the gourmand scout Instagram kitchen

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Month: March, 2012

Ticino river, grandparents and risotto

Sesto Calende, Ticino riverside, Italy

Instagram picture taken by me, March 2012

One of the most appreciated Italian dishes is definitely risotto.  When me and my bf were living in London, our flatmates used to ask us to prepare it all the time. It’s one of my favourite things to cook, cause it takes time, it’s cosy and slowly. It makes me feel like home, wherever I am.

It doesn’t matter how hard I try, my grandma’s risotto is still unbeatable. Actually, the king of risotto was my grandpa – even in his last years, when he wasn’t even able to stand on his feet, he wanted to cook his risotto for some special occasions. My grandma used to put a chair for him in front of the stove and he sat down, cooking his great risotto. Sometimes I was standing at his side, helping or just looking and listening to him.

My grandpa’s name was Felice, which means literally “happy” in English – and that was how he looked like in those moments – happy. I supposed that is also because of this that risotto is still the real comfort food for me.

One of the major mistakes when cooking risotto is to put the rice directly in the boling water. You don’t have to do this, never. You need to put raw rice in a pan with some drops of olive oyl and half a glass of white wine – or red wine, that’s up to you. After having done this, you must add little by little cups of hot homemade broth, until the rice becomes soft and creamy. You can do the broth both with vegetables and beef or just with the veggie part, without the meat. It tastes good anyway.

At the very end, when you have already turned off the fire, add a piece of butter and a lot of grated parmesan cheese. Leave everything there for 5/8 minutes. Et voilà, your risotto is ready to be served.

Here, in the North of Italy and especially in Milan area, we do risotto very often and in every possible way. My favourite is saffron risotto, but we prepare it with alot of other ingredients: mushrooms, zucchini, Treviso red chicory, gorgonzola cheese, pumpkin – even tangerine and strawberries.

The magic of risotto is that it doesn’t matter which ingredients you use – it always tastes good! Or most of the time, at least.

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Berlin, pale blue sky and currywurst

Berlin

Picture taken by me in 2008

The food in Berlin it’s weird – nothing to compare with the rest of the world. I had a pretty hard time while I was there, food crushes, rejection, a lot of different feelings. Actually I can swear that just out of Gorlitzer Banhof overground station there’s a super tiny stall which sells the best hamburgers in the world. Believe me, it’s true. Never tried before something like these hamburgers, never more happened after.

But if you say Berlin, you say currywurst. They sell it basically everywhere. Here‘s a super easy basic recipe.

Cupcakes, New York and Navigli

Picture taken by my friend Marta in New York last summer, 2011

I’ve never been a huge fan of cupcakes – I definitely prefer to look at them rather than eat them

but it’s amazing how many things you can create with the frosting!

The pic below was shot at Magnolia Bakery – which is almost a touristic spot, but still selling great cupcakes

In London, where I used to live since a year ago, there’s the Hummingbird Bakery in Notting Hill (but you might find many other shops in the City area)

that does great American style and special seasonal cupcakes (the ones for Halloween and Christmas are a pure joy for the eyes) but you can eat good cupcakes pretty much all over the City

In Milan, where I live now, it’s not easy at all to find good cupcakes – they’re definitely not into sweets Italian tradition! – but if you are craving for one, a good address is That’s Bakery in the gorgeous Navigli area – via Vigevano, 41 – the closest to American style that you can find in the city

we have also an Italian version of Starbucks, called Arnold Coffee, but I won’t actually recommend this one…

Finally, I can’t help but I have to share this blog, made by Francesco, an Italian guy who does amazing cupcakes all by himself at home – the blog is written in Italian, but everyone can at least looks at the wondrous pictures! Good job, Francesco!

Twilight, Paris and falafel

Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris

Picture taken by Gabriele Carù in 2009

it matches with this falafel recipe