I like to imagine so many of you spending Christmas with your loved ones, enjoying delicious food prepared with love and hopefully the kind of time and dedication we dream to have in everyday life. There aren't many cooking posts on my blog, but this time I asked my friend -and wonderful cook- Stefania to think of a Italian recipe as a contribution to the Christmas spirit. She came up with Panone that we cooked not so long ago at my place. It was really fun as this cake is really easy to make and a pleasure to the eye when preparing all ingredients. You will need [for 2 panone cakes]:
500 gr flower
1 bag yeast for cakes (1 sachet for each 500 gr flower)
50 gr toasted peeled almonds 100 gr raisins (left to soak in water or grappa beforehand) 100 gr toasted and peeled pinoli 150 gr sugar 300 gr orange marmalade (with peels) grated skin of 1 lemon 50 gr vanilla sugar 1 egg 3 small glasses of liquor (we used nocino) 100 gr melted butter milk as necessary to obtain a batter that's not too liquid (sticky texture) 70 gr cacao 150 gr dark chocolate in chunks 1 pinch of salt
candied fruits and honey for decoration
You may add: 100 gr dried figs in pieces 100 gr toasted and peeled nuts 100 gr toasted and peeled hazelnuts
Simply mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl first, then add all the liquid ones and stir well until the mix is sticky. At this point pour the mixture in a previously greased and dusted with some flower oven-dish (or disposable tin dish) and cook in the oven at 180° Celsius for about 40 minutes. Please check with a toothpick at the end of cooking time as each oven is different (with my own oven we needed 60 minutes).
Once well coocked and out of the oven, brush the top surface with slightly warm honey that will give the cake a nice glossy look. Finally, have fun decorate with candied fruits as desired.
If someone wish to try this one, please pop back in and let me know how it tasted. I'd like to thanks Stefania for her lovely contribution, hoping to have her recipes featured on it's nice here again in the future.
* kitchen towel in picture one from talented illustrator Tina Backman
Adoring my delicious experiment with chickpeas. I was inspired by the traditional farinata from Genova, made with few and simple ingredients: chickpea flour, water, salt, fresh rosemary and oil. It is made by stirring chickpea flour into a mixture of water and olive oil to form a loose batter, and baking it in a well preheated oven (quite hot actually, about 250° C) until crispy and crusty. Use a thin baking-pan, greased or covered in oven paper as I did. Farinata is delicious seasoned with virgin olive oil, rosemary, pepper and sea salt. It is easy, fast and super addictive.
I wanted to write and share about this since October, finally I decided to make it happen. I've seen Jaime Hayon' exhibition FANTASTICO -held at the Groninger Museum in The Netherlands. Such a beautiful museum and such a great exhibition by this unique Spanish artist-designer! I will write more about both in other blog posts, as both subjects deserve more dedication and time. For now I'd just like to show you some pictures of the sketchbook selection by Jaime shown in the exhibition. Aren't they beautiful? Anyone crazy about sketchbooks out there? For me, looking at artists sketchbooks is like having a peek at hidden treasures. What about you? In this case it was a little mind blowing for me, like entering a place densely populated by colors, fantastic characters, ideas and inspiration. Hayon's sketchbooks reflect so well his extraordinary world: one of today's most influential creators always interested in finding challenges and new perspectives. I was really impressed and -belive me- one could spend hours looking at these books.... well I kind of did actually. Magic to see the origin of the pieces exhibited: as as a sketch on paper.
FANTASTICO exhibition continues in Groningen till the 30th of march 2014, still plenty of time to visit. Don't miss it.
Hi everyone, how are your preparations for Christmas going? This year december caught me quite unprepared, so I did not make my own advent calendar as planned.
Someone out there made one? Or maybe you got one you use every year?
Here's a simple idea I've seen at my friend Heidi's: advent biscuits. Make your own favorite cookies, decorate them with icing numbers from 1 to 24, hang them where you like and eat your days sweetly away until Christmas.
I have finished quite a few interesting projects recently.
One of them has been working at the concept and the logotype for SoloNatura -a lovely shop that sells exclusively 100% bio natural products, all carefully and thoughtfully selected by the owner Maria Antonietta. SoloNatura finally opened last month. The selection offered is excellent: ethical, respectful of the environmentas well as of even the most delicate skin.
Looking at the printed design, I realize how much the color green was around me at the time when I was designing for SoloNatura. I also came across the enchanting drawing by Johanna Consejo you see above just when I was working at the logo, just perfect.
Yesterday night I played around with my child's beads pyssla and created some snowflakes. I got this idea when we started a project together with beads few days ago -that I will try to share on the blog some time.
These beads snowflakes are very easy to make, inexpensive, and perfect for outdoors. You can make them all white, colored (pyssla beads do comes in a variety of mixed colors such as red, orange, yellow, purple, pink, white, blue, green, brown and black) or with just a touch of fluorescent colors as I did.
It's something kids might enjoy doing as well, if they are older than 4 and patient enough.
This morning I tried my flakes on naked branches. Then, just when the frost started vanishing under the sun went back to work, with a hot cup of tea.
I love winter.
Do you ever think of your first book? Maybe not really the first one you did read in your life, but the one that changed you forever for some reason.
My first love is The key by Junichiro Tanikaki. It followed me every time I moved and still lives proudly on my bookshelves.
I wasn't much of a reader as a kid. Books were not part of my world as no one in my family used to read much. Books suggested at school did not touch my heart so I read what I had to, the strictly necessary school homework and nothing more.
I started reading for my own pleasure in the summers between my 10th and 13th years of age. I remember a large serie of romance for young women that I read quickly and with not much emotions involved. I also rember a Nancy Drew Mistery books that I liked much much more.
At the time reading for me was ok, but something I did when I was bored without a friend in sight or television to keep me company.
Untill one day I met my very first book. I found it in a little secondhand bookshop, not far from school. The owner, before I even asked something, pointed me to the section for young ones. I must have been around 11-not older than 13 years anyway.
I don't know how I ended up looking in the adult section, but I was suddenly attracted to this book. Maybe because it was from a Japanese author and I was obsessed with manga cartoons at the time, or because the painting on its cover reminded me of the beautiful tiny Japanese porcelain coffee cups of my grandmother, the thing is I went home with the feeling I had found something precious and forbidden -feeling amplified by the fact the shop owner didn't want to sell it to me at first because not so appropriate for my young age.
This wonderful book changed me forever, ever since I think that reading provides some kind of magic I could never do without in my life. Suddently I felt sad for all the books I did not read as a child and I decided I would fill my house with books and read as much as I could from that moment onwards.
The book content? The entire story is written in diary form, a format
completely new to me that blew my mind and totally enchanted me. The Key is told through two dueling
diaries: one is by a 55 year old man and the other is kept by his wife, age 44. It's intriguing, unpredictable and quite elegantly investigating the depth of the human soul.
I believe Tanikazi's book reinforced my love for Japan beyond recovery, the love for diary writing and surely it shaped the little woman inside me.
Many other books followed, but The Key remains my fist love.
Do you love reading? and if so, which is your "first" book, your very first love?