Villa Pizzini

Near the top of Mottarone, above Stresa on Lago Maggiore, lies hidden in an enchanted wood this unique restaurant (and B&B) called Villa Pizzini. Everything is perfectly inserted into this natural habitat overlooking majestic Lago Maggiore with its three Borromeo islands below. Practically all the produce for the restaurant is grown locally or gathered in the surrounding woods such as wild herbs and mushrooms. Everything seems to be in perfect balance with nature here! Continue reading

Foraging in the Oltrepo’ Pavese Countryside

At the end of April “Joia Academy” organised an interesting course on wild herbs. You could call this “foraging” as the group, led by Pietro Leemann, trekked through the Oltrepo’ Pavese countryside near the Boscasso farm to collect and learn how to use these herbs. This was truly a “hands on ” experience as these herbs were also prepared in the farm kitchen and served to the group. A wonderful getaway from our day to day routines and immersing ourselves in nature at its best! Continue reading

Lunch at Ratana’

Ironically the Ratana’ restaurant is one of the few in Milan that features Milanese cousine – which includes of course Ossi Buchi and Risotto alla Milanese, their signature dish. Other traditional dishes are revisited in various imaginative ways always using fresh products from nearby farms and always in season. The site of the restaurant itself is unique in that it’s set in a turn of the century small villa surrounded literally by recently built skyscrapers near Porta Garibaldi. Next door is the “Bosco Verticale” (vertical forest) named recently the most beautiful building in the world. The most modern and trendy area of Milan has encapsulated a bit of “Old Milano” and its traditions in this wonderful little restaurant. I have to mention that the desserts were nonetheless impressive. The destructured tiramisu that I feature here was a delicious surprise and a feast for the eyes! The crunchy little corals that emerged from this dessert were really a touch of genius. Continue reading

Pistachio Vegan Cupcakes

I made these wonderful little pistachio vegan cupcakes thanks to a vegan pastry course I took at the “Kilometro Bio” vegan restaurant in Monza. Here we learned all sorts of tips on how to substitute egg whites with aquafaba, how to make vegan butter for pastry crusts (crostata) and a wealth of other information on vegan baking. These cupcakes with their rich pistachio flavor also have an interesting souffle like texture which really makes them melt in your mouth. Using these white silicone teacups also made it much easier to bake and serve them. Continue reading

Tearose Deli

I love cooking and baking but now and then I need a break! Just a few steps away from my home in Monza there is the lovely Tearose Deli right in Piazza del Duomo facing the beautiful cathedral. Not just a cafe’ but also a place where you can enjoy a light vegetarian (or more appropriately vegan) meal – everything freshly made including the bakery goods. The fresh flowers and garden atmosphere makes this cafe’ a perfect stop in a busy day. Continue reading

Topinambour Crusted Salmon Trout

Topinambour crusted trout has become one of our favourite ways of cooking this fish. We recently chose it on the menu of the “Pastificio DeFilippis” restaurant in Torino. I highly recommend this place if you ever visit this interesting city. Adjacent to the restaurant there is also their pasta and grissini shop. It’s one of the oldest pasta and grissini makers in Italy. Afterwards you can’t miss having a coffee at the historic Cafe’ San Carlo in Piazza San Carlo, one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I could have sat there for hours sipping my coffee except we had to catch the train back to Milan….only an hour away!
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Breaded Chicken Cutlets with Mushroom Cream Sauce

We had this delicious meal at the Skroderkrogs (“Tailor’s” pub in Latvian) in the beautiful Baltic port town Ventspils. One of the best “comfort food” meals I’ve had in a long time. The tender breaded chicken cutlets smothered in a creamy mushroom sauce were supreme! Here is my version of this dish. Continue reading

Potato Latkes with Salmon

Recently we had these delicious crunchy potato latkes (pancakes) at the beautiful Liepkalni Bakery and restaurant, halfway between Riga and Rezekne on the banks of the beautiful Daugava river. The delicate marinated salmon and sour cream transformed these latkes into a complete and memorable meal. Truly scrumptious! Continue reading

Marinated Salmon Salad Plate

We had this delicious marinated salmon salad on a hot summer day in Riga, Latvia at the Muusu restaurant. It was simple but unforgettable in its freshness. This is a place we’ll come back to for sure next time we’re in Riga, right in the middle of the medieval Old Town. Continue reading

Light Wedding Cake

This was absolutely the lightest and most delicious wedding cake I’ve ever eaten. Basically it was two layers of sponge cake (or one cut in half) filled with Chantilly cream (whipped cream with powdered sugar), covered and decorated with the same cream and fresh blueberries and raspberries. Then small meringues are pressed all around into the sides. There were eight identical cakes placed on a “swirling” cake stand in a spiral fashion. The recipe for sponge cake is identical to the one in my October blog. This way you can double, triple, etc. as needed for the portions. (One cake should be about 8 slices). We had this cake at the Cascina Caremma at Besate near Milan. Continue reading