Sunday, 27 May 2012

Pizza in a cone?

"I was intrigued, I was like oh my god look at that, I was like what is going on here? Pizza in a cone, is that even possible? How do they do it and why? What's the reasoning behind it all?"

These were all the things passing through my friend Anne-Marie and my mind as we walked passed Konopizza.  

Italians love pizza.  And Italians love ice cream.  So this restaurant was an incredible mixture of the two: you can eat your pizza and have your ice cream too.  
This was crust already made in a cone shape and filled with filling of your choice: mozzarella is a standard, tomato and vegetables or other classic pizza toppings that are used to fill the cone.  

The konopizza was located in Padova, Italy quite near the main piazza.  Padova is a small town an hour away from Venice and great for a little day trip away if you're visiting Venice for a long time.  

Supper Club Venice, Italy

So here we are.  A dinner party where friends, visitors and travelers alike can enjoy a freshly cooked meal in a classic Venetian home whilst sharing their experiences of the most beautiful city in the world.  Sponsors of 'slowfood', our motto is to cook using the freshest ingredients: freshly caught fish and vegetables grown from the local island of Sant'Erasmo.

Our dinner party includes a three course meal with apetizers, wine, coffee and a digestif.  The type of food is typical Venetian cuisine, with influences from around the world.  We are very child friendly, we ask for two days notice and a minimum of four guests.  At the end of supper we ask for a contribution.  If you'd like to know more or reserve please email me at:

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Manjuka, my kind of Shakshuka

I suppose I'm quite competitive.  Well, if you ever had a brother or a sister, you're going to be a little bit competitive.  It's a sibling thing.  Even when they're far away, there's still a competitive feeling in the air.

It's a lazy sunday. The competitiveness isn't hitting you right yet.  Until your sister sends you another picture of what she's eating or cooked on whatsapp.  This time it's not a delicious pain au chocolat or a homemade quiche but shakshuka yum.  Shakshuka yum?  I think to myself.  How is she cooking up all these exotic things when I'm just sat here in Venice trying to revise for my exam on history of contemporary political thought?  It must be her Israeli boyfriend who is inspiring her and teaching her about far away foods, I think to myself.

I put down my anthropocentrism book, and head to the kitchen.  And in the fridge there are eggs.  And there is parsley.  And there are chopped tomatoes and onions around the place.  Lacking the peppers but in possession of courgettes, I start creating my shakshuka.

Now let me tell you that this isn't actually a shakshuka.  It's more of a delicious spicy tomato and vegetable dish with potatoes, beans and poached eggs.  But does that matter? You can still keep the name.  Or invent another name like Manjuka.

After making this composition, and after a grand degustation with a satisfied housemate, I send a photo from whatsapp to my sister.  'What's that?'  She writes.   'Shakshuka!'  I respond.  Oops, I think, maybe she's feeling a little bit competitive, the same way I was feeling earlier.  'What did you use?' She asks.  I list the ingredients. 'Yoel says you were a little too adventurous with your ingredients.'  She responds.

That's rivalry for you.

Olive oil,
2 chopped onions,
3 chopped and crushed garlic cloves,
5-6 courgettes,
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cumin,
Fresh of dried chilli (1 tsp or depending on how spicy you like)
Herbs- oregano or herbes de provence
2 tsp. paprika
potatoes, peeled and sliced small
1 tin Cannelloni beans
1/2 cup Red wine,
1/2 point of stock
4 - 6 Eggs
5 tablespoons Double cream/ or Feta cheese

In a large and deep frying pan, fry the chopped onions with the garlic in the olive oil.
Add the sugar, cumin, paprika, herbs.
Slice the courgettes thinly and add to the pan
Add the sliced potatoes
Add the red wine and the stock
Cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes
Add more water if you can see that the potatoes aren't cooked.
Add salt and pepper
Add the cannelloni beans,
Add the cream, but do not mix it in.
Crack the eggs into the pan and cover.
Sprinkle the parsley.

If you'd rather, you can substitute cream for feta cheese.  Just crumble feta cheese on top.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Baba au Rhum

A week in Cannes to visit the grandparents motivated me to make this baba au rhum- a light sponge cake drizzled in a rum syrup.  My French mother and France is where I got my passion for chocolate and all things sweet from.  After 8 months in Venice I thought, right, I think it's time to visit France again.  I needed to remember the taste of a freshly baked croissant. 

One afternoon, I told my aunt that we needed to go to the patisserie for some pastries.  I chose a chocolate tart, a raspberry and cream tart, lemon meringue tart, mille feuille with a cointreau custard, a coffee eclair and a baba au rhum. 

The baba au rhum was so incredibly popular that I decided to make my own and tell you all about it. 

The cake originates from Poland, with the name of 'babka' meaning 'old woman' or 'grandmother'.  The Rum Baba we know today has been Frenchified and is often made with dried fruit and soaked in rum.  The dessert was brought by French cooks to Naples and is found in many Italian pastry shops.  Grand chef Alain Ducasse uses the Baba au Rhum as his signature dessert in his Michelin starred restaurants.  

The 'Rum Baba' or Baba au Rhum is often eaten with cream or custard and can be served with fruit such as pineapples, passionfruit, mango or berries.  

120g - Self raising Flour or Plain flour with 8g/ 1 and a half teaspoons of baking powder 
50g - Unsalted Butter and 10g for the baking dish
150g - Caster Sugar 
5 Tablespoons - Milk
3 - Large Eggs, yolks and whites separated

Optional: Currants/ Chopped dried Fruit

For the Rum Syrup: 

150 ml - Water 
5 Tablespoons - Dark Rum
2 Tablespoons - Honey
200g - Caster Sugar

- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
- Cream the butter and sugar together then beat using an electric whisk.  
- Beat in the yolks one at a time

- Sift the flour and stir it in to the mixture
- Stir in the milk
- With a clean electric whisk, beat the whites of egg until risen
- Mix the whites of egg with the rest of the ingredients

In a buttered and lined dish, pour the mixture in.
Cook for 30 minutes or until risen and a knife comes out clean.

Meanwhile, prepare your syrup.

- Put the sugar, honey and water in a saucepan and allow to simmer until it has reduced.  Then add the rum.  Do not boil the rum!

Take out the dish from the oven and allow to cool. Drizzle the rum syrup onto the cake and serve.  Voila'!