Nocino/Ratafià – Italian Walnut Liqueur

Nocino

Have you ever tried the NOCINO the Italian green-walnuts liqueur? It’s delicious and it is very easy to prepare this! Simply follow my instructions and you will prepare this next year as well! It makes a wonderful gift for your friends!

Nocino is a  sticky dark brown liqueur very popular in Northern Italy as well as in the Ticino the Southern Italian speaking part of Switzerland were it mostly called “ratafià”. It is much appreciated for it’s an aromatic but bittersweet flavor.

It’s origins are unknown but it is during the Middle Ages, Italian monasteries used nocino for its medicinal properties and also as an alcoholic treat; some sources says it has even Celtic origins.

In any case I can say that it particular delicious and after a heavy meal this helps the digestion!

“Noci” means nuts; as this is made from unripe green walnuts. According the tradition the nuts should be picked in the night of St Johannes, but I would suggest to pick the nuts before they are “wooden” and size is around 3 cm. Don’t forget to use plastic gloves while picking the nuts as the juice would brown your skin and cloths!

Almost every family has its recipe, I will live the first recipe I got. I still follow this recipe, but the alternative I follow is to use “tsikoudia” (τσικουδιά,the Cretan grappa/raki) instead of alcohol and water. The result different but it is delicious as well and I can’t say which version s better!

Other spices that can be used for this recipe: vanilla, nutmeg, maces and, cardamom.

In the photo: before and after result.

Nocino/Ratafià – Italian Walnut Liqueur

  • Servings: 4 loaves
  • Time: 1 day
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/  Nocino

You need:

  • 20 green walnuts, halved or quartered (more if too small)
  • 1 liter 90% alcohol for preparation of liqueurs
  • 1 lemon zest, cut into strips
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 big piece of cinnamon
  • 400 g sugar
  • 300 ml water, boiled and cooled down

Procedure:

  1. Prepare the walnuts .
  2. Place all the ingredients in a big pot/bottle and close tightly.
  3. Let sit for 40 days in a warm place, best if at the sun.
  4. Sieve and fill in bottles.

Suggestion:

I place again all the ingredients (expect of the filled nocino) in the original bottle, I cover it with a sweet rose wine (you may add some sugar if you like) and I let it sit for a few month. I’m sure you will enjoy this very much as well! It is less strong but delicious as well!

Elderflowers Fizz

Elderflower Fizz4

I was always fascinated by this amazing recipe, but I never tried to make it.

Searching in the net I found that sometimes this is called “Elderflower Champagne”, sometimes “Elderflower Sekt” and sometimes “Elderflower sparkling Wine”.

Finally now that elderflower are ready I decided to prepare this fresh and low alcoholic sparkling beverage.

I found many recipes and many different methods of preparation. For this reason I had to make my choice:

  • I used cold tap water (if you water has too much chlorine you should boil it first and then let cool down)
  • I did not add vinegar; I added some citric acid instead.
  • I did not add yeast. The fermentation comes form the wild yeast spores on the flowers! However some people use wine yeast, champagne yeast or baker’s yeast.
  • Flowers were just in bloom and clean (no dust and no parasites). I did not wash them.
  • Once I added only lemon juice and the second time lemon slices
  • I gave more taste adding thinly slices ginger.
  • Sugar / Water ratio: 1 kg sugar for every 10 linters water.

The result? Much better that imagined, it’s delicious and I have my stock to serve in special occasions!

I found it not too sweet, sparkling, fresh and aromatic. WOW next year I will do it again!

Note: I’ve posted this recipe 3 years ago, but as now elder flower are ready again, I would like to bring this suggestion again! Try this experiment and have fun!

Elderflowers Fizz

  • Time: a few days
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/ Elderflower Fizz4

Ingredients:

  • 20 -30 elderflower heads, dry and fully mature
  • 10 liters cold water
  • 1 kg sugar (may be increased to 1.4 kg)
  • 2 lemons, juice or thin slices
  • ginger, washed about 10-20 thin slices (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon citric acid

Procedure:

  1. Pick up 20-30 elderflower heads; best on a sunny day when they are most fragrant.
  2. Half fill a clean bucket with 10 liters cold water
  3. Dissolve 1kg sugar and the citric acid into the water.
  4. Remove partially the stem of the elderflowers heads and add them to the flowers to the water.
  5. Slice lemons and ginger if used thinly and add them to the bucket.
  6. Stir gently and cover with a loose lid or with a clean tea towel.
  7. From now on stir occasionally (3-4 timer per day).
  8. After 2-3 days the drink should begin to produce bubbles witch bring the flowers to the top.
  9. Let ferment it until the speed of fermentation has slowed. You don’t want exploding bottles! At this point the liquid should taste dryer and less sweet.
  10. Strain the liquid and fill it into champagne-style bottles (with the appropriate little wire cage) or (not as pretty but much safer) use plastic bottlers of carbonated soft drinks as Coca Cola. Glass, swing-top lemonade bottles are not really man enough for the job. Don’t fill the bottle, leave 6-7 cm air from the top! I recommend releasing the accumulated gas every day until the production of gas is slower enough.
  11. In about 8 days it should be ready to drink best for several weeks to allow the fermentation to add fizz to the wine.
  12. Let decant the bottle in the fridge before serving. Be very careful opening the bottles.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mediterannean Baked Fish

Mediterannean-Baked-Fish-Cooked

I first saw these fishes sale a days ago and I could not resists to take two of them with me home.

As I tried to write down this recipe I realized that I had had problems with the translation. I call them orate (in Italian) or dorada (in Spanish), but I did not know how I should call them for this recipe in English.

A few searches in the web and I found that the protagonist is called Sparus aurata in Latin and it can be translated in English with Gilt-head (sea) bream. The specific name “aurata” derives from the gold bar marking between its eyes.

It is also called dorade royale as it was sacred to the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.

Finally I found also a long list of names that I really need to share with you: http://www.fishbase.org/comnames/CommonNamesList.php?ID=1164&GenusName=Sparus&SpeciesName=aurata&StockCode=1180

Back to the recipe: I prepared this recipe based on a recipe of fish with tomatoes and olives, but this time I added some more ingredients and the result was really fabulous! The quantity of the ingredients is only a suggestion, please use the quantity you wish!

I don’t know if you have this kind on fish were you live, but I can prepare this recipe with other white-fleshed fishes you like! Enjoy!

Mediterannean Baked Fish

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 50-60 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/Mediterannean-Baked-Fish-Cooked

You need

  • 2 Gilt-head (sea) bream or other white-fleshed fishes (or a bigger single one) which would serve 2 people in total, cleaned
  • 2 small lemons o one lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste
  • 1 onion, thinly slice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red pepper
  • 100 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 20 olives (any kind, I used black ones)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Several springs of fresh herbs as marjoram, thyme, rosemary

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F
  2. In a non-sticky frying pan fry a few lemon slices so that they are light browned. Remove from pan and set aside
  3. Add remaining oil and fry the onion until translucent, add red pepper and fry one or two minutes. Reduce heat, add tomatoes, olives and wine.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Make three large cuts diagonally across each fish.
  6. Place most of the herbs in the bottom of a baking sheet and place the fish on them. Fill the belly of the fish with some herbs as well (I used marjoram and rosemary).
  7. Now adjust the roasted lemon slices in the cuts.
  8. Place the remaining lemon slices around the fish as well as vegetables you prepared in the pan.
  9. Put the fish in the oven on the middle rack for about 25 minutes or until the fish is just done; cooking time depends on the size of the fish! Note: Fish is done when the dorsal fin can easily be removed.
  10. Enjoy with fresh bread or what you love. We enjoyed it with Focaccia with Cherry Tomatoes.

Mediterannean-Baked-Fish-Uncooked

San José y San Miguel Comondú

Comondu-22

We visited this place starting from Constitucion (Baja California Sur) were we spent a few unforgettable days with our friends.  They drove us to the village were their parents met and lived for a few years.

Both picturesque villages are situated in a fertile canyon between tall palm and cliffs in the center of Baja California in the Sierra of the Giganta.

Arriving at this place we had a shock as we realized that the year before a big fire destroyed this valley! Miraculously the high palm trees recovered, but many houses had been destroyed.  http://thefulano.space/forum/showthread.php?tid=16696
The two villages were settled more than 300 years ago by Cochimies and Laymones from the Peninsular Yuman line of aboriginal inhabitants. They engaged in hunting and gathering of seeds and fruits. Basing on cave paintings we know that other groups before them in this area.

In 1708, the Jesuit priests Juan Maria de Salvatierra, Juan de Ugarte and Julian Mayorga founded the Mission of San Jose de Comondu. The construction of the church begun in 1750 and had been completed in 1762. The Dominicans took charge in 1773 until the mission was abandoned in 1827. A large part of the church was demolished in 1930.

Today you can find only the central part of the basilica as well as 3 bells with dates of 1697, 1708 and 1741, as well as several old houses considered historical monuments.

Interesting stories surround these villages. In 1822, the governor and artillery captain Jose Dario Argüello were staying in the area when the coastline was attacked by the ship Independencia, manned by Chilean pirates. In the war of 1847 against U.S., the residents joined with opposition forces and created the Guerrillas Guadalupanas of Comondu, defenders of national independence.

Thanks the water flowing in small canals the main products of these villages are/were, sugar cane, figs, raisins, dates, wine and great numbers of livestock. Plums, mangoes, grapes, avocados, grapefruit, limes, oranges, lemons and other fruits and vegetables were also harvested. People could purchase handmade creations made of natural materials, such as straw hats, baskets, bags and figures of stone and wood.

A great variety of flora and fauna (see the birds on the photo with date’s trees) can be observed in the area. The Lagoon of Don Julio is a nesting site for birds, some of which are endemic. The mountains are inhabited with deer, cougars, bobcats, and other wildlife.

The driving distance between the Ciudad Constitución to Comondú on the chosen route is: 136 km. The aproximative driving time is: 2 hrs, 58 minutes.

The driving distance between the La Paz to Ciudad Constitución  on the chosen route is: 213 km. The aproximative driving time is: 2 hrs , 33 minutes.

 

Follow here all my post about Baja California Sur

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Serpentarium in La Paz (Mexico)

Serperntarium-4

We spent a few hours in this enjoyable and beautiful place.

This place is not really a zoo as it is a non-profit organization where you will have a look at a selection of typical fauna of the region (Baja and Mexico), some even endangered. If you have children this place is a must!

A huge selection of species are on display in indoor and outdoor exhibits, including turtles, pythons, rattlesnakes, and beautiful iguanas. In addition you will find some birds, mice (food) and rabbits.

Most of the animals are rescued and cared for, but some improvements of the keeping conditions are necessary; we hope that with more visitors and more money this will be soon possible.

Don’t forget your camera.

Follow here all my post about Baja California Sur

Useful inks:

Reptile and Amphibians from Baja California http://www.californiaherps.com/baja.html

Herps of the Baja Peninsula  http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Field-Herping/Herps-of-The-Baja-Peninsula/

Reptilian and Amphibian Atalas of Peninsula California (la Paz Municipality) http://herpatlas.sdnhm.org/places/overview/la-paz-municipality/55/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Beaches of La Paz (Mexico)

Tecolote-Beach-Sunset-2

La Paz is a picturesque town situate near a natural bay (Bahia of La Paz in the Sea Of Cortez) the east coast of the Peninsula of Baja California at the sea.

La Paz is not itself a beach city even if the white-sand beaches that line the Malecón (waterfront) look very attractive and are easy to be reaches, but locals don’t generally swim there — La Paz is a commercial port and the water in the bay is not particularly clean.

The best solution is to take a drive (10- to 45-minuts) to one of lovely beaches with turquoise water.

The first beach is the “La Concha”, then you will find the Caimancito, the Tesoro, the Coromuel, the Tesoro and with a little extra effort, you can reach the most beautiful of these outlying beaches, playas: the  Balandra and Tecolote Beaches, approximately 30 km (18 miles) from La Paz at the end of a paved road.

The first place we visited was the Tesoro beach, as I saw beautiful pictures of it and I knew I would have the chance to enjoy a simple but tasty meal. It’s also a great place for children were children may play in the shallow water or rent a canoe.

The second place was the famous Balandra beach with its impressive stone. No food and no drinks here, bring enough drinking water but please don’t let your waste at the beach! This beach was so beautiful that we came again another day and I go there again and again. The huge natural bay with white sand make the blue/turquoise water look divine. Be careful with currents especially if you cannot swim, even in shallow water the currents could turn dangerous. Near the beach we had a walk to the top of the hill nearby: wow!

The third beach on this side was the Tecolote. We enjoyed here a great tasty dinner and a unique sunset! This beach is one of the favorite of locals!

Don’t forget to take with you: sun glasses, hut and a sun cream with high protection!

 

Follow here all my post about Baja California Sur

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Salsa Tatemada – Mexican Charred Veggies Salsa

salsa-tatemada-6

During my stay in Mexico, I had the pleasure to be guest of very good friends and to have an excursion in an enchanted valley and cook our meal on the fire.

Iris share her recipe, she prepared delicious tacos which were served with guacamole, grilled green onions, grilled nopalitos and the delicious salsa tatemada. The best salsa I ever had and a wonderful recipe for my Mexican food memories!

Salsa tatemada means “charred” salsa, because you have to char (grill, roast) your veggies before chopping or puree them. We did not have a mixer, for this reason Iris made this by hand with the instrument you would use to puree cooked potatoes.

I really like the salsa, I found it phenomenal and I also loved the texture (not reduced to puree); for this reason I prepared this at home and I chopped the vegetables finely using my “mezzaluna knive” (a knife consisting of a curved blade with a handle on each end).

At home I also had to adapt the ingredients: instead of jalapeños I used pepperoncini and instead of poblanos I used long shaped red peppers. In any case the salsa turned out wonderful.

Follow here all my post about Baja California Sur

Salsa Tatemada – Mexican Charred Veggies Salsa

  • Servings: 1 -2 cups
  • Time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/ salsa-tatemada-6

You need:

  • 3 tomatoes (jitomates)
  • 2 poblanos peppers (many recipes don’t ask for these)
  • 2 jalapeñoor to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or to taste
  • salt to taste

Procedure

  1. Char the veggies on a grid over hot charcoal.
  2. Turn the veggies until they are soft and the skin of the peppers black.
  3. Place then in a pot with cover, it will be easier to remove the skin.
  4. Remove the skin and eliminate the seeds of the peppers (jalapeños and poblanos).
  5. Puree the grilled veggies best with a mortar or chop them very finely.
  6. Add cilantro and salt to taste.
  7. Serve with grilled meat or simply with tortilla chips

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Impressions of La Paz Mexico

La-Paz-29

Once more I’ve been travelling around the world. This time it was the turn la Paz of Mexico I had the chance to stay in a private apartment surrounded by wonderful people.

Mexico is a huge Country, sometimes it is seen as a dangerous Country, but it is so big, that you can also find quiet and cozy places; as for example la Paz in Baja California Sur.

I had a hug program for these two weeks and I will try to prepare a few posts about it.

Today’s post is “simply” la Paz, the town.

La Paz, as I just told you before is a quiet place, you will find a long long walkway along the sea, many restaurants, yachts/boat, a cute historical center, shopping centers, universities but still not too much traffic (compare to other big towns), old American busses … a real relaxing peaceful place. La Paz means peace and it’s really a peaceful place.

The beautiful waterfront of the town, with its wide sidewalk, tiny beaches, tourist pier, benches, sculptures by local artists and unimpeded sunset views, has become the city’s biggest highlight. It stretches 5.5km (3.5 Miles), from the Marina de la Paz in the south, to Playa Coromuel in the north.

Except of dinner and movie, I’ve been not walking around in the night, I have no idea what is going on at that time (dancing, shows…). We simply travelled, visited the town, beaches, a museum and had lazy time.

Our highlights:

In this post I will first of all post a few picutures of la Paz. I hope you will enjoy the tour!

Follow here all my post about Baja California Sur

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Beautiful Challah (Sourdough Version)

 

Beautiful-Challah-Sourdough-Version

Sourdough is now our home-yeast and after experimenting with very different recipes I found out that almost all recipe can be modified switching from the commercial yeast to the wild from.

I can’t say for sure that this works with every kind of sourdough but with mine I know that it works and I can trust “him”.

My previous version of challah has been always very much appreciated in my family and I was really surprised how even better it is since I use my sourdough. Finally this recipe became our standard for our breakfast on weekends so that I always prepare 4 loaves which are enough for 4 people and two breakfasts (usually Saturday + Sunday).

Usually we use the first challah after cooling down and we freeze the other 3 loaves. To defrost them we use a combination of low microwave + high temperature of forced air; if you don’t have an oven which would allow you this method, simply spray the loaf with water, place it into the cold oven and switch on to 220°C. After about 10 minutes it is crunchy again and perfect inside (still not warm but soft).

If you need to prepare only one loaf you can dived the recipe ingredients by 4 and for the egg you can use half egg for the second rising and the second half of it for the topping glaze.

The result is a wonderful soft challah, crunchy outside and the taste is divine

Beautiful Challah Sourdough Version

  • Servings: 4 loaves
  • Time: 1 day
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/    Beautiful-Challah-Sourdough-Version

You need

Starter:

  • 100 g starter (100% hydrated)
  • 250 g water
  • 250 g flour

First rising:

  • 600 ml water
  • 220 g flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (more if you like it sweet)

Second rising:

  • 390 g flour
  • 1 1/2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 tablespoons salt

Third rising:

  • 910 g flour

Topping:

  • ½ egg beaten
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Seeds (almonds, moon, sesame, sun flower, pumpkins…) optional

Procedure:

Combine the ingredients for the first step to activate the starter, simply stir with a fork and let rise in a warm place for a few hours until foamy and very fluffy. This can take a few hours, depending on your starter.

  1. Combine the ingredients for the first step to activate the starter, simply stir with a fork and let rise in a warm place for a few hours until foamy and very fluffy. This can take a few hours, depending on your starter.
  2. Add the ingredients for the first rising, you will get a very wet mixture, let rise again for about 2 hours.
  3. Add the ingredients for the second rising, mix well, cover and let rise again until doubled (about two hours).
  4. Add the last portion of flour for the third rising and work, knead well until soft, not sticky and smooth.
  5. Place the dough seam side down in a big oiled big bowl, cover and let rise for about one hour.
  6. Punch down. Fold over itself 2-3 times. Place the dough seam side down in the bowl again and let rise until more than doubled.
  7. Divide the dough into 4 portions. Each portion will form one single challah.
  8. How to shape each of the single challah: cut two third of the dough, divide into 3 stains (each about 60 cm long) and form a long braid. Flatten the braid lightly with your hands. Now take the last third, dived into three 60 cm long strains. Braid them and place them over the thicker braid.
  9. Place each challah over a single tray on parchment paper. Brush the challahs with the remaining egg and 2 tablespoons water. Decorate with the seeds as you wish. Let rise until doubled (or more if you like).
  10. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F for 25 minutes, switch off the temperature and let bake for other 10 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven, let cool down and enjoy.

 

Chiles Poblanos Rellenos de Maíz y Algo Más – Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Corn and Something More

Chiles-Poblanos-Rellenos-de-Maíz-y-Algo-Más-1Ese receta fue una improvisación con lo que tenía teníamos en casa y salió tan sabrosa que pensé de escribirla.

¡La receta consiste en 4 ingredientes: chiles poblanos, maíz (de la lata), salsa Boloñesa y un Queso tipo Oaxaca (deshebrado). Se puede substituir la salsa Boloñesa por cualquier carne cortad en trocitos y condimentada con una salsa de tomates. Puedo imaginarme que eso se pueda hacer también con atún con tomates o camarones!

El queso Mexicano se puede substituir por mozzarella rallada o con cheddar rallado.

Chiles Poblanos Rellenos de Maíz y Algo Más

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Chiles-Poblanos-Rellenos-de-Maíz-y-Algo-Más-2

Ingredientes:

  • 4 chiles poblanos medianos, reducido a la mitad y sin semillas
  • 1 lata de maíz, lavado
  • 1 vaso de Boloñesa (lista y bien sabrosa!)
  • 100 g de queso Oaxaca deshebrado.

Preparación:

  1. Calienta el horno a 180°C/ 350°F.
  2. Corta en mitades los chiles y coloca en un recipiente para horno.
  3. Rellena los chiles con el maíz.
  4. Cubre el maíz con algunas cucharadas de Boloñesa
  5. Ponle encima el queso.
  6. En el fondo del recipiente añade medio vaso de agua.
  7. Lleve al horno a gratinar por 20-30 menudos o hasta que el queso se funda y queda bien dorado.

This recipe has been created with the ingredients that my son had on hand.

As only 4 ingredients were used, the preparation was very quick. In the fridge we had the poblanos, the Bolognaise sauce and the cheese, while in the pantry enough tin of con were ready to be used.

The Oaxaca cheese (completely new to me) reassembled to a dry mozzarella, the taste was similar, but more salted. A cheddar cheese would be a great variation as well.

This recipe could be prepared with other meat combined with tomatoes sauce (for example shredded chicken, chopped ham…) but I can imagine that with tuna (from the tin) or shrimps could be great as well.

I did not add spices as the Bolognaise was spiced enough, but some fresh cilantro would be perfect as well.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Corn and Something More

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/ Chiles-Poblanos-Rellenos-de-Maíz-y-Algo-Más-1

You need:

  • 4 chiles poblanos, cut once lenghtwise and remove seeds
  • 1 tin corn, drained
  • 1 cup tasty Bolognaise sauce
  • 100 g Oaxaca cheese, shredded ( or Mozzarella or cheddar cheese)

Preparación:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180°C/ 350°F.
  2. Prepare the chiles in a baking mold.
  3. Distribute the corn into the halved peppers
  4. Spoon Bolognaise sauce over the corn.
  5. Top with cheese.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the baking mold
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is browned.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,254 other followers

%d bloggers like this: