“A tavola non si invecchia”. - Italian proverb (At the table with good friends and family you do not become old).

Sharing authentic Italian recipes entrusted upon me through the privilege of being invited into many Italian homes and kitchen’s abroad. I travel, cook, eat, share, learn and photograph my experiences, a truly soul enriching journey. There are now over 100 recipes on this blog to search from. I am a Melbourne born girl who now resides in Pietrasanta, Italy. Sharing my love for food and all things Italian with you. I am not a professionally trained chef, just a person that really loves cooking and has made my passion my reality! Through talent and drive I now work as a private chef in some of the most prestigious private villa`s here in Tuscany, Italy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Crostata di cioccolato- Chocolate tart

Only serious chocolate lovers are to read this post, as the main ingredient stars the decadent goodness. The name for dark chocolate in Italian is 'cioccolto fondente', and this recipe displays it's bitter characteristic perfectly. Just a few ingredients and you have a perfect velvety chocolate centre. The secret ingredient is adding a small amount of almond meal, which adds another curious dimension. In an earlier post I wrote about 'crostata', and how in Italy they are typically filled with various jams and more recently also nutella. I really wanted to share this version of 'crostata' with you as it really is quite special. Homemade pastry always makes me happy. You only need a slither as it is delicously intense. They say dark chocolate is good for you, no?
what you need:
200g 70% cocoa chocolate
one cup of milk
100g sugar
25g almond meal
400g pastry flour
three organic eggs
150g sugar
150g organic butter 
1: Make the dough by sifting flour in a large bowl, then make a well in the centre. Whisk the eggs slightly and pour in the centre of flour, add sugar, stir through lightly with a spoon to gently combine. Pour in melted pour that has been slightly cooled. Use the spoon to gently combine all the ingredients. Once the ingredients are combined, transfer to a floured bench and knead for about 3-5 minutes, until the dough comes together. Wrap tightly in plastic and place in the fridge for 30 minuets
2: Turn out dough to a floured bench and cut roughly in half. Use the larger half and roll out, large enough to line a tart pan. Transfer the rolled out dough to a greased tart pan.
3: Melt all of the ingredients for the filling over a low heat. Once the ingredients have melted transfer to the fridge and allow to cool
4: Prick the tart case with a fork. Pour in cooled chocolate mixture
5: Roll out the remaining pastry and cut in long even strips. Start placing strips of pastry in the centre, working outwards. Then place strips in the opposite direction using the same method.
6: Bake a pre-heated 180 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden in colour
7: Allow to cool and lightly dust with icing sugar
#chocolate tart, #crostata

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Marmellata ai frutti di bosco- Mixed berry jam

"Well, Art is Art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take berries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know".- Groucho Marx 
All I know is that this jam neither tastes like rhubarb nor prunes.  It is more like a combination of tart citrus with  tangy forest berries. Another thing I can tell you is that this is really easy to make, almost too easy. It is probably quicker to make this jam at home rather than going to the shops and buying a jar. Not to mention home made jam always tastes so much better. I have been making this jam for years and labelling it "Kara's zesty berry jam', and I always have a jar at hand (those close to me will testify). The Italian name for this jam sounds so much more romantic than mine "marmellata ai frutti di bosco". I love the vibrant red hues of the fresh plump berries and the spewing blood like lava that overflows as it boils away on the stove. This was one of the first photographs I up-loaded on my homepage but never provided the recipe, I guess sometimes the simple things get overlooked. Well, I hope the recipe was worth the wait- I am sure you will love the berrylicious goodness.
what you need:
750g mixed red fresh berries
600g sugar
peel and juice of one lemon
how to make:
1: simply place all of the ingredients in a heavy based pan and bring to a slow boil. Once it has reached the boil, allow it to boil away on a low heat for about 25 minuets. Keep your eye on the mixture and stir occasionally with the lid off.
2: Sterilize glass jars by boiling in hot water, removing with tongs and placing on a clean cloth.
3: Remove the lemon rind then pour the hot jam in the sterilized jars and seal immediately