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BLACK TRUFFLE FETTUCCINE

One of the simplest recipes to make but full of aroma and exceptional flavor. You just have to cook the pasta and flavor the melted butter with the truffle slices ( for few seconds) so through the butter, all the aroma will be absorbed by the pasta. Off course you can scratch the truffle raw on pasta for a more intense scent. Healthy, nutritious, quick.

Truffles are the fruiting body of an underground Ascomyta mushroom. Low in calories, low fat, low salt and have no cholesterol. They provide an enormous amount of dietary fiber, proteins, potassium, vitamin A, vit D, vit C, vit B6 , calcium, iron, magnesium.

In Latin called “terrae tuber” (excrescence of the earth) or simply tuber, it was highly appreciated by the ancient Romans who had copied the culinary use from the ancient Etruscans. Even the Greeks used truffles in their cooking, as demonstrated by the philosopher Plutarch of Chaeronea in his manuscripts ( 1 century d.C )

In Italy it is always possible to collect truffles, except during the period of the end of april. Traditionally, the harvest was done using a pig. The problem with this method is that the pig is very greedy for truffles and it must be held back to prevent it from eating the product. For these reasons, nowdays are used only duly trained dogs





Ingredients for 2 persons

1 black truffle thinly sliced

200 gr fettuccine

Butter 100 gr

Olive oil 2 tbs

1 clove garlic (optional)

Salt

1.Bring the water to a boil. Season with the salt

2.Cook the fettuccine in the boiling water until al dente.

3. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the butter & oil until butter it has melted.

4. Add the garlic and the black truffle slides. Cook for about 30 sec.

5. Add half cup of the pasta cooking water into the pan with the butter & truffle. Let boil the sauce. Drain the pasta. Must be very al dente because cooking will continue in the sauce

6. As soon as it starts to boil, add the drained pasta into the butter sauce. Toss over medium heat to coat the pasta.

Serve if you desire with Grana Padano cheese, ground pepper and fresh grated truffle. Serve with the aromatic red Nebbiolo wine from Piemonte region or – if you prefer a rustic flavor – with Pinot Nero from Mugello (Tuscany) .

Buon appetito.





To preserve all its aroma, a truffle should not be cooked too much. Add them just before consuming the meal, at the end of the cooking. In fact, eating fresh, just-harvested truffles raw is a great way to savour the taste of them

See above step by step the procedure

Christmas time

To all of you, to each of you, we send our best wishes from the depth of our heart.
Thoughts and prayers from the deepest lay of our soul,

especially to those who suffer,

to those who are hospitalized,

to lonely people,

to those all who have a tear in the eyes.

May health, smiles and serenity return into the life of each one of you.

Panettone filled with cream (No cooking recipe)

  • A delicious Christmas dessert, easy to prepare without cooking in less than half an hour. Just mix 2 milk products. One is typical Italian: mascarpone; the other typical Greek: yogurt. Add icing sugar, mix well these 3 ingredients and the cream is ready to fill the panettone.
  • Mascarpone is an Italian soft cheese made from cream and resembling cream cheese. It is recognized in Italy as a traditional “Agri-food product”. It is used in various Lombardy dishes and is considered a specialty in the region. Is one of the main ingredients of the typical Italian dessert “Tiramisu”.

Ingredients: (For this recipe has been used “Flegga” Greek yogurt & “Galbani Santa Lucia” Italian mascarpone cream cheese)
1 panettone 800 gr – 500 gr of mascarpone – 300 gr Greek yogurt – 150 Icing sugar – 300 gr orange jam

Method:
1.In a deep bowl, mix mascarpone, yogurt and 150 grams of icing sugar using a spatula or spoon until it becomes a soft and homogeneous cream. (See step by step photo gallery below)
Cover and leave to cool in the fridge for a couple of hours

2. Cut and remove the top of the panettone.
Cut the remaining cake horizontally into 3 layers

3. Fill the panettone by spreading a layer of cream on the first disc. On top of this add a thin layer of orange marmalade

4. Overlap the second disc of the cake and repeat the same operation

5. Decorate to your liking or leave it as it is.
In this case we decorate with house -shaped cookies (gingerbread), using rosemary branches for the trees and icing sugar for the snow. Simply, quickly, delicious!


If it is not consumed immediately it should be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days due to the presence of the cheese cream

See step by step the photo gallery bellow.

Christmas Ideas. Part 2. Beef fillet in crust, speck & mushrooms

 Very similar to the previous recipe but with beef fillet, speck and mushrooms.
 Everything is wrapped and cooked inside a "nest" of puff pastry.
 Speck is a type of lightly smoked and aged ham (prosciutto) rubbed/massaged 
 with a mix of spices like juniper, bay leaves etc.
 This spiced cure gives speck a deeper taste that's more intense 
 than prosciutto crudo.
 It's typically made in South Tyrol and gives a unique flavor especially when paired with   
 mushrooms which with their intense aromas makes you feel
a virtual journey into a mountain chalet. Enjoy!

Ingredients : 800 gr fillet of beef , 300 gr mushrooms, 2 carrots, 200 gr thinly sliced ​​speck, 1 rectangular puff pastry, 1 yolk / 2 tbs milk , 50 gr butter, 2 cloves of garlic, oil, salt

Method:
Turn on the oven at 180 ° C / 356 °F

1.Massage the beef fillet with salt. Let it rest for 10 min.
2.In a pan heat 50 g of butter.
3. When it is melted and hot, brown the fillet on all sides for 10 – 15 min
4. Cut the carrot into small pieces. In a large pan heat the oil with the garlic. Add mushrooms and carrot and cook for 15 minutes until they are very dry and withered ( They must not have moisture. Humidity would damage the pastry)
5. Roll out the puff pastry (without removing its baking paper)
6.Cover the pastry with the speck
7.Cover completely with a generous layer of mushrooms
8.Position above the fillet steak
9.Close the dough around the meat by pulling up the baking paper.
10.Make the dough adhere (with your hands and a fork) well.
11.Transfer the fillet to the pan, brush with the yolk and milk mix.
12. With a knife cut the surface creating a grid. (Follow the photo gallery)

Bake for 45 min at 180 ° C Remove from the oven, let it rest for 15 – 20 minutes, cut it into slices.
Serve with polenta or mashed potatoes

Polenta: For this recipe has been used “instant” polenta Valsugana typical of northen Italy. Cooking takes only 8 min. As an alternative to polenta, the fillet can be served – and is delicious too – with mashed potatoes.

POLENTA. For 2 persons: 180 gr instant polenta, 900 ml water. Bring the water to boil. Add polenta and a pinch of salt. With a whisk mix costantly to prevent lumps formation. Cook on low heat for 8 min.

Serve hot with a fillet slice on top.

See the step by step gallery below

Ideas for Christmas. Part 1. Turkey leg in crust

This crusted turkey recipe also called “Wellington” is the ideal alternative to the usual Christmas roast. The wrapping of puff pastry is usual in Christmas recipes; symbolizes the swaddling clothes of the infant Jesus. In fact, it is very often used to prepare them right in the Christmas period.

Ingredients (for 2 persons):
1 turkey leg ~ boneless~ (800 gr) – 60 ml extra virgin olive oil – 300 ml white wine – 2 cloves of garlic – 2- 3 sage leaves – Salt 2 pinches

2 rolls of puff pastry
1 yolk + 2 tablespoons of milk

Method: Preheat the oven 180°C / 392° F

1. In a pan or in a large pot, heat the oil, add the garlic and the sage leaves.

2. Add the turkey leg. Brown it evenly on both sides for 10 min

3. Add the white wine and the salt.
Cover with a lid. Cook over low heat for 45 min

4. Check the cooking with a long skewer stick. When the turkey is ready, a clear/ transparent and diaphanous liquid will come out. (Pink liquid means it’s still raw in depth)

When it’s ready, remove it from the heat, let it cool completely and dry the meat well with kitchen paper

5. Coat the turkey (cold and dried) with the whole pastry

6. Pierce with a fork on both sides to prevent the pastry from swelling during cooking

7. Cut the second sheet into strips and form the classic grid for tarts. (Photo gallery below)

8. Coat the turkey with the pastry grid, sealing the edges tightly at the back side of the leg.

9. Brush the pastry with 1 beaten egg yolk together with 2 tablespoons of milk 10.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200 ° C for 20 – 25 min until the pastry is golden. Serve with roasted baby potatoes.

Recommended wine: In general, a medium-bodied red wine is the pergect choice, especially if you space between Barbera and Merlot, two different worlds but both perfectly matched to baked turkey.

History & nowadays tradition of Greek Cheeses


The science of transforming milk into a solid substance is a very ancient procedure since the time of ancient Greece.

Homer (Όμηρος) in the Odyssey 6th century BC describes in detail the shepherd and cheesemaker Cyclop Polyphemus and gives descriptions of the cheeses that matured in his cave and were made from sheep’s, goat’s milk & sea salt

What we now call ” FETA ” was known to the ancient Greeks, since its preparation is mentioned many times in the Odyssey .

Polyphemus at first transferred the milk, he collected from his flock to “bags” made of animal skins, finding – to his great surprise – that after a few days the milk turned into a solid, acidic and preservable mass. After this discovery he experimented with various combinations, each time having different types of cheeses.

Still others are soft and less salty such as odiern “Anthotiro” and “Manouri” and were kept in its cave in straw baskets.


Anthotyro (Aνθότυρο): white cheese produced from sheep’s and goat’s milk. Its name means the flower of the cheese, a name that justifies its name as it conveys strong
smells of freshness


Myzithra  (Μυζήθρα) is a fresh cheese made with milk and whey from sheep or goats, or both. The cheese is soft, snow-white, creamy, and moist. Since no salt is added to mizithra it has an almost sweet and milky taste and may be eaten or, often, baked in pies.


Manouri (Μανούρι): a type of myzithra type cheese, which is rich in fat. It comes from the ancient adjective manos (cheese), meaning sparse, soft cheese
It is distinguished due to its sweet and mild taste and aroma, having been characterized by the National Dairy Committee of Greece as “the most exceptional traditional Greek whey cheese

Xinotyri (Ξινοτύρι): The roots of this traditional cheese are lost in time. It is a spreadable cheese that is produced by mixing sheep’s and goat’s milk, and has a pleasant, slightly sour taste



Feta ( Φέτα): the first reference to feta is made in a Byzantine poem where it is referred to as ” πρόσφατος” “recent”. This is considered to be its Byzantine name. The name feta dates from the time of Venetian rule in Greece, in the 17th century, and derives its etymological origin from the Latin word “fette”. Probably the word refers to the practice of cutting the cheese into slices to be inserted into the barrels

Kaseri ( Κασέρι): cheese-making became quite popular during the Turkish occupation in Greece (15century) , due to the lack of plenty of meat. Then, we came up with the name of a well-known type of cheese, kaseri; it seems to come from the Turkish word kaşer, which in turn comes from the Latin caseus = cheese. From the same root comes the cheese in English and the “käse” in German

Graviera (Γραβιέρα): is a hard cheese, made mainly from sheep’s and goat’s milk.
It is one of the best known Greek cheeses after feta and has been produced for centuries with the traditional method. The cheese is round in shape and has a compact and elastic mass of light yellow color. Its complete maturation time is at least three months
Graviera cheese received a certification of protected destination of origin (a PDO) in 1996. In other words, cheeses that are called Graviera but made in countries other than some regions of Greece are not the real deal and have no right to use the name.

Below we present some of these ancient cheeses, produced by the Greek award-winning “Flegga” dairy company.

Since 1957 all these traditional products are made from 100% organic goat and sheep milk, no GMO, no gluten, no chemicals, no preservatives and yes to ISO food safety. ( The standard ISO 22000 is based on the HACCP principles defined by the Codex Alimentarius)


We will never be tired of repeating the benefits of goat and sheep milk against cow’s milk.

As opposed to cow’s milk which contains the allergenic protein “A1 casein” (a highly inflammatory protein for the human body), goat’s milk contains A2 casein, that makes it – protein wise – the closest milk to human breast milk, hypoallergenic and tolerated even by babies

So for this Christmas, in the coming days we will propose some ideas using these precious products in a simple, easy and genuine way.

Apple rose tart


A typical autumn pie made of apple “petals” (very thin slices) placed in such a way as to resemble a rose . To be consumed hot or cold and accompanied with an apple & cinnamon-based herbal tea or a ball of vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients: Apricot jam 350 gr
2 rolls of puff pastry
3 apples
30g sugar / icing sugar/ ground cinnamon

Method:
1. Cover a pie pan with a sheet of puff pastry, gently pressing it to the edges.Trim the excess pastry off with a knife

2. Cut 3 apples in half, remove the core and cut into thin slices

3. Pour the apricot jam onto the puff pastry to form an even layer

4. Cut the second sheet of puff pastry into 2-3cm circular strips

5. Arrange the thinly cut apple slices around the outer edges of the pie.

6. Alternate the apple slices with strips of puff pastry. Roll the final apple slices into a little ‘rose’ and place in the middle of the pie.

 7. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 200°C /392°F for 30 minutes. 

8. Remove the pie from the oven, brush with a little apricot jam and dust with icing sugar and ground cinnamon

Serve with a herbal tea made of boiling water, apple peel and cinnamon stick

Halloween meatball mouse

One of the classic Halloween dishes. 
The classic meatballs but in the shape of a mouse.
Horrible but tasty and fun if you have little guests for dinner.
  
Served on a plate of spaghetti with a few sketches of ketcup to imitate blood and the party will be immediately lucubrious. 

Ingredients:
1/2 kg ground beef
300 gr bread for toast
200ml milk
1 egg
Salt
1 Carrot
Cloves

Method:
Put the bread in the milk for few seconds until it’ s well wet. Squeeze it, add it in a bowl. Add the ground beef, the egg and a pinch of salt.
With your hands knead everything until it is homogeneous.
Form the mouse body as seen in the photo gallery below. Brush each meatball with a little olive oil.
Bake for about 30 – 35 min ( 180°C / 350°F)
Remove from the oven. When they are warm, press the cloves in to the pointy end to make the eyes, carrots half slices to make ears. For the tail you can use the final filament of carrots or thin stalks of carrots, parsley etc
Serve with spaghetti and cheeses

Untilted

Dear Karen, first of all I would like to thank you for making me laugh, think and reflect about people and the variety of life difficulties.
In this moment, in this state of emergency, people of all ages die like ants, i admit that personally think often, very often of all the sick people out there, the elderly alone, parents without work and money, people with recent mourning, kids without parents, mothers who have to be mum and father together … In this scenario I discover – thanks to you – that there are a lot of problems more serious out there: Your unwanted followers .

But we will solve everything, don’t worry.

For this reason I feel obligated to clarify some points with you and for you Karen…Since you open a thematic blog and launch it on this vast network called “internet”, immediately every single article of yours, every single word, commas included, your face photos included; is “connected”, “linked”, “interconnected”, “shared” with billions of personal computers. That what means Karen? Means that people of all colours, of all ethinicities, people that are different of you, people with different interests or hobbies of you; writers, doctors, tailors, hairdressers, politicians, terrorists, pedophiles, murderers, policemens, students, bloggers, farmers etc CAN SEE IT, can read it, can comment it, can follow it. Unfortunately for you, food bloggers can visit it too. I’m sorry to give you this really bad news about food blogs. I know you don’t appreciate that we follow you.
It is as if a writer was standing outside the bookshop selling his book and selecting who will read it and who not. You doing this Karen. You stay on your blog and select who will read it and who will not. Then you use their contacts to send the mail above.

However, YOU and only YOU Karen, allow everyone to visit your pages. If you don’t like this, there are tools offered by WordPress that block visits from blogs or countries you don’t want to be visited. In this case you can “close”, you can “block” the visits from Italy where I live. And I would be grateful to you and to God if you did it immediately …. But I would like to inform you that there are many many many chances, bilion of chances that other food bloggers or blogs different from yours, can follow you: Nightmare without end… It will be hard for you to send tones of mails to those all who do not want to follow your precious and very useful blog. Let me tell you that is not even kind too. Maybe you started a blog from wrong. maybe you wanted a closed facebook group with people of your same interests. it’s your right, i’ am with you. But here is not facebook. And i’ am sure you know that very well.

I have tried to explain it to you in easy words. Now I invite you to clarify what a food blog is – as a first step. They are humans too Karen. May be they have kids who may be like your blog. May be they are people who simply love and appreciate a lot your crafts. Start from here. Think. For some reason God give us the thought. I will be happy to help you on your difficult path. You know my mail. Feel free to contact me again. Stay healthy, have a joyful life and serenity in your soul. Be kind. All the best. Xristina

Arugula pesto

Arugula or rocket pesto is a classic cream / sauce of Italian cuisine. it is used to season pasta or on slices of toasted bread (bruschetta).

It is the variant of basil pesto. Its flavor depends a lot on the arugula used, for example wild arugula has a stronger flavor than cultivated. For this recipe has been used half selvatic and half cultivated. Rocket pesto is prepared by combining a few healthy ingredients, which go well with the intense flavor of this herb, such as extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, pecorino and pine nuts. The latter can be replaced with other valid alternatives, such as walnuts, almonds or pistachios. In any case, it is a condiment that represents a real detoxifying product

Ingredients:

150 gr arugula – 100 gr parmigiano or grana – 50 gr pecorino cheese – 100 gr pine nuts – 200gr extra virgin olive oil – 1 garlic clove

Method: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until creamy and homogeneous.

Cook spaghetti al dente (i use Barilla gluten free) . Drain them. Heat the pesto in a pan for 1 – 2 minutes. In the same pan add the spaghetti and mix well with the pesto. Serve immediately with a fresh dry white wine such as Fiano d’ Avellino or a Greek Kallisti Reserve’ from Santorini, fermented in oak barrel.

STORAGE
The arugula pesto can be kept for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, in a hermetically sealed jar well covered with a layer of oil. 

Alternatively,it can be frozen in small jars and then defrosted in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
Arugula is often counted among medicinal plants thanks to the numerous qualities that characterize it. In addition to being rich in water, it is also low-calorie – precisely, it contains about 25 calories per hundred grams of product – and provides many mineral salts, including iron, potassium and calcium but also phosphorus, zinc, sodium, magnesium, manganese, selenium . The vitamin content is also remarkable: rocket is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as folic acid (vitamin B9) and vitamin K
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