giovedì 23 dicembre 2010

The Kuki Witch Project

Just retrieved my Grandma's cookbook.

When I was a child I thought it was kinda of a sorcery book (the black cover and its saved-from-a-wreckship appearence obviously contributed alot), thus making of Granma a sort of witch.

Unfortunately for my childish fantasies and luckily for my tongue, she was simply an exceptional cook and her cookbook - as I discovered only recently - is the 12th edition of the most famous best-seller of Italian kitchen since its first edition in 1929, "Il Talismano della Felicità - The Talisman of Happiness" by Ada Boni.

It's still published, updated and well sold till nowadays. But this copy obviously is of a great value to me because it dates to her marriage and is plenty of her handwritten notes and recipes.

Julie had Julia's cookbook, Kuki's got Grandma's!
That doesn't mean that I will try all the recipes in it, simply because some are absurd or provide for unreacheable ingredients or come from an era when the fridge had still to be invented. But will do my best!

mercoledì 22 dicembre 2010

Black squid ink spaghetti - Spaghetti al nero di seppie

Kuki's mom knows that's one of the few ways I do really like spaghetti and that it's a bit difficult to find fresh squids with their own ink in Milan (although, I couldn't) so she prepared this dish for my arrival in Sicily.
The intense black color and strong iodine taste makes it irresistible. This is nothing new. In popular crime novel by Andrea Camilleri, Sicilian police captain Montalbano is invited for dinner by the police Superintendent. "My wife will prepare spaghetti in squid ink. An exquisiteness". Montalbano is so taken with the prospect of eating this legendary dish that during the whole novel he makes every effort not to confront his superior in the thorny case in he's working on so that the spaghetti in squid ink can be safe.  Finally Montalbano calls him the day before:
  -Superintentent? I am calling to say I am really mortified, but won't be able to make it for dinner tomorrow.
  -You are mortified because we cannot meet, or because of the squid ink pasta?
  -Both Sir.

(Thanks to fxcuisine for the Camilleri translation)

For 4 people:
  • 4 squids with their ink pockets (if they don't come with their ink you will need to buy 2 bags of squid ink)
  • 1/2lt of tomato sauce
  • 1 medium onion
  • 400grs long pasta (ie spaghetti, linguine)
  • parsley
  • red hot chili peppers
  • oil
Peel and wash the squids, then cut them into pieces or rings. Cut the onion into tiny cubes and fry it in a large pan with 2 tablespoons of oil, then add the squids and cook over a medium-high flame until when they are cooked through. Add the tomato sauce along with a few pieces of peppers (depending on how much spicy you do like it) and let it cook for 5 mins. Then add the squid ink and the chopped parsley. You will see the ink spreading in the bright red sauce and turning everything to the darkest shade of black. Let it cook for a few minutes and turn off the flame. Cook the pasta, then pour it in the saucepan (or vice-versa) and cook it with the sauce for 30 secs.

Eat & taste.
Be careful to your clothes!

    Bon Roll Aia agli spinaci con salsa al gorgonzola - Chicken-meat and spinach roll with gorgonzola sauce

    Time to leave Milan for Xmas holidays, time to empty out the fridge of all the remnants!

    Ingredients (that's simply what I had in the fridge):
    • 1 chicken meat (but any meat is good -c'mon! it's minced!) and spinach roll (about 750 grs)
    • 1 big onion
    • 4 small potatoes
    • 6 little tomatoes
    • 100 grs of Gorgonzola cheese
    • 125 grs of mozzarella cheese
    • 200 decilitres (1 cup) of milk or cream
    • a glass of red wine
    • oil, rosemary, salt, pepper, curry, flour if needed
    Put some oil and 1/2 glass of wine in a large pan with cover and cook the onion (cut into slices) and the meat roll on low flame for about 45 mins/1 hour. Take care to turn the meat roll from time time so that it's well cooked all around. After 10 mins add the potatoes cut into pieces and a stick of rosemary. Wait other 30 mins and add the tomaetos cut into pieces the same size about as the potatoes. When the cooking is almost finished add the mozzarella cut into small cubes till it melts down, add the wine left and let it vaporize on high flame.

    While the meat is cooking prepare the sauce. In a small pot heat the milk or cream and when it's nearly boiling low down the flame and add the Gorgonzola in pieces. Let it melt, add salt, pepper and curry, mix and let it thicken. If you're using the milk you will probably need to add some flour.

    Cut the meat roll into big slices, put them in a plate along with the tomato-potato sidedish and cover with some sauce.
    Perfect. Now: fridge empty, time to fill in the suitcase and go!

    venerdì 17 dicembre 2010

    Tramezzino gorgonzola, sedano e mela - Sandwhich with gorgonzola cheese, celery and apple

    This afternoon I had such a profound longing for this gorgeous sandwhich that I decided to face the snow storm to buy the ingredients. I had tasted it for the first time during a business lunch. Before that I simply could not have ever conceived such a weird combination. Nevertheless that it was so delicous!

    • 50 grs gorgonzola cheese (if you can't find it you could try with the roquefort, it should be different, though)
    • 1 apple granny smith quality
    • 1 celery stick
    • 2 slices of sandwhich bread
    Spread a thick layer of gorgonzola on one side of each slice of bread. Cut the apple and the celery into thin slices (I used a potato peeler). Lay over the gorgonzola some apple slices first, the celery ones later.
    Close the sandwhich.
    Cut it into 2 triangles.
    Welcome to Paradise.

    mercoledì 15 dicembre 2010

    Kuki Veggieburger

    Asli and I survived the 5 hours Wagner's Valkyries opera at La Scala and nearly enjoyed it!

    It was midnight already, didn't have dinner and still dreaming about Kukiburgers. Unfortunately, no more hamburgers and/or fresh sanwiches left. Luckily, I always keep in the fridge some veggieburger or similar and a pack of sandwich loaf.

    That's how Kuki's veggieburger came to life.

    Proceedings are the same as the Kukiburger except for the veggieburger and the sandwhich loaf.

     if you think this way it could be too low in fats, do as we did, add  a sunny-side up egg on top!

    Oh, a little present to all my beloved readers, some pictures from Wagner's Valkyries and La Scala Theater! Enjoy!


    Culture day.
    Today, together with that Russian girl alredy well-known to all of you beloved readers I have visited the new Museum of the '900 in Milan and in the evening we are going to Alla Scala theater as well for Wagner's "The Valkyries" opera.

    After the museum (it was lunchtime) we were very hungry and the nearby Japanese restaurant was closed. So it ended up for a Kukiburger!

    For 2 people:
    • 2 demi-baguettes (or nearly whatever sandwhich you do prefer!)
    • 3 beef burgers
    • a few big leavesof radicchio (or salad, if you prefer)
    • 2 pachino tomatoes (or a normal size tomato)
    • 1 mozzarella
    • 2 sweet and sour pickles
    • a few slices of onion
    • french mustard (I prefer Maille's "a l'ancienne"), barbecue sauce, ketchup, chili sauce, mayonnaise
    Roast the burgers and the radicchio alongside (not necessary if you are using the salad). In the meanwhile cut tomatoes, onion, pickles and mozzarella in very thin slices so that the sandwhich will not be excessively thick. Cut the baguettes in two halves and toast them slightly on a pan or whatever.

    Let's fill in the sandwhich! That's the toghest part: in my opinion the secret for a perfect Kukiburger as well as for any sandwhich is to find out the best order to pile up the ingredients. I proceed in this order.

    First, spread on lower half of the sandwhich the french mustard, then put on it the sliced tomato and the roasted radicchio or the salad. After that, put on it the burgers (since I used 2 baguettes and 3 hamburgers I disposed 3 halves of hamburger per baguette along its lenght). That's time for mozzarella to lie on the hot meat, then put the onion and the pickle slices. Finally, sauces! Whatever you want, as much as you want! Personally, I have a crush for the barbecue sauce (so difficult to find and so expensive in Italy, even in Milan!).

    Enjoy your Kukiburger!!!

    P.S. It may appear so stupid to post a recipe for a burger but believe me, I have personally attended a lecture of a famous cuisine school on "how to do the perfect California burger". And mine is far better than theirs.

    domenica 12 dicembre 2010

    sabato 11 dicembre 2010

    Gypsy things aka "Zingarate" at the Artisan's Exhibit in Milan

    If you wanna have lunch or dinner for free just go to the Artisan's Exhibit  ("Fiera dell'Artigianato") held in these days - till tomorrow Sunday 11 - in Milan. If you were smart as me, though, you would avoid to go there during the weekend.

    Anyway, you will find tons of sample tastes of cheeses and cold cuts (mainly salami) in the Sicilian, Calabrian, Puglia and French stands. I did not take pictures because I was simply too busy in eating.

    Apart those zingarate, the sad thing is that you can easily spot the difference between the diverse areas of Italy: deep south brought nearly only food; centre, there was food (mainly pork roast) and some manufacturers (textiles); north, nearly only manufacturer and factory stands, with a notable exception (for me, at least): the marinaded garlic from the Franciacorta (Brescia) area.

    The look is totally garlic, but taste is damned good and it does not smell at all! Internet tells me that it's not something typical from Brescia and that it's very easy to prepare home. Anyway, I bought this jar of marinaded garlic, pizzaiola recipe, and will probably use it as part of some aperitivo:

    Oh, btw, Have you seen the pic with the chocolate tools? Nice in the shape but far too expensive for being just a mediocre chocolate. Anyway, I was with a Russian friend who liked them and bought kgs...

    venerdì 10 dicembre 2010

    Linguini with clams - "Spaghetti alle vongole"

    Marco has been at my place for dinner this evening, so it's the right occasion for my first pasta recipe.

    For 2 people:
    • 250 grs of linguini or spaghetti
    • 300 grs of clams
    • 1 medium size tomato
    • 1/2 glass of white dry wine
    • parsley
    • 2 spoons of oil
    • salt, pepper, red hot pepper
    • 1 clove of garlic
    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat with the garlic cut into 2 halves. Add the clams. Stir, increase heat to medium-high and cover. Check the clams every minute or so. When the first clam opens add the wine. Continue to cook shaking the pan from time to time. When most of the clams are open add chopped parsley, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Remove most of the clam shells but leave some for they are useful to garnish.
    Cook the pasta, drain and pour it in the pan with the sauce and mix well. Serve it hot with a tuft of parsley.

    giovedì 9 dicembre 2010

    Liver, the Venetian Way - "Fegato alla Veneziana"

    I was waiting a friend for lunch but probably got lost or hit by a car. So I ate it all alone.

    Kuki's mom recipe!

    For 2 people:

    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 4 onions, very thinly sliced
    • 3 potatoes, sliced (I used the Patasnella, already sliced and ready in the fridge)
    • 400 grs calves liver, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 glass Marsala or Porto wine
    • Salt, pepper, persil, 1 lemon

    Heat the olive oil with 1 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy saute pan over a medium flame. Add the onions

    and cook them over low heat until they are very soft but not colored, for literally about 1 hour. After about 1/2 hour add the potatoes.

    Salt it all and remove them to a warm platter. Add the liver to the pan, salting and cooking for max 1 min on each side. When done, place the onions and the potatoes in the pan with the liver, warm it up, add the wine, let it vaporize and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits.

    Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and pour it over the liver and onions. Add pepper, persil, lemon juice, salt if necessary and serve immediately.

    *The real recipe does not provide for the potatoes but my mom always did it so and I like it much more this way! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

    mercoledì 8 dicembre 2010

    Azerbaijan Fusion Part 2

    Asli (finally!) moved to her new apartment and invited a few friends for lunch. I'm not pretty sure the menu was really azeri but since I find it somehow exotic I'll pretend as if it was.

    Asli's chicken and porcini soup

    I'm not used at all to eat soups, so my first thought was going at McDonald's on the way home, but this soup made me change my mind.
    For 4 people:
    • 400 grs of chicken breast
    • 2 potatoes
    • 200 grs of dried porcini mushrooms (champignons are good as well)
    • 5/6 baby carrots
    • 200 grs of cauliflower
    • 4 leaves of bay leaf
    • herbs (wild fennel overall), rosemary, cumin, salt and pepper
    Cut the chicken breast into cubes and then cook it in water, taking off the scum. When ready (30 mins), add cut vegetables and herbs and spices. Salt at the end.
    Very simple, very tasty.

    Asli's Stuffed Chicken with Apples and Prunes
    For 4 people:
    • 1 Whole chicken
    • 2 big Granny Smith apples
    • 4/5 prunes
    • Dijon mustard
    • honey
    • herbs
    • 300 grs of baby carrots and Brussels sprouts
    • chicken/vegetable broth

    Coat chicken's inside with honey and stuff it with cut fruits.
    Mix mustard with herbs and coat the chicken from outside.
    Cook for ~ 2 hrs in the oven at 200 C while watering from time to time with the broth. Boil the carrots and Brussels sprouts and use them as a side dish.
    Really inviting, yumm.

    The friendly neighbour's pie
    For 4 people:
    • flour
    • butter
    • eggs
    • rice
    • sugar
    • love
    • a friendly neighbour
    Invite your friendly neighbour for lunch and ask him to prepare a pie with a somewhat ricy stuffing. Serve it along with your vast collection of Russian teas.
    Very simple, very successful.

    *The oddities corner: GAGA on the pie was a dedication to the singer (argh...) but apparently in Azeri it means "sweet" or "pie" as well.
    Thanks Asli and enjoy your new house!

    lunedì 6 dicembre 2010

    Azerbaijan Fusion

    Back home from Rotterdam at dinnertime had in the fridge only some chicken breast and a little piece of Leerdammer. If you are lucky enough to have hosted home an Azeri friend for a period though, for sure you should get landed with tons of weird stuff. In my case I was plenty of chestnuts, Azeri raisins (nothing special, just HUGE raisins), various kinds of unknown dried fruits and at least 10 different kinds of teas. Thanks Asli.

    Alernatives were then to order chinese food or trying to sort out something tasteful from at least the things you know the name of.

    The result was great, and without ordering chinese!

    Chicken with chestnuts and raisins 
    For 2 people:
    - 300 gs. of chicken breast
    - 80 gs of raisins
    - 100 gs of chestnusts
    - 50 gs of butter
    - 1/2 glass of white wine
    - flour, salt, pepper and herbs (sage, persil, rosemary)

    Dip the raisins in warm water for 10 mins. and in the meanwhile roast the chestnuts and cut the chicken breast into cubes. Dust the cubes with the flour and start frying it in a large pan with the butter and the sage. While the chicken is cooking, peel the chestnuts and cut it along with the raisins in little pieces. When the chicken appears to be cooked, insert the chestnuts and raisins. Salt, pepper, add persil and rosemary and mix well. Vaporize with the wine and serve it hot with flakes of Leerdammer on it and a cup of blossoming rose tea.

    Rotterdam Fusion

    A sensory experience.

    Forced to go in a frozen and snowy Rotterdam for some friends' graduation party, on Saturday we had an amazing dinner experience at Toko, a new (for me, at least) kind of fusion restaurant, a mix of caribbean and asiatic cuisine. Thanks alot to Shehera and Janutska for taking us there.

    Jerk Beef: tenderloin marinated in Jamaican spices with sweet potatoes, snow peas, peppers and carrots.
    Veal Spareribs di Mami: spareribs with baked sweet potatoes, spicy mango sauce, fresh ginger carrot sauce and a green dip.
    Simply delicious.

    venerdì 3 dicembre 2010

    3 a.m.: that's time for pizza!

    3 a.m. in the morning, just got back home from clubbing, a conference in 6 hours and didn't have dinner yet.
    Time for my favourite after clubbing snack: Pizza with everything I can find around!
    Ingredients this time:
    - frozen pizza
    - tuna
    -chopped garlic
    - red pepper
    - black olives
    - Parma ham
    - 1 egg
    - black pepper

    Very simple, very tasty, very spicy. I'm pretty confident that somebody would say very disgusting. But it's delicious, believe me! And the best company you can have when sleeping alone.

    Sale, pepe e bad romance

    Oggi su Facebook impazzava questo video:

    La domanda è: MA PERCHE'???

    Wilma, tesoro, preferiamo ricordarti così:

    giovedì 2 dicembre 2010

    Recipe no. 1: Stuffed Calamari

    Ricetta di mamma Kuki!
    Questa sera ho a cena Aber, una straordinaria artista ( e SuperSimo, una non meno straordinaria ehm... boh... baraccona (lei non ha ancora un sito)?!?
    Ingredienti per 3 persone:
    - 6 calamari di media grandezza;
    - 200 gr. di pangrattato;
    - 1/2 bicchiere di vino bianco;
    - 1 spicchio d'aglio;
    - 1 litro di passata di pomodoro;
    - 300 gr. di spaghetti;
    - peperoncino, prezzemolo, parmigiano, olio, sale

    Pulire per bene i calamari spellandoli se necessario.

    Condire il pangrattato con olio, sale, prezzemolo tritato, parmigiano e acqua q.b. affinché "rinvenga" la mollica, cercando di evitare che si formino grumi. C'è chi utilizza anche i ciuffetti dei calamari per il ripieno ma io preferisco tenerli da parte per il sugo. Riempire quindi i calamari con la mollica condita cercando di evitare di pressarla eccessivamente e chiudere ogni calamaro con uno stuzzicadenti.

    mercoledì 1 dicembre 2010

    Turkeys, stuffed people and awesomeness

    Okey, partiamo male, non l'ho cucinato io e le foto fanno un pò pena ma come non dedicare un posto d'onore allo splendido tacchinone preparato per il Thanksgiving da Camilla e Nico?

    Kuki & Julie & Julia & my iPhone

    Il cibo e la buona cucina fanno miracoli: persino Benedetta Parodi da sorella raccomandata e indisponente ha finito per risultare simpatica col suo Cotto e Mangiato!
    Viva l'originalità (Julie & Julia non me ne vogliano) ma comunque sia, comincia la sfida: tenere un blog di cucina completo di testo e foto direttamente con l'iPhone 4!