Italian Specialties

Simple Italian Style Mascarpone Cookies

Simple Italian Style Mascarpone Cookies

Butter cookies are nice but these Mascarpone cookies are lush. I’ve always loved cream cheese, on toast, and the icing on cakes; so it was only a matter of time for me to make these cookies. There are so many variations of cream cheese, but honestly, nothing beats the classic Italian Mascarpone; its rich and creamy texture is simply lush. These mascarpone cookies are so delicious, that they don’t need any sort of icing/frosting; just a cup of tea (or your favourite brew) will suffice. Of course, there’s nothing wrong if you opt to get extra sweet and cheesy with maybe some cream cheese icing/frosting; I won’t judge, even so, in my opinion, there is nothing like too much cream cheese. How to make the Marscapone Cookies: Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Put the cheese, butter and sugar in a bowl. whisk together until creamy, add the egg and continue whisking until it is all combined. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and vanilla powder. Add the flour mixture to the creamy mixture and gently mix until you get a soft dough. Scoop the dough and place the tray of cookies into the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Remove from oven, and allow to cool, then serve. If you like this recipe you might also like Buttery & perfectly flaky Cappuccino Shortbread Biscuits.

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Scotch Eggs made with Italian Sausages

Scotch Eggs made with Italian Sausages

I love scotch eggs and I must admit it’s been a while since I ate one. I follow some pretty amazing food bloggers and early into the year my social media feed has seen lots of scotch eggs. Hence, the desire to make them and I oftentimes have sausages and eggs for breakfast. This is truly perfect, especially with the use of locally sourced fresh Italian sausages. The richness of the sausages gives more flavour and taste. I must say, one thing I love about Italian food is the meat, so tasty. These scotch eggs came out great, I love soft-boiled eggs with a gooey inside, but you can always use hard-boiled eggs if that is your preference. I also used a flavourful combination of seasonings, which can easily be adapted to the seasonings available to you or ones you like. Typical scotch eggs (the British way) uses flour and bread crumbs. I honestly wasn’t trying to be different. I just made use of what I had in my kitchen cupboard, which was crackers (rosemary and Olive oil flavoured) and semolina flour. If you decide to try this recipe, feel free to be creative. Don’t go out of your way to get the exact seasoning or coating ingredients, but if you do, it’s perfectly fine. Just have fun. How to make the scotch eggs: Crack and peel the skin of the boiled eggs and set aside.  Using a sharp knife, slit through the outer layer of the sausages and peel off. Place the sausage meat in a bowl, add all the seasonings and mix together. Divide the meat mixture into 3 parts, place a piece of cling film (nylon wrap) on a flat surface; take 1 part of the meat mixture and press flat unto the cling film. Place 1 egg on the flattened meat, pull the cling film together, pulling the meat around the egg and gently mould around to form a ball. The cling film was just the set in the shape; remove the cling film, wet your hands and gently sculpt the meat to completely cover the egg. Repeat for each egg. Whisk one egg in a small bowl, crush or blitz the crackers and pour into another small bowl or plate; also pour the semolina flour into a bowl or plate. Coat each ball starting with the egg, then into the semolina flour, back into the eggs and final coat with the crackers or breadcrumbs. Place a deep pot or pan on medium-high heat, fill with sunflower oil (any vegetable oil).  Let the oil get hot, then fry the balls until golden brown (should take about 7 to 10 minutes) . Remove from heat and allow to rest before you serve. Another fun Italian inspired recipe you might like to try is French toast with strawberries and chocolate using Italian Easter Cake

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Orange Upside-Down Cake with Italian Apéritif

Aperitivo in Italy is very often mistaken as the standard “happy hour”, but it’s quite different. It typically consists of dry drinks (could be alcoholic or non-alcoholic). The drinks are accompanied by a variety of foods (not just nuts crisps and crackers). Citrus is a great addition to an apéritif cocktail mix and I love the combination of alcohol with a sweet treat. That’s how I came up with this decadent cake with the infusion of oranges and a luscious syrup made with an Italian apéritif. This cake is soft and moist, drizzled with sweet, freshly made tangy syrup. A classic Italian aperitif can be bought in stores, such as the bittersweet Aperol. Which is an alcoholic aperitif made with bitter oranges and rhubarb. An adequate substitute, in my opinion, would be Campari, also a bittersweet alcoholic apéritif infused with herbs. This is a great recipe, for when you’re having friends over that would appreciate a decadent treat served with history and culture. Orange cake is rich and decadent, and it is also perfect for summer gatherings. The tangy and sweet juices from the oranges blend perfectly with the bittersweet Italian aperitif. It results in a very delicious syrup that drizzles all over the cake; add a scoop of Italian gelato for the perfect dessert. How to make Orange Upside-Down Cake with Italian Apéritif: Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees. Grease a tube pan with butter. Cut 1 orange into half and cut each half into slices. Place the slices flat on the pan with the skin/round side towards the tube. Set aside. Put half the sugar into a small saucepan. Zest and Juice the second orange and add it to the sugar. Bring to boil on medium heat for 3 minutes to form a syrup. Pour in the two shots of Italian Apéritif, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Separate the eggs into two bowls and in one bowl whisk the egg whites with the remaining sugar until stiff peaks. Set Aside. Mix the flour, baking soda and powder in one boil and in another bowl whisk egg yolks, milk and sunflower oil. Combine both dry and wet mixture into a cake batter. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the cake batter until combined. (It’s ok if there are white stripes of egg white, try not to extremely mix it, so you don’t lose air) Pour the already cooled syrup into the pan with the sliced oranges. Gently scoop the cake batter into the pan, be careful not to shake or move the oranges and syrup around. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 – 10 minutes before you turn and gently let the cake out unto a flat surface. Let cool before serving or serve warm. Here’s another fruity cake recipe to try: Strawberry Shortcake with Coulis Here’s a recipe:

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Hearty and Vibrant Hibiscus Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is a winter favourite and a great drink for festive celebrations. Even beyond the festivities, a warm cuppa is a great accompaniment to a family dinner or just a chilled night in. This is a classic recipe with a vibrant addition of the Hibiscus flower. This hibiscus mulled wine ignites a much stronger flavour but is not overwhelming. Which makes it an authentic and traditional method of brewing with a contemporary twist. Aside from the obvious features of the Hibiscus flower. Which is its vivacious colour and taste, the plant holds a lot of health benefits. It’s been said that the flower aids in treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inflammatory and digestive problems. Hibiscus also holds nutritional values. It is rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. It apparently also speeds up metabolism to aid weight loss and assist in reducing anxiety. It’s a perfect addition to the loved, warm and hearty mulled wine The Hibiscus flower has been used in several cultures in Africa, the Caribbean and Asian countries. Typically used in drinks and desserts it also holds symbolic values to countries, such as Haiti and Malaysia. The name varies across different parts of the world. Such as zobo in Nigeria, sorrel in Jamaica and gumamela in the Philippines. I guess we can say this hibiscus mulled wine is a fusion of many cultures. You might also like these two other recipes with Hibiscus: Hibiscus Sangria (Zobo/Sorrel) Nigerian puff-puff with a vibrant hibiscus syrup

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