Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sicilian oranges and almonds combined in a super-light cake

Do you know how to make an exquisite light and orange flavored cake? Do you ever wonder what to prepare to your kids as afternoon snack that is healthy and tasty? Well... first of all let me tell you that it's definetely better if you have Sicilian organic oranges and Sicilian almond flour. Yes!

Last week I was actually browsing the Internet for a cake containing almond flour, as I wanted to use the one I had bought few months before, and I bumped into this recipe that I tried with an amazing result! (The original Italian site is called gnamgnam, but I've slightly changed it.)

Ingredients and preparation:
100 gr. almond flour
50 gr. flour
100 gr. brown sugar
4 eggs (to be separated)
2 organic oranges
16 gr. yeast in powder
icing sugar for topping 

In a bowl beat the yolks with the sugar until soft and fluffy. In another bowl, pour the almond flour and add the orange juice and the orange zest. Add this mix to the egg and sugar one and mix well. Then add the plain flour and the powder yeast. Last, whip the egg whites with a tiny pinch of salt until stiff and gently incorporate them on the cake mix, being very careful because you don't want to deflate them, so use a spatula to help you and gently fold them in a sort of circular movement (from the top to the bottom) until they are completely combined with the rest of the mixture.

Now the cake is ready to go in the oven. To bake it I usually use a silicone cake pan which doesn't need paper or butter. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes at 180° C. After half an hour (never before!) check it with a wooden stick; if it's cooked and dry inside take it out of the oven and let it cool down for a while, before tranferring it on a serving plate. Sprinkle with icing sugar if you like and enjoy it with a cinnamon tea or a strong coffee!!!

NOTE: People keep asking me: why do you say is it super-light? Well... because it is!!! There are eggs and almond flour of course, but no butter, oils nor milk added. Obviously it's always a cake, I am not saying is totally calories-free, but almonds are very good for our health and I think this is the proof that you can prepare an healthy and delicious cake without exceeding with the fats. And it's incredibly soft as well! Isn't it just superb?

Thanks to Gnamgnam for this lovely recipe :-)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sicilian recipe with "broccolo arriminato": what is that?



Have you ever heard about pasta with "broccolo arriminato"? Any clue on the meaning of the word "arriminato"?
It means "stirred" and this traditional Sicilian dish combines pasta (usually bucatini, spaghetti n.4 or penne) with an amazing condiment made with cauliflower.

Ingredients and Preparation for 4 people:

1 onion
1 medium cauliflower
e.v. olive oil
3-4 anchovies or anchovy cream
a glass of red wine
2-3 table spoons tomato purè
400 gr. pasta of your choice
pine nuts and raisins
5-6 tablespoon of breadcrumb


In a pot boil the cauliflower with salty water, after having washed it and cut it in pieces. While the cauli is cooking, peel and chop the onion, pour some extra virgin olive oil in a sauce pan (about 3 tablespoons) on a medium heat and sauteè the onion, adding the anchovies until they became very soft and easy to melt with the help of a wooden spoon.
At this point add the red wine, the tomato pureè and a couple of spoonful of water (the one in which the cauliflower has cooked). Finally when the whole thing has become a creamy sauce add some pine nuts, raisins and the boiled cauliflower. Keep using the wooden spoon to mash all the ingredients together just like in the picture above


Let the condiment cook like this for 10-15 minutes. The result must be very creamy, soft and a tiny bit watery. (It's important that the cauliflower condiment is kind of juicy, otherwise will end up too dry with the breadcrumb.)

This dish has a poor origin and that's why we put breadcrumb on top instead of grated cheese. To prepare it you just need a frying pan on a high heat. Mix the spoons of breadcrumb with a drizzle of olive oil and stir continuously until it becomes golden brown, then we usually serve it in what you call the gravy boat, as shown here on the left.

For the pasta, just cook it in the same pot and water of the cauliflower which will give it a stronger flavor. Once pasta is ready, drain it and put it on dishes straight away with abundant condiment and finish with the lovely breadcrumb on top.  

I am sure you have eaten all these ingredients before, but have you ever had them in this combination? It will be a brand new experience for you. Enjoy!!!