Yesterday night I opened the fridge and all I saw were some sad vegetables that screamed, “Cook me or kill me!” I cooked them…
1 red pepper 1 leek 1 fennel 1 courgette 1 little pumpkin 2 potatoes
1 teaspoon of red curry paste Salt
Tarragon to decorate
Clean and cut in chunks all the vegetables. Throw them in a saucepan, add 2 litre of water, curry paste and salt. Bring to the boil and cook it for 30 minutes, or until all the vegetables are cooked trough. Blend everything. Serve hot with some Tarragon leaves.
Maybe… As you may have understood reading my blog, I’m not a big fan of strict rules in the kitchen: I like “tradition”, but I dislike close-minded vision where only “tradition” can exist. We are lucky enough to live in a big wide world made of so many different minds that the term “tradition” can mean many many things! So pizza. My favourite pizza of all is a simple margherita: tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. I personally cannot stand the French version of pizza, as they use Gruyere, but it’s a matter of taste. I’ve never tried the American version, but, for what I can see on TV and in movies, I don’t think I would like it either, but even this is matter of taste, nothing else… And for French and Americans their way to make pizza is absolutely “traditional”. So, for a speedy version, maybe even shabby chic (in a good way!), of the traditional whole earth pizza, why not try this? Maybe even in individual serving…
Puff pastry Tomatoes Mozzarella Salt and pepper
Roll out the puff pastry, cut a circle bigger than the mould you are going to use. In a cake mould lay the sliced tomatoes, season them, lay over them the sliced mozzarella, season, then cover with puff pastry, folding the edges between the filling and the mould. Cook in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve upside down.
As you can imagine, this Tatin has a major problem: the mozzarella tend to stick in the bottom of the cake mould. As I did it only once I cannot give you a foolproof option, but I think that if you put in the cake mould some greaseproof paper maybe you can avoid this inconvenient. Or, you can do the pizza in the “normal” way, puff pastry under, tomatoes and mozzarella… But how sad is that?????????????????????? (You can see it on the picture below…)
I already made this cake, back in June, but as I did some adjustments and as it’s one of the simplest yet most luxurious and satisfying cake in the world, I thought it was worth writing about it again! I had some kumquats (or Chinese mandarins) in the fridge since ages, waiting for a nice duck breast. But as we are on diet, and duck breast is not really allowed, I decided to do something else with them… Albeit I think this cake too it’s not allowed in our diet… Anyway… To add the kumquats in the cake I candied them and the result was even moister and gooier then the first time!!! I honestly think it’s the best chocolate cake on this book!!! If not in the world!!!
For the kumquats 15 kumquats 150 g of sugar 250 ml of water
For the cake 200 g of dark chocolate 200 g of butter 200 g of sugar 5 eggs 1 tablespoon of flour
Cocoa for dusting
Begin with the kumquats. Wash and clean them. Put them in a saucepan filled with cold water, put it on the fire and let it boil for 1 minute, than drain the kumquats and repeat this operation at least twice. Place the kumquats again in the saucepan and add sugar and water. Bring slowly to the boil and let it boil for 20 minutes. Drain the kumquats and leave them to cool on a grid.
Turn on your oven at 150° C. Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave. Let it cool slightly, and then add the sugar. Mix well and begin to add each egg, one at the time. Add the flour, and last the candied kumquats. Transfer it in a 20 cm diameter cake mould and bake for 25 minutes. Let it cool and let it rest in the fridge until the day after. Dust with cocoa before serving.
When Sigrid tagged me for this meme I thought: Oh, no… But then I began to look at the entries of last year, my first year of blogging, and I realize that I did some “amazing” things that I couldn’t dare if I had no one but my family and friends to share it with… There were low moments and “glorious” moments and I hope there will be more and more, especially for the latter!!! So, previously on The Kitchen Pantry: Zuppa bianchissima and Piperita’s love for celery root… A Lazy Sunday Focaccia for a lazy Sunday with lazy attitude… Rogan Josh and Piperita’s obsession for Indian curries… Torta multistrato di pere e cioccolato, for the sad days in need of something chocolatey… Tortini con pomodorini and the beginning of Piperita’s obsession with simple, quick and effective appertizers… Torta alle noci del Perigord, remembering Piperita travels around France… Cheesecake marmorizzata ai mirtilli and the begginnig of Piperita’s love for Donna Hay… Pasta al Rocquefort and Piperita’s addiction to fat French cheeses… Ugly cake and Piperita’s acknowledgement of her limits (it’s not that I didn’t know them before…)… Roasted fennels and Piperita’s addiction to cheap vegetables…
5 things you shouldn’t/wouldn’t know about me:
1- My real name is Sara Maternini, I was born in Varese, near the Alps, I live in Milan since 2001, I have a Phd in XVII century English History, I own a catering company based in Milan, I have red hair, glasses, I’m quite messy despite my addiction to neat lists (I make them for almost everything…), and I am a pain in the arse… Really, believe me…
2- My former boyfriend married me and my French husband, not because he became a priest (god, no!), but because he was community councillor at the time we had our wedding. And this is still a common joke among shared friends…
3- I do not believe in perfection or its pursuit: I’m human, I often screw up, I make lots of mistake, in the kitchen too…
5- I’m exactly how you can see me from my blog… If you don’t like me from the blog, probably you would despise me in true life as well, so you shouldn’t bother to leave nasty comments: you can read something else instead, or maybe you may get a life… Otherwise, if you like my blog you probably would like me in real life, we could become friend and live happily ever after!
Another verrines directly inspired by this book. It’s like a verrine in kit: I did absolutely nothing if not cutting the feta cheese and assemble everything!
For 4 glasses
200 g of feta cheese 20 sundered Pachino’s cherry tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil (or 8 sun dried normal tomatoes in oil) salad Extra virgin olive oil Dry oregano
Cut the feta cheese in cubes. Assemble the glasses beginning with the salad then feta, then the tomatoes. Drizzle with oil and season with oregano. Serve.
Something more simple??????
Note: Pachino’s Tomatoes are little cherry tomatoes that grow in the field around the Sicilian town of Pachino, in the far south of the island. They are sweet and tasty, very rare and expensive… We bought a kilo of dried Pachino’s Tomatoes last summer, at the Siracusa market: they are worth every cents we paid them!!!
I am so excited!!! Fist of all, I did master one recipe written by him! Second, I did macarons! For the second time (we don’t want to speak about the first time, do we? Horrible horrible memories.. ), but they came quite right this time: I would like them more puffed, but I’m quite satisfied!
And now, him… There is a bloggermadly in love with him (who isn’t???): she madewonderful cakes from very difficult recipes from one of the most difficult cookbook I’ve ever opened in my life (she made macarons too!)… There is another blogger that went to visit him so many times that the serveurs cried when she left Paris… There are crowds cueing in front of his pâtisseries… He has 5 shops in Japan and 3 in Paris… He’s one of the few great chef of all time that shares all (or at least most) of his secrets (and pâtissiers have so many secrets we can’t imagine…), not in one, but in many books… Thank you, Pierre Hermé: to exist, to work, to share… Thank you so much…
I LOVE CATALOGNA! I just boil it, add some flaked chilli pepper from Sicily and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and use it as a pasta sauce… It’s good, healthy, bitter and still wonderfully tasty. I like to leave it a bit crunchy… I could eat it forever and ever…
You should know I’m widely know as pasticciona, a really messy girl… I mess up with everything, all the time, and of course I mess up in the kitchen… Should I remind you my ugly cake attempt??? Anyway, this one is not really a pasticcio, but pumpkin cannelloni… But it looks like a pasticcio…
1 pumpkin, medium size Amaretti, to taste Salt and pepper Parmesan
Ready made lasagne sheets (yes, yes, and so???)
For the béchamel sauce: 33 g of butter 3 tablespoons of flour 800 ml of milk
Clean the pumpkin and steam it until tender. Make béchamel sauce: heat the milk. Melt the butter in a large saucepan with a heavy base, add the flour, let it toast for few minutes then add the hot milk. Turn to dissolve any lump and cook it until thick, but still liquid. Instead of turning until done I use a hand blender: it’s quicker and lumps proof!
Mix the steamed pumpkin with amaretti (I used 16, but it’s absolutely a matter of taste: add one by one and try it), salt and pepper, and 4 tablespoons of Parmesan.
On a shallow ovenproof dish spread a layer of béchamel. Lay a sheet of lasagne and spread a spoonful of the pumpkin purèe. Roll it and lay it in the dish. Continue until the end of the ingredients. Cover everything with the béchamel and bake in a preheated oven, 180° C, for 25 minutes, or until golden. Let it stand for 10 minutes outside the oven, then serve.
One of my last buy on Amazon was this amazing book that reflects the last and crazy trend that is going on on the other side of the Alps: verrines (aka, little drinking glasses filled with savoury or sweet stuff). The book is wonderful, with so many ideas I can’t stop looking at it! But remember, if you intend to buy it and try something, the ingredients stated in the book are for little glasses, lets say like the one you could use for grappa or strong liquor, not for water glasses…
For 3 200 ml glasses
For the green layer: 2 avocados Cumin 1 tomato Parsley The juice of two lemons
For the pink layer: Smocked salmon Dill The juice of half a lemon
For the white layer: 80 g of tapioca Extra virgin olive oil
Fish eggs to decorate
Halve the avocados, scoop the flesh and mix it with the lemon juice, parsley and cumin. Once you have a thick cream add the diced tomato and pulse the mixer: the tomato must remain in chunks. Make a layer in each glass.
Mix the salmon with the lemon juice and the dill. Do not over mix it, you need chunks even in this. Make a layer over the avocado cream.
Bring to the boil a pan with 3 litres of salted water. Add tapioca and cook for 15 minutes or until the tapioca is tender. Drain and cool it under cold water. Dress with a tablespoon of olive oil. Make the last layer over the salmon.