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One Italian family's (+ 1 Kiwi) take on the Italian food culture and how truly easy it is to make the real (Italian) McCoy! Plus some very cool musings from an "outsider's" point of view...

We're in London now, so you might discover some insider tips on where to find good Italian food here, as well as around the world.

Autumn is well & truly upon us - it's time for some comfort food!

Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere is upon us, so it’s time for some comfort food! And it’s still chilly enough in the evenings “Down Under” to warrant a little more of something that’ll keep the cockles warm at night: Chicken alla Birra (Chicken Beer!). Truly the easiest way of doing any kind of meat! And it’s delicious, too!! Just don’t tell anyone how you did it until they’ve tasted it! ;-)

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We had some friends over for dinner last night and served this up a treat! They loved it!

CREAMY PUMPKIN SOUP (easy and yummy!!!)

InGredIentS:

1 carrot (finely chopped)

1 onion (finely chopped)

1 stick of celery (finely chopped)

100ml white wine

half litre vegetable stock

4 dessert spoons of extra virgin olive oil

500g pumpkin pulp (chopped)

2 medium potatoes (diced)

1 dessert spoon of plain flour

100ml low-fat milk

salt and pepper (to taste)

1 pinch of nutmeg

4 dessert spoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese

thyme (fresh, as needed) 

 

MetHOd:

In a large saucepan, sauté carrot, onion, celery, wine in 100ml of vegetable stock and 2 dessert spoons of oil over a moderate heat until wine and stock reduce and vegetables are soft. Add your pumpkin and potato and stir for 2 minutes. Pour in the remaining vegetable stock and cook for around 40 minutes, covered. Mix the flour and milk to a smooth consistency, and add to the soup. Mash or purée ingredients (using a hand-held blender). Cook for a further 5 minutes. Add oil, salt and pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir gently. Serve warm with 1 dessertspoon of Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of fresh thyme over each serving. 

Creamy pumpkin soup


WIN A COPY OF That Really Cool Italian Cookbook!

WIN A COPY OF THAT REALLY COOL ITALIAN COOBOOK (digital version)!!!!

Throughout the month of October will be posting on Instagram few recipes from That Really Cool Italian Cookbook. Copy them, paste them, print them,write them down and prepare your favourite one yourself. Than take a picture with your beautiful dish and send it to us: directly on Instagram or post it on our twitter account @trcicb, or on our FB page. Make sure you add the hashtag #thatreallycoolcompetition! In the beginning of November will draw from the chef's hat 7 names which will win a copy of our cookbook!!!! #HAPPYCOOKING everyone!!

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Polenta Bergamasca (from the town of Bergamo, northern Italy)

 

Polenta is a dish typically, and originally, from the north of Italy. The recipe contained in our book is Polenta Bergamasca – from Bergamo – which is a firm, yellow polenta. Polenta is a paste,or dough, made from yellow or white (or a mixture of both if desired) cornmeal, boiled in lightly salted water to create a very thick, porridge-like consistency.
These days you can find polenta throughout Italy, with each town boasting theirs is the only way to go! Polenta Bergamasca is famous for its firmer, coarser texture, as opposed to the more common softer, white polenta served elsewhere. In fact, many local traditions use the white, softer version as a substi- tute for purée or mashed potatoes. Polenta has become more and more popular in recent years and is often a hit with those of us who are trying to keep our meat intake to a minimum.
While it contains many nutrients, it’s not a good substitute for meat
and proteins; it’s just a fantastic filler in any meal.
Traditionally, polenta can take an hour or longer to prepare and it has to be stirred frequently whilst cooking. You can find quick-cook, microwaveable polenta available, which is ready in just a few minutes, though general consensus is that the taste is far inferior to that of the slow-cooked version. Polenta is best served fresh from the pot and piping hot! Though it’s not overly tasty, it lends itself perfectly as an excuse to mop up (and savour) the juices of any accompanying meat, sauce, gravy or better yet, folded around a healthy slice of soft, tasty cheese – that’s ‘comfort food’ for Italians. Though a thoroughly welcome visitor in winter, polenta is a hearty accessory to any occasion, is usually accompanied by meat,
fish or mushrooms, and it really fills the spot.
Leftovers? Throw your polenta in the fridge overnight where it will harden slightly,
and if it wasn’t already it will become cut-able. The next morning toss a couple of slices
in the pan and throw over a fried egg. Hmmm... too good!
Polenta is usually accompanied by meat, fish, mushrooms or cheese but you can have it with tons of other food and if you have a sweet tooth…..well you can even try a Polenta cake!!!

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 litres of water

1 dessert spoon of sea salt

350g cornmeal l

low-fat milk (as needed) 

 

METHOD:

In a large, deep saucepan, boil the water. Add the salt – the water will bubble and fizz for a moment before calming down a little. Before your water begins to boil once more, whisk at the ready, slowly pour in cornmeal, always stirring in the same direction. At this point the whisk will ensure an absence of lumps. Once you’ve added all of the cornmeal, turn the heat down to a low-moderate temperature. As soon as the cornmeal is absorbed and your mixture starts to thicken, substitute your whisk with a strong/thick wooden spoon. Cook your polenta for at least 40 minutes, stirring frequently, almost scooping the polenta from bottom to top with large, circular move- ments. Don’t leave your polenta to stand for longer than 5 minutes between stirrings. The polenta is ready when it’s firm and begins to pull away from the edges of the saucepan. If it becomes too firm add a small splash of low-fat milk, stirring until the milk is absorbed into the polenta. Remove from heat. Place a wooden board/tray over your saucepan and flip the saucepan over to allow the polenta to fall onto the board (you may have to bash the bottom of your pot to ‘coax’ it out). Your polenta should fall out and stand firmly on the board leaving a thin layer of corn meal around the saucepan. Soak your saucepan in water as soon as possible – it’ll make it SO much easier to clean! Serve your polenta carving directly from the board, cutting bread-like slices for each serving. 

 




Once in a Blue Moon....

... you've got to treat yourself to something you know isn't going to do wonders to that waistline, but is just too good not to indulge in at least once every now & then! You know you're going to love it! Every single morsel, spoonful, mouthful.... The only challenge with this gem would be "Do I leave some for tomorrow...?" No-one can tell you what to do in this case. You know what the RIGHT answer is to that question, but the wrong answer is just so right, too!  Good luck!

page 188 & 189 of That Really Cool Italian Cookbook

page 188 & 189 of That Really Cool Italian Cookbook

You’ll need: 2 mixing bowls, a blender or electric mixer, and a baking or serving dish (approx. 20cm x 28cm).
Make the espresso and pour it into a large bowl. Let it cool to room temperature. Separate egg yolks from whites and place into separate mixing bowls.

Beat egg yolks with sugar until a creamy consistency is achieved. Add mascarpone and mix well. Set aside. In the second mixing bowl, beat egg whites until fluffy. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into your mascarpone mi􏰁xture 􏰂just enough to blend (over mix􏰁ing will deflate the egg whites).
Very quickly dip your savoiardi biscuits into your espresso and place them into your serving/baking dish (or even into separate dessert bowls) making a uniform single layer. All of your savoiardi should be ‘wet’ from the espresso but be careful as too much coffee will turn them into a sloppy mess. Spoon an even layer of your mascarpone mixture across the layer of savoiardi about 1cm thick. 􏰃Use about 1⁄2 of the mascarpone mi􏰁x. 􏰄Place another layer of dry savoiardi over the mascarpone mix􏰁ture. D􏰅rip espresso over the new layer of savoiardi. Spoon on a second layer of the mascarpone mixture, this layer should also be about 1cm thick, covering the entire surface. Refrigerate your Tiramis􏰆 for at least 􏰇4 hours. 􏰈Before serving give your Tiramisu a light dusting of cocoa, or if you prefer, grate over a healthy sprinkling of dark chocolate.

Now, how easy was that?! Making it, I meant, not deciding whether to save some for later, or not....

The perfect accompaniment...

The perfect accompaniment...