Archives for November 2013

Cook it and snap it! No. 2: Foglie di indivia (cicoria) farcite con gorgonzola, noci e miele di Lunigiana (Denominazione di Origine Protetta)

Our second recipe from the watermill is a very simple starter, so simple that we’ve given it the posh Italian name above. Bit of a mouthful and not half as delicious as the real thing. Being translated, it means:  Leaves of endive (chicory) filled with gorgonzola, walnuts and Lunigiana honey (Protected Designation of Origin). It doesn’t take much longer to prepare the dish than to say the name!

Lois says: I always detect a certain amount of snickering when I serve this as a primo piatto because it looks so EASY.  Well, it is easy…… but also incredibly delicious.”

Here’s Lois being silly with 11 quick endive starters!

Endive silly

Lois says; I think that the trick is to choose your gorgonzola carefully – the ‘piccante’ version is just a little too firm (as well as salty); the ‘dolce’ version is more melt-in-the mouth.  And the Lunigiana honey is best in Italy (See below).  The mix of salt and sweet, together with crisp green chicory leaf and walnut crunch is just delectable and I defy anyone to make anything quite so tasty in so short a time”

Here are the ingredients to serve 8 people:

24 medium-size chicory leaves

250g gorgonzola dolce

a large handful of shelled walnuts

4 teaspoonsful of acacia honey

And the method?

Allow 3 chicory leaves per person.  Divide the gorgonzola between them, spreading it on the inside of each leaf. Roughly crumble the walnuts over the filled leaves, then drizzle the honey over.

Ta-da! It’s ready already!

 We also thought it might be fun that when you’ve made one our dishes, you take a photograph and sent it to us, with your comments.  Just email it as a jpeg attachment to info@watermill,net We’ll publish your pictures in this blog and on Facebook. Happy food preparation, happy snapping – and happy eating!

Buon appetito! Buono fotografare!

More on Lunigiana honey, the best in Italy:

Lungiana two honeys

Honey from Lunigiana, the unspoilt area of Northern Tuscany in which the mill is situated, is the only one in Italy to have been given the coveted DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) designation. Other products include Parma ham and Parmesan cheese and the balsamic vinegar of Modena, as well as regional olive oils.

Beekeepers in Lunigiana still keep to the centuries-old traditions to ensure the quality of the honey. The earliest records of honey making go back to the early 16th Century (when the authorities realised they could tax the product!) and, amazingly, if you compare the locations of beehives on ancient maps with those on a modern one there is a perfect match.  The hives today are located in precisely the same areas as they were five centuries ago.

Two types of honey are made in Lunigiana: the lighter-coloured, delicately flavoured acacia honey and the darker, more strongly flavoured chestnut honey. We use both at the watermill, but we think the acacia is better with the endive, gorgonzola and walnuts.

We usually serve our endive starter at Tuesday during our painting holidays and creative writing courses. You can find out more about our painting holidays by clicking here.  And about all our creative courses, by clicking here.

Cook it and snap it! No. 1: chocolate torta from Capri

Chocolate torta croppedAs well as bringing you lots of good painting and creative writing tips from our inspirational tutors at the watermill, we also thought you might be interested in sharing the recipes for some of the wonderful dishes we serve during our courses. Between them Lois and Mirella strive to bring you real Italian cooking, with fresh local ingredients and interesting combinations of flavours.

So from time to time we plan to share with you some of our recipes – and we start today with one of the favourite puddings we serve at the mill: chocolate torta from Capri, a sumptuous cake made entirely without flour.

We hope you enjoy making it, too, and, of course, that you and your family and friends enjoy eating it.

And we also thought it might be fun that when you’ve made it, you take a photograph and sent it to us, with your comments.  Send us an email to info@watermill.net, with your photo as a jpeg attachment and we’ll publish your pictures in this blog and on Facebook. Happy cooking, happy snapping – and happy eating!

Here’s the recipe for a cake large enough for 10 to 12 servings:
225 grams of plain chocolate (not less than 72% cocoa solids)
225 grams blanched almonds
225 grams granulated sugar
225 grams of unsalted butter
4 large eggs

Chop the almonds into small pieces (this can be done in a food processer but don’t chop them too fine: you don’t want ground almonds). Remove the almonds. Chop the chocolate to the same size. Remove the chocolate.

Cream the butter and sugar together in the food processor until fluffy.

Separate the eggs.  Add 4 egg yolks to the butter and sugar mixture.

Whisk the egg whites to ‘soft peaks’. Fold in the chocolate and the almonds into the butter/sugar/egg yolk mixture. Then fold in one large spoonful of whipped egg white to soften the mixture, before gently folding in the rest.

Line the bottom of a 20cm spring-release cake tin with greaseproof paper. Put the mixture into the cake tin and place in a pre-heated oven at 350ºC (180ºF). Cook for one hour.

Leave to cool, remove carefully from tin and slice. Serve with skinned, segmented oranges and softly whipped cream.

Buon appetito! Buono fotografare!

We usually serve our Capri chocolate torta at dinner on Thursdays during our painting holidays and creative writing courses. You can find out more about our painting holidays by clicking here. And about all our courses, by clicking here.

Dinner at the watermill..Great tastes, good company.

Dinner at the watermill..Great tastes, good company.