Friday 17 February 2012

Minestrone Recipe - Italian vegetable soup

Minestrone - Italian vegetable soup
Coming soon...

Italian Bruschetta Recipe! Caprese or just Tomatoes? :)

Here we are, with one of the most typical Italian starter! Bruschette!!!

I have to admit that for me a good, proper Bruschetta one of my favourite things ever, because it's simple, quick to prepare and it can be a good meal, well balanced and light.
Yes, it can be a simple starter, but I like to organise the table with all the ingredients and let my guest prepare their own bruschette as they prefer.

So here's the video from Youtube...


- Slices of good/bakery quality Bread -
(like Altamura or Pane Toscano, but if you can't find it a baguette it's still ok, but please avoid bread for toasts, that's not rough enough for a good bruschetta)
- Cherry Tomatoes -
- Basil -
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil -
- Garlic (optional if you don't like it) -
- Mozzarella (optional, but put it on if you want Caprese version!) -
- Salt -
- Pepper (optional) -


As you can see there are no measurements, just because with bruschette as much ingredients you will prepare, as much bruschetta you will get! Sometimes with food you've got to follow your heart ;)

Pre-heat your oven at 200°, possibly with fan & grill function, if not one of the two: if you go just for the grill option you will have to pay more attention to your bread as it will burn more easily.

So, clean your tomatoes and basil. Cut the tomatoes in fine cubes and put them in a bowl with the basil: don't cut the basil with a knife or scissors as it tends to oxidase in contact with metals, so just shred use your little fingers and mix it with the cubes of tomato.

Add some salt to taste and a good splash of EV Olive Oil: I strongly suggest extra virgin, as this is one of those recipe where the oil flavour has to be clearly present!

Let it aside and put your bread slices into the oven.

In the meantime if you want to add some Mozzarella and have a "Caprese" version (it comes from the name of Capri, a lovely little island near Napoli coast) you can cut it into little cubes: as I show you in the video, I prefer to use the "hard" mozzarella for cooking (bruschette or pizza) as it hasn't so much water as the normal mozzarella. I know it could sound weird, but sometimes we have to cheat with food, don't we?
I mean, I would never suggest to prepare a Caprese salad with this kind of mozzarella (you MUST use a fresh, soft, milky mozzarella) but for cooking I think this it's actually better: sometimes with fresh, soft mozzarella, you get very soggy bases when you prepare pizza, focaccia, bruschetta etc...

If you want to add mozzarella, when your slices are half way to toast completely, take them out of the oven ,  if you like garlic rub it at this stage, just before the mozzarella. Put as much cheese as you want and return the slice into the oven, where the mozzarella will melt on one side, and the bottom will crisp up a little bit more.

When the slices are toasted, the mozzarella has melted, you can out the tomato and basil sauce, and serve straight away! Bruschette have to be eaten as soon as possible when they are warm and crispy!


Monday 13 February 2012

Carrot and Almond Cake Recipe - Torta di Carote e Mandorle

Carrot and Almond Cake - Torta di Carote e Mandorle
The Italian Way!

400gr of Carrots
250gr of Sugar
100gr of Ground Almonds
50gr of Flaked Almonds
300gr of Self-Raising Flour
100gr of Vegetable Oil
100 gr of Milk
3 Eggs
Pre-heat your oven at 180°, fan mode.

Clean you carrots and cut them into chunks: put them in a food processor and chop them until they become a nice and fine mixture.
Put it in a bowl and add the almonds, both grated and flaked: mix everything until all is well combined.

In another bowl place the eggs (whole) and the sugar: as usual whisk them until it becomes a fluffy and clear cream. Then you can add the vegetable oil: is really important that at this stage you mix it very well, as the oil and eggs don't separate any more (as when you prepare a home made mayo!).
Then add the milk and again mix it very well (eggs+sugar+oil+milk will take around 10 mins): then sift in to it the flour, making sure that you incorporate it quite slowly and without having any lumps.

Then you can pour the egg mixture into the carrot and almond bowl and mix it well.

Put your cake mixture in a tin, I normally use a rectangular one as I like to cut it into squares (the cake is quite moist in the middle, and I find easier to eat it) covered with greased paper.

Bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until the surface is golden and crispy.
When it's cooked, let it cool down in on a rack, leave it in the tin until is completely set.
Cut it into squares and it's ready to be served.

As per my family recipe, we don't put any frosting on it, but if you like you can always ad your favourite one.

I might try some sugar glaze the next time I will make it! Enjoy!