“Caviar” Mousse

Lumpfish mousse finished dish

Lumpfish mousse finished dish

Mousse con uova di lompo. This dish doesn’t in fact use real caviar, but red lumpfish roe. Lumpfish mousse doesn’t quite have the same ring to it though ūüôā If you can only find black roe, feel free to use that, the taste is exactly the same. This is a very easy antipasto, especially if you use tinned beans, but looks quite impressive. The original recipe used smoked trout, but I found it impossible to find both here¬†and in the UK, so I got very good results when I used smoked salmon. It is worth spending a little extra on the smoked salmon though, as the cheaper varieties tend to be very salty. Be careful when seasoning the beans for this reason. Serves 4.

  • 140g smoked salmon
  • 600g plain yoghurt
  • 400g boiled cannellini beans, canned are fine
  • Red lumpfish roe, enough to make a thin layer, 1 jar will probably be enough
  • Lemon juice
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • Olive oil
Lumpfish mousse ingredients

Lumpfish mousse ingredients

  1. Blend the smoked salmon, the yoghurt and a tablespoon of lemon juice in a liquidiser. Keep a little of the smoked salmon aside to use as a garnish.
  2. Blend the drained cannellini beans,  the leaves from the rosemary sprig and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Assemble the mousse in 4 wine glasses, a layer of  cannellini beans, a thin layer of lumpfish roe and a layer of the smoked salmon and yoghurt mixture.
  4. Garnish with a little chopped smoked salmon.
  5. Serve with toast or bread sticks (grissini).
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Meringues with chocolate ice cream

Meringhette al gelato di cioccolato. One story about the origin of meringues is that they were invented in the Swiss town of Meiringen by an Italian chef named Gasparini. I quite like this story as I am biased because I also have strong links to Switzerland ūüôā I needed to use up the egg whites left over from a Tiramisu so I did a bit of searching and came up with this from Sale & Pepe magazine. ¬†The idea came from the magazine, but the recipe for the meringues is slightly different as I wanted to be more precise with the measurements. The¬†quantities are one part caster sugar, one part icing sugar and one part egg white.¬†Serves 6

Meringues finished dish

Meringues finished dish

  • 400 g chocolate ice cream
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g icing sugar
  • 120g egg whites (about 4 eggs)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Meringue ingredients

Meringue ingredients

Beat the egg whites and lemon juice with an electric whisk while gradually adding the caster sugar. When the mixture has risen and is shiny and quite dense, carefully fold in the icing sugar.

Meringue whipped egg white and sugar

Meringue whipped egg white and sugar

Make small meringues by placing  teaspoons of the mixture on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.

Meringues baked

Meringues baked

Bake at 90¬įC with the oven door propped open to allow the moisture to escape. It should take about an hour and a half.

When the meringues are ready, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely.

Serve them by making a sandwich with two meringues and some ice cream.

Strawberry granita

This is probably my favourite granita. You can top it with cream if you like. I like to use it to top fruit salad. Like all granitas, it is very easy to make.

strawberry granita finished dish

strawberry granita finished dish

  • 800 g strawberries
  • 5 heaped tablespoons sugar
  • 150 ml water
  • juice of 1 lemon

Clean and cut the strawberries into halves or quarters depending on size.

Strawberries with sugar

Strawberries with sugar

Sprinkle the strawberries with two tablespoons of the sugar.

Macerated strawberries

Macerated strawberries

Leave them to macerate for an hour or so until they start to release their liquid.

Strawberries ready to freeze

Strawberries ready to freeze

Liquidize the strawberries and add the lemon juice.

Pour into a wide shallow dish and freeze for 1 hour until ice crystals start to form. Remove from the freezer and scrape the frozen bits back into the mixture. Return to the freezer and repeat every 30 minutes or so until the granita is frozen, with a fluffy, crystalline texture. Spoon into dishes and serve straight away.

Watermelon granita

Watermelon season is well and truly here. This is a very nice way to use it. Don’t be tempted to leave out the sugar as it makes a big difference to the texture.

Watermelon granita finished dish

Watermelon granita finished dish

  • 1 kg watermelon flesh
  • 50 g sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • juice of 1 lemon
 Watermelon

Watermelon

  1. Make a syrup by mixing the water and sugar. Heat it gently until all the sugar dissolves and it boils for a couple of minutes or so. Allow it to cool.
  2. Liquidize the watermelon having first made sure that you have removed all of the seeds.
  3. Pour into a wide shallow dish and freeze for 1 hour until ice crystals start to form. Remove from the freezer and scrape the frozen bits back into the mixture.
  4. Return to the freezer and repeat every 30 minutes or so until the granita is frozen, with a fluffy, crystalline texture. Spoon into dishes and serve straight away.

Limoncello granita

This is a very untraditional version of lemon granita. Limoncello is traditionally made in the south of Italy in the “toe” of the “boot” and is now very popular here and elsewhere. I once looked up the recipe when I was in England and it started with the line “Take one litre of 98% abv alcohol”! This is definitely an adult dessert. It has the advantage of being even easier that the regular lemon granita because it remains soft in the freezer. Serves 6 or more.

Limoncello granita finished dish

Limoncello granita finished dish

  • 500 ml water
  • 125 g sugar (white or brown)
  • 50 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 125 ml limoncello
Linoncello granita ingredients

Linoncello granita ingredients

Put the sugar in a pan with the cold water. Bring to the boil, stirring a couple of times until the sugar has dissolved then leave to boil for 5 minutes.

Limoncello granita syrup

Limoncello granita syrup

Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Stir in the lemon juice and limoncello.

Limoncello granita ready to freeze

Limoncello granita ready to freeze

Pour into a wide shallow dish and freeze for 1 hour until ice crystals start to form. Remove from the freezer and scrape the frozen bits back into the mixture.

Limoncello granita starting to freeze

Limoncello granita starting to freeze

Return to the freezer and repeat every 30 minutes or so until the granita is frozen, with a fluffy, crystalline texture. Spoon into dishes and serve straight away.

Bergamo style Casoncelli

Casonsei alla Bergamasca. When I lived in Bergamo we used to drive up into the mountains once or twice a year to eat polenta taragna. The starter was invariably casoncelli, or casonsei in the bergamasco dialect. Slightly sweet filled pasta dressed with sage and pancetta.  Makes a generous 8 servings.

Casoncelli finished dish

Casoncelli finished dish

For the pasta:-

  • 400 g 00 flour
  • 100 g durum wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
Mix together all the ingredients along with enough water to make a dough. Knead until smooth. Let it rest for half an hour or so and then roll out into reasonably thick sheets. A hand cranked pasta machine will be a great help with this.
Casoncelli filling ingredients

Casoncelli filling ingredients

For the filling:-

  • 125 g dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 70 g grated grana
  • 150 g sausage meat or minced pork
  • 100 g cooked roast beef
  • 1 amaretti biscuit
  • 10 g sultanas
  • 1/2 medium pear
  • Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Chop all the ingredients together in a food processor to make a smooth paste.
Method 1
This method is used by people who need to prepare large quantities.
Cut the sheet of pasta in half lengthways.
Casoncelli pasta

Casoncelli pasta

Place a teaspoon of the filling at regular interval at regular intervals along the strip of pasta.
Casoncelli pasta with filling

Casoncelli pasta with filling

Fold over the pasta and press down to seal. Try to exclude as much air as possible to avoid them bursting when cooked.
Casoncelli folded pasta

Casoncelli folded pasta

Separate the pasta using a round pastry cutter. You should have a half moon shape.
Casoncelli half moons

Casoncelli half moons

Turn the half moon on its side and flatten it a little with your thumb.
Casoncelli shaped

Casoncelli shaped

Method 2
This method takes a little longer, but is a little easier if you haven’t had a bit of practice.
Cut out 7 cm discs of pasta using a pastry cutter. Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre of each disc. Fold over and seal to form a half moon shape. Continue as in method 1.
Cook the casoncelli in plenty of salted water. Meanwhile fry the pancetta and sage in the butter until it is well flavoured. Serve the pasta dressed in the butter and topped with the grana.
Casoncelli dressing

Casoncelli dressing

To dress the pasta:-

  • 80 g butter
  • 100 g cubed pancetta
  • 100 g grated grana
  • A few sage leaves

Lemon granita

Granita di limone. From Sicily. This is a very easy dessert. A granita is similar to a sorbet, but the texture is rougher and more grainy. The quantities are only a guide because it depends on how sweet your lemons are and on how sweet you like your desserts. Feel free to add more sugar or more lemons. As the zest is an important part of this recipe you must use unwaxed lemons.

Lemon granita ingredients

Lemon granita ingredients

  • 4 large lemons
  • 150 g sugar
  • 1 l water
  1. Cut the zest from the lemons. Juice the lemons
  2. Make a syrup by heating the water and sugar until it starts to boil.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and zest. Leave to steep for about half an hour.
  4. Strain into a freezer proof container and place in the freezer. Take it out of the freezer every hour or so and whisk it to break up the larger ice crystals.
  5. When it is fully frozen it is ready.

    Lemon granita finished dish

    Lemon granita finished dish