Un’Estate con AOPP



2nd collage summer aopp













Pesca Gratinata (8 porzioni)

150 g zucchero bianco

succo di un 1/2 limone

150 ml acqua

600 g pesche giallo

Preparare lo sciroppo allo zucchero mettendo zucchero bianco, succo di limone e acqua in una pentola e portare a ebollizione. Lasciar sobbollire finché lo zucchero non si scioglie(2 minuti) quindi lasciar raffreddare.

Lavare le pesce, tagliare in pezzi e unire lo sciroppo di zucchero e frullare fino a ottenere un compost0 liscio. Porre in una teglia lunga e rettangolare che possa stare in freezer. Coprire con la pellicola trasparente.

Controllare il compost dopo un’ora. Usare la forchetta per raschiare la miscela semi-congelate, poi rimettere subito in freezer. Ripetere ogni 30 minuti fino a quando tutto il composto è stato raschiato. (sono necessarie 3 volte). Servire in una coppetta di vetro.


Come si può dire “comfort food” ?

Come si può dire “comfort food” in italiano? Cibo del conforto? Cibo della felicita? Cibo coccola? Cibo dell’anima?

Per me si può definire come una ricetta che ci fa star bene, ci
coccola, ci scalda, ci ricorda un momento dell’infanzia.

Amo cucinare cose complesse, piatti esotoci e nuovi ma le ricette semplici, della mia infanzia americana/congolese, sono quelle che
scaldano il mio cuore. Come la “apple pie” calda con sopra una palla di gelato alla vaniglia….. mmm!

O la pasta corta con sopra il fromaggio fuso, l’hamburger cucinato in un “cook out” il 4 di Luglio, il pollo in una salsa di arachidi servito con “Pili Pili” del Congo, pasta e fagioli della mia nonna Italo-Americana, ciambelle e eclairs, etc, etc.

Tutti mi riportano a casa, sempre, mi fanno ricordare la mia famiglia e il mio paese.

Qui in Italia… vorrei scoprire il vostro “comfort food”, anche se so
che in Italia ci saranno centinaia di ricette che potrebbero esserlo o
diventarlo, perche tutti i piatti sono così golosi, buoni, di una
tradizione lunga e molto legata alla terra, fatti con rispetto per gli
ingredienti e sopprattutto, sempre con amore.

Qualche cookbook per scoprire di più le ricette della felicita:

Con autori come Jamie Oliver, Saveur, Hillary Davis and Joan Donogh.

cookbook jolivercookbook classicscookbook saveurcookbook french comfort



East Meets West at the Holiday Table

In my recipe box I came across this old page ripped out of a McCall’s magazine from the 80’s. Then I found the frozen filo pastry at the supermarket Natura Sì…. mmm…maybe it’s a sign…make some Baklava! I was also in the mood for a different type of dessert after having interviewed a cook from North Africa for Aglio Olio Pili Pili’s upcoming book. We discussed the tastes and smells of North African spices, and herbs and desserts with honey, almonds and rose water. But this sticky, sweet pastry is loved all over the mediterranean, from Greece to Lebanon to Morocco.

foto aopp bakla 1

First ingredient, walnuts…aopp bakla 2

Then add almonds…

bakla 2

Then grind the two nuts until they are the size of small pebbles…bakla 3

Mix the nuts with the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Melt the butter and prepare the filo pastry under a damp cloth….

bakla 4

Lay the sheets of filo pastry in a buttered pan…

bakla 5

Then  brush butter on each of the 15 sheets of filo pastry, placing one over the other…

baklav 7

On the 15th layer add the sugar, spice, nut mix in a thick layer…then continue with the next 5 layers of buttered filo pastry and repeat with a layer of sugar, spice, nut mix and finish with the last 5 layers of filo pastry with each individually buttered…


When the last layer has been added, butter it and then cut the diamond shapes into the pastry. Don’t cut all the way to the bottom. Then bake in the oven for 60 minutes and when done turn off oven and let cool for 30 minutes in warm oven…..

bakla 9

While the baklava is cooking, start with the syrup. Slice the lemons and oranges and add to pot with cinnamon sticks, honey and water. Bring to boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Then let cool and strain…


When the baklava is done it will be a wonderful golden brown. Over the same cut lines cut the baklava all the way to the bottom….


Then pour the warm syrup over the warm baklava and let cool for a few hours while the pastry absorbs the syrup…


Serve the baklava at  room temperature or cold, maybe with a nice cup of mint tea. This year I made this for our Easter feast with the baklava next to our Colomba di Pasqua…


Thank you McCall’s magazine for this ‘old school’ classic!

image recipe of bakla


see recipe


How fresh are your eggs?

A Saturday morning in spring is the perfect time to visit an open air market.image In Bologna my favorite place to go is Mercato della Terra. It’s located in an area of Bologna with a great cinema,  walkable streets and a city park.

photo: AOPP

photo: AOPP

There are about 20 plus vendors, farmers and producers who come from in and around Emilia Romagna. Some from even further afield.


photo: AOPP

But I love the fresh egg guy and his sidekick the chicken. It may only be a way to sell more eggs but it works. children crowd around and when I buy them it makes me feel the eggs are truly fresher. At 2.50 euro for 6 eggs they aren’t cheap but reasonable for eggs that are much better than store bought ones.

photo.: AOPP

photo.: AOPP

What to do with such fresh eggs… make egg nog. Usually a Christmas drink but perfect for Easter as well. A drink that is creamy and sweet, served with rum or without, but definitely a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg. See recipe for egg nog.



photo: AOPP

photo: AOPP

Baking Christmas Cookies for the Holidays

In my family Christmas time is always when our kitchens turn into cookie factories. the sweet smell of chocolate, vanilla and spice fill the house. It’s hard to keep people from eating the just baked cookies but there are always enough to last till the 25th.

We have our traditional favorites and also new additions to the list of cookies we make together. they also make great homemade Christmas presents for friends and relatives. check out the Sugar Cookie recipe!


foto: aopp

foto: aopp

foto: aopp

foto: aopp

foto: aopp

foto: aopp

This year we made matcha green tea shortbread, almond spice and colorful sugar cookies MERRY CHRISTMAS from aopp!

foto: aopp

foto: aopp

foto: aopp

foto: aopp






How to Build a Better CHAI in Bologna

I love to stop in a cafè or tea shop for a hot drink when the weather turns chilly in the autumn. One of my favorites is chai. Chai is an Indian drink made of black tea that is boiled with milk, sugar and a spice mix of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and peppercorns.

image from aapplemint.com

This recipe can vary in its combinations of these ingredients from family to family or from shop to shop in India. It has become popular in the U.S. and the variations on this theme are endless. Maybe chai ice cream, chai panna cotta, chai milk shake, chai butter cookies, chai spice pumpkin pie or chai pudding…

Many Indian restaurants in the West serve chai in it’s original form. which means it will be very very sweet, sometimes too sweet for me.  I have drastically reduced my in take of sugar over the last few years and I’ve tried to make chai at home with less sugar but it needs a kind of sweetness to be a good chai.

A great authentic recipe is from From Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking – Barron’s (1983). When Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking was published,  it introduced many Westerners to Indian cuisine and all its sweet spicy secrets.

Her recipe makes about 2 cups and goes as follows:

1-1/2 cups water
1 inch stick of cinnamon
8 cardomom pods
8 whole cloves
2/3 cup milk
6 tsp. sugar (or to taste)
3 teaspoons any unperfumed loose black tea

Put 1-1/2 cups water in saucepan. Add the cinnamon, cardomom, and cloves and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer again. Throw in the tea leaves, cover, and turn off the heat. After 2 minutes, strain the tea into two cups and serve immediately.

I like to drink coconut milk and it has a natural sweetness…  so I thought, it could be used for chai and it would give the drink a new twist with the coconut flavor. See the recipe.

My version uses:

Black tea – an Assam or Nilgiri

Coconut Milk

a dry spice mix of ginger cinnamon, cardamom and cloves

Now if you don’t want to make the spice mix…. where in Bologna to get it? Here are some favorite tea shops where you can get the loose black tea and/or the dry spice mix.

#MondodiEutèpia via Testoni 5/e Bologna (tea and spice mix)

#StregaTe via Porta Nova 7/a Bologna (tea and spices)

#IlGiardinodelleCamelie via San Vitale 7 Bologna (tea)

image from hilfsprojekt-kerala.com