, would like a little update about what is happening in my tiny city garden? do you remember the post from the last week "autumn in the garden"? look how beautiful my flowers are now!


September 16, 2009

creme brule

i have another delicious recipe that i brought from france this summer. i guess that creme brule is absolutely my favourite dessert, one i can't really resist.
honestly this recipe is not so easy to prepare. maybe the result will not be satisfactory the first time you make it as some practice is needed. however, let us go from theory to practice!
you will need:
600 ml of heavy cream (i always recommend creme fraiche)
6 eggs yolks
90 g of sugar (i would recommend brown)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
another sugar (for topping)
preheat the oven to 190°C. put the cream in a soucepan and heat it on a small fire (don't boil the cream). beat the yolks with sugar and vanilla aroma. mix gently the cream and yolk mixtures and put in the baking pans (better if very flat and without filling them completely). place the pans (should be four or six - depends on how big they are) in a bigger dish with boiling water around it. place in the already hot owen a bake for about 20 minutes (or until set). take away from the oven and leave until the cream cools completely. then put it in the frige in order to make it chill (better if for the whole night).
the culminating moment comes before serving as you will need to prepare a crunchy, lovely caramel surface on your creme brule. the best way to do it is to use a special torch (i highly recommend it!), otherwise you can just sprinkle the cream with sugar and put it again in a hot oven until the sugar melts and turns shiny.
i love it hot so my advice is to serve it immediately. however, if you prefer it cool or need to have it ready in advance, just put them back to the frige and serve whenever you wish!
so, would you like to try to make it in one of these rainy autumn afternoons?

September 15, 2009

blossoming house

yesterday evening i came back home from the office and found my lily blossoming (in the morning almost all buds were still closed). isn't it beautiful?


i love fresh flowers and white lily is one of my absolute favourites! hope you like it too...


this is not the end! my amarillis is about to blossom in few days. i will certainly show you.
have a great tuesday!

September 14, 2009

autumn in the garden


after summer hot there is finally some fresh air and i can bring new plants to my small city garden. days are becoming shorter, sun is shining gently and autumn rain is refreshing the air. all this with some wonderful autumn flowers makes me smile and love this season.
chrysanthemums are bringing joy and colour. they are resistent to parasitics and don't need many cares. they are a perfect choice to invigorate every autumn garden or balcony.
beside the chrysanthemum also purple heathers look beautiful. they make me think about the honey moon in scotland last year - what a lovely journey.

cyclamens are here waiting for the winter cold. during the long winter months they will proudly show their magnificient and colourful flowers.

September 13, 2009

choco-nut brownie

usualy every saturday afternoon i make a cake for sunday. this week's choice is a nut brownie that, i need to admit, is terribly delicious. it's fast and easy to prepare and perfect for sunday breakfast and (for who has a really sweet tooth) also for an after lunch dessert.
you will need:

- 200 g of butter
- 4 eggs
- 140 g of flour
- 200 g of sugar
- 1 g of salt
- 115 g of dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
- 5 drops of vanilla aroma
- 120 g of nuts

preheat the oven to 180°C. butter a baking pan (better if rectangular). mince the nuts with your fingers in quite big pieces. in a saucepan melt the butter and chocolate on a very small fire. add the sugar and mix slowly with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes. the sugar doesn't need to melt completely. take away from the fire and put the mixture in another (cool) container, possibly a bowl with a spout. add eggs and mix together until the mixture is well unified. add valilla aroma and mix again for a couple of minutes. add slowly flour and nuts at the end. mix and pour in the previously buttered baking pan. bake for about 20-25 minutes.

in the morning enjoy it with a cup of delicious cafe au lait or cappuccino. in the afternoon don't hesitate to taste your nut brownie with a cup of tea.

September 10, 2009

details make home

the most beautiful houses are those where it is possible to learn about the personality of the owners from the furniture, decorative details and the choice of colours. houses with soul where single objects are chosen carefully and are able to speak about their stories and origins.


chair - Nap Atelier, cushions Nap Atelier and La bottega della nonna

 


simple and white wardrobe can be personalized with porcelain knobs and curtain bows. you can get this way a low cost but very special furniture reflecting your personality. the wide choice of colours can help to find the most appropriate to match with the rest of objects in your house.




on these pictures we can see the bedroom wardrobe in pink and ante-room wardrobe with navy knobs and bows.



little sweet cushion on a black and white checked armchair changes a lot. makes it even seem more comfortable and invites you to seat in it.


armchair Ikea, cushion Nap Atelier.


below other examples of some beautiful home details able to personalize and give soul to your house. sometimes it takes many years to collect them during various journeys, visits on flea markets, unexpected discoveries (often low cost) in various shops. many of them are gifts and especially those need to be kept with love and care.


a tiny porcelian box with butterflies found by chance in a low cost stock in milan.


my favourites kettles (all gifts) together with pate box, old fashion candy box and a glass jar where i keep a memory of this year's paeonies until the next year when the new aeonies will blossom.  
    

September 04, 2009

tarte au citron



back from france we have a delicious recipe to share - tarte au citron! fresh and tasty will certainly satisfy even the most demanding dessert lovers. it's easy and quick to prepare so even the absolute beginners can try!

you will need:

- shortcrust pastry (better if home made)
- 4 eggs
- 300 ml of cream (the best would be french creme fraiche)
- 120 g of sugar
- 2 table spoons of flour
- juice and grated rind of 3 lemons
- icing sugar to serve
spread the shortcrust pastry in a well buttered cooking pan. make small holes with a fork and prepare for blind baking (with baking paper and baking beans). put in the preheated oven (up to 200°C) for 15 minutes.
take away the baking paper and the beans and put back in the owen for 5 more minutes. diminish the temperature in the oven to 150°C.


put the eggs with sugar in a bowl and work with mixer until the mixture becomes light. add the flour and cream and mix again slowly. at the and add the lemon juice and rind.
put the mixture on the patstry in the pan and bake for about 20 minutes (or longer if needed), until the cake becomes gold. take away form the owen and and leave to cool completely. serve with icing sugar if you like.


you can also make more small tarts in smaller baking pans if you wish to have individual tarts for your guest or family :)

September 03, 2009

french holiday

love lives in the kitchen spent some time in france this summer, more precisely in the southern coast in saint tropez. this absolutely lovely place is also famous for its gorgeous cuisine. we felt in love in pastry shops, small boulangeries selling crispy baguettes and coffee houses serving velvety cafè au lait.


there are plenty of pastry shops all of them offering an extremely rich quantity of cakes, cookies, tarts and desserts. it's almost impossible to choose only one of them between so many varietes and it's absolutely needed to come back the next day to try also the others.


there are plenty of pastry shops all of them offering an extremely rich quantity of cakes, cookies, tarts and desserts. it's almost impossible to choose only one of them between so many varietes and it's absolutely needed to come back the next day to try also the others.

fruity tarts, creamy cakes, fresh semifreddos and budinos as well as typical french creme brulé are all looking from the shop windows and inviting you to try them. calories? millions! but who cares? after having your dessert in saint tropez just pick your bicycle and run through the lovely country side. another solution could be a visit to one of extremely glamour beaches - thaiti or pampelonne. the only problem is that beach bistros are very well supplied and you can once again become a victim of this sweet trap :)



the most famous cake in saint tropez is tarte tropezienne made of sponge cake, confectioner's custard (lovely smelling of vanilla and lemon). you just can't leave the town without trying this one! you can find it in every pastry shop (also tarte tropezienne mignon), but try it first of all at tarte tropezienne patisserie (picture below).

a part tarte tropezienne another extremely famous local sin (already well known and imitated everywhere in the world) is macaron. made of almond flour and various toppings this small cake has many different coulours and is particularly decorative.











so, if before reading this post you didn't know where to go the next summer (even if actually it's beautifull all year long), saint tropez may be a tasty and beautiful destination!

September 01, 2009

love lives in the kitchen is back after summer holiday


summer can't last forever, it's over also this time and after weeks passed in laziness we are back to work. by the way autumn is our favourite season so you can expect delicious receipes and lovely posts coming very soon. don't miss them!

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