Monthly Archives: March 2013

Lemon Mousse

March 28, 2013

I asked what I could bring to the Easter buffet on Sunday. Dessert!
I thought about making a double chocolate cupcake. In Pantelleria cupcakes, as we know them don’t exist, so I thought it would be fun to contribute something that is not typical here. I started to bake.
I made up a recipe using really high quality chocolate. I must say they tasted divine … but to pipe the icing and make them look beautiful enough for the photo was another thing completely…holy cow!
In my mind I had Magnolia Bakery stylish art piece cupcakes decorated with these nice sugar daffodils (that I brought with me from NY). Not one came out as I had in mind, so we just ate them, Carlo, Igor and me. Carlo was euphorically happy about the fact that I would have to make them again to get them presentable for the blog! I will do them again and practice on my icing skills, in the future. I promise! An easier dessert is this Lemon Mousse. It will be perfect to bring to the table on Sunday.

Wishing you all a happy Easter,
Annalemon mousseCF025815
Lemon Mousse
Serves 4

1 gelatin sheet
1 small bowl of cold water
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) lemon juice
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) granulated sugar
1 Table spoon lemon zest
1 cup (2.4 dl) cold heavy cream

With scissors cut the gelatin into uniform pieces and place in the cold water to soak for about 5 minutes or until it has a jelly like consistency.
Fill a small pot halfway with water and place on a medium heat. Allow the water to reach a calm boil, then turn the burner down to low heat.  This will be the bottom of your double boiler.
In a stainless steel bowl that can rest on top of the pot you used to boil water, place the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk as to combine the contents thoroughly.
Place this mixture on top of the water in the small pot and begin to whisk vigorously allowing them to become fluffy and cook but not to the point of scrambled eggs. Should the scramble occur, don’t panic. Add a teaspoon of cold water to the egg and sugar mixture and whisk again. The egg mixture will return to fluffy. Set aside.
Dump the water from the pot and add the gelatin, lemon juice, and zests over a low heat with a spoon stirring constantly melt the gelatin. When it has melted, remove from the heat and fold into the egg yolk and sugar mixture.
Whip with a hand mixer the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks.
Fold lemon gelatin mixture and whipped heavy cream together.
Place the mixture into low rimmed glasses (see picture) as to allow ease of eating
Cover each glass with plastic wrap, then place them on a shelf in the refrigerator.
Allow to set for at least one hour.
Garnish and serve.

Lemon linguine

March 20, 2013

I’m happy it is still lemon season in Pantelleria. Here is a recipe for a simple and fast weekday pasta.
Buon appetito!lemons collianderCF024319Lemon linguine
Serves 4
1 four liter or quart sized pot with lid, filled with water
1 pinch of salt
1 pound (500 grams) Linguine
1 medium sized saute or sauce pan
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 small spring leeks finely minced
1/2 chili finely minced (add in the sauce if everyone enjoys spice or serve on the side for guests to add as they wish)
3 Tablespoons white wine (or a shot glass full)
3/4 cup (1.8 dl) heavy cooking cream
2 medium size lemons juice them for 1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and white pepper to taste
1 small bowl
2 egg yolks (room temperature)
1 tablespoon  lemon zest (use the 2 lemons before you juice them make sure there is no pith or white flesh attached)
1 cup (2.4 dl) grated Parmesan cheese
4 sprigs parsley, de-stemmed fine chiffonade
Fill the four quart or liter pot with water, add pinch of salt. Put the lid on top and place onto the largest burner on the stove top and turn the element onto the highest setting and allow the water to come to a rolling boil
Once water is boiling remove the lid and add the pasta to the water. Stir until all the pasta has descended into the water. Make a note of the amount of time suggested for cooking the pasta on the package and you will want to remove the pasta from the water anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds before the suggested cooking time. If you are tasting the pasta to decide if it has finished you want to remove it at a a slightly firmer texture then al dente.
Place a colander into the sink in preparation to drain the pasta when it is cooked.
Place your sauce pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, saute the spring leek and chili pepper. Once soft add white wine and lemon juice allowing to reduce by half. Next you add the room temperature heavy cream and lower the heat underneath the pan. Add half of a ladle of pasta water to the reducing sauce. Add some salt and white pepper keeping in mind that the grated Parmesan cheese will add salt to the dish as well.
In a separate bowl you will whisk the egg yolk with a fork and add a couple tablespoons of the warm cream sauce while whisking. This is to temper the egg yolks so they do not scramble.When the pasta is ready drain in the colander and then add to the cream sauce in the sauce pan. Next stir in the tempered egg yolks, zested lemon, Parmesan cheese and the parsley.
Serve immediately!
lemon linguine-CF019404

Black eyed pea cassoulet with salciccia and sage

March 14, 2013


These lovely local beans (yes, black eyed peas are actually a bean) was harvested last spring and dried. The farmer who grows the beans is called Centesimo. That is his nickname. All men have nicknames in Pantelleria. Centesimo’s means penny, or cent.  His nickname makes reference to the fact that he is very thrifty and frugal. He harvests all his seeds from his own fruits and vegetables that he cultivates. Centesimo and his wife live and grow their produce in Scauri, a village in the south west part of Pantelleria. When my friend Ines and I visited them this summer we got a lot of lovely products. I still had these black eyed peas, and was happy to use them last night.

centesimo-CF050352 1Yesterday we had rain and hailstorms all day. The three of us, Carlo (the boyfriend), Igor (the dog), and I were freezing. We spent all day inside, reading, watching a movie and just chilled out in front of the fire.For dinner I cooked this bean cassoulet with salsiccia and sage. It turned out to be a perfect meal for this cold day.  

The black eyed peas need to soak for 6-8 hours before you start cooking.

Black eyed pea cassoulet with salciccia and sage
Serves 4-6
To soak the black eyed peas:
2 cups (4.8 dl) of black eyed peas
6 cups (14.4 dl) of cold water
Put the black eyed peas in a bowl or a container.
Pour over the water and cover with a lid or a dinner plate.
Let soak for 6-8 hours in the fridge.
The cassoulet:
1 medium sized yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 dried chili peppers crushed or 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
2 medium sized carrots
1 stalk of celery
2 teaspoon salt
3 cups (7.2 dl) of white wine
2 cups (4.2 dl) of water
4 cups (9.6 dl) of soaked black eyed peas ( they will double in size after soaking)
17 oz (480 grams) salsiccia
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) of  cooking cream
12 cherry tomatoes
18 black olives
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
12 large sage leaves

Wash, peel and both the onion and garlic finely, saute in olive oil until golden and soft, add the bay leaf and chili flakes.
Wash, peel and cut the carrots and celery stalk in medium sized chunks and add to the onions with the black eyed peas, 2 cups wine,  2 cups water and 1.5 teaspoon salt.
Cover with a lid and cook on medium to low temperature for about 45 minutes then add the last cup of wine, continue cooking.

Add tomato paste, cream, sugar, Dijon mustard, cherry tomatoes and olives.
Sauté the salsiccia lightly in a skillet on the side then add to the bean stew.
Cook for another 20 minutes. Try the beans, they should be soft but not mushy,
you want them to have some texture. Crush the sage leaves and stir. Taste the stew before serving to see if more salt is needed. Serve with bread and red wine.

black eyed peas cassouletCF064656

Dinner plate

Wild asparagus canapés

March 8, 2013

obesk-CF066754I can feel the spring in Pantelleria approaching. One of the lovely things with spring is the wild asparagus. Yesterday we went looking for them and found plenty- enough to make a big tray of these asparagus parmesan cheese canapés. This recipe is original from a cookbook ” Snittar”  which in English means “Canapés”. My dear companion and friend Hedvig von Mentzer and I created and published this book in Sweden in 2003. Today it’s International Women’s Day. What could be a better occasion to invite friends for some Prosecco and canapés?
Let’s toast and acknowledge women all over the globe.



Asparagus and parmesan cream canapés
Makes about 30 canapés

10 oz (275 grams) refrigerated puff pastry sheets
1 egg (to brush the puff pastry with)
1 Tablespoon water

6 oz (170 grams) grated Parmesan cheese
2 shallots
1 clove of garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) white wine
3/4 cups (1.8 dl) heavy cream
2 sprigs of thyme crushed
Salt and grounded white pepper to taste

30 asparagus
Ice cubes


Preheat the oven to 400 F (200C) degrees.
Cut the sheet of puff pastry into 2 inch squares (bite sized).
Place the squares on a non stick baking sheet and on to the oven trays.
Whisk the egg and 2 Tablespoons of water together in a bowl, then, brush the top of each puff pastry square. Bake the squares in the oven for about 8-10 min. They should puff and be golden brown.
Remove from the oven and tray to a plate and allow them to cool to the touch.

Grate the Parmesan cheese. Finely chop the shallots and garlic.
Heat a saute pan, add olive oil then the chopped shallots and garlic saute until soft.
Add the wine, cook until the liquid is reduced to half.
Lower the fire and add heavy cream stir quickly, add the Parmesan cheese, make sure to stir the bottom on the pan to avoid burning. When the cheese has combined together with the cream it will thickened a bit. Make sure to taste the cream prior to seasoning, the Parmesan imparts some saltiness to the cream so taste the sauce as to adjust the salt amount. Season with crushed thyme, salt and white pepper, set a side.

In a separate pot boil water to cook the asparagus, add salt to the water as you would when cooking pasta. Fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes, this you have prepared on the side to immediately put the asparagus in after boiled using a slotted spoon. Boil the asparagus between 2-4 minutes and place immediately in the ice water bowl using a slotted spoon.

The time for asparagus will vary according to the size and freshness of your asparagus,
I would say between 2-4 minutes. I would  make a test by placing only two or three into the water and watch them as they are boiling. Remove them, cool and feel the texture, once you understand proceed with the rest. The asparagus should be bright green and not too cooked you would want it to remain a little “al dente” texture.  After cooling down, cut the top buds off (use the left over for example a salad or omelet).

Prior to serving, build the canapes :
Spread on top of each puff pastry square , one full teaspoon Parmesan cream,
next place one asparagus bud on the top.

Style: "Neutral"

Clementine and fennel salad

March 5, 2013

In Pantelleria there are many varieties of citrus fruits.
Clementines were initially a grafting between tangerines and oranges. They are usually seedless, the peel is thin and comes off easily. I picked these the other day and made this salad with fennel and walnuts. I love fennel in every way, cooked or raw. I cut this fennel very thinly and let it soak up a vinaigrette dressing for an hour before serving. The clementines were sweet and delicious.clementine tree-CF064681

Clementine and fennel salad
Side dish for 2-3 or 1 main course salad

4 1/2 oz (125 grams) fresh fennel bulb
3 clementines
1/4 cup walnuts
10 black olives
1 large mint sprig (about 12 leaves)

2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
Sea salt and grounded black pepper to taste.

Cut the fennel very thin using a sharp knife.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients taste with salt and black pepper.
Toss the fennel with the dressing and set a side for soaking for an hour.
Wash, peel the clementines and cut into slices.
Toast the walnuts in a dry pan (a suggestion, don’t leave the stove when doing this, nuts burn fast and easily).
On a plate layer the fennel, mandarins, mint, walnuts and finish with olives.
clementinesalad-CF065464 2Dinner plate

Lemon bars

March 1, 2013

This week has been bursting with healthiness! Salads, gym sessions, power walks and smoothies have all contributed to a super healthy week. As the weekend rapidly approaches, I think it’s high time for some sweets. I don’t want to get too healthy! I have a weakness for cakes with lemon. With a full lemon tree it would almost be a crime not to make these delicious lemon bars.
Wish you all a sweet weekend. / Anna
lemonbars-CF065658 2

Lemon Bars

8.8 oz (250 grams) sweet butter
2 medium size lemons, use the lemon zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs (room temperature)
1 1/2 cup (3.5 dl) sugar
1 vanilla bean (seeded)
1 cup (2.4 dl) All purpose flour (sifted) make sure to measure after you have sifted the flour
1/2 Tablespoon confectioners sugar

Method :
Preheat the oven to 300 F degrees (150 C).
You will need a baking pan sized 9 x 13 inches (22 x 32) cm .
Line the bottom of the pan with non stick oven paper.

In a sauce pan melt the butter
Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.
Add the vanilla bean seeds, and the outer hull of the vanilla bean to the butter and set aside to allow the vanilla bean to infuse its flavor to the butter.
In a mixing bowl beat eggs and sugar .
Wash the lemons, zest one lemon’s skin. Make sure you don’t include the bitter pith (white flesh of the lemon) add to eggs and sugar.
Squeeze and strain the lemon juice from both lemons, should make about 1/2 cup (1.2 dl) .
Remove the outer hull of the vanilla bean from the butter.
Combine lemon juice with the zest, in the bowl with the eggs and sugar mixture.
Add vanilla butter, fold in the sifted flour to the bowl
Pour batter in to the cake pan place on the center rack in the oven.
Bake for 30-35 min at  300 F (150C) degrees .

Let the cake cool down for 45 minutes
Garnish the entire top of the cake with a sift or sprinkle of icing sugar
Cut cake into desired squares sizes using a sharp kitchen knife.