Monthly Archives: July 2013

Sfinci: Sicilian doughnut filled with ricotta

Sfinci are fried dumplings of ricotta that Sicilians eat for breakfast and they make delicious snacks for summer or outdoor eating. You can flavour them with vanilla as they did in Noto and shake sugary  cinnamon over if that is your fancy.  I like mine dipped in honey! They are tastier and fresher than doughnuts but just as naughty…

Tucking into cafe style Sfinci in Noto

Tucking into cafe size Sfinci in Noto

Ingredients list: Makes about 8 to 10 Sfinci

  • 6 eggs
  • Sugar, 125 g
  • Ricotta, 500g
  • Flour, 250g
  • Baking powder, 4 Tbsp
  • Vanilla pod, to taste
  • Honey, 60 ml or 60 g of sugar mixed with 1 tsp of cinnamon

Beat the eggs with the sugar until it turns pale yellow.

Add the ricotta, followed by spoonfuls of flour, baking soda and scrapes of the vanilla pod. Make sure it is all blended in.

Use a cast iron pan to heat the oil bring it to a low frying temperature.

Drop big dollops of batter into the oil and leave it to brown on both sides. Keep the fire low so it does not burn too fast! Do check that they are moist inside but not too runny. My children turned their noses up at a runny batch and I had to fry them all over again… The things we do for love…

Serve at rooms temperature with a dip of sugared cinnamon and a dip of honey, to choose from. These treats are deliciously indulgent and very very addictive.

Sicilian doughnuts

Sicilian doughnuts

Details of a Sicilian window

Details of a Sicilian window

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Ricotta stuffed flowers in tempura

Flowers in parcels

Flowers in parcels

Eating flowers in summer is one of life’s simple luxuries.

I have got a courgette flowers “beignet” recipe on the blog already but this one is our Sicilian version and I love it for the sharp freshness the ricotta gives against the fried batter. Here I used the same batter recipe as before.

This light snack makes a perfect starter to a summer dinner party.

Ingredients list:

  • Per Courgette flower:
  • Ricotta, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt and pepper to flavour

Season the ricotta and drop a spoonful inside each courgette flower. Delicately close the petals around and dip this into a light batter. Shallow fry in a bit of rapeseed or sunflower oil. Once brown – it takes a few seconds- lay each parcel onto kitchen towel to drain the excess oil.

Serve warm as soon as they are done.

Ricotta filled flower

Ricotta filled flower

Pan Bagna- my best summer sandwich

When I described my current fantasy of Pan Bagna to a British friend lately she exclaimed : “So it is a salade nicoise in a bun!”- pretty much… and so much more…

My fave sandwiches!

My fave sandwiches!

This recipe is a must for all our summer picnics and I remember a memorable one last year on Palombaggia beach with my brother’s family… Somehow the taste of the sandwich is exponantially affected by the beauty of its tasting location!

Ingredient list:

  • one bun ( preferably wholemeal and homemade ;))
  • 2 anchovies
  • strips of cooked red or green peppers
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 5 slices of tomato (very ripe is best)
  • 2 slices of hard boiled egg
  • olive oil, 1 Tbsp
  • a few black olives
  • one diced radish (optional)

Cut up the top of the bun (1/3 off) and carve out or squeeze the inside down to create a dip. Scrape the 1/2 clove all over the inside of the bun. Assemble the other ingredients and stuff in layers then drench in the olive oil, press down a bit with your palm and wrap in cling film. Keep cool until needed!

When you unwrap it, all the flavours  have mingled and the olive/garlic mix has worked its magic through the whole sandwich to create a flavoursome, moist and chewy wonder… Of course it tastes best eaten in the shade of a pinegrove, ovelooking the beach but  I bet you will love it in any setting.

IMG_2705Hope you are having a really tasty summer!

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Going on a course (or two)!

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Please bear with me for a few weeks as the posts are going to trickle through…

The reason is not a holiday (yet) and I am still here, enjoying our British un-summer, but it has more to do with my enrolling on a few new courses – two to be precise- on Coursera.org.

So in the next few weeks, I shall be studying “Nutrition for health promotion and disease prevention” with the University of California AND “The Science of Gastronomy” with the HK university of Science and Technology. So really exciting and challenging stuff that will steer this blog towards new and exciting shores I hope!

In case you have not heard of Coursera, go visit on https://class.coursera.org. Have a look and enrol ! This is addictive learning at its best : Join me on the Science of Gastronomy that starts in 6 days for example… Chiche?!

Taking the opportunity to wish you all a fun and creative summer!

PS: Other favourite internet based courses are ItunesU, memrise.com and of course the Open University. Go check them all this summer for new resolutions in September. Nothing beats studying!