It’s no secret that I love aubergines, or eggplants as some of you call them, or … well for argument’s sake let’s call them melanzane, the Italian word. So, it’s no secret that I love melanzane and would probably eat them every day, if I could. When cooked properly, they have the same mouth-puckering strength as a quality mature cheese. It’s no secret that I love cheese, or fromage, or … well let’s call it formaggio.
Located only 27km as the crow flies from Venice, Treviso has always lived in the shadow of the campanile of San Marco. For most of its life, that was a good thing. Its proximity to the capital of the great Venetian Republic meant that the government ringed it with a great defensive wall and moat which made the city impregnable. The wall is still there today and can be walked almost in its entirety.
Well, it’s almost Easter and time to break free of the restrictions of Lent and celebrate with all the wonderful Easter food we’ve been dreaming of. Here in the Tuscan Valtiberina, Easter is of particular importance, especially in the town of Sansepolcro, whose name means Holy Sepulchre, referring to the tomb of Christ. In fact there are two important cultural items in the town connecting it with Easter. The first is 16th century model of the tomb of Christ in the Oratorio della Compagnia del Crocifisso. The second, and better known, is the painting of the Resurrection by Piero della Francesca which is housed in the Museo Civico.
0, 00, 1, or 2? Italian flour can be confusing. Put it all straight with this quick guide.
Once, I thought I knew flour: plain, self-raising, strong, wholemeal—each with their own uses, each with their own consistencies. And then I moved abroad. It was while shopping in Switzerland that I first noticed alarming range of flours with unrecognizable names. I thought it would be a matter of just looking in a dictionary, but no. It wasn’t the names of the flours that were different; it was the flours themselves.
I’m delighted to present to you my first video recipe for Chestnuts and Truffles TV on YouTube. I really enjoyed making this video since I was able to go into a lot more detail about techniques, particularly with the pasta frolla, or shortcrust pastry, than you can in a recipe. You also get to see a bit of Tuscany and you’ll be seeing a lot more as I get out and about in future videos. The full recipe including all the ingredients is below. Buon appetito!
Crostata di Ciliegie
250g / 2 cups plain flour
50g 1/4 cup granulated sugar
5g / 1 teaspoon salt
< 120g / 1/2 cup water
125g / 1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 pot jam
- Put the flour, sugar, and salt into a bowl.
- Add the butter and rub in with your fingers until you have achieved the consistency of breadcrumbs.
- Add enough water to bring the mixture together into a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for one hour.
- Butter a pie tin. Roll the pastry out to fill the bottom of the pie tin. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork. Keep the leftover pastry. Refrigerate the pastry case for one hour.
- Roll out and cut the remaining pastry into eight strips with a pasta wheel.
- Cover the bottom of the pastry case with jam.
- Place the strips of pastry over the top of the jam in the form of a lattice.
- Bake at 180°C / 355°F for 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Spring arrived this weekend (at least officially) heralding the end of the apple season. To celebrate, why not try these individual crostate di mele (apple tarts) which have recently become one of my personal favourites?