Posted in The Lake Como Cooking Journalist Travels

A food trip with Blancpain

There are many pleasures that emerge from travels because moving means moving in a space/time dimension which is different from the usual; but also to know the habits, the uses, the colors, the tastes, the places, the monuments, the companies and the typical specialties of a place and in the Vallée du Joux I tasted some wonderful Swiss dishes.

Clearly if you decide to push you there, for example for a weekend, abandon, at least for a couple of days, the idea to weigh yourself.

But what are the dishes that have dazzled my taste buds?

During the tour organized by Blanpain, we made a stop in a verdant unconscious pasture to the fact that autumn had already arrived for some time. A warm and unexpected temperature for the season, has enveloped us, but we did not take away the curiosity and the taste of tasting some typical dishes of the area: at Le Chalottet (this is the name of the chalet)

Croutons, fondue and rosti

These dishes tasted and I’ll explain, broadly, what it is. Croutons – a sort of poor dish that consists of croutons of homemade bread from the alpine pasture, covered with cheese typical of the valley, in particular, of Vacherin Mont-d’Or, melted with pieces of cooked ham and cooked in the oven to gratinate. At the top you pour an egg that is cooked with the heat of the cheeses. Cheese fondue – The ritual is known: in a hot saucepan placed over a heat source, are poured gruyere, fontina and emental. The final touch, however, is represented by the kirsch – acquavite obtained from cherries -. Rosti– is a typical potato dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or snack or second course. I ate it in the mixed version with leeks.

AMAZING !!! (TLCCJ)

 

Posted in Stories

The story about The Spleen Sandwich (Pani ca’ Meusa)

If you visited Palermo you surely know the Spleen Sandwich ( in Italian it si called Pani ca’ Meusa).  Maybe what you are not aware of is that this recipe was introduced by Jewish people who lived there during the year 1000 as many of them worked like butchers. They did not waste anything of the cow meat, so they also use to sell the organs and offal.

Continue reading “The story about The Spleen Sandwich (Pani ca’ Meusa)”

Posted in The Lake Como Cooking Journalist Travels

The Lake Como Cooking Journalist goes to Palermo

If you go to the Teatro Massimo in Palermo and use the guide service, you will discover some interesting stuff: first of all the theater was built as a tribute to King Vittorio Emanuele III, but the ruler snubbed it, although the Royal Palco still exists today – and it’s accessible to all, booking it in advance -. The king, following some rumours, found such a luxurious theater a bit excessive for a city like Palermo. Of course, he wasn’t right, infact nowadays the Teatro Massimo is famous not just in Italy but also in the rest of the world.

 

The legend of the ghost of Teatro Massimo in Palermo

Among the many stories that are told there is one in particular that tells of a nun, or rather, of her ghost that makes people stumble when they descend from the last step of one of the internal stairs. The nun would cause people who do not believe her ghost to fall for revenge. Moreover, it would be wandering because churches were destroyed in order to build the theater

The Sicilian provincial capital is, undoubtedly, a city full of contradictions: full of amazing monuments – the Cathedral, which in some ways resembles that of Canterbury, and then still the Palazzo dei Normanni which recalls their presence in about 1100: the church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio with its romanesque style, but flanked by arabeggianti constructions; and then again the Church of San Cataldo and, for those who love art, until 4 November the opportunity to admire the contemporary art of Manifesta. And then the streets, popular – sometimes dirty, this is the real sin of the city – and full of potholes.

But food, that’s something you can not absolutely forget.

And we tasted a lot on our Sicilian tour. In particular, as far as street food is concerned, you can not taste the sandwich with the spleen and the various panes full of fry, but also arancini with pistachios, prawns and caciocavallo – but just to name a few. Or the busiate with dried tomatoes and pine nuts.

In Palermo we stopped for a single day and we “walked” it for good: it goes without saying that it deserves to be reviewed and to linger a bit longer (TLCCJ)

 

Posted in The Lake Como Cooking Journalist Travels

Sicily on my mind: Capaccio di San Vito Lo Capo

Our summer trip on the road in Sicily, after leaving the valley of the Temples, continued towards the north-west: there we arrived in Capaccio, a hamlet of San Vito Lo Capo.

Here the sea, as everyone knows, is wonderful. At the beach with Zoe, we had fun snorkelling and watching the thousands of shimmering little fish moving mechanically, as suddenly, from place to place. It is fascinating to be absent under the surface of the sea. Below you live in a dull and dreamlike dimension, above the water was broken and shaken by the waves.

In Capaccio, we ate for the first time the typical sicilian Pane Cunzato – I knew its origin and the ingredients, but I had never tasted it before. Taste it from a greengrocer on a bench seated with some natives returning from work in the fields, it was an experience full of emotions.

It is from the food that you understand a region and this strip of land, a valley that for its huge olive plantations that make it look like Puglia, is populated by hospitable and generous people. And it is always here that, for the first time, we had dinner in a home restaurant discovered by chance, while walking on the main course. A large veranda kitchen surrounded by a citrus arbor.

How can we forget the caponatina, the octopus salad and potatoes, but above all the fish cous cous made with the broth of poor fish – ed which is also the way that you make the fish soup -?

Here, if I had to reconnect this fraction of San Vito to a memory, it would be, more than in other places visited during this holiday, afferent to the sphere of food that satisfies the senses and memory. (VM)

Posted in Recipes

Recipe Cous cous with fish

The Sicilian cuisine has been influenced by the many cultures. Couscous is a traditional moroccan dish; in Sicily it is prepared with fish and it’s soooooo Good :D.

 

Ingredients

300 g of couscous
250 grams of redfish
1 onion and 1 clove of garlic
6 large shrimps
300 grams of tomato pulp
saffron
400 grams of mullet
1 celery
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh parsley 
1 or 2 spoons virgin olive oil
sale
pepper

 

Preparation

Wash, gut  and remove the central bone and head of the fish. Prepare a brot with the fish scraps, the mussels, the peeled onion, the celery and the laurel. Cover with water and cook for about 1 hour. At the end filter the broth and cut the fish in slices.

In a saucepan, add a bit of oil and cook the chopped garlic, the parsley and the shrimps. Add the tomato sauce and cook with salt and pepper for 10 minutes. Add the fish and the saffron and cook it for about 15 minutes.

Prepare the cous cous and cook it in a pan covered with the fish broth.  Cover it an let it sit for 10 minutes.

At the end pour the fish sauce and serve it hot.

Buon appetito! (TLCCJ)

 

Posted in Recipes

Sicilian Falsomagro is good for sunday lunch in the family

The falsomagro is a typical Sicilian recipe. It is a dish of French origin called “farci de maigre” and it’s a dish that you easily find on the table on sunday for lunch.

 

INGREDIENTS

4 slices of veal

3 Egg

1 small onion or italiano cipollotto

2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano

2 slices of Mortadella not too thin

200 gr of Cacio Cavallo cheese or Fontina

1 liter Tomato Sauce

q.s. Extra virgin olive oil

q.s. salt

Roll out the slice of veal on the work surface and place the mortadella slice over it, so that half of this comes out of the meat, this way when you finish adding all the ingredients you can close it to the book. Boil the eggs till they are hard.  It is necessary to proceed in layers. Add one slice of mortadella, add the cheese in pieces and the eggs. Continue with one of sliced ​​caciocavallo cheese, or fontina and the cipollotto cut in small pieces. Fold the mortadella slice over the sauce and roll it up like a roll. Close it with kitchen string. In a pan, brown a clove of garlic in a generous amount of oil, brown the falsomagro from all sides, in order to seal the meat well, remove the garlic and add the tomato sauce. Salt and cook over medium heat until the sauce has shrunk, it will take about an hour. Let it cool a little, remove the net and cut it into slices. Add a bit of tomato sauce and buon appettito! (TLCCJ)

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Posted in The Lake Como Cooking Journalist Travels

The Lake Como Cooking Journalist’s Travels: Valley of the Temples

My  story about the journey made a few weeks ago in Sicily – and beyond – goes on and it’s the turn of the Valley of the Temples

Moving from Portopalo di Capopassero to Agrigento took about 3 hours by car. The journey resembles a trip on the road, given the type of landscape that goes through a lot of western style.

But the arrival at the Valley of the Temples was spectacular. The advice that I dare to challenge is to go there at night, because during the day, if you are in August, the first concerns you with 35 degrees in the shade and becomes really unpleasant: no, you would not enjoy these temples.

Secondly, go there in the evening, when in the dark, from a distance, you see the columns and the remains of the Magna Graecia illuminated in the night appear: if you do it, you will be breathless.

Without considering the magic of the buzz of people moving in the dark. The sensation, not at all frightening, is purely spiritual that it is a journey through time touched by the souls of those who have lived or walked in those spaces.

Another suggestion that I feel to be challenging is near, at dinner in Favara, a town that climbs up the hills near the valley where, as you arrive up to the main square, rarely populated by churches, you will change your mind. A riot of colors, sounds, typical restaurants and wonderful nights to experience a Sicilian night.

The recipe dedicated to Valle dei Templi is FALSOMAGRO (and I’ll publish it tomorrow ;)) (TLCCJ)

Posted in Recipes

Sicilian Rice Arancini Recipe

The Arancini recipe is a typical recipe from Sicily.  In Portopalo and Sicily I ate so many last summer. Sometimes, it depends on where you are, they are also called “arancine”. However the name is inspired to the orange shape of the rice ball. It’s yummy and it deserves to be tasted once – and more – in a lifetime. If you want, you can follow this recipe, but the advice is: go to Sicily and eat them there 😉

 

Recipe for 10 balls:

800ml meat stock
250g arborio rice
a bit of salt  and a pinch of saffron
50g parmesan chees grated
150g mozzarella, chopped into pieces
Meat ragu or ham 
1 egg
150gr flour
500g  breadcrumbs
Extra vergine oil for frying the balls

 

Prepare a risotto with safron – not boiled, because I know that some people think that boiled rice and risotto recipe are the same. Well: it’s not!!! – .

When the risotto is cold, start to create medium rice balls and fill them with the pieces of mozzarella cheese and the meat ragu – or cut ham -. After you beat the egg, flour and water, melt the balls and then use the breadcrumbs for covering each ball.

Heat the extravergin oil in a deep pan and dip each rice ball. Cook in batches until golden brown and drain on kitchen paper towel.

Serve it hot! And Buon Appetito (TLCCJ)

Posted in Experience, The Lake Como Cooking Journalist Travels

The Lake Como Cooking Journalist goes to Sicily: the Portopalo experience

One of the things that I can not explain, but for which I think it is not necessary to make special ruminations, is how it is possible that the sea that bathes the beaches of Portopalo di Capopassero, is always hot.
I imagine it is simply a matter of mild Mediterranean currents, but wherever you decide to beach, whether it is on the Island of Portopalo or the beach of Carratois, the water will always be clear and warm.
  vacanze sdraio

Apart from some cases in Sardinia, I do not remember having ever swum in Italy, in such a beautiful sea – I mean, with sandy bottom, because in Italy we are so lucky with weather and sea, that it’s almost impossible to swim in a unclean piece of sea -.

  Why Portopalo?

First because we gave a ride of about 1500 kilometers to the grandfather, that is my father – on paper the trip would have to be resolved in 15 hours by car, but the hours have risen up to 23 because of queues everywhere -; he usually goes on vacation there every year to fish; second because I know well the area and the sea, precisely, there is just another thing, third because from there we wanted to leave, then, with the partial tour of western Sicily.

  stones in the sea  

What would you recommend to do, see or visit, if you go to Portopalo?

First of all, I recommend you sleep in a quaint and very hospitable b & b – not to mention the fantastic breakfasts based on fresh cakes, almond milk, juices and toasted bread with home-made dried tomatoes paté – which is called The Artist of Portopalo and that, besides not being expensive, is in a quiet area of ​​the villag, with a small garden where you can relax in the late afternoon, when you come back from the sea.

breakfast in portopalo

As for lunches: go to the beach and arm yourself with beach umbrellas and tents because it is the only way to choose on the beaches, quiet places: remember to carry arancini, supplì, schiacciate, fruit and water.

viviana musumeci al mare  

At a snack, in the late afternoon, take a trip to Pachino, because it is in the main square, which you can enjoy the best almond pastas, granita with brioche and all kinds of pistachio and chocolate pasticcini (Caffé Ciclope: a guarantee).

At dinner, the advice is to go to Marzamemi: in the historic square of the fishing village, you can sit on the famous blue chairs and dine by candlelight, and then get lost in the nightlife, in the alleys, in search of Commissario Montalbano.

Marzamemi square

As for the life of the sea, my two favorite beaches remain that of the Island of Portopalo, also known as the island of Conigli which is accessed by boat – the service starts from the beach in front of the main square of the village.

cactus

The second one, however, is the one already mentioned by Carratois, which is very long and therefore you never run the risk of being surrounded by too many people because you spread along its entire length. And now, ladies and gentlemen, follow this link for reading the recipe of the week: Rice Arancini Recipe

       
Posted in The Lake Como Cooking Journalist Travels

The Lake Como Cooking Journalist travels

When we come back from holidays it’s always hard to return to our everyday’s life, but keeping the memories of our travels alive is good for having a better autumn and winter seasons, and for this reason I want to share with you The Lake Como Cooking Journalist Travels section.

So let’s take a step back…

I do not know about you, but every year, going on holiday with my husband, even before there is the Zoe, we have been always, rightly, made a compromise.

My husband does not love beach life, I like it, but not massive doses, or I’m not someone who loves to beach all day under an umbrella, but, at the same time, summer and holiday are synonymous with the sea. In short: a unique complication.

So, the story, is that managing holidays is always the result of strenuous bargaining that lasts months.

But this year it was enough to say the magic word, Sicily, and everything was arranged in a natural and simple way.

A holiday, that we shared with Zoe, which could be defined, for us, the perfect trip, the ideal format to be applied safely and quietly to other destinations.

Because this year we managed to live the right alchemy: travel, sea, car, visits to the city and monuments, good food and lots of relaxation.

You know what? In the coming weeks,  I will tell you, step by step what we have seen and we have experienced as food lovers

I will talk about Sicily (Portopalo di Capopassero, Agrigento, Capaccio of San Vito Lo Capo and Palermo), Campania (Paestum) and Tuscany (Lucca) and the faboulus food we tasted during our family tour.

Telling the truth, I will post a recipe for each travel post 😉 Because Food is also memory!

Are you ready to retrace this itinerary with me? I can not wait! (TLCCJ)