Tag: Difficult

Farina bòna: everything about the “difficult” ingredient of MasterChef 13 – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay

La Cucina Italiana

What is the good flour? How to use? Last night, on MasterChef, the contestants, in the Golden Mystery Boxthey found an assortment of yellow-colored ingredients: in addition to cheddar cheese, chanterelles, mustard, yellow apple, turmeric, passion fruit and petit pâtisson (or patissone courgette), there was also good flour. Since it is still little knownHowever, the aspiring chefs competing didn’t know exactly how to use it.

What is good flour?

In fact, good flour – a traditional product of the Onsernone Valley, one of the most inaccessible in the Canton of Ticino, a few kilometers from Locarno – remained forgotten for a few decades. Until Ilario Garbani Marcantini, primary school teacher in Intragnatogether with the Onsernonese Museum, has rediscovered and valorised this precious corn flour, which is obtained grinding the toasted grain very finely.

His own story

It is said that the first to produce it was a miller from Vergeletto called Annunziata Terribilinicalled Nunzia, who did with corn (the same that is used for the production of polenta, coming from the Magadino plain) what was traditionally done with rye: a nice roasting in a pan until the beans burst, which he then ground finely to obtain a flour with a unique flavour. Good flour is also characterized by the type of grinding, very fine, thanks to the use of special, smooth millstones, like those of the now ruined mills of Vergeletto.

Once upon a time, farina bòna was part of the diet of the Onsernonesi, who consumed it accompanied with milk, cold or hot, water or wine, or in the form of soup, la poltina. But the change in eating habits after the Second World War progressively reduced the presence of this ingredient. At the end of the 1960s, even the last Onserno miller left his job, and good flour was no longer talked about for a long time. Only in 1991 and 2013 were the Loco and Vergeletto mills restarted and they started grinding it again.

Pastry: big hunt for difficult ingredients – Italian Cuisine


Have you found the recipe for that cake you were looking for so much, or there is a dessert that inspires you a lot: scroll down the list of necessary ingredients and here is the intruder, the one you don't have at home and you don't know where to get … what to do?


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For years, the great masters of pastry, both Italian and non-Italian, have been publishing books where they share professional secrets and their recipes. Although designed for the general public, very often these recipes require one careful hand and special ingredients. Have you ever spent a good portion of the day trying to to find any of these ingredients? Maybe you spent an hour or two looking for them because you had no idea what they were or where to find them, only to discover that the ingredients in question were something unique, to be ordered and then resigned to waiting a week before finally being able to deal with them. that particular recipe.

Unlike the savory cuisine, where most of the time there are acceptable substitutes (who among us has not made carbonara with pancetta if the bacon was not available?) or often you can simply omit themissing element and closing it there, in the pastry shop each ingredient has its own specific place, it is a voice of the choir that – if it were missing – would make the difference. A lot.

Many pastry enthusiasts dedicate themselves to creating something truly special: those who are serious about preparing desserts know that there are ingredients – apart from the classic pantry ones we all know, the "essentials" such as milk, flour, sugar, yeast, etc. – more obscure, which, however, it would be good to have on hand, so as to be able to face any recipe.
Here you are, whether you are an experienced pastry chef or an enthusiastic apprentice, a list of 10 uncommon ingredients but present in many recipes "advanced", With their characteristics and a suggestion to find them:

Chocolate coating
Things: chocolate (dark, milk, white) with a higher percentage of butter (and therefore fat) which melts more easily. It stands out for its lucidity, and is widely used by professional pastry chefs for processes such as glazing, for pralines, for cake toppings and for ganache because it gives the finished product a smooth, uniform and creamy appearance and an authentic and unmistakable flavor. Cover chocolates come in the form of tablets, tablets or blocks.
Where is it: can be found online.

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Glucose syrup
Things: a solution based on water and corn starch, thick and viscous. It is used in the preparation of mirror glazes to ensure gloss; it is used in mousses, sugar paste, plastic chocolate, nougat, ice cream and homemade candies.
Where is it: there is no supermarket: you can find it online on professional pastry sites.

Cocoa butter
Things: a mixture of fats obtained from cocoa beans (the seeds of the cocoa tree). You can find it in drops to dissolve or in pure powder. It is used in the preparation of fillings for chocolates, in plastic chocolate for decorations, in chocolate to sprinkle on the surfaces of desserts to create velvet-effect glazes, in pandoro, etc.
Where is it: in some pastry shops, in various online shops, in natural and organic products shops, in herbalists, in some pastry shops.

Anhydrous butter
Things: water-free, contains 99% fat and allows processes that are preserved better, that do not oxidize and do not become sour.
Where is it: designed specifically for professional pastry, it is not easily available (unless you know a pastry chef): in home preparations it can be replaced by ghee.

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Invert sugar
Things: it is a mix of glucose and fructose in equal parts; it is naturally present in honey and in the most sugary fruits (especially in grape juice). This type of sugar can caramelize quickly, which results in shorter cooking times; retains water, so sweets are softer and more fragrant. It is of particular use in the production of ice cream because it lowers the freezing point. It is used in biscuits, pastry creams, spreadable chocolate.
Where is it: it is only available online.

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Agar agar
Things: a vegetable gelling substance obtained from about 32 species of red seaweed, colorless, odorless and tasteless. It is used as a vegetable gelling agent in the preparation of jams, jams, puddings, creams and fillings, gummy candies, meringues, ice cream and yogurt, sorbets, jellies for desserts. It comes in three different formats: filaments, flakes (or bars) and powder.
Where is it: in supermarkets, in organic products shops, in some herbalist's shops and in ethnic shops.

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Natural vanilla extract
Things: it is obtained by macerating the vanilla beans in alcohol. It is an essence, usually dark in color like pods, a liquid widely used to flavor sweets such as cakes, donuts, biscuits, pies, creams, ice cream and puddings
Where is it: you can buy it in all specialty shops for sweets, in organic food shops, in the most well-stocked supermarkets.

Things: it is a product derived from beetroot which appears as an odorless white substance with a crystalline structure. It can be melted at 150 ° C and fired at 180-190 ° C, obtaining a transparent appearance. For this reason it is used for glass effect decorations and can be dyed with water-soluble food dyes.
Where is it: you can find it online, in shops specializing in pastry products and can be requested at the pharmacy.

Pasteurized eggs in cartons
What are: whole eggs, but also egg yolks and whites, shelled, homogenized, pasteurized and refrigerated. They are used a lot in pastry and ice cream preparations because they are perfectly hygienic and much easier to dose (in pastry a few grams of difference can change the result).
Where is it: in the refrigerated counter of the most well-stocked supermarkets.

Edible flowers
What are: untreated flowers, belonging to the category of edible flowers (about 50 species). The edible part are the petals: you must therefore remember to carefully remove the pistils and stems. In pastry they are used to round off the flavor of creams, yogurt, ice cream and tarts or to be candied (lilac, violet, carnation, rose, angelica, jasmine, etc.)
Where is it: from some nurserymen, by requesting these specific types of flowers; some supermarkets sell trays with a selection of fresh flowers in the fruit and vegetable section. Edible flowers can also be purchased online, including on Amazon.

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January 2022
Francesca Tagliabue

Posted on 14/01/2022


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Agitation, what to eat to find calm and relaxation in difficult moments – Italian Cuisine

Some nutrients found in foods are able to relax the body and mind. Here's what to bring to the table to stay away from anxiety, insomnia and stress

Uncertainty for the future, fear of getting sick, fears of the new lockdown. Everyone, more or less, in the last period we have been experiencing what it means to live with agitation, a malaise that can favor the appearance of mood swings, sleep problems and stress. To counter this problem it can be helpful to pay attention to what you bring to the table. "The nutrients present in food are able to positively or negatively influence not only our physical health, but also our mental health," he explains Valentina Galiazzo, nutritionist biologist. «In fact, they stimulate the production of hormones that play a key role in the proper functioning of the nervous system and emotional well-being. Tensions and stress in turn increase the production of cortisol and adrenaline, which stimulate the release of insulin, a hormone that increases the sense of hunger and pushes you to eat more food ". So here's what to do to deal with the agitation and find calm and a little relaxation in difficult moments starting from the table.

Yes to pasta, better if whole

Whole grains (rye, oats, spelled, barley, rice) and their derivatives are a source of complex carbohydrates, tryptophan and B vitamins, which favor the synthesis of serotonin and Gaba. "Serotonin is a hormone that is involved in the regulation of hunger, sleep and mood. Gaba, on the other hand, helps you feel calmer and more relaxed ”, explains nutritionist Valentina Galiazzo. But there is more. "Unlike refined ones, whole grains contain a lot of fiber, the favorite food of intestinal bacteria, which favor the production of hormones that affect tone and help to better resist stressful situations".

Agitation, what to eat to find calm and relaxation in difficult moments

Eat plant foods with every meal

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are a real natural supplement in the most demanding moments from a physical and mental point of view. "They provide an excellent amount of vitamins and minerals that improve the response to stress. Chicory, persimmon, pomegranate, grapes, cabbage, broccoli and other varieties contain a lot of magnesium and potassium, minerals that lower cortisol, the hormone that makes us feel tense and agitated ".

Rely on healthy proteins and fats

Both promote the synthesis of hormones that affect emotions. "Animal proteins from lean meat (chicken, turkey), fish and dairy products (ricotta, yogurt, etc.) and vegetable proteins from legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans) contain amino acids precursors of serotonin, the hormone for good mood and melatonin, the sleep hormone. The essential fatty acids present in fish, extra virgin olive oil, seeds and nuts, in turn increase their synthesis and help you feel more relaxed ".

In the gallery 10 foods that help fight agitation

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