The weather hasn’t been friendly lately…..

….. it is freezing in the morning and pouring cats and dogs in the afternoon….. and sometimes it is vice versa.

This awful weather makes me crave for something that can shake off this depressing sense of gray and instantly makes me feel good.

So last night I was reading a Giada de Laurentiis cookbook before sleeping, and I found a luscious coffee semifreddo recipe. Yeah, it is easy to make and requires very little ingredients and utensils….. but, I like to tweak a recipe here and there and make it into my version, so I decided to make a Chocolate and hazelnut semifreddo.

Semifreddo is a frozen dessert that is the first cousin to gelato and ice cream.

Semifreddo means “half cold” in Italian - it is very easy to prepare and it has a lovely fluffy texture like a frozen mousse. Because it has whipped egg whites and whipped cream folded into it, it does not freeze up quite as hard as ice cream. You can make it in any flavor (just like ice cream). In this version I also used hazelnuts.

….. and the name: Chocolate Semifreddo….. it has such a sexy ring to it! I love the idea of the chocolate, its like adding something extra decadent.

Chocolate and hazelnut semifreddo

200 g quality dark chocolate (70%)
4 eggs
4 tablespoons sugar
2 dl. whipping cream
2 dl. greek yogurt (10%)
1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur
1 handful of meringue
100 g peeled and roasted hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them in approx. 10 minutes. Take them out and pour them into a kitchen towel. Rub the nuts in the towel to the skin comes off.

Melt chocolate over a water bath.

Part eggs.

Whisk the egg yolks with sugar until it becomes white foam.

Whip the cream until it becomes fluffy and mix it with the yogurt.

Turn the egg foam with the melted chocolate and liqueur, and add the yoghurt-cream. Finally add the whipped egg whites.

Mix in the meringue and coarsely chopped nuts, and pour the ice into a container.

Freeze the ice in approx. 4 hours until it is “half frozen”

Serve it just like you would ice cream.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 29. February, 2012 kl 10:14

If you are the paintbrush…..

….. and the world is your canvas,

then everything you do is the paint.

What does your canvas look like?

Kategorien Delightful art, Lovely Quotes . Skrevet af LE 27. February, 2012 kl 11:55

I love spending my…..

….. holiday in Italy.

One of the best ways to experience the country and its food culture, is to travel the countryside and to visit a Italian “Agriturisimo” (it’s Italian farms operating as a kind of Bed and Breakfast). Most of them grow their own wine, and they also produce their own olive oil.

We always have lots of fun and good food experiences, when we go on a road trip through Tuscany, eating our way through the many delightful small local places. The food is, for the most part, very simple and uncomplicated….. but Ohhhh so good.

On these trips, I always buy the most magical olive oil.

Most people are not aware of how much difference good oil will do for their cooking. But good oil is like a spice, which in itself makes a big difference, and it does wonders when you drip it over pasta or a lovely piece of grilled meat.

Olive oil is like wine - it has a variety of flavor and character, so it is really worth choosing oil with care, especially if you are going to use it for salads or for dipping bread in.

Last but not least: it’s a wonderful way to bring a small part of Tuscany home to your kitchen.

Bread Tips: Place a dish with olive oil and balsamic on the table. Sprinkle salt flakes over and season with pepper from the grinder. Decorate with olives.

It’s a good side dish for dipping bread in, and it doesn’t have to be more difficult than that, to give the dinner an extra pif!

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 11. February, 2012 kl 10:18

Courage doesn’t always roar……

Sometimes courage is the quiet voice

at the end of the day saying,

“I will try again tomorrow.”

- Mary Anne Radmacher

Kategorien Lovely Quotes . Skrevet af LE 10. February, 2012 kl 19:13

Of all the amazing food experiences…..

….. I’ve had, the Italian ones are on top of the list.

When it comes to food, they have an incredible sense of quality in Italy. Most of the times, you just have to round a corner, if you want to enjoy a fabulous meal.

When I lived in Italy, I use to stroll around and check out small local trattoria, and doing these visits; I have collected many good food ideas in a small handwritten notebook. These notes are often used when I needed inspiration to cook wonderful Italian dishes.

This lovely Tuscan recipe requires just a handful of ingredients: walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, cream, olive oil, cheese and of course, cooked spaghetti.

Walnut pasta from Tuscany

All you need:

400 g of linguine pastes

50 g pine nuts
150 g walnuts
2 tbsp. breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt flakes
2 ½ cups milk or cream

50 g pecorino cheese
walnuts for garnish

Do this:

Cook the pasta al dente in salted water.

Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet.

Mix pine nuts, walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor.

Bring the milk / cream to a boil, pour in the nut mix and stir it together.

Mix the walnutsauce with the freshly boiled paste.

Serve garnished with grated pecorino cheese and crushed walnuts.

Tips: using cream gives a smoother result, and because of the fat, the cream brings out the taste so the dish becomes full of flavor (you can use cream with 5% fat and it will still be super good).

Bellissimo

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 8. February, 2012 kl 21:40

“Life is filled with…..

….. fantastic little things
that happen constantly.
Don’t take them for granted.”
-Lilly Sein McElroy

Kategorien Lovely Quotes . Skrevet af LE 7. February, 2012 kl 11:27

For me, breakfast is…..

….. the best meal of the day - I always wake with a big appetite.

When I lived in Italy, I had a specific place I always went to, and I still do, whenever I come back to visit - a visit to my old hometown is not complete if I haven’t been there. They serve the most amazing breakfast and brunch you can imagine….. and in the weekends, the queue is so long, that people have to queue up way down the street.

Occasionally I wake up in the morning, and miss it so much, that I’ll have to create a wonderful and rich breakfast here at home in Denmark, to overcome my Italian homesickness. On these occasions, I invite my friends over, and we sit for hours and chat, eat and drink buckets of coffee.

This morning’s recipe is inspired by my favorite café. I hope you will enjoy it.

Ricotta pancakes with banana and maple syrup

All you need:
3 eggs
250 g ricotta
2 ½ cups milk
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch salt
2 bananas

Maple syrup and fruit for serving.

Do this:
Part the eggs.

Mix ricotta cheese, milk and egg yolks in a bowl.

Mix the baking soda, flour and salt. Add it is to the dough.

Beat egg whites until they are fluffy and fold them gently into the dough.

Cut banana into slices and toss the slices in the batter.

Fry pancakes at middle heat in butter until they get golden.

Server pancakes with syrup and fresh fruit.

Tip: Ricotta and lemon make a great combo. Serve the ricotta pancakes with fresh strawberries, top the strawberries with a sprinkling of grated lemon peel and offer warm maple syrup to drizzle over the fruit and cakes.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 6. February, 2012 kl 10:05

Good food is not necessarily…..

….. difficult food.

Simple dishes prepared with care and love is served even by well-known chefs at fine ristoranti a Roma o Milano.

In my opinion, all good cooking begins with: simple! If you can manage principi fondamentali then the rest will be a dance.

This recipe is very simple, yet full of flavor. It has a smooth texture that coats your mouth with the wonderful flavors of crusty bread, extra virgin olive oil, the sweetness of tomatoes, the freshness of basil and that slight nutty taste of Parmesan cheese - it’s just delicious!

Bread soup or Pappa al Pomodoro is basically a tomato soup thickened with bread, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil. As you can see, this soup is very thick, and it may not sound like the most appetizing or tasty soup, but I can a sure you, this is one of the most delicious soups around.

….. and what could be more heart warming on a cold day like today, than a lovely homemade Tuscan bread and tomato soup? This is real Italian food - bon appétit.

Pappa al pomodoro (6 persons)

All you need is:
1 ¼ cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped basil
4 garlic - finely chopped
800 g peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
2 ¼ cups hot water
salt and pepper
55 g grated parmesan cheese, for garnish

Do this:
Cut bread in approx. 2 1/2 inch cubes. Pour in broth, oil and basil in a heavy-based saucepan and let it spin at medium heat to the liquid is reduced by half. Add the bread and garlic. Increase the heat and cook to the bread has absorbed all the liquid.

Add tomatoes and sugar, stir and let simmer in approx. 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour soup in warm bowls, sprinkle a little parmesan over and serve.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 5. February, 2012 kl 17:06

When we lived in Italy…..

….. our house was located behind a thick wall and surrounded by a beautiful garden. The house was built in Centro storico: within the old city wall, and it was a paradise that oozed of culture and charm.

The village was known for a blend of hearty peasant cuisine and the more sophisticated kitchen. Hearty soups with spelled or bread, vegetables and lots of pasta were the rootstock.

In ancient northern Italy, rice was a kind of counterpart to the pasta used in South, but today they probably eat just as much risotto in the south, as they eat pasta in the north.

There are various risotto rice as, for example: Arborio, Vialone, Carnaroli. What is best is a matter of taste, but luckily you can buy all types in most Danish supermarkets.


Risotto al Tartufo (6 prs)

All you need is:
400 g of risotto rice
1 onion
60 g butter
1 cup dry white wine
1 l boiling broth
1 pc. shredded white or black truffle
1 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper

Do this:
Peel the onion and cut it into small cubes. Sauté in butter until it becomes clear (not brown).

Add the rice and wine, and let the wine be absorbed by the rice. Add broth, little by little while you touch - the rice must absorb the broth between each time. Cover and let the rice cook to tender.

Mix the grated parmesan and the grated truffle in the risotto. Save a little truffle for garnish.

Buon appetito

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 4. February, 2012 kl 19:02

Some say the world…..

….. will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

by Robert Frost.

Kategorien Delightful poems . Skrevet af LE 4. February, 2012 kl 9:54