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Pistachio cheese-cake, Bell’Elen, Lemon and Meringue pastry and Mandarin Jelly with Pumpkin Froth mini pastry 

  
 
WHAT: Pistachio cheese-cake, Bell’Elen, Lemon and Meringue pastry and Mandarin Jelly with Pumpkin Froth mini pastry by Ai Banchi
WHY: I finally undertsand what a VIP feels like and how annoying it can get to be ceaselessly stopped by people. The beauty of my son is letting me experience it. Could not imagine I had to calculate at least 10 minutes extra every time I go grocery shopping and from 3 to 5 stops when taking a walk in the city center. Old women are the majority, but I can’t really exclude any category: men, boys, girls, kids, butchers, bar tenders, clerks, bankers, etc. Everyone stops us to congratulate for his beauty, then they ask for age, weight, gender (?). Most of them suggest to propose him as a baby model for some commercial or just exclaim: “he looks like the babies in the advertising!” Which one I don’t know. Anyway, since my celebrity is the spin-off of my son’s celebrity, I decided I could afford to go to this 2 MICHELIN stars spin-off restaurant, the one for less rich customers than the original one. Here I am trying pastries and cakes: l proceeded by sizes and started with the Mandarin Jelly with Pumpkin Froth mini pastry – the jelly was too gummy, may be because of the time and the small size, while the pumpkin foam was too little to sense the flavor; it was just a decorative thing. Went on with the Lemon and Meringue pastry – smooth and delicate, a romantic taste; the lemon custard espoused the meringue with sensuality while the shell was fresh and buttery, fragrant and glorious! The Bell’Elen not really a “Elen” one – I would have expected a crunchier crust and a sharper white custard and a less solid chocolate cream ganache; still, when eating the layers all together they yelled on my tongue “oh my God!”. Grand final, Pistachio cheese-cake – an explosion of pistachio and may be some lemon, with a very well camouflaged crust; pistachio grains on top were just the right crunchy compromise to remind you of the nut itself. As my companion said: “ a trip!”. Only the cost of my green thee was a burglary, but real VIPS don’t mind the price, right?

WHERE: Ibla

WHO: me 

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Pancakes with strawberries, banana and syrup

  
WHAT: American pancakes with strawberries, banana and syrup.

WHY: l was a groupie and I didn’t know. My friend Gab is very good with internet, she can be the perfect detective. Starting from a single detail she discovers worlds. Well, she found out that the nice escaping father of my kid is a musician in an unknown (for me) indie rock band. And he was probably in tour when we met in Amsterdam. This explains lots of things, for example why he disappeared so soon and why he never talked about his job. Also, why my baby is so inclined to music, so attracted from any instrument or object that can emit a rhythmic sound. Since he was 9 month-old he asked (by gestures of course) for me to let the i-pod play, he asked for music and he danced with it. 
Unfortunately, things are not always what they seem to be. That gorgeous musician was not the man of my life and these two giant pancakes are not as wonderful as they look. There is a list of qualities that make them imperfect; too soft, too sweet and yet not savoury enough, the syrup is tasteless and the strawberries are also worst, plus they’re heated by the warmth of the pancake itself. I bought them in a franchising yogurt bar and they probably use a ready to use mix. In Sicily nobody sell homemade pancakes. In this case you better look for a good recipe on line and make pancakes yourself. But, can I do the same with the father of my baby? Can I just look for him trough the web?

WHERE: Modica

WHO: me

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Food blogger, Food writing, Parenthood, Writing

Red-fruit Yogurt Mousse Cake



WHATRed-fruit Yogurt Mousse Cake

WHYSince I was a child I noticed that nobody would congratulate or reward you if you are not at least getting married or having a child. I had the confirmation of my suspicions when last year I won an important international writing festival and no friends, nor relativesregarded me at all. No encouragement or support from them. I was almost getting to have a script bought from a movie producer, but it was silent from their side. As soon as I got pregnant they all noticed me. Ok, that’s life. They all sent and brought presents and money for the happy event. I decided to repay their sudden kindness with a big and gourmet Sunday lunch.  I won’t talk about the menu because this is not the place, but of course there were a cake as dessert. Here it starts another story. I was in a bar sipping an excellent Belgian beer (half to be sincere, after the pregnancy I lost my endurance), when an old friend of mine came in to say hello accompanied by a guy I’d never seen before. Chit-chatting, it came out he was a confectioner, a pasticcere I’d say. My eyes twinkled: he was charming, kind, a cake-maker and he showed interest on me. Unbelievable! One thing I have to underline – that night my baby was not with me. We had a beautiful time flirting etc. etc. I decided that the cake for the Sunday lunch would be made by him. I actually invited him to the occasion. After many possible choices I opted for this Red-fruit Yogurt Mousse Cake. He made me an appointment on Sunday morning to the bar where he works to pick them up, he and the giant cake. I showed perfectly on time, all dressed up and happy and my baby was with me. Why the hell it didn’t come up earlier that I was a mum? Did I expressly omit that tiny lovely detail? He looked at me with scorn and immediately made up an excuse for not coming to the lunch. Well, I had to go. The lunch was successful and the creamy soft mousse was a Wow. The sweet icing on top perfectly balanced the hint of sour from the yogurt. The sponge inside gave to it the right consistence. The decoration was also unexpected. Everybody was happy and complimented, asking who the author of that pink delicious cake was. I only mentioned the name of the bar and secretly told the whole story to my baby.  I used a low voice and was totally sincere; being mindful not to omit any detail this time, not even my frustration. He’s only two month old, but he listened to me carefully, then he smiled and puked on me the milk I’d just given to him.  

WHERERagusa

WHO: me



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Food blogger, Food writing, Parenthood, Writing

Chocolate-Meat Scone & Almond Cookie

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WHAT: Chocolate-Meat Scone & Almond Cookie
The unknown contest

WHY: Today I had on my skinny jeans, which I dismissed since June and went to Modica to pursue my new sociological study: a single lady with a baby in his stroller and the attitude of people toward them. Modica is an elegant baroque town famous for its fake chocolate, which they say is made from the original Aztec recipe (not for chocolate lovers, I warn you). Its real specialty are biscuits and cookies; in a biscotteria (biscuits bakery) you can either spend a lot of time trying to decide which biscuit to try or spend a lot of money trying them all, a huge variety. The city center is plenty of biscotterie and I decided to proclaim a secret contest where I was the president, the jury and the only attendance. I picked the first and the last bakery at the two ends of the main street and tried two typical biscuits: Impanatigghi e Paste di Mandorla – Cocoa-Meat Scone & Almond Cookie. Yes, there is veal meat blended with cocoa and almonds in Impanatigghi but you cannot notice it if nobody tells you. The first one was Giunta, an old style dismal place, well supplied. Then I went to Casa Don Puglisi, modern and touristic place with pleasant furniture recalling old shops style. Giunta’s impanatigghi were very creamy inside and the crust was well cooked and perfectly matched with the filling; well blended ingredients. Don Puglisi’s were spicier with a dry shell which separated from the tasty filling. Giunta’s Paste di Mandorla had a thick crust and a smooth almond-dough inside, it may be they added some lemon pill. Don Puglisi’s were thinner with a more delicate almond taste and less sugar. I have to say that cheapish almond cookies are usually just too sweet to cover the fact that there is little almond dough. These two were fair enough. But the winner is Giunta! Would they ever care? This contest diverted my attention from the original sociological research mission. I can only say that everybody asked if my baby was a boy or a girl, how old was he and congratulated with me, passing by. In a bakery, the lady at the counter helped me to hold the door and step down the 3 entrance stairs. That’s all. My brain was all biscuits and cookies.

WHERE: Modica

WHO: me

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Honey&Ricotta cake

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WHAT: Honey & Ricotta cake by Caffe’ Italia

WHY: When you’re pregnant everybody is suddenly super kind to you.; men at public offices, guys in the bars or in the buses, ladies at the supermarket. Even the owner of the take away pizzeria near my place started to give me a homemade dessert on the house every time I bought a pizza or I received some fruit for free from the vendors at the open-air market. Don’t get used to it. Once you gave your baby birth, you become a ghost again. Friends and acquaintances come to your house not to visit you anymore. It is your baby the protagonist and the only matter. They take turns to hold him while the others look at him, no one talks and it is all “Pucci-pucci, how beautiful you are, how cute”. And you stay in a corner waiting for somebody to say something not baby related, because you tried twice and no one cared. Only when the baby starts to cry, yelling like a victim in a horror movie, only then somebody proposes a walk and everybody goes out leaving you alone feeding your beloved baby. I do love my baby, but I also love myself. That’s why from time to time I need to get some present for me, like a book, a new artistic calendar or a cake time. This time I ended up in one of my favorite bar ordering this Honey&Ricotta cake: what was unfortunately missing is the actual taste of cow ricotta, its thickness. Yes, it was well blended, but the ‘pan di spagna’ sponge was too old style, too soft, too rum soaked. I wouldn’t use this kind of sponge anymore in any cake. But who cares? I am a mummy now, a ghost and a milk machine.

WHERE: Ragusa

WHO: me

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Cheesecake and Sacher Torte

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WHAT: Cheesecake and Sacher Torte by Delicatessen

WHY: After nine months, the guy disappeared and his son is going to be born. Only now my love for cakes came back. So I had to try this place in this Sicilian city, Ragusa. A delicatessen that have the only homemade cheesecake in the city and one of the best I ever had. It’s the cooked one with the right balance between sour and sweet taste. It’s served with a liquid yogurt and a strawberry homemade jam. Delicious. Not the same story for the Sacher Torte. The chocolate on top was not a ganache at all. More a sticky tasteless pudding on a not chocolate sponge. The apricot jam saved the situation, but I wouldn’t call it a Sacher. We have to give to words the right meaning, we have to use them carefully. Exactly like the obstetric did with me today: he didn’t think twice before assuming that my future little boy could be diabetic and that I wont be able to have a natural delivery. He inferred that I would have a caesarean operation and that I was stupid to have got pregnant with a flying guy….he used all these words without any foundation. Maybe that’s why today I started again to use words and to eat cakes as a linked thing. Welcome back cakes!

WHERE: Ragusa

WHO: me

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