Saturday, October 27, 2012

Shoes, babies and Sweden

At least during winter, this is a quite interesting dilemma.
The kiddo should be able to roll in the snow, leaves, dirt, soil, mud and whatever, and still have the possibility to walk without damaging forever his/her capability to walk when he/she will be 50.
What to dooooo! You might need 700 pair of shoeeees! One for the rain, one for walking elegantly with mamma and papa', one for being in the snow/rain/mud/etc. And although I support the second-hand concept, being italian (and from Gallarate, I'd add) the shoes can't be second-hand. It is a no-no!

So, this is the result of our little nordic hunt, which we will evaluate if working or not for all the possible circumstances...
Elegant autumn shoes (Austrian brand: Superfit - very common here o.O)
Boots for outdoor activities - no elegant restaurant dinners (Reima)
Oh, life in Italy it is much simpler from a shoes perspective..

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Apples and Taleggio

With the abundancy of apples in our garden, the only thing to do except trying to find a way to give them away, is of course to eat them ourselves. For not going to traditional, this weekend we have combined apples with taleggio (an italian cheese from nearby Milano) in two different dishes: a risotto and pizza.
Ingredients for two people that eat a lot:

  • 5 fists of arborio rice 
  • 750 ml of vegetable broth
  • 2 apples
  • 100 gr of taleggio
  • 40 gr of butter
  • a bit of olive oil
  • a yellow onion
  • one glass of white wine
The procedure is basically the same as always: warm up 20 gr of butter, light fry the finely chomped onion and then add the rice for toasting it. Pout the wine over and then cook the rice with the broth.

The rice is cooking
After 10 minutes of cooking the rice with the broth, add the apples that have been sliced in little cubes.

We add the apples
Meanwhile, we cut the taleggio in small cubes and when the rice is ready we remove the pot from the heat and let it rest one minute or two. Then we add the cheese and the remaining butter.
Mix everything carefully until both the butter and the cheese are properly melted.
Mix the risotto for the final touch
Serve it with a bit of grated parmesan cheese for the most cheesy people, a tiny decoration of parsley for the ones that care about presentation or a little shower of black pepper for the spicy ones.
The risotto is ready!

  • The usual dough + mozzarella + tomato sauce
  • One apple
  • 100 gr of taleggio
After preparing the dough and put the tomato sauce and the mozzarella on top, as usual, add the sliced apple and the sliced taleggio. 

Ready to be cooked!
Let it cook for 15-20 minutes in 180 degrees warm oven (or until the cheese is melted and the pizza is golden).

Take it out of the oven, and make sure that you are not one hour later respect to your daughter schedule. She will eat you alive with the pizza ;)

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Friday, October 19, 2012

What to do when you need to pick up too many apples..

So, too many apple trees means also too many apples and how to pick them up. Of course, hands and a ladder are usually sufficient tools, but why making life "so complicated" when one can use practical tools!
The tool!

  With this quite simple but very effective tool, even abnormous-quantities-of-apples-picking operation can become a decent family activity.
Carefully "cherry picking" the apples. The Tool is in action!

  Maybe I should start to sell this amazing gardening tool, because picking up apples becomes easier and doesn't require too much stretching, cursing and of course, effort. The result is guaranteed as well as an happy customer!
Ten minutes of apple harvest

  Now, there is only one problem left. Still too many apples to eat... post signature

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Pizza: Aubergine and Salame

Today we have inaugurated a new tradition (let's see how long it lasts ;-D): every Sunday we will prepare a different style of home made pizza.
The first one (if we exclude "my" classical corn and bacon one) has been Mattias' choice: aubergine and salame.

Ingredients for the dough:
300 gr of flour
25 gr of fresh yeast
lukewarm water
a pinch of salt

Preparing the dough is quite easy: I put the flour in a bowl (although traditionally, one would need a wooden surface - which I don't have ;D), I start to add a bit of the yeast that I have melted in a cup of lukewarm water.
I mixed it around, after adding a bit of salt, and start to work the dough with the hands until I get a quite compact and soft ball of dough. If it is too sticky, I will add some flour, if it is too dry some lukewarm water.
After obtaining the ball, I cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
Working the dough
When the time has passed, it is time to stretch the dough.

For today's topping, we went a bit lazy and bought a pre-made sauce (just to save those 15 minutes of cooking your own sauce) but we had to prepare the aubergine.
The premade sauce
We cut them in thin slices and put them in layers with salt. Once the layers are done, I put a big heavy object on top and let it rest for half an hour.
The aubergine
Once this is done, I wash carefully the aubergine and dry them by squeezing them.
We fried them today, but possibly also grilled would have worked fine (fried have a nicer crunchy surface).
After strecthing the dough, we spread the tomato sauce, added the aubergin and sprinkled everything with some mozzarella.
Ready to be put in the oven!
We have let it cook in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees) for about half an hour and once ready we have put the salame on top. 
Still smoking
Buon appetito!

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

What to do when you have too many apple trees

Autumn has arrived and for our fores... garden, it meant that our apple trees started to be filled with apples. This has of course its advantages, since we don't have to buy apples anymore (and not even grapes, for that matter...), however, it also means that we have just a couple of kilos of apples that we surely don't manage to eat.

The first harvest was concerning just the two plants of "autumn apples". The production reached 20 kilos of apples. What to do with them? And what to do with all the apples that we have still to collect since they are yet to be ripe?

The answer is: bring them to a "musteri". I can't find a proper word to translate this (maybe someone can help me out?) but a musteri is a place where magically apples are transformed into apple juice, or cider or other fancy apple-derived-drinks.

The one that is closest to us is Sövde Musteri, where closest is of course a relative word, but let's say, it is close enough.
Sövde Musteri
What one does is driving the apples to the place, drop them in a big container, get a ticket with written how many kilos of apples you have delivered and then go to the shop.
Äpple must
Then, you are entitled to buy among three tipes of products (apple juice, apple "glögg" and something else, I do not remember) a certain number of bottles at a certain price.
More apple juice

This is a great business model: we are the ones picking up kilos of apples, packing them, bringing them there and dumping them there. Then they make juice out of it and we get the possibility to buy the drinks at a reduced price. How convenient!The truth is that we still prefer to do so, instead of having tons of apples rottening in our garden, but surely, they have found the key to success.

There are though furthermore activities concerning the waste of apples. We are aware of this initiative but we haven't had the time to look at it very much...
So far, we are happy somebody is possibly "drinking" our apples somewhere in Skåne...

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Copenaghen weekend

No, we haven't been again in Copenaghen!
I hadn't simply found the time to write about our wedding anniversary weekend from a little bit more touristic perspective. It was not just about Copenaghen Cooking :)
That was also an excuse to actually see some parts of the city that we didn't even know they existed (well, some of them at least).

Scientology found's office in Copenaghen
 One of the things that I spotted quite quickly was that there is "a lot" of Scientology around. Or at least, a couple of visible places concerning it. Which is quite interesting: why in Copenaghen?

On saturday, we were mainly walking in the central part of Copenaghen. We didn't see anything specific except our target places for Copenaghen Cooking.
We ate lunch at Hereford Beefstouw, with the hope that Isabella would eat some meat, but in she was too tired for that. We enjoyed a very nice meal, instead (well, food wise), while she was trying to trash the place.

On our way back to the hotel, I could observe something that in Italy they could just dream about it: a fancy bike parking!
It is true, nordic cities are more "biking oriented" and Copenaghen is well known for this very nice feature. And it is interesting to think that although the climate is worse, bikes are used in all sort of weather conditions up here in the north!
It is not easy to "rebuild" old towns to include bikes path everywhere, but Copenaghen was not just built yesterday so how did they manage to make it so much more bike friendly?
Walking in the fog

What was it???
 At a certain point we saw a small crowd and a lot of white fog. We didn't really understand what was happening and we weren't the only ones that were puzzled.
It became so foggy that it was impossible to proceed and we had to wait that the fog disappear.
In reality there were some people dressed almost like Ghosbusters shooting this fog out of some device.
We found out by reading a sign that this was not a manifestation but an exhibition and that was some artistic representation. A bit hard to grasp maybe...?

After an average meal at Ristorante l'Appetito, we made Isabella fall asleep and eventually we rest our poor feet!

On Sunday, we were waiting for the next "event" to take place. We decided then to take a walk in the morning and we ended up exploring a part of Copenaghen that we had heard a lot about, but never went to. Christiania. I have heard people depicting it as "nice, characteristic, interesting, ...". A part that I don't want to know why they went there on the first place, but it looked like a decadent trashed rotten piece of land, where homeless people were around. Nothing fancy with it, on the other hand it gave me the shivers!
And, funny though that they are so liberal, but casually you can't take pictures and there were big signs saying: if you see the police, don't panic! :-)

After such an experience, we walked back to the center and saw some nice street that didn't look like belonging to the centre of a capital. Still Copenaghen can surprise us!

Are we in Lund?
After a very improvised lunch (for Isabella...), we walked a long way to reach the location of Nordic Taste.
It was located at Carlsberg Bryggeri, which offers also tours for the ones that are interested.
Around that part of the town, one could see some old interesting houses, that seemed very "London, industrial revolution style" and just some old buildings around the Bryggeri were very peculiar.
Approaching Carlsberg

The legendary Elephant port
It is highly possible that the place deserves a proper visit, but surely we didn't have the time to deal also with that during this short trip. Unfortunately, that was the last place we visited during this occasion, and on the way back from Carlsberg to the station, we simply stopped at a vietnamese restaurant to eat something (it was a very odd time to have lunch, though) for then rushing home and rest!!! :)
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