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Orange Honey Marmalade

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Orange Honey Marmalade

There are things that it may be better to do alone (although to be honest I can't think of any, or maybe cuddling the cat, so to have him all for yourself? But even in this case there's room for discussion...), and others for which it is best to have a co-pilot. Going to the amusement park, crying over a broken love affair, playing darts or hide and seek, eating a fiorentina steak or making a toast to the new year: these are all experiences that call for a navigator. Call it what you want, strolling buddy, coffee break friend, or co-pilot, his job remains the same. He is the one who cushions your falls, doubles the fun, and endorses the emotions; a happiness amplifier and a compass to not get lost, depending on needs and circumstances.
Making jam is one of them, a ritual so nostalgic, sleek and intoxicating that having a co-pilot becomes essential. To make jam you need a ladle companion, a friend with the easy smile who keeps track of how many times you've blanched the peels, or turns the spoon for you when you need a break for the usual photo; one that is moved as much as you when the house is filled with dense, tart and sweet aromas, and that while waiting for his turn just sits listening in silence, but with the heart always on alert. The co-pilot may not be an expert in jam, but if it is too bitter he'll tell you loud and clear and perhaps in exchange he'll offer a soft candy or a jar of roasted hazelnuts.
The orange marmalade co-pilot is also who tastes it with you, the next day, on a slice of toast for breakfast, watching the snow and dreaming of spring; or who gives you a recipe like this to share its bittersweet magic. An unexpected friend, found after years wandering around familiar paths, one of those who could teach you again how to ride a bike and whom you could count on for a spare battery. With him you can run on the grass screaming your favorite song out of tune, or lie down and watch the clouds breathing clean air in silence; he is made for walking together on winter afternoons, and then returning home to share jars and recipes with no fear of having done something wrong.


Orange Honey Marmalade
for 4 jars

organic oranges 1,500 gr
honey (orange blossom, acacia, millefiori)
750 gr

With a potato peeler or a sharp knife, remove the outer part of the orange rind, leaving out the white portion. Cut into thin slices and blanch in boiling water for 10 min. Drain and repeat two more times, always changing the water.
Peel the oranges to the flesh, remove seeds and thin membrane and cut them into pieces. Cook for about 10 minutes in a large pot, and then add the softened rinds and honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until jam reaches the desired consistency. Pour it in glass jars and sterilize them as usual.

Orange Honey Marmalade

Before even finishing typing the recipe and definitely before publishing it into the world, I spountaneously hand myself over to the vegan police and confess my crime. For those who don't know, honey is not vegan, and I commit sin, BIG TIME! But since the world began, every rule has its exception, and my vegan world - for now - has three. One of these is called honey, the other two - for now - I'll leave it to you to guess.

And finally, badabum badabum, I inform you with great pleasure that this recipe marks the beginning of my collaboration with the magazine NB - Nero su Bianco, a monthly publication of news, culture and opinions directly from that beautiful town of mine, wedged between rose mountains, shooting stars and endless skies, queen of hearts Cortina d'Ampezzo.
If you're not shy, I leave you the link and my blessing to take a look at their facebook page. I like!

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

Through your window
That's one way to see the world
Step outside and look back into

~ Dave Matthews Band, Drunken Soldier

I believe in the logic of spices, I have confidence in the pepper grains, the saffron threads and the cinnamon powder; I am a follower of the systematic of ginger and I subscribe to the philosophy of licorice. I give absolute power to tarragon, poppy seeds and savory, and I leave my legacy of human being to dill, vanilla and tamarind. I trust in spices because they represent the colors of the world; like a tram on the rainbow's tracks they carry us into the fantasies of another one's games, and save us from the starch of the uniforms and the gray of the clouds.

I love cumin because it has the flavor of the land, strong and deep-rooted as the origins of my memory, nostalgic and soft as a handful of tears drowned in a glass of grappa.
I love turmeric because it has a curious name and the warm color of midday sun; it protects from the sunburns of life and it favors happy unions.
I love paprika because it speaks of the East, of walls scary and strong like a plate of goulash, but that can be climbed without training with a simple strum to the chords of the heart.
I love garlic powder because it keeps nightly ghosts away, it fries out our fears, and it teaches to make friends with witches of every season.
I love peppercorns because they are round, perfect, and sometimes they even come in pink. They never go out of fashion, they infuse positive energy and foster loving dreams.

I love spices because every time is like the first time, with the unknown outcome, the intense flavor, and the promise to do it again, better and different.
I love spices because they stain your fingers and ruffle your kitchen, but they paint your days and brighten your cauliflowers. I love spices because they have the taste of freedom and speak to the future, they season the mind and soften the heart.


Spicy Roasted Cauliflower
for 4 people

cauliflower 2
extra-virgin olive oil 4-5 tablespoons
cumin, turmeric, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper
as needed
pine nuts 2 handfuls
mint, cilantro, lime juice as needed

Cut cauliflowers into florets, rinse and drain them. Drizzle with olive oil and spices to taste. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for about 30 or 40 minutes, until it is quite tender.
Add chopped mint and cilantro, the pine nuts toasted in a pan, and plenty of lime juice. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

With vegan love and absolute freedom of interpretation.

Cauliflower and Spices

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Monday, January 14, 2013
Turkish Red Lentil Soup

New Year =
New soup
New cut (haircut)
New camera
Definitely not a new car ('cause, if you don't know that already, I get around by bus, and even by bicycle if you wish...)
New boots
New handbag
New shoes, but I'm excused, since they're running shoes (new but still pink)
New Year resolutions, same old same old...

Here, dear 2013, I show up this way.
And excuse me if I'm late, but you understand me, right?

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Turkish Red Lentil Soup
for 4-5 people

red lentil 225 gr
onion 1
garlic 3-4 cloves
celery 1 stalk
carrot 1
tomato paste 2 tablespoons
extra virgin olive oil 1-2 tablespoons
vegetable stock as needed
fresh ginger 1 small piece
paprika, cumin, mustard seeds, curry, salt, pepper
as needed
fresh mint and lemon to serve as needed

Finely chop onion, celery, and carrot. Heat oil in a large pot, and sauté the vegetables with the garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half, for about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, spices and grated ginger, and cook for a few minutes. Add lentils, washed and drained, and cover with hot vegetable stock.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer with the lid on for about 30 or 40 minutes, until the lentils begin to fall apart. Add more stock if needed. Season with salt and pepper, and add more of the spices to your taste. Set aside two or three ladles of soup, and puree the rest in a blender. But you don't even have to.
Serve with chopped fresh mint and lemon juice. Mind you, this last touch makes a big difference, I promise.

Red Lentils

Once more, after this theft here, I'm kind of copying a soup that I've tasted at Whole Foods. That's how it works: I go, I buy lunch, I look around (well, what you want? there are beautiful people at Whole Foods...), I write down the ingredients, I add some of mine, I come back home, I try to replicate, and if it's successfull I blog it for you. There you go, I'm like Robin Hood.
And this time I'm so happy with the result that I can tell you with no shame. This one turned out better than the original.
This. Soup. Kicks Ass. Sbang!