27 Nov 2009

Daring Fryer at work!

A month is already passed by since the last Daring Baking (remember the sad macarons? ) and it is again time for a new challenge.
This time Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives spared us from using our ovens announcing the challenge with “Sorry all, we’re not baking this month…” at which point the eyebrows of many of us shot up (while others probably exhaled a sigh of relief). No worries, we will not have a month without challenge! The point was that this time we had to prepare a fried dessert: cannoli.
I was again very excited while reading the announcement.
A very crispy, at the limit of toughness, cylindrical shell filled with a sweet ricotta cream spiced with cinnamon and sometimes complemented with some bittersweet chocolate bits. The sides, cut on a bias, are decorated with toasted nuts (either almonds or pistachios) or, in some cities, with candied fruits (usually a cherry and a sliver of orange peel).

26 Nov 2009

Prices & Awards

It was almost 2 weeks ago when, come back from my coffee hopping afternoon dedicated to menu developing, I found this tweet from my friend Jamie (lifesafeast): “@mowielicious @RecipeTaster @sippitysup @glamah @DailySpud @MeetaWFLH Hop over to my blog to collect your awards!”.
On doing as directed, I found this.
She has been awarded with the “Over the Top Award” ribbon by Connie at W Va Fur and Root and Simone of Junglefrog Cooking and she decided to pass it down to some friends:
• Mowie of Mowielicious
• Meeta of What’s For Lunch Honey?
• Her Royal Spudness of The Daily Spud
• Greg of Sippity Sup
• Courtney aka Glamah of Coco Cooks
• and me
I was pretty excited at the news, it is the first award my blog receives and coming from a competent friend like Jamie feels like receiving a gold medal with the national anthem playing in the background!

25 Nov 2009

Paris 09 - a weekend of passion: Day 1

It is time for me and Paris to meet up again. Does it ever get bored of me? I do not think so, each time the welcome is very warm (this time also temperature wise); chattering people, laughter, shopping bags, shops, bistros, metro rides with its aquarium experience of human variety, are always there to welcome anybody.
This time I visited the city with two good friends (a shopaholic and a witty one, the latter joined us on the second day); goes by itself that it was great fun!
The trip started on a dark Thursday morning; the first train was at 7am when the city is still under the blanket of the starry sky, starting to move from its nocturnal bed. We reached Cologne on time and hopped onto the Thalys on our respective carriages. The voyage prospected to be fairly good and relaxing: no many crying babies on sight. As usual, I popped out of my bag the book I wanted to pretend reading along the cruise (this time it was “Du Fait de Cuisine – Traite de Gastronomie Médiévale de Maitre Chiquart”) and got comfy in my seat while the guy sitting beside me was trying to connect to the WiFi network.

14 Nov 2009

Daring Sushi

This is my first attempt at tackling another of the monthly daring challenges; this time we talk about Daring Cooks and Sushi!As with the Daring Bakers, the Daring Cooks virtually meet once a month to share their results on a chosen dish to realize following a specific recipe. This month it was the turn of sushi.
It was not the first time for me, since I already had a go at it when I was in Florence 5-6 years ago. As with Macarons, this recipe is a lot about skills and technique.
It is always said, at good reason, that the heart of a good piece of sushi is the rice. The short grained Japanese rice has to be slightly sticky so to keep its shape but loose enough to crumble once in your mouth. The rice itself doesn’t leak much starch when cooked, even because it is carefully rinsed beforehand; so to supplement it with taste and stickiness, a syrup made with water, rice vinegar, sugar and salt, is added to the rice during the cooling process. The rice keeps its loose identity, each grain recognizable and not smashed into a pulp but still quite sticky to give you trouble in laying it out on the sheet of nori seaweed (to avoid this you keep on wetting your hands when you handle the rice).

12 Nov 2009

TweetPost #3: Cuban Picadillo

Few nights ago I was browsing the website of my friend Bren Herrera when I stumbled upon a video tutorial on how to prepare a staple Cuban dish: Picadillo.

Watching it I found that the combination of ingredient can easily be mistaken for a Sicilian dish; I was particularly struck by the use of green olives and raisins (that we use also in Sicily for a recipe calling for salted cod). So tonight I decided to give it a try and here you are the first draft of its recipe.

Cuban Picadillo

11 Nov 2009

Prague: the third day.

On the third day finally it was Jewish quarter time. Got up as usual around 9am we had our Lucullan breakfast (note the sarcastic tone) and then decided to hit the road. To reach the traditional Jewish quarter in Prague you most probably have to pass through its main square, this means that again today we ended up doing the same way downtown as the previous days and had again the opportunity to assist at the automaton show at the astronomical clock. Well, no way… There were far more interesting things to do eheh.
This time we turned into the right way and started looking around. This street was also the fancy shopping street of the city with all the glamorous brands of haute-couture and jewelry creations. In face of us, on the other side of the river and on the top of a hill, was standing a huge red metronome ticking the time (this image was quite fixed into my mind since my first trip here in my young and effortless high-school years).

10 Nov 2009

Cupcakes galore – Episode 1

The time has finally come to try my way at cupcakes.
It was Wednesday when, just arrived at my afternoon coffee place, a very excited friend sat beside me and starts telling me of this new store in town that sells only cupcakes and for which people go simply nuts! In effect cupcakes are quite a novelty here in Europe, I guess that after doughnuts it was time for them to come in (conversely, watch out over-sea cousins, macarons will soon colonize even your country!) Talk talk, talk talk, taste here and taste there pondering the possibility of trying my hand at them. No big difficulties in effect, I have been experimenting with muffins since few weeks and really like the texture I got from a recipe I found in Shirley Corriher’s “Bakewise” book.