Friday, 12 June 2009

Food miles Brunch

A sunny Saturday, the first weekend of June.

The morning began with an Arancini, an orange size and color deep fried ball of rice filled with cooked ham and mozzarella. This was the fuel that provided us with enough energy to arrive at the organic Market for the weekly dose of good old organic Cannolo. Within minutes of arrival we found ourselves sitting outside a café, enjoying the morning sun with espresso and fresh cannoli, living the dream.

We headed home, weighed down by our goods filled bags and began the mission of preparing brunch. Fast-forward to several hours later of peeling, boiling, frying, chopping, squeezing, poaching and drizzling in a kitchen far too small to occupy more then one person, and brunch was ready.

Kicked off with a Mojito, there was rice cooked in asparagus and vegetable broth, laid on a bed of green leaves and topped with a poached egg (naturally) and Sriracha sauce. A spicy apricot ginger salad, a speck coleslaw, a Burrata, (a form of insanity, this is a fresh cheese made of mozzarella and cream. While the outer shell is solid Mozzarella, the inside a creamy stratchiatella), a Tete de Moine, A pecorino, fried Plantains wrapped with prosciutto, pork fried with Yuzu, Baklava, an organic Nutella ice cream and ricotta pancakes topped with red bean paste and strawberry, green tea and plain whipped cream.

While none of the dishes were local, the ingredients covered all the continents, with Indian spices, a Cretan phyllo pastry, hazelnuts from Sicily, green tea and red beans from Japan, rum from Cuba, cheese from Switzerland, to name but a few.

The food miles on the table were out of control. They could be regarded as seasonal and local SOMEWHERE in the world, just not necessarily close to Parma… but that was where they all found themselves , plump, crisp and ready to be eaten, laid out on a sunny Saturday in the first weekend of June.

Here is the recipe of the ricotta pancakes topped with red bean paste and strawberry, green tea and plain whipped cream I prepared with Naoya, to satisfy my Azuki paste craving.

Ricotta pancakes with Azuki bean paste and 3 whipped creams

(based on Nigella’s Ricotta hotcakes, makes about 25)

For the pancakes

250 grams fresh sheep’s milk ricotta

½ cup semi skimmed milk

2 large eggs, separated

100 grams flour

1Tsp baking powder

pinch salt

butter for frying

For the whipped cream

Whipped cream

Matcha green tea*


Azuki red bean paste**

The pancakes

Put the ricotta, milk and egg yolks into a bowl and mix well to combine. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt and gently whist to make smooth batter.

Beat the egg whites until they become foamy. Fold into the ricotta mixture.

Heat a little batter in a frying pan and drop heaped dessertspoons of batter.

Cook for about 1 minute until golden then flip them over and cook another minute.

The whipped cream

Divide the whipped cream into 3 bowls. Puree the strawberries, (sweeten to taste if needed) and stir into 1 bowl.

Dilute a teaspoon of Matcha powder in a little water and blend until smooth. Stir into to the second bowl of whipped cream and blend until smooth.

Serve the pancakes, Azuki paste and whipped cream for an individual assembly.

* Matcha green tea comes in powder form and can be purchased online and in specialty shops.

**  The Azuki bean is boiled with sugar then made into a paste. Can be purchased online and in specialty shops.Instruction to make your own bean paste can be found here

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