A Fragrant Slice of Apple Strudel

I have seen and eaten many variations of apple strudel, but this recipe is the one I love most, and that I would never ever cross off my “Ricettario“.

I actually didn’t like apple strudel until the day that my mother in law served this delicious looking dessert on the dinner table. I enjoyed it so much, I immediately asked for the recipe. It was inherited from her mom who was of Hungarian origin, yet the only change I made to the recipe was to use ready-made puff pastry instead of hand making it.

I do hope that you’ll give this recipe a try and that it will also find a page in your “Ricettario”!

Francesca

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Bagna Càuda Days: Let’s Celebrate like the Italians do!

The 23rd, 24th and 25th of November are the Bagna Cauda days and to get ready for this occasion we got the original recipe and pictures from Tipici astigiani (many thanks for that!!).

The Bagna Cauda, meaning hot sauce, originally comes from Asti. It is a city located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. In this city, in the past it was very common to find the main ingredient to prepare this tasty sauce: the anchovies in salt.

The Bagna Cauda is served in a Fojòt, a traditional glazed terra cotta bowl. It is composed of an upper bowl suited to contain the Bagna Cauda and a lower part where to put a small candle to keep the sauce warm.

This is more than a simple dish, as it is a social ritual where all the guests gather around a dinner table, dipping vegetables into the Bagna Cauda and sipping a good fruity red wine from Piemonte (like a Barbera d’Asti). At the end of the dinner, the etiquette expects to finish with an abundant cup of hot beef broth.

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Monthly Restaurant: Osteria Antichi Sapori – Murgia – Apulia -Southern Italy

Last summer my dear friends, Stefania and Francesco, invited me to a lunch in the cult Osteria Antichi Sapori, located in Montegrosso, a bucolic village in Murgia countryside of Apulia region. At the time I was spending my summer holiday in Ostuni, 200 km away from that place, but despite the distance I didn’t hesitate to reach my friends for the lunch, and it was totally worth it.
When we were approaching the restaurant, we were surrounded by the silence that characterises this peculiar countryside, where olive trees stretch for hundreds of meters, interrupted just by vineyards and bounded by long dry-stone walls. In this area the most widespread cultivations are the Coratina olive trees, of which the unique “gold of Apulia” extra-virgin olive oil is made. In addition to that, it is worth mentioning the ancient grapevine Uva di Troia that produces the distinctive Nero di Troia red wine, one of the most known and typical wine of Apulia.

As soon as we arrived at the restaurant we were immediately hooked with this cozy place. We were welcomed by our friends and the cook-owner of the restaurant, Pietro Zito, who told us the story of his Osteria. He proudly wished to mention that he is not a chef but a cook and that he grew up in that village where the restaurant is located, feeling himself part of the landscape.

His philosophy is that Antichi Sapori kitchen is managed by few simple rules: the love for the traditions, the respect for raw materials, seasonality and the excellence of the ingredients. You can watch the cooks work through a large window overlooking the hall or decide to personally visit the kitchen. Simplicity and genuineness are skills not to be hidden” (cit. Antichi Sapori).

Pietro let us enter his garden which is a biodynamic vegetable garden with Mediterranean scents of thyme and oregano, sage and marjoram and much, much more. This corner of northern Murgia is like a mosaic of biodiversity which he intends to preserve.

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Ricotta and Almond Paste Cassatina

The lunch we got to eat was simply delicious, every dish was genuine and tasty. We ended the lunch eating one of the most delicious dessert we ever had: Ricotta and Almond paste Cassatina.

At the end of the day,  Pietro gave the children a small bag of homemade caramelised almonds, and we received two of his valuable recipes.

Thanks Pietro and our dear friends, Stefania and Francesco, for inviting us to a such unforgettable day!

If you wish to continue this imaginary journey to Apulia with us, give “Antichi Sapori” recipes a try, without forgetting to pair them with two local wines: Rosè Wine CALAFURIA Tormaresca and Organic Red Wine ALMAGIA di Giancarlo Ceci.

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Warm and Comfort Lentil, Apple and Chestnut Soup

This month’s first recipe is an intriguing soup: the slightly sweet flavour of apples and chestnuts mixed with the taste of lentils will win you over.

This comforting soup is a traditional recipe from Abruzzo, a beautiful central Italian region. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a red wine made from grapes that grow in this region, is the right wine match for this soup.

There are many types of lentils, some are red, others are yellow or orange. To prepare this soup we used the brown type called Castelluccio di Norcia (Sibillini mountains in Umbria region), whose main characteristic is a soft consistency and a thin skin. This variety of lentils doesn’t need to be soaked before cooking. This makes the lentils a lot easier and quicker to work with.

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All Souls’s Day Hazelnut Chocolate Torrone

The All Souls’s day is a Catholic festivity occurring on November 2nd, right after All Saints’ Day. Processions and recurrences occur and gifts are donated to so called “good children” the night between 1 and 2 November all over Italy. This is all done in memory of the dead, which are honoured by their relatives on the 2nd of November.

In Naples, the people use to prepare edible offerings, such as this Hazelnut Chocolate Torrone. Translated from Italian, this is called “Torrone of The Dead”. What a spooky name! This Torrone is made by layering chocolate,  to create a crunchy crust, filled with a satisfying cream of chocolate and hazelnut. This is just perfect to cheer you up during these sad days of remembrance.

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Minutolo – White Wine – IGP Puglia with Crispy Fried Fish and Seasonal Vegetables by “Momo’- pescato – e – cucinato” Restaurant

For an intriguing and crispy fall  aperitif, WalkingWine street – wineshop has visited Momo’- pescato – e – cucinato, a cosy restaurant, located in a small village named Savelleri and with a view on the Apulian sea.

The young owner of this place, Antonio Legrottaglie, has welcomed the Walkingwine crew with a frittura di pesce e verdure di stagione– a fried fish matched with seasonal vegetables. Walkingwine has paired this light and crispy meal with a glass of Minutolo – white wine – Azienda Pietregiovani, which was appointed by some expert sommeliers as a very  intriguing wine.  

Chef Antonio goes daily shopping and, based on the availability of seasonal ingredients and his inspiration, he meticulously chooses some  ingredients, so that, regularly, some different dishes are added to the menu.

This small place (only 8 m2) is finely furnished with the colours of the sea. Antonio, accompanied by his inseparable fryer, his two induction fires and a small oven, prepares complete menus based exclusively on fish and vegetables. He never forgets to respect the environment: here you  get  your meal served solely on a biodegradable palm leaf!

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Trieste and its Spectacular Regatta: The Barcolana

As every year the city of Trieste (located in Friuli Venezia Giulia – Northeastern Italian region) will host the “Barcolana“. This year the spectacular regatta will be celebrating its 50th anniversary and will take place on October 14th in the stunning gulf in front of the city.

The Barcolana is the biggest regatta in the world. In the last years, more than 2.100 boats were registered and thousands of enthusiastic sailors were attracted. Also this year, the celebrations have already started in the city, which is bursting of events to make the visitors experiencing the true spirit of this wonderful Regatta. Yes, the Barcolana must be lived at least once in your life, in the same way as its hosting city. For more info take a look at the event website (www.barcolana.it.).

It is not just a case that Trieste hosts the Barcolana. The hills surrounding the city form a natural tunnel for the east winds blowing toward the sea. The most famous of these winds is certainly the Bora. With its well above 100 km/h gusts, Bora makes all locals feel alive!

Recently, the Eataly Store opened in Trieste by the sea and dedicated the store right to the Bora wind.

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Riva Tommaso Gulli –  picture taken from Eataly Store

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Eat the Season: The Gnudi from Tuscany

Spinach is available year round but in this period you find the fall variety characterised by more succulent leaves. Spinach is a good reservoir of minerals and vitamins, as long as it is consumed strictly raw. If you have to cook them as in this recipe, it’s better if you steam the spinach to preserve the nutrients. Now you are all set to prepare this recipe from Tuscany: the Gnudi. This name, in Tuscan dialect, means naked, as they are not covered with dough. The lightness and delicacy of this dish is the strength of the Gnudi, which are best accompanied by a fresh dressing light tomato sauce or butter and sage.

The Gnudi, Spinach and Ricotta based Dish from Tuscany
Tuscan Gnudi

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Mountain – Style Fresh Tagliatelle with Chanterelle Mushrooms

The sweet taste and intense and aromatic flavour the Chanterelle mushrooms (Finferli or Gallinacci in Italian) give off during cooking make them suitable to be prepared in many different recipes. Crunchy as the champignons and fleshy as the Porcini they can be a side dish, as well as a seasoning for a pasta or for a polenta based dish.

Today we are sharing a flavoursome dish that reminds us of the mountain huts in Trentino Alto Adige, where you can usually savour a cuisine that is rich in mountain ingredients, Mediterranean flavours and German influences. Meanwhile, you can enjoy  your stay between the Dolomites and the Garda Lake.

We made this recipe with Italian Chanterelles we found at Ca’ – Cucina, (Rebekkavej 49 – Hellerup, Denmark).

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Savoury Mediterranean Fish Stew

Seafood soup (zuppa di Pesce) is a typical Italian dish, mainly made along the Italian coasts. Every region facing the sea has its own recipe. The recipe changes according to the type of fish fished in the area. One of the most popular recipes is called the Il Caciucco alla Livornese from the Tirreno sea (Tuscany). This recipe was introduced a few centuries ago by coastal fishermen. They discovered a way to use the unsold fishing catch. The tradition states that, to prepare a good Cacciucco, you should have at least 5 different types of fish (of for each letter c in Cacciucco).

Here is our version of the fish stew. We prepared it with the seafood we found at our trusted fishmonger in Copenhagen.

With this recipe, we brought a taste of Mediterranean food on our table, to feel the longing of a summer which is unfortunately almost gone.

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