Easy, healthy ad nutrient- rich marble cake

My brother started university in September and he move in small flat all by himself. He started to ask me for easy and quick recipes that they are also my specialty. When you are a student and a sport team member as we both are, you don’t have much time to cook, and still you want to enjoy healthy and tasty food. So I start collect recipes that are both delicious and easy for him and me. University experience had a short: as soon as Covid-19 made its appearance in the neighborhood of Milano, my brother came back home but I still teach him recipes for when he will be back in his flat in Milano.

Today I will present you and all the busy students a easy cake full of nutrients given by cocoa power and walnuts.  The cake has a tangy texture and it will melt in your mouth. It is ready in 10 minutes plus cooking time and all what you need it is an oven!

Ingredients

380 gr. floor

200 gr. icing sugar

3 eggs

230 gr. Butter

100gr. milk +2 tablespoon

20 gr. Cocoa

100 gr. grounded walnuts

some halves of nuts

1 orange

12 gr. baking powder

2 gr. of salt

Instructions

Heat oven to 180C. Grease a cake tin and line the bottom greaseproof paper.

Mix butter with the zest of an orange, beat the butter with the sugar sugar, then add 3 eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Fold through raising flour and the baking powder

Divide the mixture between 2 bowls. Stir the cocoa powder into the mixture in one of the bowls add the grounded walnuts and the 2 spoons of milk. Add some walnuts halves in the white dough.

  • Alternate the two doughs in the tin as you like. 
  • Bake the cake for 45-55 mins until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  • Turn out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool. Will keep for 3 days in an airtight container. But out of experience I tell you it will not last that long!

quick, healthy and DELICIOUS granola

Don’t have time? This super healthy granola will be ready in less than 20 minutes!

ingredients:

2 cups of rolled oats

1/2 cup of different kinds of nuts

1/3 cup dried fruit (you can use any kind)

a pinch of salt

1 tablespoon shredded coconut

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup of dates (without the seeds)

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

instructions:

In a bowl start by adding your oats, nuts, salt, dried fruit, cinnamon, and coconut. Stir it all.

In a food processor put the tahini and the dates and when it becomes creamy add it to the oat mixture.

Line the parchment paper on a oven try, and put it in the oven at 160 C for ten to fifteen minutes (until it becomes golden brown). Once your granola is cooled you can add some chocolate chips for extra sweetness.

Now it’s ready to be eaten, but it won’t last long

Soft and Crispy Cornetti with Mascarpone cheese

Yes, I admit that I am a little bit obsessed with Cornetti for breakfast, I never get tired of trying new recipes and this one is really nice with a crispy outside, a moist inside and a heart of melting chocolate.

The occasion to try this wonderful brioche with mascarpone’s recipe, came with two separate, yet related, events. First of all I had some mascarpone left from my tiramisu and I need to use it immediately because it spoils easily, the second is that Andrea Camilleri, the great Italian writer, famous for his Inspector Montalbano, passed away and I start to read all Montalbano’s investigations again. In all those novels food is nearly as relevant as the crime investigated. I am actually reading The Dance of the Seagull, and in this brief dialogue the most beloved Italian breakfast pastry becomes the metaphor of the perennial delays we suffer in Italy.

Preparing those cornetti is really easy and using mascarpone instead of butter helps in cutting off some calories without renouncing to flavor and softness.

In this recipe I added extra texture with a simple layering technic.

For more traditional Butter Cornetti, click here or here

Ingredients:

  • 5 g dry yeast
  • 100 g sugar
  • 500 g all-purpose flour
  • 125 g mascarpone cheese (+ another 100 g if you want to create layers)
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 250 g milk
  • 100g of dark chocolate
  • 1 egg for the glaze

Directions

1.Heat the milk with the butter let it cool down and add the dry yeast, wait for about 10 minutes.

2. In a bowl, mix flour with sugar and salt.

3. Add the milk mixture and the mascarpone 

4.Knead the dough until it becomes elastic and smooth. 

5. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and put in a warm place for about 1.30 – 2 hours or until it doubles in volume. 

6. Knock back and divide the dough in eight small ball. Let it rise for another hour.

Roll with a pin until 2-3 mm high, spread the with mascarpone uniformly, cover with another rolled dough When you have 8 layer, cut the dough in 16 triangles, but some chocolate in the middle of each triangle and roll it. Let it rise for another half an hour.

Make an egg glaze by lightly beating the egg

Brush the top of each roll with the glaze. Bake it in a preheated oven at 200°C for about 20 minutes until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped underneath. If you have a steam oven like me, then start with the low humidy program for about 10 minutes and then turn to the convection bake for the rest of the time.

ENJOY!

Sustainable fish balls and the curse of Sapiens

‘After my nana passed away, a few months ago I stopped writing on this blog. I didn’t have the enthusiasm, the commitment… of course I keep on doing the two thing I love most, cooking and reading, but I didn’t feel like sharing, taking pictures, try to find  the right words to make the dishes appealing. Why shouldn’t I admit that I was going to close the blog? So, why did I change my mind? I have to thank my good friend Feride, a few days ago she came over for dinner, and she prepared Aunt Petunia’s Lemon Meringue Pie. When I share with her my idea about closing the blog, she was surprised and she told me that it was a good blog (for a beginner I added), the recipes are easy and usually quick, so she encouraged me to keep on sharing books and recipes.

Today I will propose the recipe of fish balls, easy to prepare and very tasty, I prepare them often as my daughter doesn’t like fish and this is one of the few way she eats with great pleasure. If I should match this recipe with a book, of course I would think about Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, that I mentioned before. I will go further: at the moment I am reading Yuval Harari’s recent book “21 lessons for the 21st century”,  but if you don’t yet know the work of this Israeli scholar, please read his first best seller “Sapiens”; you will understand how it happens that from eating row radishes, nuts and small animals we came to eat food that it is potentially not sustainable for the planet 🙂.

I try to be a bit more informed about the sustainability of what we eat, I ‘ve read that fish farming in Norway has become clean and sustainable, the alternative is to use wild salmon or any fish that you like and you know that is not in danger…

As for the frying oil, please remember that is very polluting, after use, pour the oil in a bottle and bring the bottle to one of the collecting point around you: there it will be recycled without causing harm to the environment…

So let’s stop talking, and start cooking….

Ingredients:

For the balls:

1 kg salmon or any other sustainable fish

2 slice of bread

3 spoonful of milk

100 gr of grated cheddar or parmesan

1 egg

salt to season

for the crust:

2 eggs

200 gr of bread crumbs

To fry:

1 lt. high quality vegetable oil (olive oil is the best of choices)

Directions

  • Boil or microwave the fish for a few minutes. Put it in a food processor and mince it. 
  • In a bowl wet the bread with the milk until soft, then add the minced fish, the egg and the cheese. Mix everything together well. Season with salt
  • Prepare the balls: . Lightly beat the eggs with salt in a deep dish, spread out the bread crumbs on a plate, take pieces of the fish dough and form into 20-25 rounds the size of ping pong balls, dip each ball first in the egg and then cover with bread crumbs, making sure that it is well coated, putting them on a tray ready to be fried.
  • Heat the oil in a deep  saucepan to 170°C
  • Add some of the balls. Cook for about 6-8 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
  • Fry the fish balls in batches, as above.
  • Remove the cooked balls with a slotted spoon and set aside on a tray lined with kitchen paper. Can be served hot or cold.

Easiest Than Ever Apple Cake

“Dawsey shook Sidney’s hand, but he did not come in for apple cake when we got to Juliet’s house. It was a little sunk in the middle, but tasted fine.” 

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Isola, the herbalist of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” is trying to use her newly discovered detective skills to prove Dawsey affection for Remi, a French girl who has been imprisoned during the WWII with the founder of the Literary society, Elizabeth. I decide to present this super easy apple cake with the words of Isola, because they describe so well the cooking skills of Juliet, the central character of this novel. But this recipe could have been introduced by any of the Russian Classic as actually it is a Russian traditional cake, the apple charlotte and the recipe, as it is, has been given to me by my dear Russian friend, Feride.

It is not only super easy, but also moisty, fluffy and light, yes! Light, as it is fat free.

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Ingredients:

1 cup of flour

1 cup of sugar

4 eggs

the zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoonful of baking powder

3 medium apples

Directions:

Grease or cover with baking sheet a mould of 25 cm. and preheat the oven at 170 C.

Peel apples and remove the cores. Slice them into thin half-moon shapes. 

Beat eggs with hand or mixer until they’re frothy.

Add sugar gradually, mixing until the mixture is nearly white.

Add flour and the baking powder, and combine to form batter.

Arrange apples in circular layers on the bottom of the  pan.

Pour the batter over apples

Bake about 30-45 minutes (check by inserting a toothpick)

Allow to cool completely before removing the mold

Enjoy! 

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Auntie Rita’s wonderfully simple spumante risotto

I came in Italy for a few days, not a very happy occasion actually, as my beloved nana has passed away at age of 99. She was my first cook teacher, she taught me to pick wild herbs to cook and serve in salad, she even showed me how to prepare farm cheese. She was a WWII survivor, born just one year after the end of WWI. She decided to be buried in a country churchyard in Umbria, in the village she was born and she never forgot. 

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But Umbria is also the place where my untie and godmother Rita lives (not a novel character but a flesh and bone honest food lover untie). She prepared this risotto for me and I thought to share with you because it is very easy but it makes the perfect Valentine dish given the fancy presence of Spumante (you can use Champagne if you wish) that add perfume to the Risotto.

Ingredients

Serve 5/6 people

  • ½ white onion
  • 1 l of hot vegetable stock
  • 75 gr of butter
  • 2-3 spoonful of cream
  • half a litre of dry spumante
  • ½ kg carnaroli or arborio rice
  • Grated parmesan to taste
  • Ground black pepper only if you like

Directions

  • Chop the onion very finely. Melt half of the butter in a wide saucepan and cook them gently until softened. In another saucepan, pour the spumante and in another one all of the stock, and keep on a very low simmer nearby to your risotto.
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  • When the vegetables are soft, pour in the rice and turn in the butter until it is glossy. At medium heat, pour one ladle champagne and, stirring all the time, let it be absorbed.
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  • Alternate a ladle of stock and a ladle of spumante, letting one ladleful be absorbed before adding the next, keeping on stirring.
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  • Once the rice is cooked, put some butter and the Parmesan and the cream mix and cover to give time to absorb for about 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
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