There was a time in my life when I was being paid to teach a bunch of kids how to cook. Best times ever. I believe in the power of creativity and I think that humans should be trained in the kitchen from an early age. One of the highlights of my days as a teacher was definitely making biscuits. I’d tell my pupils to bring cookie cutters to school the following week and nearly all of them complied. This is how looking forward to
my lesson biscuits they were. Continue reading
Rose macarons. Made with actual roses, the flowers. This was my highest ambition when back in the summer last year I made a rose petal preserve. My mom suggested mixing it with strawberry jam and using that as a pie or brioche filling. She draws her inspiration from the Polish tradition of using rose petals in baked goods. As we experimented with the fragrant flowers, my mind was racing in the opposite direction, conjuring up the thought of rose macarons.
Hot chocolate in Italy is serious business. Every café serves it and it’s always deliciously thick. Even if it’s made from a bag, you can always count on the fact that it’s thick. Lusciously thick. Even instant hot chocolate that you get at the grocery store, you make it at home and it’s thick. Italians like their hot chocolate thick. The level of thickness may vary, generally it is still runny enough to drink, but you may also get hot chocolate so thick you need to eat it with a spoon. Real thick hot chocolate.
It took me a few attempts to memorize and consequently correctly pronounce risgrynsgröt. It’s a compound word that, translated literally, means “rice grain porridge”. That’s pretty much what it is, as risgrynsgröt is a rice porridge. Lightly sweetened and always dusted with cinnamon powder, risgrynsgröt is a Christmas food traditionally served in Sweden. Sometimes it may feature an almond, but I’ll explain the almond part later. Continue reading
Ah, gingerbread! It’s not something I’ve always associated with Christmas but now I can’t think of Christmas without pepparkakor anymore. There is no Advent without the smell of spices coming from my kitchen at least once. This year I decided to try my hand at gingerbread cheesecake. No-bake cheesecake, in fact, but don’t let the fact that no baking was involved make you think the house did not smell like gingerbread. This gingerbread cheesecake is flavoured with the same spices I use in pepparkakor: cinnamon, ginger and cloves, and it features a speculoos biscuit base.
Saffron panna cotta is my way to honour Italy and Sweden this Advent season. On one side we have panna cotta representing Italy, and in particular my home region: Piemonte. On the other side we have saffron, one of the key flavours of the Swedish Christmas. Italy is a producer of one of the finest saffron qualities in the world, yet we mostly use it in savoury dishes. (Namely, risotto alla milanese.) In Sweden saffron goes mostly into sweet foods, in particular during the Christmas season.
Apple cinnamon pie rhymes with comfort food (no, it doesn’t). But seriously, this might be the most basic pie, yet to so many people it brings back childhood memories. A warm apple pie that fills the room with its flavour. Add the warming hint of cinnamon and you reach sensory heaven. What’s more? The butter, of course. A proper buttery and flaky pastry that, when warm, releases its butter scent. Apple, cinnamon, butter. Warm. Want some more? A side of sweetened whipped cream. BAM! Continue reading
My friends know that I like all kinds of foods and that I am not the typical Italian that only cooks Italian food at home. I actually love so many foods from various culinary traditions and I’m always happy to experiment. Yet, I must admit that sometimes I like to show off some classics of the Italian cuisine, and this applies in particular when I have people over for dinner. In a way they expect it, and I don’t blame them. Being served real Italian food at home is a luxury, when Italian food abroad is always fancy restaurant material. How does tiramisù for dessert sound? Continue reading
Sweet coconut cream layers of filling in between layers of dark chocolate cake. The cake is entirely covered in coconut flakes, for an extra coconut flavour. In order to ensure also a deep chocolate flavour to it, I made the sponge with melted dark chocolate instead of cocoa powder. This way, the flavours of chocolate and coconut were both the stars. This is the cake I made myself for my birthday this year. Continue reading
Panna cotta is a recipe that comes from Piedmont, and so does Nutella. Combining the two should have been the most logical thing to do, yet for some reason I had never come across Nutella panna cotta until a couple of months ago. When I visited home in August my parents took me out for lunch to a restaurant that makes authentic traditional cucina piemontese and Nutella panna cotta was my dessert of choice among those they had. What a delightful experience.