Monthly Archives: February 2013

Post carnival mood

February 20, 2013

As most of you know there is a huge carnival in Venice every year. In Pantelleria the local carnival is also very important. The weeks (or months) of this event means hardcore partying. You eat together with friends and at midnight you go dancing to small clubs and listen to live music and drink a lot of local wine.  Usually you come back to the house around 4-5 in the morning, and of course you’re starving! Then it’s time for pasta! When you finally end up in bed you sleep until noon.

The Pantescan loves to party. At the end of the carnival period it all escalates… the kids actually have a school vacation so they also can focus and participate in all party events. For me this period is rough. I like to get up in the morning and I have work to do, so for me 3 days in a row is more than enough. Now this period has just finished and people are catching up on their sleep, starting diets and recovering their strength.

So am I.  This week I made a promise to myself to try the new gym that recently opened in Pantelleria center, I’m going to eat healthy and instead of my usual breakfast of coffee/cornetto/nutella, I’m going to start the start the morning with a smoothie.

orange flaxseed smoothie-CF021309I created five smoothie recipes for the Swedish magazine Icakuriren (feb 2013), it’s just been published and you can get the other recipes in the online at

Here is the recipe for a orange and flax seed smoothie:
Orange and flaxseed smoothie
Makes 2 smoothies

2 peaches or 1 mango ( or if you are using frozen fruit you need 150 grams of fruit )
2 tablespoons whole flax seed (or ground flax seed meal)
1 1/2 tablespoons peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
1 cup (2.4 dl) unsweetened carrot juice
1 cup (2.4 dl) freshly squeezed orange juice

Peel and pit the peaches or mango, cut large chunks.
Crush the flax seed using a mortar and pestle.
Place ingredients into a blender at medium speed (be sure to place the lid on top of the blender).
Pour into two 16 oz glasses and serve immediately.

lorena -CF020468  flaxseed smoothieMy beautiful and sporty friend is Lorena.


February 17, 2013

lemons-CF024520Limoncello is an Italian digestif that is most famous in the area around the Amalfi Coast but also served in Sicily and Sardinia. Limoncello is made of lemon peel, alcohol, sugar and water. Our lemon tree is now full with bright yellow lemons, so it is a perfect time to make goodies like Limoncello. Italians use 90% alcohol to make Limoncello, but as a Swede, I’m going for Vodka. Also I like to include lemon juice in this recipe. When making Limoncello, make sure the lemon peel does not stay in the alcohol too long before straining. I did that once and it became bitter. I would give it a maximum of 10 days, but 7-8 days is the ideal.

Simple syrup
3.5 cups (8.3 dl) granulated sugar
2 cups (4.8 dl) water
12 lemons
1 bottle of vodka 25 oz (75cl)
A large jar
Mix sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat.
Wash the lemons and peel off the skin with a potato peeler making sure to exclude the white parts which give a bitter taste.
Squeeze the lemon juice and strain out seeds and pulp.
Mix syrup, lemon juice, zest and vodka in the jar with a lid and close.
Let it stay for 7-8 days in a dark place.
Strain the liquid, then pour it into glass bottles.


limoncello-CF026115 Limoncello is served ice cold as a digestif after a large meal.


Almond panna cotta with uva passa and orange compote

February 15, 2013

Panna cotta literally means cooked heavy cream.
The main ingredients are cream sugar and gelatin, some recipes also include egg whites.
This dessert is originally from Northern Italy in the region of Piedmont (Piemonte), were back in the days people boiled the fish bones and getting collagen out of this process that was used as the first gelatin. Since I’m still fell  inspired from the almondtree in flowering I’m making more almond milk and flavor the panna cotta that I want to serve for my dinner guest this evening. To accompany this panna cotta I’m making a fruit compote made with oranges from the tree and uva passa from this summers grape harvest. Uva passa is the sun dried Zibbio grape, that you make the Passito di Pantelleria sweet wine of. This beautiful dried grape is a regular sweet here in Pantelleria and is used as a raisin in cooking and baking . To be honest it’s actually the best bloody raisin I ever tasted… sun kissed sweet…. perfumed with a taste of nature from the volcanic soil of Pantelleria.
uva passa-CF050375

If you can’t get hold of these uva passa you can exchange the uva passa to other raisins or for example use dried plums or just ad more orange or other sweet citrus fruits.

Here comes a recipe for almond panna cotta with uva passa and orange compote

Wish you all a great weekend.
/ Anna

almond pannacotta-CF011788

Almond panna cotta with uva passa and orange compote
Panna cotta
Serves 6

2 gelatin sheets (bowl large enough to cover sheets with water)
1 cup (2.4 dl) almond milk
1.1/2 cup (3.6 dl) heavy cream
1/2 cup (64 grams) sugar
1 vanilla bean ( split lengthwise and seeded)

6 each ceramic ramekins or small coffee cups
1 table spoon of sunflower oil (for the ramekins)

Place gelatin sheets in a bowl and cover complete with cold water for 5-10 min minutes. Over medium size flame, in a sauce pan combine the cream, almond milk and sugar and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Lift the gelatin sheets from the water and stir into the hot cream until dissolved as well. Oil 6 ramekins or small coffee cups. Divide the panna cotta mixture evenly among each ramekin, set on a level shelf in the fridge,cover with plastic and let set for at least 3 hours.

Uva passa and orange compote
4 oranges
24 uva passa
1 cup (2.4 dl ) Passito di Pantelleria
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) sugar

Peel the oranges by cutting the skin off using a sharp kitchen knife.
Cut the oranges into medium sized chunks. Deseed the uva passa.

In a small but heavy sauce pan, pour the Passito di Pantelleria wine and sugar to boil.  The sugar should dissolve and the liquid must reduce to half (on my gas stow this takes about 5 min). Stir constantly all the way to the bottom of the pan when it is boiling, so as to avoid burning the sugar. Add the fruit and set a side until serving.

When serving:
Run a sharp knife around the edges and flip on to serving plates.
Spoon up the compote cooled to room temperature around the panna cotta.

Almond trees in full bloom

February 5, 2013

almond tree in flower CF012872The almond tree that this blog is named after is now in full bloom. Almond trees belong to the plum family and the almond is the core of the almond fruit that is a stone fruit. It is not actually a nut. Here in Pantelleria the almond trees are now covered with white/pink flowers. Almonds are an important ingredient in the Pantescan cuisine. I love to use almonds both in cooking and baking and, of course, just eating them plain. When the bloom period is over the trees develop their foliage. After that the fruit is at first green (see picture below) and has a soft shell similar to the peach. This skin will dry over the summer and fall off when the stone fruit is ready.
almond tree green almonds-CF022926almond tree CF052774This is what looks like a nutshell. Inside you have the almond, which is the core.  We harvested our almond trees in August, and we use them throughout the year. When the almonds are fresh they are juicy and not as sweet as the dry ones. In Sicily, almond milk is a popular drink and is often served at the bars together with small Sicilian assorted cookies.almond harvest-CF052873Almond milk
6 servings

2.1/2 cups (6 dl) whole peeled almonds
18 cups (2.8 liter) room temperature bottled water, you will need to 6 cups (14 dl) per soaking    (2 times) 6 cups for blending.
3 tablespoons honey
Optional grounded cinnamon or vanilla seeds to taste

Place almonds together in a large bowl that can accommodate both the almonds and the water so the almonds are covered by the water. Cover with plastic and allow them to soak 4 hours. Then change water and do the same procedure soaking for another 4 hours.
Drain and rinse almonds with fresh water using a colander.
Using a blender or food processor, mix the almonds with 6 cups bottled water, and add honey. Mix together using a blender or food processor (taste if you want it sweeter, add some more honey). Place the mixture back into the bowl and cover with plastic allowing it to rest for 2 hours. If you want, now is the time to add a little vanilla seeds or grounded cinnamon to taste.
Strain the almond milk through a cheesecloth or a strainer, serve well chilled.
Store the almond milk covered in the refrigerator. It has a possible shelf life 3-4 days when properly stored.

almond milk CF011243almond milk-CF011322