Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pasta Brioche

Ingredients for a cake for 12 to 15 persons

1 kg (2.2 lbs) of american flour 0/ manitoba
250 gr (9 oz.)of sugar
200 gr (7 oz.)of butter
50 gr (1.75 oz) of fresh yeast
20 gr (1/2 oz.)of salt
350 gr (12 oz.) of milk
4 whole eggs
1 steak of vanilla beans

Melt butter in double boiling adding sugar and salt, when is little bit cooler put fresh yeast and milk.
Using a processor machine add this mixture to eggs and flour and vanilla. Put the dough into a large baking tray ( boards must be 6/7cm (2 inches) diameter 30/35 cm(12-14 inches) to raise for 5 hours.
Then using the same baking tray bake the cake at 180° (350°F) for 45 minutes.

If you like just add raisins and chocolate or pinuts and nuts in the food processor and you will have a great pan brioche for breakfast.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The greatest treasures of a clay factory of Luigi Bernasconi

Just traveling during last week I have found out a factory that works and modeling red clay. The Fornace Bernasconi is located in the little town of Castel Viscardo on the hilltop where is possible to admire the entire valley of Paglia's river and the tufaceus hill of Orvieto.

The founder was Marcello Bernasconi that with his son Luigi is keeping the tradition handed down for two generations. Now Luigi with Doriana ( wife) & Silvia ( luigi's sister) make fine wall decor and ornaments made of high fire stoneware clay. They modeling also kind cross stitch pieces incorporating antique quilt pieces The greatest treasures are personalized gifts and keepsakes, given straight from the heart and hand made with love.
Luigi's passion is directed to the ecological materials used during the modeling and particularly during the cooking into their big fire place.

I have learned the value of having many skills that interconnect cusine and art.
I love to take my friends all to design challenges, and instruct others on how to access their own artistic and perceptive abilities in the kitchen and why not into a factory???

So talking to Luigi Bernasconi, the owner, I knew that this Clay Factory on request lets anyone create loving personalized keepsake gifts that last a lifetime, keeping precious moments and memories if you would like to spend a day tasting great wines and watch how to make your personalized brick ( in the wall??)just contact:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Chef per un giorno!

"Chef per un giorno"
Ogni episodio vedrà protagonista un personaggio famoso, il quale avrà il compito di preparare una cena da quattro portate nella cucina di un noto ristorante

Dopo il clamoroso successo delle prime due serie, torna una nuova stagione di "Chef per un giorno", con tanti altri VIP, tante prelibatezze e… divertimento a non finire in cucina! Ogni episodio vedrà protagonista un personaggio famoso, il quale avrà il compito di preparare una cena da quattro portate nella cucina di un noto ristorante, con l'aiuto prezioso dei cuochi del locale. La serie è divertente e giocosa ma riesce anche a tirare fuori gli aspetti più nascosti della personalità dei vari protagonisti, che riveleranno molto di sé, spiegando i loro gusti gastronomici nella scelta del menù...

dal 17/3 ore 22.00

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Faraona della Franca

This is one of my favorite dishes well prepared by my mother-in-law Franca so I could not wait to share this wonderful recipe with all my friends.

Ragout of guinea-fowl as "Franca Cooking way"

Ingredients for 4/6 pax

1 Guinea Fowl well cleaned and without interiors
1 cup of wine
2tbs of lemon juice
8 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
1 fresh parsley
1 fresh Rosemary
1 fresh sage
1 clove of garlic
1 medium onion
1 carrot
1 celery
15 gr (1/2 oz.)of capers
400 gr (14 oz.) of champignon mushrooms
salt and black pepper

Using the processor try to work not to much finally all these herbs adding oil, lemon juice, wine
Coat the Guinea fowl ( cutted in different pieces )with all these ingredients adding capers at the end.
Leave it in the fridge to marinate for 4 hours or if you like even the night before.
The Guinea-fowl meat is really tender and absorbes these flavours very easily.
When the Guinea is marinated put it into a large pan with a bit of oil and cook at medium flame for one hour adding a bit of wine and water if required.
Apart cook the Champignon mushrooms with a bit of oil, chopped garlic and salt and they will be ready in 5 minutes when the their water will evaporate toss your champignon mushrooms on the pan with Guinea and mix everything for 5 minutes.

Home made pasta with pumpkin, shrimps and rucola

Ingredients for 4 pax

500 gr (17.5 oz.) of fresh pasta as noodles, scialatielli or even gnocchi
5/6 tbs of extravirgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
150 gr (5 oz.) of pumkin
200 gr (7 oz.)of fresh shrimps
1 bunch of rocket/arucola
salt q.b

Pour the oil into a pan with a clove of garlic and cook for five minutes till the garlic becomes blonde, add the pumpkin finally chopped, fresh shrimps and a bit of salt, bit of chilly peppers and fresh parsley.
Cook for 5/7 minutes adding at last rucola well chopped.
Keep mixing for 1 minute and your sauce is ready
Boil the pasta as previusly described and pur the pasta into a the pan with the pumpkin and shrimps sauce keep mixing on the flame for few minutes adding extra rucola.......

What qualities make for becoming a good chef?

A special thank to Carol Georges Journalist & Writer

Since tasting some of Velia's latest vegetarian dishes, I have asked myself the question - what qualities make for becoming a good chef?

I have concluded that a fine chef needs a number of different talents and most of them involve the senses.

It is helpful to have the eye of a painter, the precision of sculpter, the sense of touch of a fine pianist, the sense of smell of a perfume creator, the palette of a wine taster, the curious mind of an inventor and the judgment of a wise person to know which flavors enhance one another.

Deep culinary roots in one country or region of a country give the strong foundation needed to begin the process. The best chefs are analagous to composers - they take a theme and develop it into their own variations. They create new music (dishes) - their cooking is evolutionary. This keeps a menu from remaining static. If a chef is too stuck in a routine, the dishes begin to lack a certain sparkle.

Velia created a new menu around the theme of printemps - spring. She seeks to use the ingredients of the season and integrate them in new ways. Early spring asparagus is infused into a pasta sauce, pale yellow zuccini flowers with their emerald leaves are stuffed with ricotta cheese and spring herbs, thin light as air slices of eggplant roasted to a golden hue are served as a carpaccio, small baby potatoes are roasted to perfection, drizzled in olive oil and infused into a light summer tinted vegetarian herbal soup, early garden lettuce varieties with their fresh earthy flavors are meshed with fennel and fresh herbs and when the season is right, summer fruits such as slivers of succulent strawberries. The dessert varieties for spring unfold like flowers as each month another colorful succulent fruit comes into season. Fruit tarts based on homemade yogurt with chocolate shavings give the palette another fresh taste.

The pleasure of the eye proceeds the pleasure on the palette - and Velia's surprising combinations are original, fun, light and delicious.