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Individual Fig & Date Puddings

Individual Fig & Date Puddings

These little puddings are very similar to the Sticky Toffee Pudding that I was known to make to end many a dinner party during my single years.  It is an easy recipe and a sure crowd pleaser.  I always made my sticky toffee pudding in […]

Il Giorno in cui Anna Moroni fu Mia Ospite

Il Giorno in cui Anna Moroni fu Mia Ospite

  Il giorno in cui Anna Moroni fu mia ospite Forse lo avete già potuto vedere dal link del video che ho messo in rete, ma fatto sta che il mese di ottobre mi ha riservato una grande sorpresa: avere ospite a casa Anna Moroni, […]

Gingersnaps

Gingersnaps

 

These Gingersnaps are just as they should be, thin, buttery and crunchy all the way through.  The flavour of ginger is perfectly balanced with the brown sugar and spices and I have had to give most of them away to friends to avoid eating them all myself!

Although they are perfect eaten accompanied with a cold glass of milk, why not try sandwiching vanilla gelato in between two gingersnaps, or put them on a cheese board next to a strong pecorino or soft Gorgonzola dolce! 

Gingersnaps

  • 250g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 170g butter, room temperature
  • 150g (1 1/4 cups) packed dark-brown sugar
  • 60mls (1/4 cup) molasses
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated, peeled ginger
  • 1 large egg
  • 200g (1 cup) caster sugar
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, molasses, and ginger on medium-high speed until light an fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Beat in the egg, and mix until smooth and combined, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the flour and spice mixture, and beat on low speed until just combined.  Transfer dough to a bowl and wrap in plastic kitchen wrap.  Refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line oven tray with baking paper
  6. Using 1/2 tablespoon of cookie dough, roll dough into balls. Place caster sugar into a bowl, and roll cookie balls in the sugar to coat completely.  Place them about 5cm apart on the baking paper.  (I cooked just one first to see how wide it would spread.  I then cooked only 9 at a time, preparing 9 more balls whilst 9 were in the oven.)
  7. Bake, until cookies are deep golden all over and the centres are firm.  Mine took just 11-12 minutes.
  8. Transfer Gingersnaps to a wire rack to cool completely.  They should be crisp and crunchy all the way through.

Biscotti Gingersnap

  • 250g farina ’00’
  • 2 cucchiaini di bicarbonato di sodio
  • 3/4 cucchiaino cannella macinato
  • 1/4 cucchiaino chiodi di garofano macinati
  • 1/4 cucchiaino di pepe nero macinato
  • 1/2 cucchiaino di sale
  • 170g burro, temperatura ambiente
  • 150g zucchero muscovado
  • 60mls melassa
  • 1 1/2 cucchiai di zenzero fresco. pelato e finemente grattugiato
  • 1 uovo grande
  • 200g zucchero semolato
  1. In una grande ciotola, mescolare insieme farina, bicarbonato di sodio, cannella, chiodi di garofano, pepe e sale.
  2. Nella ciotola di una planetaria, battere burro, zucchero di canna, melassa, e zenzero a medio-alta velocità per 3 – 4 minuti.  Raschiare i lati della ciotola, se necessario.
  3. Aggiungere e battere l’uovo, e mescolare per circa 1 minuto.
  4. Aggiungere la farina e la miscela di spezie, e battere a bassa velocità fino a quando il composto e omogeneo.
  5. Trasferire l’impasto in una ciotola e coprirlo bene con la pellicola.  Refrigerare per almeno un’ora, o per una notte.
  6. Preriscaldare il forno a 180 °C e preparare una teglia con la carta da forno.
  7. Fare delle palline con l’impasto: ogni pallina dovrà essere da circa 1/2 cucchiaio di impasto. Disporre lo zucchero in una ciotola e rotolarci le palline per rivestirle completamente.  Posizionarle circa 5 cm di distanza sulla carta da forno (io ne ho cucinata una da sola prima, per vedere quanto si sarebbe allargata durante la cottura).  Ho poi cucinato solo 9 palline alla volta, preparando 9 palline mentre 9 erano in forno.
  8. Cuocere i biscotti fino a quando sono dorati,  11-12 minuti. (Attenzione perché si bruciano velocemente)
  9. Trasferire i gingersnaps su una griglia per raffreddare completamente.

 

Cantuccini

Cantuccini

One would think that I have made Cantuccini many times considering I lived in Tuscany for 14 years before moving to Rome five years ago.  The truth is that I made them this week for the first time.  I tried a couple of recipes, and […]

Spaghetti con le Sarde

Spaghetti con le Sarde

A traditional Sicilian pasta recipe which I absolutely adore, ‘spaghetti con le sarde’ is spaghetti with sardines, although for this recipe and these photos, I used fresh anchovies instead of sardines.  I used fresh anchovies because they were available at the fish market the day […]

Decorated Sugar Cookies

Decorated Sugar Cookies

I recently made some decorated cookies for Peppino Capuano Jewellery in occasion of ‘La Vendemmia 2017’.  “The excellence of the best international wines encounters the exclusivity of the luxury boutiques in the fascinating setting of Via Condotti and Piazza di Spagna”.  La Vendemmia is an exclusive event that has been celebrated in Milan since 2009 but this was the first year that it was also celebrated in the Eternal City. 

Peppino Capuano Jewellery invited me to attend the event on the 19th October.  I visited their Atelier to meet the family a few days before the event, and left feeling like we’d been friends for years.  I offered to make cookies for them to offer their guests, something small but elegant and edible! 

Decorated cookies can take a lot of time, but if you do have time on your hands, it can be fun and therapeutic.  Plunger cutters facilitate the fondant decoration, although there are some amazing cookie decorators that use small piping bags filled with coloured royal icing. Hours are spent sometimes just on one cookie.  Mine are not at all that complicated! 

I thought I’d share the cookie recipe I use.  I’ve tried many, and the one thing that is important when making decorated sugar cookies, is that you want the cookie to maintain it’s shape while it’s cooking.  My recipe is quite simple, and after trying many over the years, I get the best results from the basic recipe I use to make my sweet pastry for tarts!

Decorated Sugar Cookies

  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 125g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • pinch salt
  • lemon zest (optional)
  1. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and yolk and beat to combine.  Put mixer on low speed, gradually add sifted flour and salt, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Turn cookie dough out onto a floured board and knead gently until smooth. Divide in half.
  2. Use a rolling pin to roll one half of dough in between two sheets of baking paper, until it is 5mm thick.  Repeat with the second half of dough and refrigerate both cookie dough sheets for 30minutes.  (You can also put them in the freezer).
  3. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  4. Use cookie cutters and cut cookie dough into desired shape.  Do this quickly and put cookies into the pre-heated oven before they get to room temperature. Place them at least 1.5cm apart on baking paper, and bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges.  Let cookies sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on a wire rack.
  5. Knead remaining dough, roll out again between two sheets of baking paper, and refrigerate again.  Repeat process until all cookies have been baked.

*Below the recipe written in Italian, are some examples of my decorated sugar cookies. 

RICETTA IN ITALIANO

Dopo avere provato tante ricette per i biscotti decorati, la ricetta che trovo migliore (i biscotti non si deformano durante la cottura) è semplicemente quella per la pasta frolla che uso per tutte le mie crostate!

  • 250g di farina
  • 1 uovo + 1 tuorlo d’uovo
  • 125g burro
  • 100g di zucchero
  • pizzico di sale
  • scorza di limone (facoltativo)
  1. Mettere il burro e lo zucchero nella ciotola di una planetaria e sbattere fino a quando la miscela e omogeneo.
  2. Aggiungere l’uovo e tuorlo e sbattere.  Mettere il mixer a bassa velocità, aggiungere gradualmente la farina setacciata e il sale, e sbattere fino a quando l’impasto sarà unito.  Trasferire l’impasto su una tavola infarinata e impastare delicatamente con farina ’00’.  Dividere a metà.
  3. Utilizzare un mattarello per stendere una metà della pasta tra due fogli di carta da forno, fino a quando sarà 5mm di spessore.  Ripetere con la seconda metà di pasta e refrigerare entrambi per 30 minuti.  (potete anche metterli nel freezer).
  4. Preriscaldare il forno a 180 °C.
  5. Usare ‘cookie cutters’ e tagliare la pasta nella forma desiderata.  Fate questo rapidamente e mettere i biscotti nel forno pre-riscaldato prima che i biscotti arrivino a temperatura ambiente. Disponeteli ad almeno 1,5 cm di distanza a parte sulla carta da forno e cuocere per 10 minuti o fino a che i biscotti non sono troppo bruniti intorno ai bordi.  Lasciate che i biscotti riposino sulla teglia per 2 minuti dopo la rimozione dal forno e poi passare al raffreddamento completo su una griglia.
  6. Impastare la pasta rimanente, stendere di nuovo tra due fogli di carta da forno, e refrigerare di nuovo.  Ripetere il processo fino a quando tutti i biscotti sono stati cotti.

 

Aussie Meat Pies

Aussie Meat Pies

I think it’s safe to say that the Meat Pie is an Australian icon.  I’ve lived away from Australia for more than twenty years, yet if you asked me to write a list of traditional ‘Aussie’ icons, a meat pie with tomato sauce would be right […]

Soft Persimmon Cookies

Soft Persimmon Cookies

I love Persimmons! I love the soft and juicy Hachiya variety and these are the ones that are perfect for baking.  I also love the hard Fuyu variety because you can eat them like you would an apple.  If you’ve ever eaten an unripe persimmon you probably haven’t […]

Sticky Chinese Pork Spare Ribs

Sticky Chinese Pork Spare Ribs

This recipe is another favourite from my mother’s repertoire of Chinese recipes.  Eating these sticky ribs and licking my fingers with my eyes closed I can picture her in the kitchen of our Frankston house.  My two brother’s, my twin sister and my father sitting around the table waiting impatiently for her to serve us dinner. 

Sticky Chinese Pork Spare Ribs

  • 60ml hoisin sauce
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 125ml Shao Xing rice cooking wine
  • 45g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander*, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1kg Chinese-style pork spare ribs
  • 125ml water
  • 2 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • 3cm piece ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

* I couldn’t get a bunch of fresh coriander, so I used one tablespoon from a jar of Thai coriander.

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Place the hoisin sauce, chilli, soy sauce, Shao Xing, sugar, coriander and sesame oil in a bowl and mix well to combine.
  3. Place the ribs, skin side down, in a large baking dish and pour over the hoisin mixture.
  4. Cover with aluminium foil and roast for 1 hour 15 minutes.  Uncover, add the water and roast for a further 1 hour 30 minutes, turning ribs occasionally.
  5. Combine the green onion, ginger and vegetable oil and pour over the ribs to serve.

Eat served with Chinese Fried Rice , and if you like things HOT… sprinkle some extra chopped red chilli on top!

Sticky Chinese Pork Spare Ribs

  • 60ml salsa Hoisin
  • 2 peperoncini rossi, tagliati
  • 2 cucchiai di salsa di soia
  • 125 Shao Xing vino di riso
  • 45g (1/4 Cup) zucchero di canna
  • 1 mazzo di coriandolo fresco *, tritato
  • 1/4 cucchiaino di olio di sesamo
  • 1kg costolette di maiale
  • 125ml acqua
  • 2 scalogni, affettate
  • 3cm pezzo di zenzero, sottilmente affettato
  • 2 cucchiaini di olio di semi

* Non ho trovato il coriandolo fresco, così ho usato un cucchiaio da un barattolo di coriandolo tailandese.

  1. Preriscaldare il forno a 180°C.
  2. Mettere la salsa hoisin, peperoncino, salsa di soia, Shao Xing, zucchero, coriandolo e olio di sesamo in una ciotola e mescolare bene.
  3. Posizionare le costolette con il lato della pelle verso il basso in una teglia grande e versare sopra la miscela hoisin.
  4. Coprire con la carta di alluminio e cuocere per 1 ora e 15 minuti.  Scoprire, aggiungere l’acqua e cuocere per un ulteriore 1 ora 30 minuti, girando ogni tanto le costolette .
  5. Unire lo scalogno, lo zenzero e l’olio di semi e versare il tutto sopra le costolette prima di servire.

Si può mangiare con Riso alla Cantonese, e se vi piacciono le cose piccanti….. aggiungere ancora peperoncino tritato!

Chinese Fried Rice

Chinese Fried Rice

  My mother used to cook wonderful Chinese dishes when we were growing up.  She had attended lessons with Elizabeth Chong,  a prominent Chinese-born Melbourne based celebrity chef, author and television presenter, at her Chinese Cooking School.  If there is one memory I have of […]