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The art of food. Simple and full of flavours.

The Woodpecker

Woodneck. To be precise.

Just about the most romantic way to brew your coffee. A bit like Chemex but looks like a woodpecker. Japanese romantic. To be precise.

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I use 28 or 30g of coffee to 400g water ratio depending on coffee. Total brew time including 35 s bloom is betweem 2.30 – 3.0 minutes again depends on coffee.

Finer grind than you would for V60 (or any other pourover) and a longer, almost 3 minutes brew. The great setup for stronger and full of flavour cup of coffee. Grind coarser and get it so clean and get it crispy and… That is the romantic.

Moka Pot and Au Lait

And here it is. Probably one of the most easiest ways to make a delicious cup of coffee and a nice alternative to Cappuccino without expensive espresso machine. Goood morning.

This pretty old Italian invention has spread all over the world and its the most similar to espresso. But… It is not Espresso. No. Not really. The real Espresso is pulled by 9 bars of pressure but your Moka pot is able to make about 1 – 1.5 bars of pressure. But for its almost boiling brew, the final cup is much stronger then real Espresso. The very ideal morning cup of strong black coffee.

There’s many kinds of Moka pots out there in the shops or online but I suggest to buy the original Bialetti as you can be sure of the quality and it will last longer as well. Don’t get confused about the size as 3 – cup size will make just about 30ml of brew, right enough for one cup. And believe me, It is more then enough. And last but not least, It is very important to clean up the Moka pot very properly as It is made of aluminium and that is definitely not what you want to taste in your cup. Good way to do it is to brew just a water at a higher heat then you would for coffee. And also there’s some cleaning powder for filter coffee machines available as well.

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Cafe Au Lait

Is a french classic coffee, usually served for breakfast. White coffee one could say. It is similar to Cappuccino or Caffe Latte but it is made of filter coffee and steamed milk at 1:1 ratio. This is ideal if you don’t want to spend too much on good quality espresso machine but you still want to enjoy cappuccino-like coffee.

So you need some good quality beans, grinder, Moka pot ( ideal for its strong flavour ) or other filter device, steel milk jug and ideally a milk frother ( or use a french press ).  Simply make the moka coffee as above and then steam your milk. Thermometer could be handy as you end up with nicely smooth frothed milk. The recommended temperature for milk frothing is between 150 – 155 F. Pour the coffee in a preheated cup and then slowly pour the milk. Serve and enjoy. Bon Apetit…

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Coffee Talk

Have you noticed that Coffee became very popular these days? People talking about Coffee more than ever and Coffee itself beginning to be more and more delicious.  There must be something in the air…

United States especially has got pretty impressive coffee scene. Roasters like Stumptown, Verve or Intelligentsia doing really good job at offering people high quality beans as well as very useful information helping you understand Coffee itself as something great, exclusive and highly addictive.

UK scene is obviously a bit smaller but still pretty amazing…

Artisan Coffee Roasters

The best of roasting in Scotland by me.  I like these guys for their sometimes different selection of single origins. Say India, Sumatra etc. They got three caffes. Two in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow so you could visit them and try before you buy. Or they have got free delivery with two 250g bags. artisanroast.co.uk

Has Bean Coffee

Has Bean is totally crazy. Stephen Leighton, the founder of Has Bean is a walking coffee encyclopedia and must be a total workaholic. Check their web and like them on facebook. You’ll see a typhoon of information until then. Nice to see what this guy is making for the whole UK coffee culture and still offering great quality coffee and monthly espresso blends. Plus they have got great prices, loads to choose from and sometimes next day delivery. hasbean.co.uk

Square Mile Coffee Roasters

And finally Square Mile. Their coffee was always special and kinda different for me. Recently Kilimanjaros from El Salvador blew my mind. Their coffee is a must try. They also supply some Caffes around UK so check their website. No.1 for me!           shop.squaremilecoffee.com

UK Coffee roasters

Try some of the speciality coffee and fall in love with exceptional world of flavours, tastes and freshness. Be creative and respect the hard work someone put into your bag of freshly roasted beans.

Visit to Italy. Coming soon

The Italian Classics

The Famous Pasta

Part 1

For me, Pasta is not only food. Pasta is a tradition. Pasta is a national craft  and one of the things, Italians are very proud of. There are several kinds of pasta. You know, all the colours and shapes, one can buy at local market. In this case, we’re talking about factory made – dried pasta.

Dried Pasta

First of all, I need to mention one very important think. There’s nothing bad about dried pasta at all. Sometimes, it is even better then the fresh one, depends on the type of a dish. Spaghetti, Penne, Fusilli, Rigatoni and a few more are the part of factory made Pasta. The reason is very simple. The actual shape of the Pasta named above is a bit difficult to make by hand, so there are factories using forms which can give the shape. The dough for factory Pasta is made from Semolina – golden yellow wheat flour, and water.

Fresh – Egg Pasta

As I mentioned before, the actual process of making pasta is very fascinating. It is a tradition, probably older then your grand grandma. Depends on regions, almost every of them has it’s unique style of making pasta. No one in Italy can grow up without learning of making Pasta.

Flour

It is very important what kind of flour you’re gonna choose to make fresh pasta. In Italy the most using flour is 00 flour. I didn’t found this flour in Scotland, yet. So, I am using the strong white bread flour which is also good but there seems to be a problem. The dough for fresh, homemade pasta has to be very thin which is a bit difficult with strong  white flour as it’s need a bit more time to roll it out. But there’s nothing you can’t do with a little bit of patience.

Use one egg per 100 grams of flour. You can make the dough straight on the wooden surface by hand or use a bowl. I found the bowl better. So, sift 100 grams of flour to the bowl, make a well and pour in the egg. I always start with fork to make a rough mix. When it’s mixed roughly, It’s time to get your hands dirty. Squeezing the flour with egg, make a soft and non sticky dough. Knead good and leave for about 10 minutes to chill, wrapped in cling film. This is the recipe for all the fresh – egg pasta. If you want to make a green pasta, just add a little bit of spinach and a bit less flour.

Pasta cuts

Tagliatelle – Long, lengthwise cutted strips, the most preferable Pasta for Bolognese sauce. They have to be cut by hand. If you’re using pasta machine, then it’s called Fettucine.

Pappardelle – Small, squared shaped Pasta using for soups.

Lasagna sheets –  Probably the easiest cut of pasta. The size depends on your Lasagna baking tin.

Pasta cuts

This is absolute basic of Pasta. Obviously, there are more cuts you can use. But I didn’t try them  yet,  so I am not able to speak about them.

Tomorrow, I’d like to talk about the stuffed pasta and also mention some basic cooking tips  for you. This article may be the most boring from all week but for someone who never tried to make pasta at home can be very useful. I promise, that tomorrow will be much more exciting.

The Italian Classics

The Famous Pasta

Part 2

We already know, how to make Pasta from scratch. And now, we should know, how to treat your pasta like an Italian.

Once you cooking the pasta, make sure that your pot is big enough to accommodate the whole batch of Pasta. For example, if you put a big amount of Tagliatelle to the small pot, they will “fight” and stick to each other. So, you have a big pot and everything you need to do is fill it up with water and leave until boiling. Add a pinch of salt which will stop the boiling a bit for a while so wait until the water bubbling again. At this point, you should add your pasta. Some people adding oil to the water which is not necessary as it’s using for the stuffed pasta to pretend sticking. Fresh, homemade pasta has to be boiled for about 3-4 minutes. This really depends on your tastes but there’s a rule that pasta can’t be damp or too sticky. Three minutes are very ideal as the Pasta will be cooked and kinda firm. Italians called this point Al Dente. Factory made – dried Pasta needs a bit more. About 6-8 minutes is good, always taste it after couple minutes. Once it cooked, Pasta need to be served immediately with the sauce poured all over. Basically, cook the pasta just before serving, when everything is ready.

Stuffed Pasta

Is only made from fresh egg Pasta which has to be very thin and freshly prepared without any signs of drying out. This is very important for every kind of stuffed Pasta.

Ravioli, Tortelli, Tortellini – called with different names, their vary in size but probably always has the same shape – square. I said probably because I found this information in couple of books and then I found another, totally different. But if you’ll take a look at the Ravioli cutters, they’re always squared shaped, so I stay with it. There are also dozens of stuffings one can choose from such as meaty or using spinach and ricotta.

Tortellini

Because I don’t have any Ravioli cutter and really wanted to make some of the stuffed Pasta, I’ve chosen Tortellini. The actual shape looks a quite tricky but everything does not how it seems to be. I don’t want to explain the whole process which is really boring to read. If you’ll browse throw the YouTube, I am sure that you will find it very easily. Let’s talk about the stuffing and sauce I used.

The stuffing is very simple. It’s just a mix of Ricotta cheese and Spinach which is really simple and delicious as well as goes very well with the Tomato and Heavy Cream Sauce.

  • 1 Carrot and 1 Onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 Celery sticks (finely chopped)
  • 1 can Italian Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream (or whipped double cream)
  • Salt and Pepper (freshly grated from mill or grinder)

Again, everything you need is just follow the ingredients. Simmer everything except the Cream, uncovered for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionaly. Add the cream just before serving. Bon Apetit.

The Italian Classics

Starters

 

Bruschetta

From the Latin verb “bruscare”, which means to toast or to roast. We’r talking about baguette or fine quality white bread, roasted or grilled over the pan, grill, whatever… It is very simple and fresh starter. Or snack, if you want. Using almost all around Italy. Simple and totally delicious. Here’s everything you need:

If you’ll follow the Ingredients step by step you will get the Bruschetta. Grill the Baguette, spread with crushed Garlic, top with Tomatoes and fresh Basil. Finally sprinkle with Olive Oil. Bruschetta. Simple and full of flavours.

Bruschetta

“Here’s my story about cooking Italian. A week of freshness and homemade sensations.  

Breadsticks

Sorted to the Bread category, Breadsticks are more snack or side dish, by me. They’r really easy to make and very addictive to eat. There are not only Italians, who eats them. If you go throw Spain or Greece you’ll also find them as a side dish to almost everything such as Hummus and many other sauces or cheese.

I found the following recipe as the best. Again, as always at FULLOFFLAVOURS, try to experiment with ingredients like changing flour and amount of the other things. What you will got is your unique recipe following your own tastes. How original! My recipe:

  • 2 cups Strong White Bread Flour
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 sachet Active Dried Yeast
  • half cup luke warm Water
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • grated Parmesan

Mix all the ingredients and knead the dough for about 10minutes. Then leave to rise, covered with kitchen towel or foil until double in volume. Note: Before you start making the dough, put the bowl under the running warm water for couple seconds. The bowl will get hot and it will help to better rising. If your kitchen isn’t hot enough (as mine is) you can help yourself with warm kitchen towel wrapped around the bowl all the time you need for rising.

Before the actual baking, grab a small bowl, fill it with Olive Oil, 2 cloves of crushed Garlic and a bit of grated Parmesan, stir, and spread over the sticks using brush. Bake at 180°C for about 20 minutes or until gold.

Breadsticks

The Italian Classics

Getting Serious

Bolognese Sauce ( also known as ragù)

 

  • Olive Oil

  • Lean Beef Mince

  • Italian Plum Tomatoes

  • Dry White Wine

  • Carrots

  • Celery

  • Bay Leaf

  • Onions and Garlic

  • Black Pepper

  • Fresh Basil

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano

The Italian Classics

The Great Oven

Pizza and Focaccia

Baking is another craft of Italian cooking. Stonebaked Pizza and Focaccia, both with the characteristic  flavour of Italy. Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to own the pizza oven. Anyway, it is not necessary and there’s nothing bad about using your regular gas or electric oven. It should be an honour for your oven to accomodate one of the Italian icons.

Pizza Margherita

Margherita is a basic pizza also known as tricolora (Italian flag) because of It’s colours. Using green basil, white Mozzarella and red tomatoes or pasatta.  With a wee bit of parmesan and possibility of oregano.

Pizza dough recipe:

  • 1 a 1/2 sachets Active Dried Yeast
  • 3 a 1/2 00 cups Italian Flour (or strong white bread flour)
  • Salt
  • 1 cup Lukewarm Water
  • Olive Oil
  • Baking Stone (optional)

Make the dough just to be manageable and not too sticky. Give it a good knead and leave to rise for 2 – 3 hours in slightly oiled bowl, covered with cling film or kitchen cloth. Split the risen dough into two and roll each one very thinly to the round Pizza shape. Spread around the pasatta, top with mozzarella and sprinkle with grated parmesan and olive oil. Bake at 200 °C for about 15 minutes. Top with fresh Basil just before serving.

Margerita Pizza

Focaccia

There are several names for Focaccia depends on regions. In Bologna known as Crescentina and at the north of Italy, usually called Pizza Genovese. Bread for it’s texture and Pizza for it’s toppings. Focaccia may be plain, with olives and and thyme or onions. Handfull of variations you can choose from.

The dough is very similar to Pizza dough but using almost 1:1 amount of water and flour.

  • 1 sachet Active Dried Yeast
  • 5 cups 00 Italian Flour
  • 2 – 3 cups lukewarm Water
  • Salt
  • Olive oil for the dough, kneading and topping

Prepare the dough in a bowl just a little sticky and transfer it to the oiled surface. Give it a good knead until manageable but still wet or kinda dump from the oil. Leave to rise until double in size. Then take a rectangular baking tray fitted with good oiled baking paper and put the dough in, stretching the edges until all over the tray. Then leave to rise again for about 45 minutes. Stretch the dough into a tray after the second rising. At this point, you have even layer of the dough. Make a small holes using your fingers and top with your favourite ingredients. Finally, take a bowl and stir one tablespoon of olive oil, wee bit of water and good pinch of salt. Spread over the Focaccia and bake in preheated oven for 200 °C until gold (about 20 minutes).

Focaccia

“Bread for it’s texture and Pizza for it’s toppings. Handfull of variations you can choose from.”

Napoleon’s Journey

THE STORY BEHIND OMELETTE 

Who’s your favourite Chef? Who’s the biggest innovator on the cooking field? Is it Jamie, Gordon or the other celebrity chefs? At one point of view, you can say “hell yeah” . With all the respect to them and their skills, I should say “hell no”. In fact, many of the recipes we using are probably older then your grand grandma. Many of them are just improved a bit and transferred to our conditions.Like the omelette, found in 16th century in France (where else).

baked omelette Napoleon Bonaparte, the Emperor of the French. Lucky guy who found America, off course. And there we   can start. Potatoes, tobacco or even metric system. He was founder of many things we using in this century  at more or less improved form. And by the historic articles, he was probably the guy who made the omelette  famous.

“Napoleon feasted on an omelette prepared by a local innkeeper that was such a delicious that he  ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village and to prepare a huge omelette for his army the  next day.”

 He was travelling with his army throw the southern France, decided to stay overnight near the town called  Bessières.Napoleon feasted on an omelette prepared by a local innkeeper that was such a delicious that he  ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village and to prepare a huge omelette for his army the  next day.

What a surprise that in our century, omelette is till popular in almost every country. It’s almost like pizza. Many fillings like cheese and meat, you know.

Today I am talking about the baked omelette. It’s easy as find the America. Beat about 6 – 8 eggs ( depends how big you want) and then It’s all in your hands and tastes. That’s what I love. The variations and flavours. Usually, I adding some Italian ricotta, Halloumi or Grilling cheese, Parsley  and Sage + some seasonings including one fresh chilli pepper. Transfer it to the cake tin and bake for about 20 minutes at 180 °C. How simple is that? And How delicious?

My thanks coming to France and Mr. Bonaparte.

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