Bath Buns for a gamekeeper

Hagrid poured them tea and offered them a plate of Bath buns but they knew better than to accept; they had had too much experience with Hagrid’s cooking. (Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban, ch.14)

Hagrid, the half giant gamekeeper of Hogwarts, does not enjoy a reputation of a good cook but his treacle fudge is going to be very handy for Harry Potter in this same novel.   

But what about those buns? They are named after the town of Bath in the southwest of England and it is one of the places beloved by Jane Austen that placed many central episodes of her novels there (think about Persuasion or Northanger Abbey).

There is a large debate on the origins of those buns, they are either attributed to Sally Lunn a French Huguenot refugees during the period that bring the recipe with her, or to the physician William Oliver. I had a look to my personal bible, when we are speaking about English food, that is Lady Carlotte Campbell Bury, The Lady’s Own Cookery Book, were there are two different versions for the buns, one, it doesn’t resemble to a bun at all, rather a biscuit. The second one is the one that I present here, a bit adapted to modern taste.

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Ingredients

For the dough:

250 g. milk

10g. dried yeast

650g. white flour

3 tbs of sugar

½ teaspoon of salt

280 gr. butter

50 gr. sultanas or cranberry

For the finishing:

4 tbs sugar

2tbs water

3 tbs of sugar pearls

Directions

Warm the milk with the butter, until the butter is completely melted.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the milk and butter, then bring together into a dough. Knead until is elastic.

Put the dough in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out on to a floured surface add the sultana or the cranberries and work them in. 

Take small pieces of the dough a prepare the round buns.

Allow the buns to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown

Make a syrup by mixing the sugar and the water in a pot and bring it to boil. Brush the syrup over the buns as soon as they came out of the oven. Sprinkle sugar pearls on the top.

Serve with jam and whipped cream.

Finally, I don’t know if I am a good cook but, Hagrid, sorry, I am better than you!

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Simple Muggle Family Lasagna

Every Italian muggle family has it own traditional lasagna. This is my humble one.

Lasagna seems to be a muggles food, there is no mention in Harry Potters as a food in the wizarding world. The only information I could gather about lasagna and J.K. Rowling’s world is that Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone has been written in The Elephant House, downtown Edinburgh, where they serve also Italian food. Harry Potters adventures take place in the British wizarding world, I suppose in the Italian school of magic they have lasagna every Sunday. For the Italians lasagna is the traditional Sunday meal, every muggle family has its own recipe and this is my own. We like lasagna with a lot of béchamel sauce and Parmigiano but you can experiment also in the way my mum does: she melts a mozzarella in the béchamel so that the sauce is more thick with a much marked milky taste.

Ingredients:

Bolognese sauce (you can find the recipe here)

1 packet of egg lasagna (no pre cooking needed)

Parmigiano cheese at please

salt

For the Béchamel sauce

1/2 l.  whole milk

30 grams butter 

30 grams corn starch

Kosher salt, to taste

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour. Cook, stirring, with a wooden spoon, for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture bubbles. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture thickens. Season with salt and nutmeg. Cool before you use it.

Assemble the lasagna

 Preheath the oven at 180 C. To assemble, spread a few tablespoon of Bolognese sauce in the bottom of baking dish. Arrange the sheets of lasagna and pour over meat sauce. Spread with some spoon of béchamel sauce. Top with as much Parmigiano as you like. Repeat layers (at least 3), and top with remaining Bolognese, Béchamel and Parmesan cheese. 

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes (depends on how many layers you have). 

Is nice hot and warm!

Spooky Pumpkin cookies – Terrificanti biscotti di zucca

FOR THE RECIPE IN ENGLISH CLICK HERE

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E’ arrivato l’autunno con le sue prime piogge (in realtà pare che sia una tempesta tropicale, fenomeno che si va diffondendo in tutto il Mediterraneo per colpa del riscaldamento globale), comunque sia la pioggia c’è e l’istinto ancestrale di festeggiare l’arrivo dell’autunno, anche.

La scuola è iniziata da poco, con le lamentele che anche quest’anno non abbiamo ricevuto una lettere d’invito da Hogwards. Non si lamentano solo i miei figli. Sotto sotto mi rodo anch’io, chi non vorrebbe essere un professore in una scuola di magia piuttosto che fare un’ora di traffico per arrivare a scuola o a lavoro?

A Hogwards la zucca è sempre stato un ingrediente importante, filtrata come succo, impastata nei dolci o nelle pietanze preparate dagli elfi domestici. Io non sono brava quanto un’elfa domestica, ma per ravvivare una merenda dopo scuola ho deciso di preparare questi biscotti zucca e decorarli come Jack ‘o lantern, anche se manca quasi un mese ad Halloween. Non mi pare siano venuti male? Che ne dite?

 

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Eccoli qua, non sono molto dolci, per questo i miei maghetti li hanno spalmati di Nutella e marmellata. Ma sono buonissimi anche al naturale, al mattino, inzuppati nel caffelatte.

Ingredienti:

2 ½ tazze di farina

3 CT di zucchero di canna

½ tazza di burro

2 tazze di zucca cotta al vapore e ridotta in puré

1 bustina di lievito in polvere

½ cc di sale

¼ cc di noce moscata

½ cc di cannella

½ cc di zenzero in polvere

Marmellata o crema di cioccolato per farcire

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Riscaldate il forno a 180 C.

Mischiate gli ingredienti secchi e quindi aggiungete il burro, continuate ad impastare fino a quando otterrete un impasto sabbioso come quello per la crostata, a questo punto aggiunge il purè di zucca e amalgamate il tutto.

Su una superficie infarinata stendete l’impasto alto 3 mm. se risulta troppo appiccicoso per essere steso, mettetelo un poco a riposare in frigo.

Una volta steso l’impasto, ritagliate le forme che vi piacciono e mettetele su una piastra foderata di carta da forno. Fate cuocere i biscotti per 15-20 minuti.

Una volta freddi, spalmate la superficie con crema di cioccolata o marmellata e appiccicatene due insieme. Se vi sentite artistici (o avete tempo) potete decorarli come ho fatto io.

Una nota: se decidete di farcirli con la marmellata, vi consiglio di usarne una non troppo dolce, che abbia una nota acidula che va ad esaltare il sapore della zucca, secondo me, quella che dona di più a questi biscotti è la marmellata di arance.

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Spooky pumpkin cookies

FOR THE MORE PHOTOS AND ARTICLE CLICK HERE

 

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  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup butter, sliced
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree

 

  • Preheat oven 180 C.
  • Stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and the spices. Mix the dry ingredients with the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add  the pumpkin and mix to form a soft dough.
  • On a  floured surface roll the dough out to 3 mm. thick. Cut out biscuits with a cutter. Place biscuits on a  cookie sheet.
  • Bake 180 C for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • When cold put a dollop of chocolate cream or of jam on one biscuit and place another on the top of it.