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Everything posted by Alessia

  1. Interesting, Alessia. Never heard of this technique before. I may not be following this accurately, but it sounds like you are saying the matcha initially dissolved in cold water, but then deposits in the bottom eventually, correct? I'll try this when I order matcha next month, and also try it with gyokuro in the next week or so. Richard, well, most of the matcha dissolves and stays that way, I guess just a little fraction of it deposits in the bottom after a while - but keep in mind that I prepare a "big batch", so to speak. I tried some gyokuro in cold water, but I have to adjust brewing times. Let me know if you're going to try it.
  2. Hi everyone I was wondering if anyone has any experience with "unconventional" brewing of Japanese teas. A few days ago, I went to an international exhibition of natural products, where I bought some grade 1 matcha tea from this producer. There were a couple of Japanese people there (I later learnt that one of them was the general manager of Jona) who were giving sample tastings of their products. To cut a story short, they were "brewing" matcha in cold water (and I mean fridge-cold) - a chashaku shot in a teapot with water, a quick whisk with a chasen and they were done. I tasted it, and it was very good. I was impressed. The color was amazing, and the fact that it dissolved completely in cold water was a bit of a surprise. I had only had matcha at tea-tasting events and tea cerimonies and for some reason I thought it only dissolved with heat. So, the man suggested brewing some to carry around during the day, and that's what I've been doing since: I fill my one-liter bottle with water, a couple of chashaku shots (I haven't been very precise and haven't weighed the exact amount), I give everything a good shake and I'm good to go. This also solves the various problems I have with brewing tea at work. the only thing I noticed with this "method" is that the tea tends to deposit in the bottom of the bottle, so I need to shake it every time I pour a cup (a glass, actually - I like to drink cold tea in a glass rather than a cup). It keeps well, but the color tends to be a tiny bit off at the end of the day, the taste is still good, but not as "vibrant" as it is when I first make it. The gentleman also suggested doing the same thing with gyokuro - he said 12-15 min brewing should do it. Does anybody have any experience or comment to that? I would gladly accept any suggestion
  3. Hi, I ordered this book after reading this: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/111794-artisan-bread-in-5-min-with-zoe-francois/. Why don't you take a look at it and see if that could be a good book for you to have?
  4. Hi, I love butternut squash ravioli! Here there are various "schools of thought", so to speak - they even have national competions for the best one The main three that I can think of are tortelli mantovani (I have Nadia Santini's recipe from Dal Pescatore's book, but you're gonna have to wait until tomorrow, 'cause it's still at my mother's house), that have squash, mostarda mantovana, amaretti cookies and spices in them, tortelli (or ravioli) from Modena/Reggio Emilia, that have squash, amaretti cookies and loads of parmigiano reggiano and ravioli ferraresi, that only have squash and parmigiano reggiano. My favorite kind is the Modena/Reggio kind. I'll tell you how I prepare it. Sorry, but I don't have precise measurements, because it's one of those things that I was taught to do "by the eye", when I was a little girl. So, I cut the squash into pieces, scrape the seeds and bake it until it's fully cooked (sometimes I even do it in the microwave and it works just as well). I scrape the pulp into a bowl and "mash" well it with a fork, I add about 10 crushed amaretti cookies and a ton of good Parmigiano Reggiano (which is easy to get here). I wrap the bowl with cling film and stick it in the fridge ovenight (for some reason, this is important). The next day I fill the ravioli, throw them in boiling water and as they rise to the surface, I drain them (only the ones that have risen!) and throw them in a pan with slightly browned butter and sage. I serve with more Parmigiano. I hope that helps. By the way, is ravioli plural or singular in English?
  5. Alessia

    Home grown QUINOA

    Wow, that's so nice! I love quinoa! I wish I had a place where I could grow it! I was under the impression that it could only grow above 3000 m a.s.l., I guess I was wrong... I just got back from my vacation in Bolivia and northern Chile - where quinoa is widely used. I even found out that there is more than one type, which I did not know. In San Pedro de Atacama I had a lovely quinoa dish cooked risotto-style with loco and black cuttlefish ink. Chocolate-quinoa pudding wasn't too bad either. Did you experiment any recipes?
  6. Hi, I tried this recipe a couple of times for a friend's son who is allergic to gluten - I used it just like a regular sponge cake: 200 g eggs 150 g egg yolks 200 g sugar 50 g honey 50 g melted butter 250 g potato starch vanilla pod Sorry, I only use metrics measurements
  7. I might add that she'll have to avoid prosciutto and salame because of the risk of toxoplasmosis (hope that's how you spell it!). All of my friends here did not have a single slice of prosciutto while pregnant.
  8. I, too, usually serve olives with a small pit-dish on the side. I often use this "recipe" (recipe is a bit excessive here LOL) for serving olives, it comes from an old book of my mother's (sorry I can't be more precise). My friends always ask for it when they come over. You'll need the bigger kind of olives, the really fleshy ones (I'm not sure what they're called in English). Carefully wash the olives with running water and strain. In a bowl, for every 200 g of olives, put 3 tablespoons dry Martini, 2 tablespoons olive oil, one tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice and the zest of a lemon cut in a julienne (be careful to use just the yellow part of the zest, as usual). Add the olives an mix well. Leave in the fridge overnight (it's important) or longer (the mixture of martini, oil and lemon juice won't be enough to cover the olives, so you'll need to mix and toss everything every now and then while they're in the fridge). Serve at room temp. Try it, if you're in the mood and let me know if you like it
  9. Sorry, Nessa, but real balsamic vinegar is not supposed to do that, in fact it is not a vinegar in the common, usual sense and there is no "mother" involved in the process. Here's the wikipedia page on balsamic vinegar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balsamic_vinegar P.S. I'm referring to Italian balsamic vinegar, but maybe you mean something different, in which case, don't mind my reply
  10. That's how I do it, I never had any problems with it, the only time I did have a hard time taking it out was due to imperfect tempering. Are you positive your chocolate was perfectly tempered ?
  11. I tried this Bailey's Irish Cream Crème Brûlée. People really liked it. You can make it ahead, keep refrigerated (well sealed to avoid odour contamination) and broil at the last minute
  12. I haven't been to Pescatore in quite a while, now, but I still expect it to be as good as I remember it. The book was released a few months ago (maybe a year?). It has some of their signature recipes (like tortelli di zucca). I've only tried a couple or so recipes myself, and they turned out fine.
  13. Nice report glad to see that you enjoyed it, especially because I've been reading mixed reviews on Cracco lately.
  14. Sorry for quoting you, Faine (nothing personal ), but I this will help me make my point. The ban is not directed towards things that aren't explicitly Italian, in fact the ban is directed to new pizzerias on the go (pizzerie al taglio), fast food joints, ethnic take-away-restaurants, supermarkets and also shops selling sailing equipments and sex shops ( ) So if I wanted to go to Lucca's 4-km-square city center and open a new pizzeria al taglio , I couldn't do that and last I checked pizza is Italian - but I guess the press found it a lot easier to sell a piece of news saying that ethinc restaurants are now banned Press release from the Municipality of Lucca here
  15. Adam, yes, you're right. I thought all 3 species were called spelt in English. I guess my English is needs constant improvment
  16. Farro is the Italian word for "spelt". You basically use it as any other flour, just remember that farina di farro is normally quite low in gluten, so you might have to add a stronger flour, depending on what you're preparing (pasta, bread or else)
  17. I was in Bilbao and San Sebastian in August. Public transportation is quite well organized - buses between San Serbastian and Bilbao depart every hour or so, it's also very easy to get to major towns like Victoria, Pamplona, Biarrtiz, etc. However, if you wanna tour the countryside and the little villages (and you should, it's a nice ride) I would recommend a car. You can go to the Tourist Information Office in Bilbao, they should be able to give you all sorts of information and help you with reservations. Also, the hotel staff was very helpful, especially with restaurant reservations. Hope that helps
  18. Alessia

    Bologna Dining

    I'm glad I took a couple of classes with Maria di Giandomenico (the chef and owner of Caminetto d'Oro) and she is indeed cordial and professional herself
  19. Ok, so here are a couple of photos. Sorry about the quality, definitely not my best work, but in my defense, I must say that my relatives don't really care about having decent pictures taken... This is for size reference - a tortellino in between a dime and a quarter: And here are a couple of plated tortellini in brodo (this is a very large portion):
  20. 1.5 inches sounds about right - and yes, they should be small (the legend says that the shape was inspired by Venus's belly button - I guess one would imagine Venus to have a small cute one! ). I don't have my camera here right now, but tomorrow I'll post a picture of one next to a coin, just to give you an idea. I think it would be best to freeze the completed tortellini as opposed to the stuffing alone. Just make sure that the pasta is completely dry before you freeze it, otherwise it might break when you cook it - when you're ready to use the frozen tortellini, just pop them in the boiling broth straight from the freezer. Hope that helps
  21. Alessia

    Bologna Dining

    I'll definitely second Il Soleand Amerigo in Savigno as well as La Francescana (it's in Modena, but worth a visit). For a more traditional meal, you might also wanna try Serghei on via Piella, 12 (ph. 051 233533) - even though I haven't been there in a while
  22. We don't use rosemary and sage for the stuffing, the rest of the ingredients are much like yours. There is actually an "official recipe" for the stuffing which was registered at the Chamber of Commerce in Bologna (we take these things pretty seriously around here... LOL) on December 7th 1974 by the Dotta Confraternita del Tortellino and the local delegation of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina. Here it is: 100 g pork loin 100 g prosciutto 100 g mortadella 150 g Parmigiano Reggiano* (see note) 1 egg nutmeg *150 g is the right quantity if your parmigiano was matured for at least 3 years, if younger the quantity needs to be larger. So, that's the "official" recipe, most family recipes are something like that, maybe with little changes here and there
  23. Well, capon can only be found around Christmas (it's castrated around April and by Christmas time it's the right size - there is actually a legal number of days that need to pass), so during the rest of the year chicken and beef parts are used for the tortellini broth. My family and I are having tortellini for Christmas - as most families here around the Bologna area, I hope I remember to take pics
  24. Hi everyone Curiosone, tortellini is traditionally eaten with capon broth (tortellini in brodo di cappone), so my guess would be that the translation of the recipe you have is a bit inaccurate. By the way, I had to look up the word in English, but basically a capon is a rooster or cockerelwhose reproductive organs have been removed at a young age, it's fairly easy to find here around Christmas time
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