#39 FOOD NEWS: Cup di plastica yogurt cake

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Italian houses love a bit of plastic tableware. During our recent visit-ette to Italy, my mother and sister in-law showed me the best use for it yet.

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This cake is pure genius. Simple measuring, no creaming and perfect results.

3 eggs
2 plastic cups sugar
3 plastic cups plain flour, sifted
1 plastic cup ‘seed’ oil such as sunflower, corn or maise
1 sachet Paneangeli lievito pane degli angeli (see GIVEAWAY!)
1 banana yogurt (or flavour of your choice)
Icing sugar, for dusting
Nutella/ strawberry jam, optional (see Britalian Tip)

1 Preheat the oven to 180’C, 160’C fan, gas 4. Grease and line a 23 cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

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2 Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk until well combined.

3 Add the flour and sachet of Leiveto. Whisk at a low speed until combined. Add the oil, whisk at a low speed until combined.

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4 Stir through the yogurt. Spoon into the lined cake tin.

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Bake for 20-25 mins, until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.

5 Allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

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Britalian Tip

Serve Romeo style, ‘as you wish’ with a jar of Nutella and a jar of strawberry jam. Guests can cut a slice and have it plain or decide how they fill it. My 9 year old nephew with an air of Italian sophistication went ‘solo torta’. I rammed mine with Nutella (it did go rather well with the banana).

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GIVEAWAY! (Offer ended) 

‘The yeast of bread angels’ I have 10 sachets to giveaway! I’ll pop a sachet in the post to the first 10 readers to email me, angela.romeo@britaliankitchen.com with the subject ‘I’m a bread Angel!’ Include address in body of email (available to UK addresses only I’m afraid).

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#37 FOOD NEWS: Test shoot teaser

Lemoncello meringue cake

Test shoots are a great way to get experimenting! Baked alaska, come lemon meringue pie, come a cheeky dash of Italian Liqueur. This was one of those ideas that sounded great on paper but would it actually work?! The answer is thankfully, yes! The best bit is, you can prepare the sponge and lemon lemon layer way ahead. I can’t wait to see it when proper food photographer, Adrian Lawrence gets his hands on it!

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Serves: 8-10
Prep: 30 mins, plus chilling and cooling
Cook: 25 mins

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4 lemons, juice and zest
290g unsalted butter, cubed
465g caster sugar
6 large eggs, plus 3 large egg whites
6 gelatine leaves
45ml shot limoncello (optional)
1tsp vanilla extract
115g self-raising flour
3/4 tsp baking powder

1 Grease a 1L Pyrex bowl with oil, then line with cling film, so the edges hang over the sides. Squeeze the lemon juice into a small microwavable  bowl and add the lemon zest.

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Add 175g of the butter and 175g of the caster sugar. Mix well.

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2 Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 mins.

3 Meanwhile, heat the lemon mixture in the microwave on full power for 3 mins, stirring every 30 seconds, until the butter and sugar has melted.

4 Gradually add 4 beaten eggs, whisking continuously. Microwave on full power for a further 1 1/2 mins. Whisk well. Allow to cool for 1 minute, then return to the microwave and heat on full power for a further minute. Whisk well. Remove 3tbsp of the mixture, cover, and set aside.

5 Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine leaves and place in a measuring jug. Pour over 200ml of just boiled water. Stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Top up with 150ml cold water. Gradually pour into the lemon mix, whilst continuously stirring. Stir in the limoncello, if using. Pour into the lined Pyrex bowl. Chill for at least 4 hours, until set.

6 For the sponge base, preheat the oven to 170’C, 150’C fan, gas 3. Grease and line an 18cm loose-bottomed sandwich tin. Beat the remaining butter with 115g of the caster sugar. Add 2 eggs one at a time beating well in between each addition. Fold through the flour and baking powder. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and bake for 25 mins.

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Cool in the tin on a wire rack for 10 mins. Remove from the tin and allow to cool completely on the wire rack. Level the surface with a serrated knife.

7 For the meringue, using an electric hand whisk, whip the egg whites until medium peaks form. Gradually trickle in the remaining sugar whilst continuing to whisk until stiff glossy peaks form.

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8 To assemble, preheat the oven to 230’C, 210’C fan, gas 8. Spread the top of the cake with the 3 tbsp of the reserved lemon curd mixture. Then invert the bowl of set lemon jelly on top of the cake.

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Transfer to a flat baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Spoon over the meringue in swirling motions ensuring the jelly and sponge is completely enclosed. Bake for 4-6 mins until golden (for maximum control use a cooks blow-torch). Remove from the oven and chill for 20  mins to firm up before serving.

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#25 FOOD NEWS: Cake & bake show, pork loin makeover and coffee machine mania!

Every monday
Top 3 Britalian finds: Cake & Bake show 2014

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1: Choco passion – made in Italy

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Looking more like the rusty contents of a tool box, but with the crisp, crack of superior chocolate – a winning combo that screams, ‘Christmas pressie for dad sorted!’ A small spanner costs £2.99. www.chocopassionuk.com

2: Pig in the middle

Sausage rolls

The ‘Mediterranean plait’ sitting next to an ‘All day breakfast’ sausage roll at the Pig in the middle stand was enough to send my Britalian radar into overdrive. A fab savoury stand – great for balancing out the sugar high!

3: Sweet as sugar cakes

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I fell totally head-over-heels for the Sweet as sugar cakes business cards – especially as there was one with a cakey-version of my favourite fictional Italian stallion (!), Rocky Balboa. With a Rocky-themed hen night to my name,  I’m now thinking my wedding cake could have been very different if I’d seen this a couple of years ago! Probably lucky I didn’t.

http://www.thecakeandbakeshow.co.uk/london/

Coffee machine mania

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So we’ve finally given in and bought a Magimix Nespresso machine but I wasn’t bargaining on along with the deal of £120 for the machine, 16 pods and a milk frother I would also get an obsession with coffee machines in general!

A must-see for…erm…other coffee machine lovers is the coffee machine at Cafe Vergnano 1882 on the Southbank. It looks like the Ferrari of coffee machines. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it. A stylish coffee bar with a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere. And the coffee ain’t bad either! Well worth a visit.

Pork loin make-over: Pork valdostana

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Always up for a double whammy of pork – this recipe of pork loin wrapped in Parma ham, served with English garden runner beans (fresh from the freezer from Mummy ‘E’s’ summer crop) topped-off this Britalian feast.

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Serves: 4
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 20-25 mins

1kg new potatoes, quartered
4 x 225g pork loins
8 slices Parma ham
Handful rosemary sprigs
4 thin slices of fontina cheese or Brie
2 tbsp seasoned plain flour
25g butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp red wine
Runner beans, trimmed, sliced on the diagonal and steamed

1 Preheat the oven to 220’C, 200’C fan, gas 7.  Par-boil the potatoes for 7 mins until softened, drain and set aside. Meanwhile trim the loins of most of that fat. Flatten the meat slightly with a rolling pin.

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2 Place 2 pieces of Parma ham, slightly over-lapping on a work-surface or chopping board. Top with a small sprig of rosemary and a piece of fontina cheese or Brie. Place the chop on top and wrap the the Parma ham around the pork loin. Repeat with the remaining loins. Pick the the leaves from the remaining rosemary and set aside.

3 Dust the pork loins in the seasoned flour. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan. Put the loins in the butter, cheese-side down and cook for 1 min. Turn over and cook for a further 2 mins, until browned.

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4 Pour the red wine over the loins and bring to the boil. Transfer the contents of the pan to a small baking dish and cook in the oven for 15-20 mins until the pork is cooked through.

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5 Ten mins before the end of cooking time shallow fry the potatoes with the reserved rosemary leaves until the potatoes are crisp, golden and cooked through. Serve with the steamed runner beans and the pork with the juices spooned over the top.

#22 FOOD NEWS: Pasta special; Step-by-step tagliatelle, Essential kit & Top 3 tips

Every monday

 

Tagliatelle

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Fancy making your own pasta? Mamma Romeo gave me a lesson in making tagliatelle, one of the most instantly satisfying pasta shapes to make  -no pasta machines needed here!

To serve 4

400g Tipo ’00’ flour
3 eggs (see Top tips)

1 Tip the flour into a large bowl or onto a large board, create a well in the centre and break the eggs into the well. Bring together with your fingertips or a wooden spatula, don’t be afraid – just really go for it! It will come together, once it resembles breadcrumbs, tip onto a wooden board or work surface (if you are using a bowl otherwise leave it where it is on the wooden board).

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2  Knead well, as you would with a bread dough, add a little water if necessary –  a couple of teaspoons at a time, keep the dough moving and turning, until it turns silky and smooth and not rough and floury, or as Mamma Romeo said, with a slap on the dough, ‘smooth like a bambino’s bottom!’

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3 Flour the board, then using a large rolling pin, roll out the dough to the largest thinnest circle you can get, keep turning your circle and add more flour to prevent sticking if needed, use the rolling pin to help you lift the pasta if neccessary (if you don’t a have a huge Italian Mamma-style rolling pin, you can roll out lots of smaller pieces, your tagliatelle will just be shorter).

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4 Dust a little flour over the surface of your pasta (here’s the best bit). Fold the pasta over like you would a Swiss roll, then simply cut 1cm slices from the shorter end. Gently raise and pull apart.

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5 Scatter the tagliatelle over a board covered with a clean T towel, dust with a little flour and leave to rest for 15-30 mins. Cook in salted boiling water for a few minutes. Serve simply with steaming hot passata and freshly grated Parmesan.

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Britalian Kitchen TOP 3 TIPS

1 Allow approx 100g flour per person, but if upping the flour for more people, Mamma  Romeo’s secret is not to increase the eggs to more than 3 instead add water until you have the right consistency.

2 To avoid a sticky mess, clean your pasta board with a metal scraper instead of using water (a new wallpaper scraper works perfectly! See below).

3 If you want to make life a little easier, you can whizz the flour and eggs in a food processor to get to the breadcrumb stage in step 1.

ESSENTIAL KIT

Brilliant board

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This eco friendly wooden pastry board made from sustainable acacia wood  makes a good pasta board, at 56cm long it’s not quite as big as Mamma Romeo’s but it’s big enough to get some decent pasta out of it! £23.00 from www.woolworths.co.uk

Scraper secrets

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Perfect for not only cutting smaller pasta shapes but also great for cleaning down your pasta board.  £1.09 from www.toolbox.co.uk

The right rolling pin

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In Italy it’s a wooden rolling pin all the way but in the UK it’s a little more tricky to find a wooden rolling pin long enough, but as we have been cake crazy for a good few years polythene pins (ideal for rollling out sugar paste) are much easier to find. This 60cm one is great value at £12.52 from www.russums-shop.co.uk

#10 FOOD NEWS: Italy vs England, the Wild West & World Cup telly food

It’s in the bag: England vs Italy

Whenever we visit the Romeo family in Italy we end up coming home with our suitcases full of food and busting the scales. This left me thinking about what the players (and their mums) might be putting in their suitcases when packing for the biggest football competition on earth:

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Italian players bag

One all!

On the night of the match we’ve been invited to a Wild West 4oth. Give me any excuse to whack on a pair of cow-girl boots and a hat and I’m all over it! I’m not sure if it’s a Giuseppe (or an Italian or man) thing but he’s less keen on the whole idea of fancy dress. Before I could tell him about my grand plan for him to dress up as Toy Story’s Woody and me to go as Jessie, he said he already had the night booked out with the boys to watch the football at Donna Margherita’s in Clapham.

Dressing up as Woody Vs gay pizza and football with the Italians? I didn’t stand a chance (re: gay pizza that’s not me reverting to playground insults, they really do sell ‘Pizza gay’ at Donna Margherita’s – it’s apparently very good). Anyway, I’m happy to leave him to it and make mine a girlie night (and go as fancy dress-crazy as humanly possible)!

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Huumm Pizza lesbica? So Pizza gay isn’t just a google translate mishap for happy pizza then.

If you’re supporting Italy on the 14th, I’m sure Donna Margherita is a great place to be – heaving with Italian passion [school boy humour] and pizza!  http://www.donna-margherita.com/

World cup TV nibbles

If you’re planning on watching the match in the comfort of your own home here’s some fab Britalian-style TV nibbles. They also make a great starter – I’m going to be serving these up to my old dad to kick off his Father’s day menu:

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