Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Muesli Cookies

One of the main inconveniences of living in an eternally long mansion, like Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon do, is that sometimes things get forgotten. They are for example left in that grey area behind the Cumulus Cloud Couch, and no one even remembers their existence. It may also happen that things start to evolve, start to develop a life of their own. And that is troublesome. After all, they would be living rent-free, and what sane divine being would ever want rent-free tenants? But drawing up a contract is a major headache, and when what you're looking at is an eternity of headaches, you tend to avoid it.
So it was that Divine Cherry found an old box of muesli. When he was younger, Celestial Dragon used to love those muesli. Notice the past tense. Divine Cherry, ever vigilant, every preventive, decided to take the remaining muesli (knowing full well that Celestial Dragon wouldn't object or even notice, for that matter), and to transform it into delicious morning cookies. Here's how you can do it too:

-300g of Alpen original muesli
-125g of flour
-122g of butter
-110g of sugar
-1 egg
-1 generous tsp of honey
-2 tbsp of boiling water
-1/2 tsp of yeast

In a large bowl, mix the muesli, the yeast, the flour and the sugar. Meanwhile, melt the butter in the microwave. Or in any other wave you think is appropriate. Like a heat wave, for example. Global warming will also do the trick. Add the molten butter, the honey and the boiling water in the bowl and mix well. Lastly, add the egg and mix again. Now form little hazelnut-sized balls (avoid tapping into your unconscious and making them too large), put them on a with baking foil covered tray and lightly squash them with a fork. Put them in a preheated oven at 180°C for ten minutes. Enjoy.

Biscotti da colazione al muesli...ovvero come fare fuori quella mezza confezione di muesli che Celestial Dragon proprio non  vuole piu'...

- 300g Alpen original (muesli a base di fiocchi d'avena e frutta secca tra cui uvette e noci)
- 125g farina
- 122g burro
- 110g zucchero
- 1 uovo
- 1 cucchiaino abbondante di miele
- 2 cucchiai di acqua bollente
- 1/2 cucchiaino lievito

Mescolare in una ciotola capiente gli ingredienti secchi ( muesli, farina, lievito e zucchero). Intanto far sciogliere il burro in microonde. Aggiungere il burro sciolto con il miele e l'acqua agli altri ingredienti, mescolare bene. Infine aggiungere l'uovo per unire e almalgamare bene il tutto. Con l'impasto, formare delle palline grosse come noci, poggiarle su una teglia rivestita di carta forno e schiacciarle un po' con una forchetta. Infornare a forno caldo a 180°C per 10 minuti.

Con questa ricetta partecipo al contest dell'ArabaFelice "Marthellati" per la sezione cookies.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Clementines and Cranberries Marmelade

Well here we go. Again. The festive season is approaching. (To be precise and pedantic, though, it would be fairer to say that the Christmas season is approaching, because if you take into account every currently existing calendar, every season and every day is actually a festive season and/or day. Maybe not for you, but surely for someone else somewhere). Anyway, yes. Suddenly, reindeers pop up, old men with unkempt white beards are finally legally allowed to have children play on their laps, and Celestial Dragon shakes his head vigorously. Very vigorously indeed. For Divine Cherry has just had an idea: "how about we try to distill happiness and joy and deliciousness and warmth?" Celestial Dragon shakes his head once again, thinking quite loudly that it's never going to work, after all, we're not all Grenouille's, are we? Plus whisky has already been invented. And yet, at the back of his mind, a teeny tiny voice insists that "i'm sorry, but actually, she may have a good idea indeed. Just giver her a chance."
Celestial Dragon, for all his wisdom and strength, never was able to control his impulsive Id, and so he is forced to agree to at least try to distill the goodness of the world into a jar. With eyes wide shut, he witnesses the following:

Recipe adapted from Delicious magazine (Dec. 2011)
-700g of clementines
-250g of cranberries
-1400g of sugar
-4 unwaxed lemons
-150ml of rum or whisky

Cut the clementines and lemons in half, then squeeze out all their juice taking care to remove the pips. Cut the clementines skins in thin stripes. In a large pan, pour in the fruit juices, the clementine stripes and the used lemons. Cover with 1.2l of water. Leave it cook on moderate heat for 1-1.5 hrs counting from when it boils. When the clementines' skins will be soft, take out the lemon skins, give them another wee squeeze and discard them.
Add the sugar and mix well to melt it. Add the cranberries and cook on moderate heat for 10mins until they'll start to pop. Add the liquor and bring to boil. Let it boil strongly for +- 30mins, until the jam will have thickened.
Note: to check whether or not the consistency is right, put a bit of jam on a cold dish. Incline it gently XXX

Ricetta adattata da Delicious Dec. 2011

-700 g Clementine
-250g Cranberries
-1400 g zucchero
-4 limoni non trattati
-150 ml rum o whisky

Tagliare a meta' le clementine e i limoni, spremere il succo di tutti i frutti privarlo dei semini e metterlo da parte.
Tagliare la buccia delle clementine a striscioline sottili. Versare in una pentola capiente il succo dei frutti, le strisce di clementina e le buccie dei limoni intere. Corire il tutto con 1.2 l di acqua. Porre la pentola sul fuoco e cuocere a fuoco moderato per 1 ora- 1ore e mezza dal bollore, finche' le bucce delle clementine risulteranno molto morbide. A questo punto estrarre le bucce dei limoni, schiacciare un po' del loro succo nelle pentola ed eliminarle.
Aggiungere lo zucchero e mescolare per scioglierlo. Aggiungere i cranberries e cuocere a fuoco medio per una decina di minuti fino a quando inizieranno a scoppiettare. Aggiungere il liquore e portare a ebollizione vivace. Far bollire vivacemente per mezzora circa, finche' la marmellata si sara' addensata.
N.B.: Per verificare la consistenza della marmellata, versare un cucchiaino di marmelleta su un piattino freddo, inclinando il piattino la marmellata si rapprende.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Dolmades - Involtini di foglie di vite ripieni di riso

Often the world wonders: who actually came up with that? Who, one day, decided that this would be a good idea? Who first thought of combining these things in such a way that the thing that would come out of that combination would be so much better than its original components? Well, world, wonder no more. For more often than not, the ones to come up with it were Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon. Granted, it is a bold claim to make, but keep in mind that this is a story and that in stories everything is possible. Just like a Hollywood movie. I mean come on, who - apart from the person in question - does a thumb up when he is gently lowered in molten iron?
Anyway, in a time when European civilisations still knew the true meaning of democracy, when many-headed water snakes lived in caves (on land!), and when bull-shaped men jumped on everything that entered their ghetto (called labyrinths at the time), Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon were having a heated discussion with Midas. It is a little known fact that King Midas was actually a very capable philosopher: he was the one who coined the phrase "don't touch your food with your hands". He also invented the fork. Be that as it may, the three of them were arguing on the possible outcome of a crossbreed between flavoured rice and sticky vine leaves. Our heroes said that it would be "bloody fantastic", while King Midas maintained that it was a "bloody stupid idea". Well, here's the outcome of that discussion: decide for yourselves.

Recipe adapted from Vefa's Kitchen
-100g of vine leaves in brine
-120g of parboiled rice
-a handful of chopped parsil
-half a finely chopped onion
-1tbsp of lemon juice
-200g of boiling water
-1tsp of sultanas (optional)
-1tsp of pine nuts (optional)

Rinse the vine leaves under running water, the boil them for a couple of minutes. Drain them and carefully place them on the clean working space. Take some of the leaves cover the base of a thick pan with them. In a bowl, mix the raw rice, the finely chopped onion, the parsley, the sultanas and the pine nuts, add plenty of olive oil (extra virgin), as well as a bit of salt and pepper.
Now take the remaining vine leaves and put them on a working space with the smooth side underneath. Take a spoonful of filling and put it on the largest part of the leaf, then roll the leaf up until it covers the filling, fold in the sides, then fold them over the filling and continue to roll the leaf up until the end.
Do that with each leaf, or until you run out of filling. Or of leaves. Whatever happens first.
Now put all the roll-up leaves in the pan (the one with the other leaves in it) in concentric circles, making sure to leave as little space between each dolmades as possible. Cover with the 200g of boiling water, a generous helping of olive oil and the lemon juice. Place a dessert dish on the roll-up leaves in order to avoid them opening during the cooking process, cover the pan and bring to the boil. Cook for another 30mins as soon as it boils. Enjoy.

Ricetta adattata da Vefa's Kitchen
-100 g foglie di vite in salamoia
-120 g riso parboiled
-una manciata di prezzemolo tritato
-mezza cipolla tritata finemente
-1 cucchiaio di succo di limone
-un cucchiaio di uvette (facoltativo)
-un cucchiaio di pinoli (facoltativo)
-200 g acqua bollente

Sciacquare le foglie di vite sotto l'acqua corrente. Bollirle per un paio di minuti. Scolare le foglie di vite e stenderle con attenzione sul piano di lavoro.
Prendere una parte delle foglie e foderare una pentola capiente dal fondo spesso, cosi facendo gli involtini non si bruceranno.
In una ciotola a parte mescolare il riso crudo, la cipolla tritata, il prezzemolo, l'uvetta e i pinoli, irrorare con abbondante olio di oliva, salare e pepare.
Prendere le rimanenti foglie di vite una alla volta e adagiarle sul piano di lavoro con la parte liscia di sotto, mettere un cucchiaino di ripieno al centro della foglia nella parte piu' larga, arrotolare fino a coprire il ripieno, chiudere i due lati: ripiegando i bordi laterali sul ripieno stesso e continuare ad arrotolare fino alla fine.
Continuare cosi fino ad esaurimento degli ingredienti. Porre gli involtini nella pentola forderata, disponendoli in cerchi concentrici senza lasciare spazi vuoti. Coprire con 200g d'acqua bollente, un giro abbondante di olio di oiliva e un cucchiao di succo di limone. Appoggiare un piattino sugli involtini in modo che non si aprano in cottura, coprire la pentola con il coperchio e portare a ebollizione. Cuocere per 30 minuti dall'ebollizione.

And Spread the Mess