|Sage and Honey Focaccia|
1/2 cup pancetta
chicken breast in fillets
salt and pepper
1/2 cup of capers
1L (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbs olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
2 tbsp butter
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 cups carnaroli or arborio rice
1 cup white wine
1 cup lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons, finely chopped, plus lemon zest to serve
½ cup loosely packed mint leaves, finely chopped
1 cup grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
For the roasted tomatoes:
1 lbs cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup chopped almonds
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
For the tomatoes:
1. On a big baking dish mix the tomatoes, almonds, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
2. Bake for 30 minutes on a 450f (230c).
Making the risotto:
1. Melt a good knob of butter in a large saucepan. Sauté the onions and garlic very gently in the butter for a minute or two.
2. Turn the flame up to medium. Add the rice and let it "toast" for a couple of minutes, then add a glass of wine. Let it to evaporate.
3. Now add a ladleful of broth to the rice. Simmer over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until the broth has been absorbed by the rice. Add another ladleful of broth and repeat for a total of 18 minutes or so. The rice is done when it's still al dente but without any chalkiness in the center.
4. When the rice is almost done, add the lemon juice and let it evaporate—only partially, like me, you like your risotto quite loose.
5. Off heat, add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and, if you like, another knob of butter to the rice. Stir vigorously for 30 seconds or so, until the cheese and butter have melted and the rice has developed a nice, creamy texture.
6. Combine the roasted tomatoes and mint and mix very gently.
7. Serve immediately.
1 big lemon lemon
1 cup (250ml) olive oil , plus extra for greasing
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cup (250g) caster sugar
2 1/2 cups (250g) ground almonds
3/4 cup (100g) fine polenta
1/2 cup (150g) runny honey
1 big lemon
1 cup (250g) mascarpone
2 teaspoons icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
Few Basil or mint leaves
1. Place the whole lemon into a large deep saucepan, cover with cold water and a small heatproof plate (to keep the lemon submerged). Place the pan on a medium heat, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the lemon is soft. (You might need to top up with more water, if the water evaporates too much.)
2. Take the lemon out and set aside to cool down, then cut it into quarters removing seeds. Place the lemon into a blender or food processor, then mix it with the olive oil until smooth.
3. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F. Grease and line a deep 8 inches (20cm) cake tin or small individual cake tins.
4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl, then whisk in the lemon and oil purée, the ground almonds and polenta. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin(s), spread out evenly and bake for 40 to 45 minutes (20 minutes if you’re making individual cakes), or until risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, make the lemon syrup: place the honey in a small pan on a medium-low heat and squeeze in the lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the honey has melted. (You may need to add a splash of hot water if it looks too thick.) Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
6. To make the mascarpone cream, beat the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla together, then gently fold in the yoghurt and set aside.
7. Tip the almonds into a small, dry frying pan and toast until golden. (Keep an eye on them, they burn easy).
8. To assemble the cake, place the sponge in the middle of the plate. Spoon the mascarpone cream on top making peaks and waves, then drizzle over the syrup and garnish with the toasted almonds, lemon zest and basil leaves.
For the chicken:
For the strawberry mousse:
½ lb (500 g) strawberries
¼ cup + 2 tbsp (75g) sugar
2 packets powdered Gelatine (14g)
1 ¼ cup (300 ml) whipping cream (30%)
For the limoncello syrup :
5 oz (150 ml) limoncello
¼ cup + 2 tbsp (75g) sugar
1 – Make the strawberry puree.
1.1 - Wash the strawberries and cut the tails off. Set aside about 15-16 strawberries (the best looking ones), and puree the rest in a blender. If needed, strain the puree through a fine meshed strainer to discard the seeds.
1.2 - In a medium-sized sauce pan, heat up about a third of the strawberry puree with half of the sugar (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons/75g) and the gelatine. Boil for 1 minute, whisking continuously (to avoid lumps), until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened slightly.
1.3 - Remove from the heat, whisk in the rest of the strawberry puree, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
2 – Make the soaking syrup.
2.1 - In a small saucepan, heat up the limoncello with the sugar and the zest of the lemon. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
2.2 - Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
3 – Make the strawberry mousse
3.1 - In a large mixing bowl, whip up the cream to a firm peak. Gently fold in the strawberry puree, using a spatula. Do not overmix: stop mixing where the mousse is evenly pink in color and no lumps are visible, but the mixture still has to feel airy and foamy.
4 – Assemble the cake.
4.1 - Line an 8” round spring form cake pan with parchment paper (bottom and rims). Take 4 strawberries and cut them in halves. Take a ladyfinger and soak the flat side (the bottom) in the syrup. Place it against the side of the pan, rounded-side facing out and flat side (soaked side) facing inward.
4.2 - Repeat and arrange the ladyfingers all around the sides of pan, nice and snug to avoid gaps. You should use about 18-19 ladyfingers to fill the entire rim.
4.3 - Place the rest of the ladyfingers in one layer at the bottom of the pan, (rounded-side facing down, flat-size facing up), nice and snug to avoid gaps. Pour half of the strawberry mousse inside the “ladyfinger mold” (this will also help keep the ladyfingers in place). Place the strawberry halves in one layer on top of the mousse. Ladle the rest of the mousse on top, and smooth it out with your spatula.
4.4 - Place the Charlotte cake in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours (preferably longer). You should be able to slice the cake for serving, so the mousse has to set until relatively firm (but not too rubbery).
5 – To serve.
When the Charlotte is chilled and set, carefully remove it from the springform mold, peel off the parchment paper from the edges and place on a serving tray. If chilled enough, the cake should be easy to work with. If it is too soft (and starts to fall), give it more time in the fridge before you try to unmold it.
Optional: when on the serving tray, you can tie a ribbon around the Charlotte cake. Not too tight, but just enough to keep the cake together in case it has to sit at room temperature too long before slicing. Right before serving, slice the rest of the strawberries (10) in halves, and place them on top of the cake to decorate