FridayLicious: Limoncello Cheesecake

Rometti Limoncello Fridaylicious Limoncello Cheesecake

Thank God It’s Friday… Thank God It’s Delicious!

Do you enjoy savoring a slice of cake with your coffee but don’t enjoy so much baking? Or, unfortunately for your husband and little ones, you would bake everything you could but your relationship with the oven is a love-hate affair that tends to lean a little bit more towards the “hate’? This Friday Rometti Limoncello has a delicious recipe for you that does not require baking: Limoncello Cheesecake. Well, there is a little baking, but it consists in only letting the crust sit!

Cheesecakes are very popular in the United States. If you ask around, some people will even tell you that Cheesecakes are an American invention, which is partially true and partially not. Believe it or not, the ancient Greek were already mastering the art of Cheesecakes, although at the time Cheesecakes were used for religious uses and had a very different taste. It took the introduction in 1872 of American cream cheese to develop the modern Cheesecake we all so love today. And once again, like for other cooking ingredients, cream cheese was nothing less than a mistake! In fact a dairyman called William Lawrence  from Chester, NY,  is the one to claim for such a popular dairy ingredient which he accidentally made while he was trying to reproduce the French Neufchatel cheese. Mr. Lawrence was the founder of Philadelphia brand Cream Cheese. The rest is history.

Just FYI shall you want to make this Limoncello Cheesecake a little more Italian-style, you can substitute cream cheese with ricotta.

Ingredients:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup unsalted butter – melted
8 ounces cream cheese – softened
8 ounces frozen whipped topping – thawed
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup Rometti Limoncello

Preheat oven oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. Stir together crust ingredients. Press firmly and evenly in bottom of pie plate.
Bake 9 minutes. Cool 20 minutes.
In the bowl of your mixer, beat cheesecake ingredients on medium speed until smooth; spoon over crust.
Refrigerate at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

~Enjoy!
Recipe and image copyright of Paula Jones with Bellalimento

FridayLicious: Rometti Limoncello Pound Cake

Rometti Limoncello Fridaylicious Rometti Limoncello Pound Cake

FridayLicious was delayed this week but,Thank God It’s Delicious!

We all grew up with Pound Cakes throughout our childhood, and personally, I still consider it one of my favorite treats. The simplicity of its ingredients (flour, butter, eggs and sugar) make Pound Cake a simple, versatile type of dessert, loved by both the little ones and grown-ups. Using one pound of each ingredient (from here the name Pound Cake), anyone can adventure in this baking experience and turn out victorious, even those who, well, don’t exactly master the art of cooking.

Pound Cake seems to have Northern European origins (some say British) that date back to the 1700s, and appears for the first time as a recipe listed in a cookbook in the 1796 American Cookery: or, The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Making Puff-pastes, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards and Preserves, and all kinds of Cakes, from the Imperial Plumb to plain Cake by Amelia Simmons, and published in the United States. Pound Cakes were already popular way before though, as they trace back to the Egyptians and, later, Medieval Times, when they were made similarly to bread with the addition of honey, nuts and dried fruits.

Today baking powder is also used in the recipe to make Pound Cake lighter and stir away from the bread-consistency, while yoghurt is often a great (and healthier!) substitute for butter.

Last year we were honored to be featured in the Rometti Limoncello Pound Cake by Chef Larry at Whitehall Lane Winery. It’s the perfect, light, zesty pound cake to enjoy as a snack in the afternoon, with tea or some Rometti Limoncello. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

11⁄2 C cake flour
11⁄2 t baking powder
1⁄2 t baking soda
3⁄4 t salt
3⁄4 C unsalted butter (11⁄2 sticks), room temperature
11⁄4 C sugar
1 C plain Greek yogurt
3 eggs
1 T vanilla extract
2 T + 4 T Rometti Limoncello
Zest of one lemon

For the Glaze:
3⁄4 C confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
4 T Rometti Limoncello

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter, dust it with flour, and tap to knock out the excess. In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, yogurt and sugar on medium speed until smooth and light, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of limoncello, lemon zest, and mix well. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients to combine them, scrape down sides of the bowl, and beat batter for 30 seconds on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. Give the pan a few gentle whacks on the counter to remove any air pockets. Bake cake for 15 minutes, then turn the pan 180 degrees to ensure even browning. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking until the cake springs back lightly when touched, the sides have begun to pull away from the pan, and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes more. Drizzle the remaining 4 tablespoons of limoncello over cake. Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then carefully invert it onto the rack to cool completely. To make glaze, mix together the confectioner’s sugar with the limoncello until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cake.
If you would like to see the whole recipe book you can click here.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Larry at Whitehall Lane Winery
Image © Franck Schmitt/Oredia/Corbis

Fridaylicious: Limoncello and Raspberry Semi-freddo

Rometti Limoncello Fridaylicious Limoncello And Raspberry Semi-Freddo

Thank God It’s Friday, Thank God It’s Delicious!

Being Valentine’s Day, today we couldn’t help but looking for a lovely, tasteful dessert that would sweeten up your day (and/or night!). Although the cold weather is still letting some of us shivering and shaveling in most of the country, our selection fell on a classic and versatile Limoncello and Raspberry Semi-freddo.

Perfect for both after lunch and after dinner, semi-freddo is not as thick as ice-cream, its lighter richness makes it instead more similar to a mousse because made with half ice cream and half whipped cream. Visually more elegant than gelato, with its etherial consistency semi-freddo is often consumed as dessert, and suits perfectly every kind of dinner party.

Limoncello and Raspberry Semi-freddo is the perfect Valentine’s Day treat if you live in a sunny place, such as our beloved Newport Beach. But don’t worry, if you are in one of the regions still affected by the winter storm, this semi-freddo will bring you a little sunshine and works as a sweet excuse to have your partner warming you up while enjoying every bite of this delicious dessert! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ingredients:
100 grams (3.5 oz) raspberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)
85 grams (3 oz) golden caster sugar
284 ml (1.2 cups) double cream (carton)
4 tbsps Rometti Limoncello
200 ml (0.95 cups) crème fraîche (cartons)
225 grams (8 oz) raspberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)
2 tbsps golden caster sugar
2 tbsps Rometti Limoncello
raspberries (extra)

Line the base of a 1kg loaf tin (7.5in x 4.75in x 3.5 deep) with baking parchment. For the semi-freddo, mash the raspberries and half the sugar in a bowl with a fork. Whisk the cream, the rest of the sugar and Rometti Limoncello to soft peaks. Beat the crème fraîche briefly so it is in soft peaks like the cream. Gently fold the cream mixture and crème fraîche together.
Pour the mashed raspberries into the cream and give a few stirs only – just enough to swirl it through the creamy mix. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and smooth the top.
For the coulis, mash the raspberries, sugar and Rometti Limoncello with a fork, then push through a sieve.
Open-freeze  the semi-freddo then cover with cling film and foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Pour the sieved coulis into a rigid container and freeze for up to 1 month.
To serve, thaw the coulis in the fridge overnight. Thaw the semi-freddo in the fridge for 1 hr. Remove it from the tin and peel off the lining paper. Drizzle with a little of the coulis and scatter some raspberries over the top. Serve in slices with the rest of the coulis.

~Enjoy!

Recipes from http://www.yummly.com

Fridaylicious: White Chocolate Limoncello Truffles

Rometti Limoncello Fridaylicious White Chocolate LImoncello Truffles

Thank God It’s Friday, Thank God It’s Delicious!

Good things come in small packages, and to be specific this week all the goodness comes in the small, rounded shape of a truffle. Even better if the little chocolate treat features among its ingredients some delicious limoncello, like the White Chocolate Limoncello Truffles we have the spotlight on this week!

We all know that truffles are so called because the original dark chocolate version (rolled in cocoa) resembles the black truffle fungus, but what not everyone knows is that the person who we should thank for such a watering-buds-invention is Auguste Escoffier, who back in 1920s came up with an “accidentally” different recipe of the French chocolate truffles, which originally were in fact a ball of ganache, chocolate and cream flavored in cocoa powder. One day while August was attempting to make pastry cream, he mistakenly poured hot cream into a bowl of chocolate chunks where he should have instead poured sugared egg. Once the mixture hardened he found out that it could have been rolled up into chocolate balls, and the rest is history!

White Chocolate Limoncello Truffles are made with heavy cream, white chocolate, and the addition of Rometti Limoncello which by infusing a bittersweet, zesty flavor to the sweet, delicate mixture elevates it to something definitively heavenly!

Grated white chocolate could be perfect for rolling, however if you want to add a little exotic look (and taste!) to this already simple yet outstanding recipe, coconuts flakes will just be like the cherry on top!

Ingredients (makes about 30):

1/4 cup Heavy cream
1 Lemon zest
8 oz Chopped white chocolate
1 tbsp Rometti Limoncello
Coconut flakes for rolling

Melt the chocolate in bain-marie; add Rometti Limoncello. Stir frequently as white chocolate tends to burn easily.
Heat the cream till nearly boiling then add to the melted chocolate. Stir until thick and velvety. Stir in the lemon zest. Leave to cool in the fridge for 2-3 hours, or until firm enough to work with.
Line a baking tray with non-stick paper. Wearing disposable gloves, scoop a teaspoon of the truffle mixture and roll into balls using the palms of your hands. If the mixture is a bit sticky, dust with icing sugar. Place each rolled truffle on the baking tray; return to the fridge and allow to firm up.
To coat the truffles; use a fork or skewer to dip each truffle into melted white chocolate then return it to the baking tray to set.
Pipe or drizzle some melted dark chocolate across the top of each truffle.
When all the truffles are made, place them back in the fridge for a couple of hours before packing them into cellophane gift bags or chocolate boxes.

Recipe from http://allrecipes.co.uk
Image by Eva Toneva

Fridaylicious: Limoncello Macarons

Rometti Limoncello Fridaylicious Limoncello Macarons

Thank God It’s Friday… Thank God It’s Sweet!

Welcome to Rometti Limoncello’s new blog Fridaylicious focusing on the use of Limoncello for culinary purposes. Yes, Limoncello is not good only by itself or as ingredient for flavory cocktails, but it can also be used in cooking, especially with desserts! We hope you will enjoy such a delicious Friday blog to end your working week on a high note and start your weekend in the sweetest way!

For our first Fridaylicious entry we couldn’t help but picking a classic dessert, a pearl of French cooking: Limoncello Macarons AKA Meyer Lemon Macarons with Lemon Curd and Blackberry-Thyme-Limoncello Jam.

Macarons come in quite a big variety of colors and flavors, they consist of a meringue-like cookies with a soft cream sandwiched in between. The colors often suggests the flavor, and they are extremely pleasant to present!

We found this amazing recipe posted by Mardi Michels on her food blog Eat. Live. Travel. Write. If happiness comes in small quantities, Mardi’s recipe will deliver it under the resemblance of sweet, chewy little bites!  These macarons made with the addition of Rometti Limoncello will brighten up your parties, receptions, bridal showers, and will be a tasty, buds-blowing gift for friends and family!

Ingredients:

For the Meringue (French Method):
1 3/4 cups + 2 1/2 tablespoons of almond flour
1 3/4 cups of powdered sugar
6 egg whites
1 cup + 3 tablespoonsof granulated sugar
2/3 cup water
yellow colored paste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl sift together almond flour and powdered sugar. Mix it together and add 3 egg whites in it. With a spatula stir it until it becomes a thick almond paste.
In a small saucepan combine granulated sugar with water on a medium-low heat. It needs to become a syrup, once it reaches 248 F take it off the stove.
Take the remaining 3 eggwhites and whisk them into a mixing bowl until they softens up. At that point pour in the syrup down the side and continue whisking for 2-5 minutes until stiff and glossy. Add a pea-size of yellow colored paste.
Finally, mix in the meringue with your almond powder mixture and fold it in until the meringue forms a thick and uniform texture.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch #4 round tip, and fill with batter. Pipe 1-inch disks onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. The batter will spread a little. Let stand at room temperature until dry, and a soft skin forms on the tops of the macaroons and the shiny surface turns dull, about 15 minutes.

Bake, with the door of the oven slightly ajar, until the surface of the macaroons is completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and let the macaroons cool completely on the baking sheet. Gently peel off the parchment. Their tops are easily crushed, so take care when removing the macaroons from the parchment. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

ps: if you, like me, need a sylicon baking mat, Mastrad offers a whole kit for Macarons-aspiring-chefs: get your Mastrad macaron baking set here!

For the Curd (Recipe from the Flavor Forecast):
9 eggyolks
2/3 cup Meyer lemon juice
1/4 cup Rometti Limoncello
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, cold cut into tbsp pieces

For the Meyer Lemon Curd, mix egg yolks, Meyer lemon juice, Limoncello liqueur and granulated sugar in large heavy saucepan with wire whisk until well blended. Whisking constantly, cook on medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until curd is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, one piece at a time. Spoon into large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight until chilled and set.

For blackberry with Limoncello and thyme (recipe author: Mardi Michels):
1/2 cups blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Rometti Limoncello
2 tsp dried lemon thyme (or 1 tsp finely chopped thyme and 1 tsp Meyer lemon zest)

Combine blackberries, sugar, Limoncello, thyme and zest in a medium heavy saucepan.
Cook over medium heat until the blackberries begin to soften a little.
Use a wooden spoon or a potato masher to break up the fruit.
Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 minutes.
The jam won’t be as firm as you think it should be but it will definitely firm up once it cools down.

Once everything is ready, pair up the meringues and lightly spread on the flat side of each some of the lemon curd. On only one side add a pea-size worth of blackberry jam, put the two meringues together and here you go: you have made your first Limoncello Macaron!

~Enjoy!

Cook N Bake British Series: St Clement’s Pie

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake British Series St Clement's Pie

Like every full meal ends with some sweets, we couldn’t bring this Cook N Back British Series to an end without serving dessert!
Named after an English nursery rhyme’s, St Clemtent’s Pie is a citrusy delight that you may want to indulge into with a hot cup of tea.
Although the original recipe lists among the ingredients zest and juice of 3 lemons and 2 oranges, we would recommend to use either Rometti Limoncello or Rometti Arancello to taste in alternative to one of the two ingredients for an “adult”, citrusy version of this delicious pie!

Ingredients:
For the crust
250g light digestive biscuits
100g cornflakes
85g butter, melted
140g caster sugar

For the filling
1 large egg, plus 4 large egg yolks
397g can light condensed milk
zest and juice 3 lemons (or Rometti Limoncello to taste)
zest and juice 2 oranges (or Rometti Arancello to taste)
For the topping

150ml pot extra-thick double cream
100g 0% fat Greek yogurt
4 tbsp icing sugar
more lemon and orange zest, to decorate

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Sit a fluted 20cm round loose-bottomed tin (about 5cm deep, or a slightly shallower 22cm tin) on a baking sheet. Break the biscuits into a big bowl, or double-bag them in food bags, and bash to big crumbs with the end of a rolling pin or small saucepan. Add the cornflakes and bash a bit more to crumbs. Mix with the melted butter and sugar and press into the base and sides of the tin. Bake for 15 mins, then remove and reduce oven temperature to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.
Whisk egg and yolks in a big bowl until pale and frothy. Whisk in the condensed milk, followed by the zests and juices. Pour in the tin and bake for 20 mins. Cool in the tin, then chill for at least 5 hrs, or overnight.
Whip the cream, yogurt and icing sugar together. Dollop on the pie and scatter with zest to serve.

~Enjoy!

Image and recipe from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com

Cook N Bake British Series: Toad in the Hole

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake British Series Toad in the Hole

If Yorkshire pudding is a pretty popular dish in the English cuisine, one of its variations has become nothing less: Toad in the Hole. Regardless of the unusual name, Toad in the Hole is internationally well-known, thanks also to Charles Elme Francatelli, an Anglo-Italian cook who talks about it for the first time in one of his recipe books dated from 1861.

For those of you out there who are curious about etymology of words, “toad” seems to refer to amphibians, in particular to frogs, as it resembles a toad sticking out his neck from the batter. As many other dishes though, even the origins of Toad in the Hole seems to be uncertain: it might have been existed already in 1757 when a Georgian shopkeeper noted on his diary of “sausages baked in batter pudding”.

Toad in the Hole is a great way of re-using meat leftovers, or some cheap meat worth to mix with a very humble pudding, in order to give it flavor, texture and protein.

The recipe below is Jamie Oliver’s version of a very simple yet outstanding English dish which could not go unnoticed for our Cook N Bake blog.

Ingredients:
sunflower oil
8 large quality sausages (or leftovers)
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 large red onions, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
2 knobs butter
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 level tablespoon organic vegetable stock powder, or 1 vegetable stock cube

For the batter
285 ml milk
115 g plain flour
1 pinch salt
3 free-range eggs

Mix the batter ingredients together, and put to one side. I like the batter to go huge so the key thing is to have an appropriately-sized baking tin – the thinner the better – as we need to get the oil smoking hot.

Put 1cm/just under ½ inch of sunflower oil into a baking tin, then place this on the middle shelf of your oven at its highest setting (240–250ºC/475ºF/gas 9). Place a larger tray underneath it to catch any oil that overflows from the tin while cooking. When the oil is very hot, add your sausages. Keep your eye on them and allow them to colour until lightly golden.

At this point, take the tin out of the oven, being very careful, and pour your batter over the sausages. Throw a couple of sprigs of rosemary into the batter. It will bubble and possibly even spit a little, so carefully put the tin back in the oven, and close the door. Don’t open it for at least 20 minutes, as Yorkshire puddings can be a bit temperamental when rising. Remove from the oven when golden and crisp.

For the onion gravy, simply fry off your onions and garlic in the butter on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until they go sweet and translucent. You could add a little thyme or rosemary if you like. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow it to cook down by half. At this point, I do cheat a little and add a stock cube or powder. You can get some good ones in the supermarkets now that aren’t full of rubbish. Sprinkle this in and add a little water. Allow to simmer and you’ll have a really tasty onion gravy. Serve at the table with your Toad in the Hole, mashed potatoes, greens and baked beans or maybe a green salad if you’re feeling a little guilty!

~Enjoy! (and if you go to Jamie Oliver’s website you can also see the nutritional values of this flavorfully rich dish)

Image and recipe by Jamie OliverL http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pork-recipes/toad-in-the-hole

Cook N Bake British Series: Beef Wellington

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake British Series Beef WEllington

If you are one of those people that love to learn the history of a dish, you will find particularly interesting this week’s dish: Beef Wellington, one of the most known English culinary trademarks.
Wrapped in puff party, Beef Wellington is nothing less than a baked tenderloin coated with pate’ and duxelles, sometimes with the addition of spices.

The name of Wellington seems to be linked to the 1st Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, who seemed to love beef, wine, pate’ and mushrooms. It’s also possible that more than a connection to his love for food, the dish was named Wellington because it was shaped like a military boot that the Duke used to wear. However like it often happens with drinks and dishes that became so popular that anyone wanted to claim their origin, there are other theories of how it generated, such as a variation of the French filet de boeuf in croute adapted for the English, or the use of this dish for parties and receptions in New Zealand. All of the mystery, of course, just contributes to increase the curiosity and appreciation of this dish.

Beef Wellington is not so easy to make, the tenderloin needs to be rare-roasted and before baking it needs to be coated with pate’ and duxelles. It’s better to bake it whole in order to retain most of the juice, but if preferred it can be sliced prior to baking and cook in individual portions.

If you like your tenderloin with lots of flavor, curry, ginger, allspice can be added to Beef Wellington.

Ingredients:

a good beef fillet (preferably Aberdeen Angus) of around 1kg/2lb 4oz
3 tbsp olive oil
250g/ 9oz chestnut mushroom, include some wild ones if you like
50g/ 2oz butter
1 large sprig fresh thyme
100ml/ 3½ fl oz dry white wine
12 slices prosciutto
500g/1lb 2oz pack puff pastry, thawed if frozen
a little flour, for dusting
2 egg yolks beaten with 1 tsp water

Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Sit the 1kg beef fillet on a roasting tray, brush with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with pepper, then roast for 15 mins for medium-rare or 20 mins for medium. When the beef is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven to cool, then chill in the fridge for about 20 mins.
While the beef is cooling, chop 250g chestnut (and wild, if you like) mushrooms as finely as possible so they have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor to do this, but make sure you pulse-chop the mushrooms so they don’t become a slurry.
Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil and 50g butter in a large pan and fry the mushrooms on a medium heat, with 1 large sprig fresh thyme, for about 10 mins stirring often, until you have a softened mixture. Season the mushroom mixture, pour over 100ml dry white wine and cook for about 10 mins until all the wine has been absorbed. The mixture should hold its shape when stirred. Remove the mushroom duxelle from the pan to cool and discard the thyme.
Overlap two pieces of cling film over a large chopping board. Lay 12 slices prosciutto on the cling film, slightly overlapping, in a double row. Spread half the duxelles over the prosciutto, then sit the fillet on it and spread the remaining duxelles over. Use the cling film’s edges to draw the prosciutto around the fillet, then roll it into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of cling film to tighten it as you go. Chill the fillet while you roll out the pastry.
Dust your work surface with a little flour. Roll out a third of the 500g pack of puff pastry to a 18 x 30cm strip and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Roll out the remainder of the 500g pack of puff pastry to about 28 x 36cm. Unravel the fillet from the cling film and sit it in the centre of the smaller strip of pastry. Beat the 2 egg yolks with 1 tsp water and brush the pastry’s edges, and the top and sides of the wrapped fillet. Using a rolling pin, carefully lift and drape the larger piece of pastry over the fillet, pressing well into the sides. Trim the joins to about a 4cm rim. Seal the rim with the edge of a fork or spoon handle. Glaze all over with more egg yolk and, using the back of a knife, mark the beef Wellington with long diagonal lines taking care not to cut into the pastry. Chill for at least 30 mins and up to 24 hrs.
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Brush the Wellington with a little more egg yolk and cook until golden and crisp – 20-25 mins for medium-rare beef, 30 mins for medium. Allow to stand for 10 mins before serving in thick slices.

~Enjoy!

Image © Tim Winter
Recipe from Good Food Magazine, Dec. 2004

Cook N Bake British Series: Fish and Chips

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake British Series Fish and Chips

Food – any type of food!..seems to taste better eaten in good company or savored outdoors.  Being Italian, I love meals with family  gathered around the diningroom table, however I remember (with a little nostalgia) those cold winter afternoons on my way back home from school.  Walking past bundled up street vendors that would sell you crackling castagne, chestnuts, in a newspaper cone. There’s just nothing quite like the taste of freshly roasted chestnuts on a cold afternoon walking through Milan no less!

Similarly, the dish that we are going to talk about this week, shared a similar humble beginning once served in urban streets in newspapers, and later  became an iconic British dish that restaurants all around the world that try to replicate the light yet flavorful, crispiness of Fish and Chips!

Charles Dickens is one of the first writers to mention the existence of a “fried fish warehouse” in his masterpiece Oliver Twist, which makes us think that fish and chips must go back to at least the 19th century. If we want to pin down the year of the very first fish and chips shops opening, records tell us that it is attributed to Joseph Malin in 1860 in London. It is during that time in fact that Great Britain started developing railways to facilitate transportation of material and food, including fish from the North Sea. If we still have this dish today it’s because Fish and Chips is one of the truly traditional British dishes that survived the World War II when rationing affected most of the culinary traditions.

The secret to make a very good Fish and Chips is to use a batter made of flour, water and a little bit of baking soda which adds that beautiful golden color once fried  Beer and milk batter can also substitute water: if beer is preferred you can decide whether to use a lager or a bitter beer which will also change the color from golden to an orange-brown.

Frying can be done with beef dripping or lard, or vegetable oil.

Although in the United States Fish and Chips is usually served with coleslaw, ketchup and tartar sauce, the original British dish is served with salt, pepper and a few drizzles of vinegar. Instead of coleslaw, mushy peas are often served aside.

If you are in London, we recommend making a stop a the Sea Shell restaurant, where fish and chips has been one of the main popular dishes for over 40 years. But if, like us, you live in LA and the surrounding areas, we suggest you check out the Fat Cow at the Grove, owned by Chef Gordon Ramsey. Here Fish and Chips is served traditional-style in a casual, modernly rustic and welcoming environment.  If your feelin fancy , we recommend another Chef Ramsey’s restaurant, the London West Hollywood Hotel. The London After Five bar menu offers a California-style reinterpreted fish and chips served with tartar sauce and English pea puree.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

sunflower oil, for deep-frying
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
225 g white fish fillets, from sustainable sources, pinboned, ask your fishmonger
225 g flour, plus extra for dusting
285 ml beer, cold
3 heaped teaspoons baking powder
900 g potatoes, peeled and sliced into chips
For the mushy peas
1 knob butter
4 handfuls podded peas
1 small handful fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
1 squeeze lemon juice
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

To make your mushy peas, put the butter in a pan with the peas and the chopped mint. Put a lid on top and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. You can either mush the peas up in a food processor, or you can mash them by hand until they are stodgy, thick and perfect for dipping your fish into. Keep them warm while you cook your fish and chips.

Pour the sunflower oil into your deep fat fryer or a large frying pan and heat it to 190ºC/375ºF. Mix the salt and pepper together and season the fish fillets on both sides. This will help to remove any excess water, making the fish really meaty. Whisk the flour, beer and baking powder together until nice and shiny. The texture should be like semi-whipped double cream (i.e. it should stick to whatever you’re coating). Dust each fish fillet in a little of the extra flour, then dip into the batter and allow any excess to drip off. Holding one end, lower the fish into the oil one by one, carefully so you don’t get splashed – it will depend on the size of your fryer how many fish you can do at once. Cook for 4 minutes or so, until the batter is golden and crisp.

Meanwhile, parboil your chips in salted boiling water for about 4 or 5 minutes until softened but still retaining their shape, then drain them in a colander and leave to steam completely dry. When all the moisture has disappeared, fry them in the oil that the fish were cooked in at 180ºC/350ºF until golden and crisp. While the chips are frying, you can place the fish on a baking tray and put them in the oven for a few minutes at 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 to finish cooking. This way they will stay crisp while you finish off the chips. When they are done, drain them on kitchen paper, season with salt, and serve with the fish and mushy peas.

Enjoy!~

Recipe by Jamie Oliver 

Image © Morgans, Gareth

Cook N Bake British Series: Welsh Cawl

Rometti Limoncello Cook N bake British Series Welsh Cawl

Welcome back to our weekly blog, folks!

After our brief trip to Turkey we move now a little norther, because the protagonist of this month’s Cook N Bake is the British cuisine. Yes, my dear reader, you heard me right. Regardless of its bad reputation, we decided that there must be at least five dishes that are worth listing and experimenting, so here we go!
First of all, let’s try to understand this unusual cuisine: the rich history of the United Kingdom is in grand part the reason why it seems like British cuisine is more of a cultural mix than a defined tradition. Welsh, Scottish and English dishes are indeed greatly influenced by local ingredients; in addition throughout history Celts, Anglo-Saxons and later on Indians (following the Middle Ages when Britain became a pivot for the maritime spice trade) have affected the cuisine with both flavors and techniques. But that does not explain still why British food is bad.
Back in the day, during the Edwardian England (if you watched Downton Abbey you know what I am talking about!), food was the art of skilled chefs who enjoyed going above and beyond also with the utilization of new pots and molds. The upper and middle classes were the hot pit of such a sophisticated cuisine. With the beginning of industrialization, and World War I, the upper and middle class started losing their power and influence, and industrial foods started to replace the traditional ones.
Rationing, thought to be a prevention against food shortages, became a great limitation for the British cuisine. Long story short: British traditional, sophisticated dishes were lost forever and even after the war British cuisine never completely recovered.

There are some dishes, however, that survived the two World Wars and can be considered traditional British dishes. Among them, the Welsh Cawl. Cawl is a traditional Welsh soup, typical of the Winter season, made with salted bacon (or beef, today lamb seems to have substituted it), potatoes, carrots , leeks and a choice of seasonal vegetables. Served with bread and cheese if desired.

Ingredients:
2-3 lb. Welsh lamb best end of neck cutlets
1 large sliced onion
3 leeks
2 medium sliced carrots
1 medium parsnip
1 small swede turnip or 2 white turnips
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
6 small potatoes
salt and pepper
4 pints (8 cups) water
If in season cabbage, celery, etc., can all be used

Trim the meat of fat so far as possible, cover with cold water, add salt and pepper, bring to the boil, and simmer slowly for 1 hour, then leave it to get cold and skim off all the fat. Put in all the vegetables except 1 leek, the potatoes and half the parsley, cover and simmer very slowly for 1 hour, then add the potatoes cut in half and continue cooking for 20 minutes. Then add the remainder of the parsley, taste for seasoning and finely chop the remaining leek (green and white part) on top. Let it cook for not more than 5 minutes and serve. Some families treat it as a French pot-au-feu – that is, they serve the clear broth first, then the meat and vegetables as a second course. Traditionally Cawl was eaten in wooden bowls with wooden spoons so that there was no fear of burning the mouth. Serves 4-6.

~Enjoy!

Recipe from http://www.welshholidaycottages.com