- Preheat oven to 220° C (446° F)
- Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a mixer’s bowl.
- Set it aside for 15-20 minutes so the yeast can activate.
- Add the flour, salt and olive oil.
- Knead by hand for at least 10 min.
- When ready, transfer the dough to a bowl.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 1-2 hours, until it doubles in size.
- Punch down the dough and divide it in to 2 equal halves.
- Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on to a working surface.
- Add your dough, dust with some flour and roll out. If it is too difficult to roll out, dust with some more flour.
- Form 2 flat oval loaves
- Transfer to a baking pan along with the parchment. Simply lift the edges of the parchment and transfer.
- Repeat the exact same process for the other half of the dough.
- To make the coating, combine the water and sugar in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Brush coating over both flatbreads and sprinkle with a generous amount of sesame seeds over the top.
- Set them aside for 20 minutes, so they can rise again.
- When they have risen, use your index finger to make indentations all over the dough. This gives the “lagana” its characteristic appearance.
- Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.
- Bake for about 20 minutes. Make sure your oven is properly preheated so that the flatbread can turn out as crunchy as possible.
- When golden and crunchy, remove from oven and serve it in the traditional Greek manner with Taramosalata (Fish Roe Dip), Potato Garlic Mash and Kalamata olives.
Neapolitan pastiera is an Easter dessert made with cooked wheat, eggs, ricotta cheese, and flavoured with flower water (Mille fiori aroma). It is usually eaten at Easter and according to tradition, every family in Naples prepares one during the Holy Week. The recipe for this “cake” probably derives from the breads made from milk and honey that were commonly eaten during the baptism ceremonies the night of Easter when Constatine was Emperor. The modern version of this dessert was invented at the convent of San Gregorio Armeno (located in Naples historic center). A nun decided to make a cake using the ingredients that symbolized life and resurrection.
Ingredients for Pasta Frolla:
- 5 oz butter
- 4 oz confectioners sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ lb all-purpose flour
- lemon zest
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for filling:
- 1 lb ricotta cheese
- ½ lb granulated sugar
- ½ lb cooked wheat
- 3 eggs
- 1 oz mille fiori water
- 3 oz mixed candied fruit
- 1 oz confectioners sugar
Follow the steps below (slideshow)
Before removing from the tray, wait until it has cooled enough. Serve at room temperature .
Store pastiera in its pan covered with plastic wrap in a cool place (room temperature) (Never store pastiera in the fridge. Only in cool place)
Lagana (Λαγάνα) is an ancient Greek flatbread traditionally baked for Clean Monday (Καθαρα’ Δευτερα) – the first day of the Great Lent. (Clean Monday actually refers to the abstention from sinful attitudes and non-fasting food ). Traditionally, it was prepared unleavened (without the yeast), like those mentioned in the Old Testament, but leavened lagana is nowadays more common. It is typically flat, oval-shaped, with surface decorated by impressing fingertips.
Sesame seeds are a common topping, and it may also be topped with other herbs, and seasoned with olive oil. Linguistically, the word lagana comes from the Greek word “ laganon” (in ancient Greek: λάγανον), which is also the origin of the Italian word lasagna.
Lagana is never cut with a knife but rather broken apart, because iron, the stuff of knife-making long ago, was believed to contain the powers of evil.
- 500 g hard flour (bread flour)
- 350 ml water, at room temperature
- 10 g dry yeast
- pinch of granulated sugar
- 10 g salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- sesame seeds
” Pan d’ arancio” means orange bread. Is a traditional cake recipe from Palermo. All the fruit is used, only the seeds are discarded. The whole orange with all the peel is blended & added in the mixture.
Full of flavor and nutrients. Extremely quick & easy to make. Baking a cake doesn’t have to be complicated. This recipe work well for cupcakes too, you can add mini chocolate chips in the mixture, an orange icing or chocolate frosting on the top. Perfect for hungry kids at school.
Orange peel is rich of polyphenols (helps keep the gut healthy and is important in helping to reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease), vitamins A, C, folic acid B9 (a water-soluble B vitamin) and other B vitamins, calcium, copper, magnesium and dietary fibers, essential oils and carotenoids
Ingredients for the cake
- 2 organic oranges, washed and cut into pieces
- 100gr seed oil (or 100 gr softened butter)
- 300gr all purpose flour
- 16 gr baking powder
- 250gr sugar
- 100gr milk
- 3 eggs
Ingredients for the icing
- 300 gr icing sugar
- 1 orange (juice)
- Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F
- Puree the diced oranges in a food processor.
- Add all the rest of the ingredients over the purèe (flour+baking powder, sugar, eggs, seed oil, milk)
- Mix until blended
- Grease and flour an 9″ (23cm) pan lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 60 minutes (The cake is ready when a knife or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean)
- Remove the cake from the oven, and allow to cool completely
- Run a knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake
Icing: In a bowl, mix together the icing sugar with half of the orange juice. Whisk until there are no lumps. You can adjust the consistency to your liking by adding more powdered sugar or juice, to thicken or thin it out.
Pour the icing over the top of the cake.
Trasform an Italian classic pasta dish into an attractive cheesy pasta pie. Just stuff rigatoni with sauce, layer with mozzarella and bake it for few minutes. Nothing simpler, nothing more delicious & succulent. Bon appétit!
500 gr rigatoni pasta
500 gr ground beef meat
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 bottle (500ml) tomato sauce
- Butter, for pan
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 250gr grated mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400F (200°C). Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Add pasta; cook until slightly underdone.Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain. Toss pasta with 1 tbs oil to coat.Set aside.
Heat 1 tbs oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook 2 minutes more.Add tomatoes; simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Butter a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan. Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese. Tightly pack pasta into pan, standing each piece on end.
Spread meat sauce on top of pasta, pushing it into holes. Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella on top.Bake until cheese is pale golden, 10 to 15 minutes more.Remove from oven, and let stand 15 minutes.Run a knife around edge to loosen; unmold.Cut into wedges & serve with fresh Rosso di Aprilia DOC red wine
(Recipe by Martha Stewart)
Pork knuckle is the joint between the tibia/fibula and the metatarsals of the foot of a pig, where the foot was attached to the hog’s leg. It is the portion of the leg that is neither part of the ham proper nor the foot or ankle, but rather the extreme shank end of the leg bone. This cut of meat can be cooked with potatoes, greens or in sauces. Beer roasted knuckle is easy, super tasty and juicy/ fork tender dish with a very crispy and flavory skin. Serve it hot with some delicious golden Hasselback potatoes.
Ingredients: 1 knuckle/person (about 1 kg) – 2bottles dark beer
salt -pepper (optional) – thym (optional) – grated garlic (2 cloves/knuckle) – 2 onions/knuckle, salt, black pepper (optional)
Method: 1. Peel and slice into rounds 2 onions, lay them in a roasting pan
2. Season knuckles with salt , black pepper, grated garlic, thym. Sit the knuckles on top of the onions. Add a cup of beer (300 ml). Cook in the oven for 30 min (220°C)
[Meanwhile prepare the hasselback potatoes as you desire (empty or with bacon/cheese)]
4. After 30 min pour another cup of beer (300ml). Place the potatoes around pork knuckle. Roast an additional 1h and lower the temperature to 180°C. After the skin has started to crisp, baste with beer about every 30 minutes or so
For the empty version: Potatoes, olive oil or melted butter (2 tbsp/ potato) , 2 tbs/potato grated pecorino or parmesan, 2 tbsp/potato dry bread crumbs (optional)
In a bowl mix together grated pecorino romano or parmesan or another grated cheese of your choice, seasoned dry bread crumbs (optional), salt , black pepper (optional) , thym (optional)
With cheesy bacon filling: Potatoes, olive oil or melted butter (2 tbsp/potato), bacon,
cheese, grated pecorino or parmesan, salt, pepper (optional), thym (optional)
Method: see below the gallery step by step
Saragli’ is a traditional Christmas Greek sweet with plenty of grated walnuts and crispy phyllo drizzled with sweet and spicy syrup.
It is basically “baklava” that is rolled instead of layered. Phyllo sheets are brushed with butter, covered in a seasoned walnut mixture, and rolled up.
If you like crispy pastries, dried fruits, an intense scent of cinnamon and cloves in your home, this is the right recipe for you! Merry Christmas!
This recipe has been adapted by Akis Petretzikis saragli recipe
- 500 g granulated sugar – 300 ml water – 4 cloves – 1 cinnamon stick – Rind from 1 orange – juice of half orange
- 400 g butter
- 100 g walnuts
- 100 g almonds
- 100 g pistachio nuts
- 2teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 packages phyllo dough (900 g)
- pistachio nuts, ground, for serving
- In a pot, add the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, cloves and orange rind.
- Place pot over medium heat.
- In about 2-3 minutes, as soon as the sugar melts, remove pot from heat.
- Add the orange juice, stir and set aside to cool.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
- In a food processor grind the walnuts, almonds, cinnamon and cloves together. You don’t want to finely grind them but you don’t want to have large pieces because they will rip through the phyllo dough.
- Transfer the filling to a bowl and transfer the melted butter to a separate bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 160° C (320° F)
- Spread out the phyllo dough on a clean working surface.
- Lay one sheet of phyllo dough separately on your working surface. Drizzle with melted butter, making sure not to let the brush directly touch the phyllo.
- Cover with another sheet of phyllo and drizzle with butter.
- Spread the filling over the entire surface.
- Place two wooden sticks in the middle of the phyllo and roll the smaller side towards the middle, leaving an empty space at the edge.
- Do not roll too tight and gently press the ends together towards the middle with your hands, creating folds in the phyllo and remove the sticks.
- Brush a 30×40 cm baking pan with butter and add the sargli.
- Drizzle with butter immediately and repeat the same process until the baking pan is full of saragli rolls.
- When the pan is full, drizzle any leftover butter over the sargli rolls.
- Bake for 70 minutes.
- When ready, remove from oven and immediately pour the cool syrup over the scorching hot saragli rolls.The temperature of the pastry must be always opposite than the syrup. This is the key for a successful baklava /saragli’
- Allow them to soak up the syrup for 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle with ground pistachio nuts and serve
Brussels sprouts contains significant amount of vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate and dietary fiber. Here are some of the major nutrients in a cup (150 gr) of cooked Brussels sprouts Calories: 56 , Protein: 4 gr , Carbs: 12 gr, Fiber: 4 gr,Vitamin K: 274% of the RDI, Vitamin C: 162% of the RDI, Vitamin A: 24% of the RDI, Folate: 24% of the RDI, Manganese: 18% of the RDI. But the most impressive is their antioxidant content (especially high in kaempferol). Kaempferol may reduce cancer cell growth, ease inflammation and improve heart health.
Enjoy them “au gratin” with crunchy bacon and creamy cheesy bechamel or simply oven roasted with bacon and olive oil. A healthy side dish for the Christmas table.
Brussel sprouts au gratin
Ingredients: 200 gr bacon, chopped – 400gr brussels sprouts, outer leaves and stems removed – 1 cup grated cheddar cheese – 1 teaspoon salt – 500 ml bechamel
1. Preheat oven to 180°C (256°F)
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until fork tender (10 minutes). Drain.
3. In a skillet fry the chopped bacon over medium heat until is golden & crispy
4. Tranfer the Brussels sprouts in a large baking dish and add the half of chopped bacon. Season with salt.
5. Pour bechamel over sprouts, sprinkle with cheddar and the remaining bacon
6. Bake the sprouts in a preheated oven at 256°F (180°C) for 20min or until the top is golden. Serve warm.
Oven roasted brussels sprouts with bacon & balsamic
Method: 1. Preheat oven to 200°C (392°F)
2. Wash and slice sprouts in half
3. Put them on a sheet pan with the rest of the ingredients (except balsamic vinegar) and toss to coat with your hands
4. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until crispy , and bacon is golden brown. (Stirring halfway through)
5. Remove from the oven. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and salt
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.
- 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)
- 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)
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
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
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.