domenica 4 novembre 2007

No need for words...

domenica 8 luglio 2007

yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away

When I was at school, I hated history classes. I dunno why, but I just didn't understand what was the use in wasting such a lot of time talking about old old old people, that did things years and years and years ago...but then you grow up a little bit, and you begin to understand that everything happens because of the so-called "chain-reaction" thing; you realize that nothing is just caused by the chance or destiny, but there's a connection betwwen the things, even if the connection is not so clear to your eyes.
what we are now is only the result of what we have done before, and it can be yesterday, 4 years ago, 2 centuries ago...
I was thinking about it today when in the news they talked about the "new wonders" of the world, proclaimed yesterday in Portugal, and among them there's the Colosseo in Rome. They immediately interviewed tons of tourists in Rome to ask them if they agreed, and all the people said that it's incredible to visit such a monument and so it's amazing to think that it's still here to witness the grandeur of the past...but I think the most struggling question is, how have we ended up this way?!

in such a revival mood, I found an old recipe and I've changed it a little's an alternative to the classic marble cake, but the concept behind it, is absolutely the same,but the flavor, well, that is a little bit "old-style", the ancestor of the modern marble cake!

Mosaic Cupcakes

112g sugar
56g butter
200g flour
1 egg
90g yoghurt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
A pinch of salt

DOUGH N°1, add:
10ml golden syrup
A pinch of cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg
2 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder

DOUGH N°2, add:
½ teaspoon rose water
A few drops of pink food colouring

DOUGH N°3, add:
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Pre-heat oven at 180°C/350°F
Cream together the butter and the sugar. When it’s creamy add the egg.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Ass the flour mixture alternately with the yoghurt to the butter, sugar and egg batter.
Now, separate into three parts.
To one add spices, golden syrup and cocoa powder.
To the second add pink colouring and rose water.
To the third add only vanilla.
Drop into the muffin mold (or baking pan, if you prefer one big cake!) alternately a spoonful of each mixture, drawing the spoon through each color two or three times to make the colors lie in patterns. Bake in the oven for 20/30 minutes, for the muffins; 30/40 minutes for the cake.


domenica 1 luglio 2007


When I was a child, you could feel that summertime was here when you saw commercials on tv advertising rice-salad and sun-tan lotions...
But the best thing was that in the city, as quickly as mushrooms after the rain-fall, opened ice-cream parlors, that used to be closed during the winter period.
So summer could really start! Summer was a "gorgin up" of ice-cream! my favorite ice cream flavor are pistache and strawberry, I could eat tons of it!
As you understood summer was in because of shops opening, you could feel that the hot season was over, when shops closed.
Luckily nowadays we don't have to worry anymore, because ice-cream parlors are open all over the year, to allow our compulsive desire of a big cone to be fullfilled!
But to me summer represents those years, when you eagerly awaited for endless games, long summer nights out, literally had a bellyful of thoughtlessness and good time.

in such a mood, I couldn't miss such a peculiar recipe as this! Ice cream scones...well I must admit that I was rather skeptical at first, it sounded a bit strange to me!
But it was truly a pleasant discovery, that will open a whole bunch of possibilities and experiments: you only have to change the flavor of the ice-cream, and here's a new taste!
I actually used a good quality gianduia (nut-chocolate) ice-cream, with little pieces of nuts in it, so to give a different texture to the batter and bread flour, to make it a little more stiff(also because you will have to work the dough and you better not work it too much)

Ice Cream Scones


190 g bread flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
165 g gianduia (nut-chocolate) ice cream, melted

1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F).
2. Pour the ice cream into a large bowl; add the flour and baking powder into the ice cream until the dough just begins to come together. Using your hands, gently knead the dough into a ball, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
3. Work the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle. Cut the dough with some nice cookie cutter (diameter 4/5 cm) and place on a baking sheet.
4. Bake in the preheated oven until cooked, about 10-15minutes.


lunedì 25 giugno 2007

I feel like a muffin baking in the oven

I had a great weekend out on the mountains, to cool down, considering the high temperature we're experiencing these days all over's amazing how the mountains can give you that relax and can heal all your problems and troubles...
in such a quiet and fresh environment, a smell of spices teased me and pushed me to try this recipes, which combines spices, jam, nuts and dark sugar...
my kitchen was literally invaded by the perfume of nutmeg and cinnamon, butter&sugar...
unfortunately I didn't have the right jam, blueberry or blackberry, coz I quickly escaped from the city and forgot to take it with me...I fixed the problem using apricot jam, which works well, kinda neutral!
I preferred this time using a plumcake pan, coz it looked more "tea on the balcony overlooking the mountains" to me, don't ask me why!
anyway now I got back to work and to the oven, which is the city right now! all the soothing relax I got from the weekend is trying to fly away, but I'm stronger, I will keep it here with me!
enjoy the recipe and hope for me and for Italy all, that it will rain soon...

Jam and spices cake

180 g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of ground cloves
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch nutmeg
50g butter
110 g brown sugar

1 egg
25 g sour cream(or yoghurt)
110g jam (the one you prefer…I suggest to use blueberry or blackberry or raspberry, because the colour is better when you cut the cake, but apricot works well as well…)
56 g chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.

Sift together flour, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Cream butter and brown sugar. Add the egg. Add sour cream and then stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until blended. Stir in jam and nuts. Pour into buttered pan or muffin molds.

Bake about 30 minutes.


domenica 17 giugno 2007

And it was all yellow...

Do you know that song by Coldplay, "yellow"?
well I feel very yellow these days, probably because the rain has stopped to pour and the sun came back to remind us that we're in summer and we're supposed to enjoy the nature and the warmth...
When I was a child June was the best month ever, school was over, my holidays in the mountains was also the most beautiful month in terms of weather, with the right temperature and the place where I went (and where I still go) was not very crowded, so you could enjoy the slow rhythms of the life in the mountains...
In Serina, near Bergamo and San Pellegrino, I have a piece of my heart, I have the "adopted" family, I have a lot of friends and there are a lot of people that truly love me and my know, that people you have chosen to be "your family", not those you find as part of your family!
Well, don't ask me why but there the holidays were real holidays, probably I was seeing the world through the eyes of obvious innocence and curiosity, that only a kid can have...
the sun was "more" yellow, the fields were "greener" and the life was way much happier and more relaxed...
actually I rather be there now!
anyway in this golden-yellow mood I was inspired to do this corn-flour muffin with lemon yogurt in...they smell great and look gorgeous!
if you are interested in Serina and the Valle Brembana you can find some information here and here!(and don't forget San Pellegrino!)

Corn-flour and Lemon Muffin

110g flour
110g corn-flour
50g sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of baking soda
a pinch of salt
a pinch of nutmeg
24g of melted and cooled butter
25g corn oil
110g Lemon Yogurt
1 egg
Puffed rice as much as you like (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F)

In a bowl mix together the flour, corn-flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. In another bowl mix lemon yogurt, egg, butter, and oil until well blended. Pour the liquid over the dry and whisk until smooth. Now you can add, if you like, puffed rice, just to give a little crunchy texture in the batter…(it’s nice to have something crackling to nibble!).
Pour the batter in spoonfuls into the molds and bake 15-18 minutes until tops are golden and the usual toothpick test goes well!

better eat them sitting on the grass in a beautiful park, in a beautiful sunny day!(but actually they're good everyday!)

venerdì 15 giugno 2007

French Connection

On the 12th of June an exhibition devoted to Grace Kelly opens in Monaco, created by his son Alberto...I was thinking to go there for my birthday, on the 14th of July, which is also the day of the storming of the Bastille, France national celebration...Grace Kelly is such a worldwide icon and to see an exhibition designed by her own son, I think it is an unmissable opportunity!Who hasn't seen a movie of hers? Who hasn't dreamed watching her wedding with Prince Rainier? and who hasn't feel sad for such a miserable death...?
well if you have the chance you should go, also because is always a nice idea to spend a couple of days on the coast of France and maybe go shopping to Nice( a city I love!) or Cannes, or maybe make a trip to see the wonderful Perfume Factories in Grasse (especially Molinard...)
This is the right season to go there, thanks also to its mild temperature and sunny days!
And don't forget to fill your hungry bellies with tons of baguettes and pissaladières, croissant and pain au chocolate!

In such a French Mood I made a French-like recipe, that really reminds me of France, with its strong smell of Almonds and Vanilla,with a little touch of honey...

Almond-and-Honey Cupcakes


140g all-purpose flour
85g powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
50 g chopped almonds
2 eggs
Half teaspoon of almond extract
Half teaspoon of vanilla extract
Half teaspoon of lemon zest
40g butter melted and cooled
1 tablespoon of Honey ( but you can also use Golden syrup…)

Sift the flour, sugar, and salt together into a bowl, then add the almonds chopped (not too fine, it’s better to have something crunchy in the batter!).In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together with the almond and vanilla extracts(what a perfume, you will smell!) and the lemon zest. Add to the flour mixture. Mix until combined. Combine together the melted butter and honey. Then add the butter mixture to the other ingredients, making sure it gets completely incorporated into the batter. Let the batter sit for 1 hour in a cool place.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Fill the molds 3/4 full with the batter, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until light brown.

Bon Appetite!

sabato 9 giugno 2007

sleepless in Seattle

New experiment and I couldn't wait, even if it's late and I'm so tired, I had to post this recipe!
so peculiar and so brilliant, the result is so pretty, such a nice mix of colours and perfumes!
try and then you would tell me if I'm right!

here the recipe for those as sleepless as me tonight...



125g buckwheat flour
125g sugar
125g almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g butter
2 eggs
200g sour cream
1 pinch of salt
Blueberry jam

Preheat oven 180°C.
In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder. Add crushed almonds.
Melt the butter and combine it with the milk and the egg yolks.
Whip the egg whites.
Mix dry ingredients and liquid ones, then add the egg whites.
Put in the mould a generous spoonful of batter, then add a teaspoon of jam and then again a spoonful of batter to cover the jam.
Then put in the oven for anout 15-20 minutes, usually check with a toothpick…
Let them cool down and dust with icing sugar.


mercoledì 6 giugno 2007

always in a hurry...

quick post for a quick recipe...this is a recipe I love when I'm in a hurry, I have no time at all to do anything, not evne cry(as we say in Italian...!)
This is so easy and so impressive, with all the little poppy seeds and such a bright colour and intense be honest is so nice to smell the perfume of lemon blending with that vanilla perfume and sun-flower reall must try it to understand what I mean!
anyway here the recipe...

Poppyseed and Lemon Muffins

For 8 large muffins

150g caster sugar150g self-rising flour(But I prefer to use flour and then add a teaspoon of vanilla-flavoured baking powder)
25g poppyseeds

grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
125ml sunflower oil
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas5.

Place the sugar, flour and poppyseeds in a bowl, then stir in the lemon zest. Make a hole in the centre, then add in the oil, eggs and lemon juice. Stir gently until smooth.Spoon into muffin cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes, check as usual with a toothpick.


sabato 2 giugno 2007


Such a terrible day, wet, seems we're heading towards Christmas, rather than summer!
well such a weather inspire my cooking verve, so here's my experiment...I think I'm kinda proud of myself actually! the key it's in the jam inside the muffin, so unexpected for those who eat that and so cool to see when you split the muffin in a half!
this is a MUST-try recipe, so easy but so "impressive"!

Muffins and jam

140g sugar
250g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
85g melted butter
2 eggs
200ml cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of apricot or peach jam for each muffin

Start mixing all the dry ingredients together in one bowl. In another bowl mix eggs, cream, vanilla extract and melted butter. Gradually add the flour mixture.
Stir well until smooth. Add a spoon of the batter in the muffin-pan, then add a teaspoon of jam, and then cover with another spoon of batter. DO NOT put too much batter, the muffins raise in volume!
Then cook in the oven 190°C for 20 minutes(check with a toothpick…as usual!)
This is for around 15 muffins


domenica 20 maggio 2007

Glasgow calling

I have a big and profound love for Glasgow...I worked on my dissertation there and it was also the first time for me away from home on my own. well I've been already away from home on my own, but always together with some friends, school mates...that time I was completely alone, and that's probably why I feel such a strong link to Glasgow.
anyway I think Glasgow doesn't receive the right attention it deserves, it' s all a matter of misconceptions and I think is so wrong...It has such a warm heart, the city centre, so naive and cosy, and what about Mackintosh? so great! well, I think I will dedicate many many words to Glasgow trying to give it something back!
In the meantime check out some good glaswegian sound with the band "the fratellis", who had a big success with their brilliant single Chelsea dagger!
bye for now


here's an easy recipe for the best English dessert ever!

Lemon/Raspberry Streusel Muffins
250 g all-purpose flour
100 g sugar
9 g baking powder
2 g baking soda
3 g salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
245 g lemon yogurt
120 ml vegetable oil
2 g grated lemon peel
125 g fresh or frozen raspberries
65 g sugar
30 g all-purpose flour
30 g butter or margarine
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine eggs, yogurt, oil and lemon peel; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in raspberries. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. For topping, combine sugar and flour. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; sprinkle about 1 tablespoon over each muffin. Bake at 400 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.



Here's my first post!
I've decided to create this space totally devoted to English life, culture and language. I hope is going to be a nice experience for all that will find it...