Monday, 26 April 2010

Updated website...

Hi guys!

Just to let you know about my website update! Through this update you will have an easier access to my on-line shop and will be able to find in a quicker away all my products....

Just to let you know all the products available...

 Cured meats from £2.50 per 100gr

Pastas from £2.50

Spices bags £2.50

Cheeses from £2.50 per 100gr

Vegetarian and non vegetarian chilli spreads
from £2.80

Saturday, 24 April 2010

How to make Gnocchi

Hi guys,

This is my mums gnocchi recipe, very easy, very quick and delicious!

Hope you all like it!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

How to recognise good quality pasta!!

I get a lot of people asking me why my pasta is so different from other pastas found in supermarkets and shops. Well my answer has always been because we use the best semolina you can find in Italy, and secondly because we make our pasta like our grandmothers and grand grandmothers use to make it, the old fashion way, our traditional way, using antique methods that allows the pasta to have a consistency than when cooked is like fresh pasta and has a natural taste. Of course no additives, enhancers and massive produced techniques are used.
So then I get the question of, how can we identify when a pasta is of good quality?
Well, unfortunately that can be quite tricky but still there are ways of seeing whether the pasta is of at least a decent quality.
The aspects you should look at are size, colour and thickness of the pasta. Industrially made pasta is quite small in size. Although we can find many types of traditional shapes from the largest to the smallest normally massive produced pasta shapes tend to be smaller than the traditional size for that particular shape. Of course, to be able to recognise this you would have to know what’s the traditional size for that shape, which in most cases is impossible. So the best thing would be if you can actually get a good quality or proper handmade pasta of the shape you are analysing and compare the size of that pasta with the industrially made one, so you can have an idea of the sizes.

The second aspect you should look at is the colour. Massive produced pasta is kind of yellow because the dough which was made from probably had more ingredients added to it than what it should have. Handmade or good quality pasta has a very light yellow or white colour because is the actual colour of the semolina. Of course the quality of the semolina used influences this a great deal. Also, massive produced pasta has a sort of transparency look to it probably because the dough from which it was made of was thinner in consistency than what it should be allowing producers to produce more amount of pasta per kilo of dough. Good handmade pasta will have a solid look, ie it won’t look weak if you know what I mean, it will look heavy.

The third aspect to look for will be thickness. Good handmade pasta will be thick. This gives the pasta the consistency handmade pasta has. If you look massive produced pasta you’ll see that the shape will be very thin, looking at the cut edge. Again, because the dough used was very thin and when squeezed through the machine to form the shape is using the least quantity of dough to produce more amount of pasta per kilo of dough.

The next aspect you can check this time when cooking or after cooked is the consistency. As I said industrially produced pasta is quite light in weight where as handmade pasta or good quality pasta will be heavier making you eat less to feel full. The consistency will be softer than normal dry pasta, the shape would have grown/extended in size more than normally massive produced dry pasta will because the dough would absorbed more water .
So to conclude we can say the best dry pasta you can get would be one that when cooked is like fresh handmade pasta.

Well I hope you guys liked the article and of course that was useful.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Ho to make truly sun - dried tomatoes

I usually get asked quite a lot how to make sun – dried tomatoes when selling my products in food events. Although I sell sun – dried tomatoes people seem to be intrigued by the fact of how they actually are done. Well, this is a very simple question depending on which version you are interested in. If you would like to know how the industrially made sun – dried tomatoes are done, ie, the ones sold in supermarkets and mainstream shops they are oven dried. For this well just simply just put the tomatoes in the oven for many many hours on a low temperature and vuola! Done! However, if you interested in how truly sun – dried tomatoes are made ie how we make them in Italy, then continue reading this article.

Although you can get sun – dried tomatoes almost anywhere nowadays I have to say not all the sun – dried tomatoes you find are good quality or organic or handmade or made as we in Italy traditionally make them. Like all my products and this may sound very cocky I’m proud to say that my sun – dried tomatoes are one of the best in the market, at least, of the ones I’ve seen and tasted in the UK.

Although sun – dried tomatoes as its name is just a tomato that has been dried originally dried under the sun, the flavours you find in oven dried and sun dried tomatoes are significally different. You might ask why? Well simply because truly sun – dried tomatoes are dried under the natural heat of the sun which doesn’t add artificial flavours to the fruit. They dry quicker because the steam coming out of the fruit from the evaporation of the juices will not re-enter the fruit, it will evaporate into the open air unlike the oven dry making the tomatoes dryer therefore extending its best before date.

So, how to make sun – dried tomatoes.

1) Cut the tomatoes in half

2) You can take the seeds and pulp out or leave there, is up to you.

3) Rub the tomatoes with rock salt or how we call it in Italy “sale grosso”.

4) Place tomatoes in a sort of grill where they can be lifted from surfaces so the juices can run out.

5) Place in them in a sunny place, where they can get as much direct sun light as possible.

6) The process can take 1 week or more depending on how strong the sun is.

7) Place a mesh on top of them so insects or dirt can’t touch the tomatoes.

8) During the night place them inside so the humidity from the night and morning does not “wet” the tomatoes.

9) You will know if the tomatoes are ready by touching them and checking for moisture. If they are still soft then they still have juices so they need to go back in the sun. You’ll see when they are ready because also the colour will be darker.

10) When they are ready place them in a cool place so they cool down. You can put them in a bag or jar without any oil and use them when needed.

11) If you want to put them in a jar with oil, wash them first so you can get rid of the salt, dry them immediately with a clean tea towel and place them in the jar. Stuck them quite together and fill the jar with olive oil until all the tomatoes are completely submerged.

12) Every time you take a tomato out top up the oil so all the tomatoes are always submerged.

13) The tomatoes will last a very long time I had mine for more than 6 months in the fridge.

Sun Dried Tomatoes