Saturday, 18 June 2011

 "If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking."

The Buddha

Ricotta and berries dessert

Berries. We simply love them.
They don't last long, here at home.
By the time they are out of a shopping bag, they have already been assaulted by my daughter M. and her father. They sit at the kitchen table, a bowl generously filled with berries + double cream in front of them and... 'I lamponi!' ('The raspberries!') cries M. excited, and for the next ten minutes or so the house his absolutely still and quiet.
Ten minutes and the berries are gone.
No wonder I can never bake a tart or a clafoutis...

This time, however, I was willing to try something more refined and tasty, but simple, nonetheless. I chose ricotta cheese and made a creamy and flavoury spread,whisking cheese, lemon zest and icing sugar in a small bowl.

All this went well enough with a thin slice of soda bread and... berries, of course!

p.s.We are moving to the seaside for a holiday break. Everytime I travel I come back with new recipes, notes, and photos ... See you soon then!

Ingredients (serves 2):

ricotta cheese: 100 gr
icing sugar: 1 + 1/2 teaspoon
organic lemon zest: 1 pinch
berries (raspberries and blackberries): 1/2 cup
soda bread: 4 or 6 slices
sunflower seeds: 1 teaspoon

Wash and drain the berries.
In a small bowl wisk together ricotta cheese with lemon zest and icing sugar, untill well combined. Spread the cheese mixture on soda bread, top with berries and sunflower seeds and serve.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Fine herbs and tahini millet patties

I've been stuck, almost glued, to my pc this morning.
Writing reports and papers is not one of my favourite tasks, and it usually ends up at the bottom of my to-do lists, until a deadline approaches and I know I have no excuse to delay my sitting in front of my laptop computer.
And this is the case.
I am at home, struggling with words and thoughts that seem to slipper through my fingers like a fleeting fish!
I don't feel particularly happy on such occasions, but still, when I stop writing, I hear rain pouring and drumming in the courtyard and this watery sound melts beautifully with Chick Corea's piano notes.
It's a soothing music, and I feel I could rest in this very moment and be content of what I am and what I have...right here, right now.

Give a few hours and I'll be moving to the kitchen for a quick lunch. Luckily enough I have some leftovers to nibble at: chard and spring onion tartelette (I'll post the recipe on this blog sooner or later) and millet patties.
I found this recipe in the Italian cooking magazine 'Cucina Naturale' (January 2010 issue) and it appealed to me immediately, being particularly versatile, both in winter – served with a hot and spicy tomato sauce – and in summer – with crisp green salad topped with tahini, lemon and olive oil dressing.
I've just changed some ingredients to provide you with a vegan version of it, using tahini sauce to thicken the millet and herbs batter and to add some extra flavour.

My daughter M. loves these patties so much that I usually cook some whenever we go to a picnic. Not these days, of course.
Not with this heavy rain pouring down...

Ingredients (serves 6):

uncooked millet: 200 gr
green onion: 1 – finely chopped
vegetable broth: 800 ml to 1lt
marjoram: 1 sprig
parsley: 3 sprigs
basil: 4 leaves
sage: 4 leaves
extra virgin olive oil: 4 tablespoons
tahini: 2 tablespoons
sea salt
coarse cornmeal (for coating): 5 spoonfuls
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Heat one spoonful of extra virgin olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add millet and onion. Stir well. Toast for a few minutes, until the millet is golden, then add 800 ml of vegetable broth, one pinch of salt and stir.
Simmer for about 30 minutes - add more broth if necessary - until the grains are cooked and liquid has been completely absorbed (you should get a polenta-like consistency). Remove from heat and let sit uncovered until cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile wash, drain and finely chop the fine herbs.
Add tahini and minced herbs to the cooked millet and mix well.
Adjust seasoning.
Form the mixture into patties and coat them with coarse cornmeal.
Place the millet patties on a baking sheet previously greased with 2 spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil over the patties and bake them for approximately 25-35 minutes, turning them halfway through, until light brown and crisp on both sides.

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