I experimented new recipes with my mum in Rome as usual. They were for the Christmas festivities but are good all-over winter time. Here they are:
Cake with ginger and dark chocolate
You need: 300 g of flour, two eggs, 100 g of Demerara sugar, 100 g of melted butter, one and a half tsp pf baking powder, one tsp of bicarbonate of soda, one tbsp. of ground ginger, 200 g of yogurt or four tbsp. of milk. To decorate: 100 g of dark chocolate, 75%, the peel of an orange, half a tsp of ground ginger and one tsp of Demerara sugar.
Warm the butter with the Demerara sugar and the ginger. Beat the eggs and add all the other ingredients together with the butter and ginger mixture. Stir until you obtain a smooth mixture. Pour the mixture in a greased round tin cake and bake at 180℃ for half an hour or until ready. Let it cool and prepare the decoration melting the chocolate with 10 g of butted and a tbsp. of milk. Cover the cake with the chocolate mixture and let it cool. Cut the peel of the orange in small pieces and boil it with two tbsp. of water, the ground ginger plus Demerara sugar. Let it boil for 10-15 minutes then decorate the top of the cake with the orange pieces and pour some of the water on the cake.
You need: 400 g of flour, two egg yolks, 50 g of raisins, 50 g of mixed peel, the zest of an orange, 50 g of melted butter, 50 g of sugar, 12 g of dry yeast, a pinch of salt.
Soak the raisins in warm water and some drops of liquor (optional). Beat the eggs with the sugar, add the melted butter and the rest of the ingredients. Add the raisins and the warm water as well. Knead the dough and cover it with a wet tea towel. Let it rest in a warm place for two hours. Knead the dough again, divide it in small portions and place them in paper cases. Cover the cases with film and let it rest in a warm place for an hour. Bake at 180℃ for half an hour or till ready. Dust with icing sugar to finish.
For four people you need: 400 g of fresh egg tagliolini, 100 g of prosciutto, 30 g of butter, four tbsp. of parmigiano, 150 g of double cream, black pepper, four eggs, some gin or cognac.
Cut the prosciutto in pieces and sauté it in a frying pan with the butter. Add the double cream and the liquor, let it simmer for a few minutes. In a bowl beat the eggs with the parmigiano and pepper. Cook the tagliolini in salted water. Drain them when ready keeping some of the water. Pour the pasta in the frying pan and add the beaten eggs and some of the water. Stir and mix the tagliolini until the eggs are cooked and serve with extra black pepper and parmigiano.
Spaghetti alla bottarga
A friend of mine, who is originally from Sardinia, prepared a special treat for me and my mum when we visited her. It is a simple delicious recipe with a Sardinian ingredient: bottarga di mugine, that is, the eggs of grey mullet.
For four people you need: 20 g of bottarga di mugine, three pieces of garlic cloves peeled and chopped, extra virgin olive oil, 300 g of spaghetti, fresh parsley.
Cut the parsley thinly, warm the oil in a frying pan and add the garlic. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes without burning it. Add 15 g of bottarga, stir and turn off the heat. Cook the spaghetti in salty water and drain them. Add the bottarga sauce, the rest of the bottarga and the parsley. Serve warm with more fresh parsley on top.
My Sardinian friend also prepared special raw artichokes cut in pieces and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, bottarga and shaves of parmigiano, it was delicious!
Some treats from Moldavia
My mum’s carer, Tania, is from Moldavia. She prepared a treat for us that they always make in Moldavia for festivities. We call it insalata russa (coleslaw or egg salad), Olivie in Moldavian. To have a successful dish, the secret is in balancing the doses of the different ingredients. She also brought a cockerel that we boiled to make chicken broth for our evening soup adding pastina (little pasta in the shape of stars or small squares).
Olivie (coleslaw or egg salad)
You need: three potatoes, three carrots, six small pickled cucumbers, four hard boiled eggs, one pepper, half of a chicken breast or some salami, salt, pepper and mayonnaise.
Boil all the ingredients except the pepper, salami and pickles. Cut all the ingredients in cubes and mix them. Add salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Mix well and chill for one hour before serving.
Brodo di gallo
Cook the cockerel in water with one peeled onion, a potato, a carrot, a stalk of celery and a tomato. Add salt and let it simmer for one-two hours. Cook the pastina in the broth and serve warm with parmigiano.