Sunday, 4 August 2013

Cannellini Soup with Steamed Cod (and other kitchen adventures)

After two months in Germany I'm finally back home in Italy.   I loved Berlin, I really did, I enjoyed every minute of it.  The people, the restaurants, the events, the efficiency - oh the efficiency.  I've always envied German efficiency. I arrived in Italy and I had spent over an hour and a half -- and this is not a hyperbole -- at the airport waiting for my suitcase.  So it took a bit to readjust to the Italian system, but now that I'm back, it's all good, because I've got my kitchen.

But my kitchen adventures have not been all too successful.

I missed German pretzels so I attempted them on the first day I got back.
They were alright as bread but they did not taste like pretzels.  Trouble shooting:  I needed sodium caustate in the water as the poaching liquid for the bread dough before baking, but I used sodium bicarbonate instead.  Also, I had let them rise overnight on the counter rather than just an hour which may have caused overfermentation and a slightly...sour taste.

So then I tried making croissants.  I first tried making the Italian version, which we called cornetti or brioche.  It's not the same as the usual brioche, it's a croissant but with eggs added to the dough.  So it's almost like a starting with a classic brioche dough, and then you fold in layers of butter.  Anyway, first attempt failed so miserably that I put the dough, prior to the folding with the butter, into a bundt cake tin and made a yeasted bundt cake.
I then brushed the top with some honey and it tasted alright!  Never waste.

Second attempt was better.  I followed a French croissant recipe and it was all good...until I started folding in the butter and I should have put a whole block of butter but I had sliced the butter and patched them up into a block...which caused them to separate in the folding process so the butter wasn't evenly distributed in the dough.

They tasted alright though, and as a second try, not so bad.  I know exactly what I did wrong and the next time I make them they'll be perfect!  But with leftover bundt cake, pretzels and a dozen croissants, my parents have forbidden me to bake.

 So I didn't have anything to post on my blog for awhile..i wasn't satisfied with my products...but then I made a decent cannellini soup yesterday. So here it is. 
Serves 2 
1 400g can of cannellini beans, drained
1 carrot
1 small onion
1 tomato
1 celery stick
2 fillets of cod
2 rosemary sprigs

peel the carrot and onion.  Cut the tomato in half, and add that, along with the onion, carrot and celery stick into a pot with 2 cups of water.  Bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the cannellini beans and let it simmer for 10 more minutes.  Leave to cool slightly.

Put the rosemary sprigs on a steamer and place the cod fillets on top.  Lightly season and steam for 5-10 minutes or until cooked through. 

Puree the cannellini bean and vegetable mixture with a food processor or a hand blender.  Season.

Serve by putting the cod in the cannellini soup mixture, top with chopped rosemary leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. 

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