Companion plants….

I like gardening and it is really fun and very fulfilling when I can see my plants grow well even in small plots. One thing that I have discovered this summer is how the technique of companion planting (planting together 2 or 3 kinds of plants together) can really help in protecting plants from pest and keeping them healthy, meaning, you don’t need a big piece of land to have a vegetable garden and to have a good harvest. Coincidence or…

Effects of planting together: Eggplants + tomatoes + stringbeans and celery.

And…

Tomato sauce (tomato sauce + olive oil + garlic, oregano, salt. Sauté for 15 minutes) + grill the eggplants + cut in small pieces the mozzarella.

Baking tin + spread a layer (3 tablespoons) of tomato sauce + a layer of grilled eggplants + tomato sauce and mozzarella. Do this procedure until you have utilized all the grilled eggplants. Top with tomato sauce and mozzarella. Bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes. Serve hot.

Oh! The original recipe is with fried eggplants.

The joy of sowing and harvesting…

“Pancakes alle zucchine”

“Zucchine” or courgettes. Summer here in Italy is a time where I can find a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in the grocery or in a farmer’s market. One of the vegetables that I really love to buy is this vegetable called “zucchine” in Italian and courgettes in English. I think this vegetable is really fantastic! I can steam it, fill it with anything I want, bake it and even cook bread with it. So today, I thought of making some salted zucchine pancakes without having to use the oven (lately in Italy the weather is really very hot!) and to cook it without the need to fry it. So I thought of an old recipe posted in the blog “Tortine di zucchina” but this time, I didn’t want to use oil in cooking these zucchine pancakes.

So… I modified the old recipe into this:

380 grams grated fresh courgettes “zucchine

100 grams all purpose flour

50 grams grated Parmesan cheese

20 grams of olive oil

4 medium size eggs

10 grams salt

Mix above ingredients well.

Heat a non stick pancake pan.

Put an almost full laddle of the above pancake batter mixture.

Oh! I think I cooked the pancake for a total of 8 minutes. 🤔 I was able to make 7 medium size pancakes = 56 minutes! 💪🏻 (I never count the minutes when I cook but this time I wanted to know how much time it took me to make this dish…Passion = time just fly and the result is always something good!)

I turned it when the pancake looked like this…

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

Zinnia Lilliput

Pancakes

I think that the fastest way of making these super delicious and nutritious snack is through a Thermomix “Bimby”. My most reliable kitchen chef. I never imagined myself using this kitchen tool but lately, using it gives me more time to dedicate to other activities like reading, sports and to spend precious moments to talk with friends and family.

PANCAKES

50 grams of melted butter

300 grams of milk

200 grams of all purpose flour

30 grams of sugar

15 grams of baking powder

A pinch of salt

Mix above ingredients well (if you don’t have a Thermomix “Bimby”).

I used a non-stick Teflon pan to cook these pancakes.

The best moment to turn the pancake…

wishing everyone a pleasant and fruitful week!

Good morning!

While I was thinking of the beauty of this beautiful rose, I thought of a vegetable salad prepared with walnuts, pieces of orange and apple.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil from the Puglia region, Italy + mix everything well…a healthy vegetable salad without having to add salt. 😋

Happy Thursday to all!

Torta di cioccolato

Chocolate cake. It’s been months, maybe years since that first day that I thought to save my most love recipes in a book and today, I wanted to test this chocolate cake recipe, one of the first recipes learned here in Italy. I have forgotten who gave this recipe to me (modified according to my dietary needs) but the thought of how beautiful the art of sharing can be still has the power to bring heartwarming thoughts to me.

Chocolate cake

165 grams of all purpose flour

135 grams rice flour

250 grams brown sugar

150 ml milk

150 grams corn oil

15 grams baking powder, sifted

4 eggs

A pinch of salt

30 grams of dark chocolate powder

15 grams chopped walnuts

60 grams of orange juice

Preheat oven at 180°C

Put above ingredients in a mixer in this order:

Corn oil+ sugar + orange juice + eggs + salt + rice flour + all purpose flour + dark chocolate powder + baking powder (sifted) + walnuts

Mix well.

Pour above mixture into a 30 cm plum cake tin pan (I used baking paper instead of greasing the pan with butter)

Bake at 180°C/40 – 45 minutes (using my oven. To test if the cake is cooked, insert a clean wooden skewer into the center of the cake and remove it. The cake is ready if the skewer comes out clean. If there are any crumbs attached to the skewer, put the cake back into the oven and cook for 10 minutes more.

Let cool and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.

Wishing everyone a fruitful and joyful week!

“It is not the length of life, but depth of life. ” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Poffertjes”

One of the things that I have learned/tasted during my trip in Amsterdam is this specialty called “Poffertjes”. I like to cook and to learn new recipes so, after returning back from my vacation, I looked for this particular pan and I found it in the internet. Today, a rainy day, I decided to use it but using a friend’s “hot cake recipe”. The result was just as I hoped.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

8 grams baking powder

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

3 Tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon fine salt

3 Tablespoons corn oil

Mix above ingredients well.

Grease the “Poffertjes” pan

The procedure in cooking this mini pancakes is more or less like preparing “Hotcakes”

Oh! In Amsterdam they serve these mini pancakes sprinkled with powdered sugar, honey or maple syrup. I love traveling and everything that goes with it. Life is a journey…

Wishing everyone a pleasant and fruitful week!

Pinza or “Pinsa” in Veneto

There are certain delicacies that remind me of a tradition of a certain region of a certain country but it often brings me back memories of certain significant persons in my life who have taught me the value of what it is like to be a part of a family, a social group or simply, the essence of what life is all about. For me, it’s the beauty of a flower, a hug, a simple “hello!”, a smile…feelings that continue to evoke heartwarming memories that the passing years can never erase.

This recipe is one of those beautiful memories of how simple it truly is to share a part of ourselves to others. Thank you Ciso because through you, I have learned another important tradition of a Region, in a country who in all these years, have given me so much.

These are the ingredients:

A liter of milk

400 grams breadcrumbs

A pinch of salt

250 grams dried figs, cut in small pieces

250 grams raisins

100 grams fennel seeds

2 eggs

1/4 glass of corn oil

1 apple, in thin slices

1/2 glass of Grappa (Grappa is an alcoholic beverage produced in Italy)

16 grams baking powder, sifted

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of sifted flour

150 grams of walnuts ( 50 grams for the topping, the rest in the cake mixture. Oh! This is optional since I just added this ingredient to see if it will add a more interesting taste to the recipe).

Breadcrumbs + milk. Soak for 30 minutes

After 30 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients except 50 grams of walnuts (to be placed on top of the cake before baking it).

Mix well.

Line with wax paper a rectangular baking tin (I’ved always seen this cake baked on a rectangular baking tin. Tradition?)

Preheat oven for 15 minutes at 200°C

Bake this special and traditional cake at 200°C/1 hour and 10 minutes.

Serve this with Vin brulè (aromatic wine – white wine/red wine, a piece of apple, a stick of cinnamon and 2 or 3 cloves. Some would add even a piece of orange. You can find the recipe in the web)

Tonight will be a special night for most living here in the Veneto region. A very big bonfire will be lighted in Arcade, a town in the province of Treviso, and a lot of persons will be celebrating “Panevin”. They believe that the direction of the smoke will indicate whether the new year will be prosperous or not. I really hope it will be an abundant year for all.

This is what was left after distributing a piece to some friends. 😊

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

Biscoriso

I don’t know if anyone have ever heard a cookie with this name. ??? I called this cookie recipe , “Biscoriso” because it comes from the Italian word “biscotti (cookies) + riso (rice)”. (I use rice flour and all purpose flour in this recipe). I always prepare it during the holiday season as a gift for my friends and relatives or simply offering the cookies with coffee or tea to those who come and visit me during Christmas. This is the recipe:

BISCORISO

250 GRAMS RICE FLOUR

250 GRAMS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR

140 GRAMS BUTTER

200 GRAMS SUGAR

2 EGGS

16 GRAMS BAKING POWDER (SIFTED)

2 ML LEMON FLAVOURING OR RIND OF 1 LEMON

5 TBSP OF MILK

MIX THE ABOVE INGREDIENTS WELL.

LET THE DOUGH REST FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES IN THE FRIDGE.(THE DOUGH MUST BE SOFT. IF IT’S TOO SOFT, ADD FLOUR. IF TOO HARD, ADD MILK)

REMOVE DOUGH FROM THE FRIDGE. LET REST FOR 1 – 2 HOURS ON THE KITCHEN COUNTERTOP

ROLL OUT DOUGH (4 -5 MM) USING A ROLLING PIN. USE DESIRED CHRISTMAS COOKIE CUTTERS TO GIVE THE COOKIES A SPECIAL FORM

PREHEAT OVEN AT 180°C FOR 15 MINUTES

BAKE AT 180°C/12 MINUTES. 10 MINUTES IF YOU WANT IT TO BE SOFT AND NOT CRUNCHY

WISHING EVERYONE A WONDERFUL AND MEANINGFUL CHRISTMAS!!!!

Pumpkin cookies

It’s cold, it’s raining and gloomy outside…so I thought that it is the perfect moment to make pumpkin cookies for Halloween. Making an ordinary day worth remembering.

This is the recipe:

PUMPKIN cookies

600 grams All purpose flour

200 grams butter (room temperature)

200 grams powdered sugar

200 grams pumpkin pulp ( steamed)

175 grams almond flour

A pinch of salt

A pinch of cinnamon powder

A pinch of nutmeg powder ( optional)

2 ml vanilla flavoring

2 eggs (100 – 125 grams)

Mix above ingredients together.

If the dough is smooth but sticky, sprinkle/ add more flour. Let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 minutes – 1 hour.

Roll out dough.

Bake at 180° C/ 15 minutes

You can glaze the cookies, decorate it or simply sprinkle it with “zucchero a velo ” (confectionary sugar) before serving.

Wishing everyone a pleasant and fruitful week!

s when

Dark chocolate muffins

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I was looking for a recipe for a cake without having to use butter or eggs and…

a friend gave me this recipe.. I changed the rice flour with an organic all purpose flour and spelt flour and the muffins came out even better than I thought it would!

This is the recipe:

70 grams grams dark chocolate

150 grams organic all purpose flour

50 grams organic spelt flour

170 grams sugar

8 grams baking powder

30 grams cacao powder

250 grams milk

60 grams corn oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

10 grams confectionary sugar

24 cm round baking tin

Parchment paper

Preheat oven at 180°C/15 minutes

Chop the dark chocolate. Set aside

Mix together the remaining ingredients + add the chopped chocolates

Pour batter into a 24 cm round baking tin (or in my case, I used 2 muffin tins good for 12 muffins for this cake recipe)

bake for 30 – 35 minutes at 180°C

Cool. Sprinkle with confectionary sugar before serving.

I tasted the muffin without sprinkling confectionary sugar on top and it tasted good!

7D62FD88-26B9-4324-96AB-81358FBA25FENow I know that it is possible to prepare muffins or a cake without using eggs.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Sunday!