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Caprese (Flourless chocolate/almond cake from Capri)

There are several apocryphal stories about the cake’s origin. A legend told that an Austrian princess married to the king of Naples wanted the Sacher cake (Austrian chocolate cake), but Neapolitan chefs didn’t know this recipe, so they improvised by using a typical Neopolitan ingredient: almonds.

One is of a baker fulfilling an order for an almond cake by a few tourists at his bakery in the 1920s. The baker forgot to add flour to the mix, but the tourists liked the resulting cake and considered it a delicacy. Another account ascribes the invention to two heirs of Austrian painter August Weber, who created it at the Strandpension Weber in the 1930s. 

Although its origins are unknown, several aspects of its creation are known. The cake was first created by the hospitality industry of the island of Capri and it was created primarily for tourists to the island. At first, it was likely served in tea rooms. As it became more popular, restaurants incorporated it into their menu.1-IMG-20171212-WA0000-01-01

1-Snapseed4Ingredients:

  • 200g  dark chocolate, minimum 70% (melted and cooled)
  • 200gr unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 200g sugar
  • 5  eggs, ‎separated
  • 200gr ground almonds (blanched)
  • 1 small glass Strega liqueur (optional)

Method:

 

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Beat the sugar and butter until creamy, add 1 egg yolk at time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Add the melted butter, ground almonds , the liqueur and the melted chocolate. Mix well.
  • Beat stiff the egg whites with a pinch of salt and add to the mixture, folding gently.
  • Line a cake tin with wet greaseproof paper, pour the cake mixture in it and cook for 40 minutes.
  • When cooked cool 20 min then remove from the tin
  • Allow to cool to room temperature, then dust the top with powdered sugar
  • If you prepare Caprese for Christmas you can decorate it with ice cream cones Christmas trees (Hold each cone and coat it  in melted chocolate or nutella. Then cover with ground coconut , groung almonds, colored sprinkles ecc)

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Roast beef with mushrooms & white wine sauce

Roast beef . Great for a Sunday lunch and why not for a Christmas menu’. Enjoy a juicy and tender roast without feeling guilty.  Low in fat , rich in proteins, vit B12 & iron.  The secret is in the time cooked. 30 min at 200°C / 392°F

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        Ingredients for the beef:   

  • 1.2kg prime beef fillet
  • Sea salt
  •  A handful of rosemary leaves
  • 10-15 garlic cloves
  • olive oil – salt
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp mustard
  • 500 gr mushrooms of your choice

Ingredients for the sauce: 

1 glass white wine – 500 ml heavy cream – 1 tbsp butter – 200gr grated parmesan

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200°C/392°F/  Take the beef out of the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook it and allow it to come up to room temperature. Salt generously

1.Mix together chopped rosemary leaves and garlic witha tbs of olive oil. Stir to combine and reserve

2.Heat a non-stick frying pan with extra virgin olive oil. add mushrooms , salt , pepper and saute’ for 4-5 min or until tender

3.Remove mushrooms from the skillet.

4.Heat the same skillet and when is hot add the beef. Sear for 2-3 min on each side until browned all over

5. Brush roast with mustard , then spread herb-garlic mixture all over

5 Transfer the beef to the skillet over mushrooms, add the butter on the top of the beef and place it in the oven. Roast for 30 min for medium rare

Transfer the fillet to a warm platter. Cover with a double layer of tin foil  . Leave to rest for 10 min. Serve it warm or at room temperature with the mushrooms and some wine sauce. Slice it thickly and overlap the slices on a serving platter

WHITE WINE SAUCE : In the same skillet used to roast the beef and the mushrooms, add the wine and simmer for about 4minutes until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the butter & the cream .Bring to a boil .add the parmesan or  another cheese of your choice such blue cheese, grana etc. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened.

 

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Fruits & white wine slushie

A slushie is a frozen treat perfect  for hot summer days. Fruits & wine slushie  is made with only two ingredients: Frozen fruits of your choice and your favorite white wine. The quickest way to make a slushy is by using a blender, but if you have an ice cream maker your slushies will have a smoother texture.

In this recipe i use peach & bluebberies but feel free to use any fruit combo you desire. Just put all the ingredients in a blender and you ‘ve got a delicious, perfumed and colorfull glass of slushie

 

Peach & bluebbery

Ingredients for 1 person: Peach & bluebbery

  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches (Cut 1  peach into slices and put in the freezer until frozen)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 cup fresh white wine 
  • 1tsp sugar (optional)

 

Method: Put all ingredients together in a blender. Pulse until homogeneous. If slushie appears too thick, add more wine. Serve immediately

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Blueberry mojito

Nothing makes a hot summer night better like a cold mojito. Shake up your own refreshing cocktail but this time try to add some sweet blueberries. Extra flavor, extra scent is guaranteed. Enjoy!1-1-DRINKS31-DRINKS41-2017-06-24


Paella de Marisco

Spanish polycromatic symphony that your eyes enjoy before your stomach.

Paella is a Spanish rice dish. It originated in the fields of a region called Valencia in eastern Spain but variations exist in the different Spanish provinces.A colorful mixture of saffron-flavored rice, various meats , vegetables or seafood. Paella’s name comes from the paellera, the flat, round pan in which it is cooked.

There is a wide variety of paella, such:  1.Paella Valenciana – The original paella was born in Valencia. Besides rice, this includes chicken and pork.   2. Paella de Marisco (Seafood paella) – This paella does not contain meat. It usually contains prawns, mussels, calamares, clams, and other seafood.  3. Paella Mixta – This paella is a mixture of the paella Valenciana and the paella de marisco. It contains both meat and seafood. Sometimes this paella is called Paella Andaluz. 4. Paella Vegetariana – This paella contains a variety of vegetables like artichokes, lima beans, red and green peppers, and rice and does not include any meat or seafood.  5. Paella Negra – This paella is cooked with squid ink and looks black. It may have very small squid.

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  • Ingredients for 4 serves:
  • 10-14 raw shell-on king prawns
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g cuttlefish, cut into chunks
  • 8 shrimp tails
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper (optional)
  • 250g paella rice
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • pinch of saffron
  •  1/4 x 200g can chopped tomatoes (save the rest for the stock, below)
  • 300g mussels cleaned
  • 100g frozen peas
  • handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped

For the stock

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • ½ x 200g can chopped tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Shrimp heads
  • Prawn shells

Method:

  1. Peel and de-vein the prawns (remove the dark dorsal vein), reserving the heads and shells. Return the prawns to the fridge.
  2. To make the stock, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat and add the onion, tomatoes, garlic, and reserved prawn shells and shrimp heads. Cook for 3-4 mins, then pour 2 litres of water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 mins. Leave to cool slightly, then whizz in batches in a blender or food processor. Strain through a fine sieve.
  3. Heat the oil in a large paella pan or an extra-large frying pan. Add chopped cuttlefish . shrimp tails and sautè for a few mins each side, then remove and set aside. Add the onion and fry for 4-5 mins until softened.
  4. Stir in the rice and cook for 30 secs to toast. Add the garlic, paprika, cayenne (if using) and saffron, cook for another 30 secs, then stir in the tomatoes and 1.5 litres of the fish stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook, stirring, for about 10 mins (the rice should still be al dente). Return the cuttelfish & shrimp tails to the pan with the prawns, mussels, peas (and if you desire the red pepper cut in stripes)
  5. Cover the pan with a large baking tray, or foil, and cook on a low heat for another 10-15 mins until the mussels are open and the prawns are cooked through. Scatter over the parsley before serving. 

    Enjoy with white wine made from  the Alvarinho ( a variety of white wine grape grown in Galicia ),   Verdejo ( a variety of wine grape that has long been grown in the Rueda region of Spain)  or sauvignon blanc grapes. These wines should also be served well chilled, between 5 and 8ºC

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Instant cherry ice cream

This 2 ingredients instant ice cream will be ready quicker than it takes to eat it. It comes out of the food processor like soft-serve ice cream. You only need a very ripe banana and cherries. Experiment by adding other frozen fruits such frozen strawberries, peaches, apricots, berries but you can add also nutella, peanut or pistachio butter. All you need is a freezer and a blender. Enjoy!

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1-DRINKS Ice creams2Ingredients for 1 person :

  • 1 ripe or overripe banana, sliced and frozen (Freeze for at least 2 hours)
  • 10 pitted and frozen cherries (Freeze for at least 2 hours)
  • Maple or agave syrup 1 tbs (optional)

Method:

  1. Add bananas and cherries to the food processor and blend.
  2. At first the banana pieces will look crumbled or smashed. Scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times to make sure everything gets blitzed and continue to blend until smooth, approximately 4 -5 minutes.
  3. Scoop ice-cream into bowls or cones and serve immediately with chocolate chips or chopped cherries

If the fruits are frozen rock-hard,  leave it to thaw for about 10 minutes before blitzing, this will make it easier on the food processor

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The authentic Italian “Crema di caffe’ freddo”

Discover  the tastiest italian  iced “crema di caffe’ freddo as it is prepared in Italians bars  and your coffee willl never be the same again.

A creamy and fluffy alternative to traditional coffee.  Crema di caffe’ is an icy mixture of espresso  and whipping cream served in small transparent glasses. Enjoy!

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Spread the inside surface of the glass with Nutella before pouring the cream.  

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Ingredients:

  • 150 ml espresso coffee
  •  300 ml whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp Nutella (optional)

Method:

1. Prepare an espresso.

Dissolve the sugar in the espresso . At this point if you desire you can add 1 tbs of Nutella. Mix  to dissolve

2. In a deep mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream  (300ml) until soft peaks form.

3. Add the espresso coffee

4. Whip again 1 min until homogeneous

4. Pour the mixture into a plastic container and leave in the freezer  for 2-3 hours.

Leave larger quantities in the freezer for longer

5. Once cooled, take the desire amount , whip it or blend it with a handblend until smooth and creamy

Serve immediately with a sprinkle of cocoa powder on the top. You can decorate the inside of the glass with some Nutella to give color & chocolate flavor. Enjoy!1-2017-05-263

 

 

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Eleni’s “amigdalosalata” sauce (Yogurt, dill & almond sauce)

My lovely cousin Eleni (excellent lawyer and mother) who lives in the beautiful Heraklion in the Greek island of Crete gives me this savory recipe for “amigdalosalata”.  A fresh and healthy sauce that will get your mouth watering, made by greek strained yogurt, mustard,  mayonnaise, almonds and a good amount of fresh dill (Anethum graveolens).

If you’re looking for a herb perfumed sauce to serve alongside steak, this is the right one. Amigdalosalata doesn’t require any cooking and can be ready in no time. Enjoy!

( Many thanks to Eleni, Filimon & Nikolas for the exciting moments that we have lived together last month)

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Ingredients: 1 kg strained greek yogurt,  1 cup mayonnaise,  2 tbsp mustard,  1 bunch of fresh dill,  1 cup of almonds without skin

Method: Cut each almond in 2-3 parts.  Chop the bunch of dill.

In a large bowl place all ingredients together (Yogurt , mayonnaise , mustard , chopped dill & almonds).  Mix it well and season to taste.

Get grilling and enjoy you summer!

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Portobello stuffed mushrooms

Portobello stuffed mushrooms with 3 different cheeses. When rich and fresh ricotta pairs well with earthy mushrooms in a timeless hot appetizer. Stuffed mushrooms with spinach/fresh ricotta mixture, savory cheddar bottom,  freshly grated parmesan on top. Eat it hot!1-vegetables61-vegetables3

 

 

Ingredients: 5 handfuls mushrooms – 80 gr ricotta cheese – 5 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese – 50 gr cheddar cheese – handful of spinach -1 garlic clove – olive oil

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F)
  • Remove the stalks (they come out easily) and cut them into pieces
  • Heat a pan with olive oil,  when hot add garlic & stalks. Sauté the chopped mushroom stems for about 5 min, then add a handful of spinach & salt. Cook for 3-4 min stirring often. Turn off the heat .
  • Add ricotta to spinach & stir to combine
  • Brush the mushroom caps with oil, salt (and pepper if you desire)
  • Place pieces of cheddar cheese at the bottom of each mushroom cup
  • Fill  with the ricotta stuffing,  place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over each mushroom.
  • Bake for 20 min or until the cheese is golden. Bon appétit!
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Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo  is a traditional Italian pasta dish – incredibly tasty in their semplicity-made from fettuccine tossed with a soft Parmesan cheese and butter . As the cheese melts, it emulsifies the liquids to form a smooth and rich coating on the pasta. Original Alfredo sauce should  never  include heavy  cream,  double cream  or italian panna.  The creaminess of this sauce is the result of an emulsion between the pasta water (rich of starch),  grated fat parmesan (not aged) and melted butter. 

Fettuccine Alfredo has been invented by Alfredo Di Lelio in 1892 in his restaurant in piazza Rosa in Rome.

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Ingredients for 2 servings : 200 gr. egg fettuccine

1 cup grated fat parmesan (not aged)

200 gr  unsalted butter

black pepper

1 cup pasta cooking liquid

Method:

1. In large pot, cook fettuccine as directed on package until “al dente”, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.

2. While fettuccine is cooking, tranfer 1 cup of pasta cooking water to a large skillet and bring to a boil. Add the butter and whisk gently to melt.

3. Gradually add parmesan.  Stir to incorporate.

4. Quickly drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, gently toss fettuccine to coat in the    Alfredo sauce. Adding more pasta cooking water as needed to form a velvet cream.

5 Top with pepper and more grated cheese.Serve immediately

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