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Everything posted by Pongi

  1. hi halalsushi! Being Italian, I'm rather familiar with Eritrean food, which can be easily found in the main Italian towns (especially in Rome). The most famous Eritrean specialty is Zighini, a delicious stew -beef stewed in a tomato sauce, seasoned with a spice mix called berbere- calling of course for plenty of injera. If you like, I can post the recipe Pongi
  2. Thanks to everybody for your inputs! I got more info from my friend, and think that her cake was actually a nusstorte - surely not a Linzertorte (I do know it, and it's totally different from what my friend described). The cake was soft, not crunchy, and was probably made with ground hazelnuts. There was no filling, just a topping: fresh fruit and whipped cream. BTW, the words I used were misleading: I translated as "red fruit" the French "fruits rouges" (the same of the Italian "frutti di bosco") meant as a mix of berries (generally fraises de bois, raspberries, blueberries and red currant) and not some unknown "red" fruit. So, I'll print out your recipes and give them my friend. Since she is an excellent cook, I'm sure that she'll be able to make it and decide whether or not it's her "Zirmertorte"! Pongi
  3. Hi everybody! Recently a friend asked me about Zirmertorte, a cake she had during a holiday in Sudtirol. According to her description, apparently the cake contained ground nuts (the restaurant owner called it "flour-free") and was topped with red fruits and whipped cream. It was delicious, and my friend would love to know the recipe; but, despite of my endless culinary knowledge I've never heard about it. We googled up the word and found out several restaurants serving it, but no recipe. Could someone here help us? TIA! Pongi
  4. Can't say about Francesco's snails, but THIS snail isn't what I'm used to eat. Ours are larger and darker. In Northern Italy, snails are rather diffused, although many people don't like them (also here, either you love or hate them! ). In Lombardia, the region where I grew up, they're a part of the Christmas Eve menu...being a kind of "fish". The traditional Christmas recipe is a snail stew with spinach. Pongi
  5. Unfortunately I haven't been at Do Spadin for many years and don't know how the food is now. Hope to meet you again, both here and at Tamerice! Pongi
  6. Personally I can't find similarities between dosa and injera, which seem to be at the opposite sides of a cathegory of food that, maybe, has in its middle our Ligurian "Panigacci". Dosas are crispy, crunchy and tasty, while injera is soft, fluffy and has a sour taste that I never found in dosas. Anyway, an odd thing happens to me! Every time I make dosas, I get something pretty soft which doesn't look that much like the dosas I know and love On the other side, the only time I tried to make injera I got perfect dosas! But, even admitting that this result wasn't serendipitous the injera issue remains...so, I have some questions for those who can make it by scratch. Since it's unlikely that I can find teff here in Genoa, where Ethiopians are few, which type of grain could I use? Some recipes I found suggest half white wheat flour and half maize flour, does it make sense? Am I supposed to add a leavening agent (some recipes call for natural yeast) or the batter must ferment by itself? Another question: can I cook injera into a nonstick pan? TIA! Pongi
  7. Ciao Pia! Are you talking about restaurant Do Spadin? I had many wonderful meals there with my family, during my childhood Apparently there's plenty of Ligurians here...I'm just from Genova BTW, I had one of the very best meals in my life at Trigabolo so I hope I'll enjoy again your husband's creations at Locanda della Tamerice...and I strongly recommend that place to everybody here! Igles Corelli is a genius... Pongi
  8. I just had yesterday some Basmati leftovers. I sauteed a tablespoon of chopped onion with ghee, then added turmeric and a sprinkle of garam masala, sauteed again, then added the rice. When it was well coated I made a hole in the middle, broke an egg in it, covered the pan and cooked for another couple of minutes. The egg yolk was still soft and the rice had a nice, crunchy crust. Yum! Was it a fusion dish? Pongi
  9. Actually some traditional Italian dishes (mainly stews) are usually served with boiled rice or risotto. The best known is Ossobuco alla Milanese, which is served with saffron Risotto. As for fusion dishes, I agree with you, generally I don't like them. But Italy has many different regional cookings, and some of them share many features with Middle Eastern cookings. Sicilian cooking has been heavily influenced by Arabs (for example, it has its own couscous recipes!) and some of its dishes, most of all desserts, could be very suitable for an indian meal. Pongi
  10. Hmmm...what about Ferrero Rocher? Pongi
  11. Suppose you're thinking about the Taxi Driver, most of all.... but it seems to me that those advertisements are more self-ironic than ridiculous. As for the girls on the mountain, they're members of the italian national ski team and are singing an old hit, "Ricominciamo" by Adriano Pappalardo. If you knew Mr. Pappalardo, you'd easily understand WHY I say that this advertisement is self-ironic As for Pocket Coffees, in Italy they're a myth! We have had them, I believe, at least for 40 years...and we still love them Pongi
  12. Monica, thanks for your advice, but I'm afraid that Namaste isn't an option for someone living in Italy like me. Anyway, I'll search for urad dal all over the organic shops I know! Pongi
  13. It does, Suman, thanks very much! I must admit, however, that it also makes me a bit concerned as it's likely that I'll need sixteen years to produce a single decent dosa I do understand that urad dal are mandatory, but in case I can't find them, must I give up trying making dosas or can I try substituting them with something else? Pongi
  14. First of all, congrats to Vinod, his mother and Monica for this wonderful class! These pics really make the difference. I've learnt more about dosas in few minutes than in my entire life! Just speaking of dosas, they're one of my main issues I always fail in making them "light and crispy" as they turn out just like these "soft rice & lentil crepes" mentioned by Bbhasin. Even if I'm making the real thing, it doesn't comfort me! I thought a lot about the possible reasons. My first thought was that Genoa air conspired against me, making my dosas just like our Farinata (did you hear about it? It's a kind of large savoury crepe, made of chickpea flour - one of the most "indian" foods we have in Italy, I believe). Since it sounded rather esoteric, I considered other options. 1)Wrong ingredients. I must admit that I use short grain rice, probably because I'm stingy (long grain rice is pretty expensive in Italy). As for urhad dal, I've never seen something like that here. BTW, are they beans or lentils? Before looking at your pics, I assumed that they were lentils, but now I'm not sure about that. Anyway, I used small green lentils, which made my batter very lumpy. I suppose this is one of my main mistakes, am I right? 2)Wrong batter texture. As I said above, mine turns out too lumpy, not as smooth as it's supposed to be. More, it seems to ferment too much, and it's so frothy that I cannot spread it thin enough. 3)Wrong cooking procedure. I think that this point depends on the previous one and I'm pretty sure that, getting the right batter, I would be able to make good dosas as well as I'm able to make perfectly thin French crepes. I too would like more using a nonstick pan rather than a griddle, what do you think about that? TIA! Your clumsiest student, Pongi
  15. Episure, you're right, also in my recipe chicken is supposed to be pan cooked. I was wrong because I tried a first time this way and a second time baking it, just because the first time the rice turned out overcooked. Unfortunately, this happened also the second time Any advice? Pongi
  16. Oh! I forgot something. Adrober, unluckily I can't taste your risotto, but let me congratulate you. It looks very italian! Pongi
  17. I agree with SobaAddict70 - few ingredients of the best quality, this is the italian way to a good risotto. Fresh vegetables, a decent wine (personally I wouldn't freeze it...), homemade stock if possible. If you can find italian "Dadi da Brodo" -I read here with the greatest surprise that they're hardly available in US! Italians couldn't live without them- they can be an acceptable option when you have no time to make your own stock. In Italy, Knorr is the most popular brand. Making soffritto: this is a critical point. The longer you can fry onion without burning it, the better your risotto will turn out. My opinion is that chopped onion/scallion has to be fried, over a very low heat, at least for 10 mins. Another critical point is the final addition of fresh butter and parmesan, and the following few minutes of rest before serving - what we call "mantecatura". This is not an option: is mandatory to get a good result. Of course you have to turn off the heat when the rice is still undercooked and rather watery, otherwise you'll get a glue. As for the rice, don't stay on Arborio before having tried Carnaroli and, if you can find it, Vialone Nano. Pongi
  18. According to a book I have (which is hopefully reliable, having been written by an Indian) Mughboob shahi murgh is a whole chicken, stuffed with biriani rice and baked. All the recipes of this book are supposed to be traditional, but since I tried to google up the name of this dish and haven't found anything it's likely that it's known with another name. Any inputs? Pongi
  19. Just my 2 cents! Actually risotto is supposed to have a 4-5 mins rest after the addition of butter and parmigiano and before serving. This is the meaning of the term "mantecare", which is a procedure - not just a piece of butter in your rice, but something which gives an additional flavour to risotto and helps to get the right texture. This is the issue: to learn from experience the right time to turn off the heat, how much undercooked and moist the rice must be (it's supposed to be still like a soup). This way also gives you an advantage: you can take your time before serving, without hurrying up. This is also the main mistake people do: making risotto too thick. You don't need to spread risotto in the dish! If it's made in the right way, it will spread by itself. If you can make a mound, it's definitely too thick. BTW: I'm puzzled about that pressure cooker thing. Why should "most Italians" use it? I grew up in Lombardia, the land of risotto, and have never seen anyone using pressure cooker to make risotto. Of course you can use it, and you can cook rice without stirring it as well...maybe you'll get something good, but my opinion is that it will be "rice", never "risotto". Pongi
  20. Oops...I must have pressed the wrong key I was saying that recently I tried a recipe of Mughboob shahi murgh which intrigued me a lot, but wasn't fully satisfied of the result. It tasted nice, but the rice turned out overcooked, so I was wondering whether it's expected or not. I made the filling with the basmati rice I generally use for birianis, could be a rice with a longer cooking time more suitable for this recipe? Another question. I was considering the possibility to use a boned chicken instead of a whole one, suppose it's not traditional but do you think it could be acceptable? Also other good and tested recipes would be appreciated. TIA! Pongi
  21. I had never heard of fresh sliced ginger in masala tea! I just have a fresh root at home and I'm going to try it (it's very rainy and cold here now, so it could be the right time) The only issue is that, apart from my hubby's green teas collection and some already spiced teas, I have only Earl Grey at present...and it's Sunday. Do you think that I can use it for masala tea, or it's too heavily flavoured? Pongi
  22. If what you look for is a place where to eat plenty of truffles at a very reasonable price, another option could be the "Ristorante Pontechino" in Pontechino di Morsasco, near Acqui Terme (province of Alessandria). They don't serve haute cuisine, but honest Piemontese food to be generously topped with truffles - everything, icecream included (what could be a surprise!). It's not just round the corner and going there without a car could be hard, but if your palate isn't too sophisticated you'll be satisfied. BTW, they also sell truffles to their guests, but personally I wouldn't recommend purchasing them as it isn't likely to be a bargain Pongi
  23. Actually using vanillin is not "american" as it's very popular and extensively used in Europe, although natural vanilla is easily available and probably cheaper than in US. I just wondered many times why in America, the land of fake foods, imitation vanilla extract seems to be almost unknown! As for the flavour, of course even the best vanillin is worse than natural vanilla, mainly due to the bitter taste you get if you exceed the right dose. Natural vanilla has a sweeter, rounder and more complex taste that no artificial flavour can give! Vanillin, however, is not that bad. I generally use fresh vanilla bean (natural vanilla extract is hardly available here in Italy) for recipes calling for milk or another liquid to be flavoured with the bean, and vanillin for "dry" items like doughs, cakes and so on, mainly if they contain stronger flavours that would overwhelm the flavour of natural vanilla. The only advice I can give is: use it sparingly. As I said, if you use too much vanillin it will give a bitter taste to your food. This is likely to be the main reason why many people hates it, but this can be easily avoided reducing the doses. Pongi
  24. Thanks everybody for your advice! I have never considered using mango powder for dry dishes...sounds very interesting. I also understand why I love so much that flavour...I have a "sour" tooth Pongi
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