Tag: time

Sweet and savory scones for tea time – Italian Cuisine

The scones, originating in the Anglo-Saxon world, are excellent for accompanying tea. They can be sweet or savory. Here is the classic Scottish recipe and some variations

The five o'clock tea has another flavor if there are at the table scones!

What are scones?

They look like small brioche rolls, but in reality the dough and texture are very different. They are sweets of Scottish origin and in the Anglo-Saxon tradition they are served with five o'clock tea. They are generally sweet, but not too sweet, and are stuffed with clotted cream and fragile jam, but there are many variations, even salty. Originally the word scones he was referring to a round, flat and unleavened focaccia made from oatmeal which was cooked on a plate and served cut into triangular wedges, the bannock. In Scotland the words scones and bannock are often interchangeable. Today scones are no longer prepared only with oatmeal.

Scones, shortcakes and cobblers

They are the same thing? Judging from the appearance it would seem so, but in reality the three doughs have different ingredients and origins. The scones are Scottish sweets, although many consider them English, while cobbler is shortcake they are Americans. Cobblers are crumble-like fruit desserts with a crunchy and crumbly surface, while shortcakes are really very similar to scones in appearance, but they have eggs among the ingredients. There is often confusion between shortcake and scones, but we want to give you the classic recipe for Scottish scones.

How are scones prepared?

This is the classic recipe, slightly sweet. The dough is really very simple to prepare and does not require rising times because instant yeast is used. First, work with your hands 60 g of cold butter with 250 g of 00 flour, a spoonful of instant yeast (not beer), a spoonful of sugar and a pinch of salt and form small crumbs. Then add the milk and create the dough which must be soft enough. If necessary, add a little flour to work it better. Spread it on a floured surface using a rolling pin. The thickness of the dough must be 4 cm. Cut it out with a cup-pasta or with a glass and bake the scones inside a baking tray lined with parchment paper after brushing them with a beaten egg. They cook at 200 degrees for 10 minutes. Scones are usually stuffed with strawberry jam and clotted cream.

What is clotted cream?

It is not just whipped cream or spreadable cheese, but it is a delicious and very soft cream that requires long cooking times in the oven. It is also called clotted cream. To prepare it you have to use a little pasteurized and very fat cream. The cream should be poured into a baking dish with a lid and left for 8 hours at 80 °. When a sort of yellow film has formed on the surface, remove it and let the clotted cream cool in the refrigerator. If you do not have time to prepare the clotted cream, you can replace it with fresh semi-whipped cream or with sour cream.

Sweet variants

Scones can be enriched in many ways. First of all you can indulge in the fillings using creams and jams to taste, but you can also add spices or dried fruit in the basic dough. A classic is the raisin scones flavored with cinnamon. Also excellent are those with fresh fruit, generally blueberries or strawberries.

Savory variations

You can also use the basic recipe for salted scones because it is not very sweet. If you prefer, however, eliminate the sugar completely and add a pinch of salt. You can enrich the dough with spices such as curry, paprika, turmeric or with aromatic herbs. If you want to make them tastier and tastier, add diced bacon or sautéed peas. As stuffed instead you can opt for spreadable cheese and salmon or cold cuts of all kinds or even grilled vegetables. In short, unleash your imagination!

Round or wedged?

You can decide which shape to give to your scones. In Scotland there are two variants, the round and the triangular ones, but they are made with the same recipe and only the shape changes.

The time of the sardines (lake) – Italian Cuisine

The time of the sardines (lake)

It is the 'queen' of the Lombard lakes in the winter season: intense, refined, dried according to ancient rules. Soul of traditional recipes, especially on the Iseo, but also used for creative dishes. It does not fear the comparison with the sea sardine …

It's time for sardines: even in the square (if desired) but for Lombard gourmets they certainly have more value those that are fished in Iseo and in Garda. Because from November to March, the agone – as it is called in Italian – reaches its peak, exactly as it happens for many species in salt water: contrary to what many think, it is in the coldest months of the year that much of the fish raw material reaches the top and therefore deserves more than ever to end up on the table. «We started well, thanks to a clean lake due to the abundant autumn rains – he says Andrea Soardi, fourth generation of the most famous family of Ionian fishermen – perch is good, but this is the period where sardine reigns. Ours is different from the Garda one, more lean and small, which is certainly better to eat fresh and not dried .

Secular rules

The size of the product begins here, recognized by Slow Food as a Montisola-based Presidium, and which follows ancient rules: after being caught by the typical 'sardener', the fish are left in salt for at least 48 hours and then placed in the sun and in the lake air for 30-40 days. In the past, ash or hornbeam branches were used to dry them, arched and held in position by taut threads tied at the ends: the suggestive 'archèc', visible in the winter, to avoid the heat that would have deteriorated the fish, and also to prevent the attack of insects, especially of flies. The drying structures today have evolved: larger, placed on special terraces and sometimes replaced by modernity. «We try to respect the canons, but quality is even more important – continues Soardi, who with the family also takes care of the historian Locanda al Lago in Carzano – so if the conditions are not perfect, we use dryers set to recreate the natural ones. If there is too much wind or too much humidity, it does not make sense to keep the fish always open as before. They would be ruined .

Clusane, the temple

After drying, the sardines are arranged concentrically in steel containers – or in wood as it was in the past – and pressed with a weight, or twisted, to release the fat, which is immediately eliminated. Then they are covered with plenty of olive oil and stored for a few months, but they can last up to two years, provided that the extra virgin olive oil is changed after 9-10 months. Curiosity: they should not be confused with missoltini, the dried agoni of Lake Como because in the preparation they do not require oil and therefore take on a stronger taste, not far from that of herring. «If dried well, our sardines are formidable: just cook them for a few minutes on the burning embers and season them with oil, parsley and garlic. We serve them with polenta and it is the most traditional dish of the lake, with an intense and particular flavor. But they are also very good with bigoli or in other recipes explains Mauro Begni who manages the note Trattoria del Muliner in Clusane, location on the Iseo of Brescia which, in addition to being the 'capital' of baked tench, is full of places that devote attention to the Sardinian. His partner is Andrea Martinelli, Giovanni's grandson, nicknamed 'El Muliner' because he was transporting flour, frying for the fishermen of the town and he opened the restaurant in 1963, now well renovated.

Fantasy in power

Sardines the same tradition (and the price is not indifferent, the tin ones cost on average 40 euros per kg but fresh just under 10 euros) but also a stimulus for the great chefs of the area. It started Vittorio Fusari – Iseo's favorite son – proposing a salad of onions, dried sardines and cuttlefish ink or Bocconcini of lake sardine, onion salad and basil granita at 'his' Pantry & Wines. Complex, in apparent simplicity, and tasty as one of the 'cult' of the starry Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera: Rice, stracchino and sardines from the lake on a spit. "It is the union of a popular product such as the stracchino from our valleys with a fish from the Garda on which I reasoned, inspired by the meat dish symbol of Brescia: a dish always loved by customers came out. But now we have another, equally interesting, on the menu: Smoked and fried sardines, honey, rosemary, citrus fruits says the chef Riccardo Camanini. Other creative dishes that have entered the memory of those who love the product: Organic chicken salad, dried sardines, chicken popcorn, green sauce jellies signed by Stefano Cerveni from Due Colombe di Borgonato and Sarda di lago, humus, crispy celery, lovage, pink grapefruit sorbet, reduction to Surlo that Saulo Della Valle prepares at H2O in Moniga.

The Sardinian BBQ of Acquaroli

The most interesting dish of the new 'vision' on the Sardinian is that – visible at the opening – of Marco Acquaroli, executive chef of Natura di Adro, fast growing restaurant. Enfant du pays – is from Palazzolo sull'Oglio – like the patron Daniele Merola, he decided to review the beloved fish in a BBQ version where (very fresh) they are prepared in a pan with butter, sage and rosemary, cooked at 120 ° for 4 hours and smoked, after removing excess fat. But the extra touch is the carpione gel. "Bring white wine, vinegar, sugar to the boil with the agar agar. I cool it and once it solidifies, I work it with an immersion blender up to the consistency of gel. Then I cook the onion clean and cut in two in the oven at 250 ° until completely carbonized. With the blender I make a powder and reserve the onion ash for the dishing, "explains Acquaroli. The sardine is finally heated on the grill, sprinkled with gel and slightly 'covered' with herbs. «Chervil, lemon balm, mint, thyme, lemon, verbena come from our garden – continues the chef from Brescia – and recreate that exchange at the base of the culinary history of the Iseo when fishermen and farmers exchanged products, creating delicious, simple and tasty dishes .

The super digestible 2A milk arrives (and this time the lactose has nothing to do with it) – Italian Cuisine


No, it is not a macroscopic spelling mistake: the latest innovation launched by Central of Turin's milk is called its own Laatte Tapporosso. A curious name, chosen because it refers to the unique characteristic of this product: the best digestibility obtained "Rethinking" the production chain starting from stable, that is without resorting to any treatment at the plant. The milk thus obtained it contains only the beta-Casein more digestible, which is called A2. And to which the name of this product is inspired, innovative for Italy because it was born from a project research conducted in collaboration with CNR-ISPA and CREA. In the rest of the world this special milk is a case of success, in particular for a New Zealand company, the A2 Milk, which is selling it with excellent results in half the world. But what's so special about it to please you so much?

When it is hard to digest e "handle" milk and look for a culprit you immediately think of lactose, the milk sugar. But proteins also play their part. That typical of milk, casein, is made up of five fractions protein, including beta-casein which represents approximately 36% of the total and of which 13 genetic variants are known, born as a result of mutations in the DNA of cows occurred over time. The variant genetics more widespread, because it is more present in the breeds most used for milk production (such as the Frisona), is the A1 but the original one seems to be the A2. The fact that it is better tolerated by the system would also confirm this gastrointestinal. In fact, during digestion, the A1 variant can form a fragment of protein (la beta-casomorphine 7) which, according to some studies, has a pro-inflammatory effect on the intestine, even causing intolerances and eczema. Consider these discoveries, research has begun to understand how "Packaged" a milk that contained only A2 and was therefore, naturally, beneficial for the functionality of the digestive system. This type of milk is produced in New Zeland, United States and Great Britain e it is sold in China, Europe and America. But so far in Italy there was not.

It took about two years to get to the Laatte Tapporosso, produced by the Centrale del Latte of turin in two versions and distributed (for the moment) throughout the Piedmont area. To naturally obtain a milk that contains only the betacasein A2 you have to start from the stables. Indeed the processes of selection of the dairy cows have originated, over time, cattle breeds and populations that differ in the genetic heritage responsible for production of beta-casein A1 and A2. So it was necessary to "map" the farms present in Piedmont to select only those where the cows have the genetics specific for the production of milk with beta-casein A2. Once identified the farms, which must also comply with the requirement animal welfare, we have moved on to designing the milk processing and packaging cycle, which is separate from that of ordinary milk and which is equipped with a certification of process that guarantees the traceability of production chain.

Milk A2 fits into the vein of development of the highest added-value milks in terms of characteristics nutritional, of sustainability or relationship with the territory from which they come. An example of this is the Hay Milk which has obtained recognition from the EU STG (Traditional specialty guaranteed). You only get it from cows fed in the traditional way, that is with at least the 75% of fresh grass, hay and cereals, and without the use of fermented fodder (salads). Thus a more fragrant milk is obtained e tasty, but also with a better nutritional profile, because, given the same fat, increases the share of healthy ones. Research conducted by the University of Vienna revealed that, compared to standard milk, the Hay milk contains twice as much Omega 3 and acid linoleic conjugate (CLA), which helps reduce fat deposits in thebody and to improve the immune system. The most of Hay Milk STG produced in Italy comes from Alto Adige (the rest from Veneto, Trentino and Friuli) and is also found in the supermarket, both under form fresh milk and as an ingredient in yogurt, skyr and cheeses.

Manuela Soressi
November 2019

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