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Paola Mannaro

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Paola Mannaro last won the day on March 7 2012

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About Paola Mannaro

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  • Birthday 11/19/1961

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    Tokyo, Japan

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  1. Happy Birthday Paola , hope all is fine with you !

  2. Paola Mannaro

    Italian : Risotto ai Funghi ( Mushroom Rice )

    Hi J. That's foxed me. "arrabbiato" means "angry", used in Italian cuisine to indicate the heat ( anger ) of dried red chillies. I don't know it as a variety of rice, only as a style of cooking ( i.e. with dried hot chillies ).
  3. Paola Mannaro

    Mashed Potatoes

    You travelled the length of Italy ! I hope you enjoyed it all as much as the risotto.
  4. Paola Mannaro

    Italian : Risotto ai Funghi ( Mushroom Rice )

    I should not have doubted you on the mushrooms J. Sorry. Minced to a paté the porcini should give you no cooking problem.
  5. Paola Mannaro

    Durga Pooja festival in Bangalore

    Dear Raunak, I'll attempt for my husband. Sounds excellent. Thank you.
  6. Paola Mannaro

    Italian : Risotto ai Funghi ( Mushroom Rice )

    Dear Jyotirmoy, thank you always for your encouragement. If you have the patience, pls tell me where INA is, and more detail on the rice - do they call it just "risotto rice" or do they specify carnaroli etc ? Cost ? One of my yogis is new to Delhi, and may benefit from all this info. As regards the Korean mushrooms, I would say it is unlikely that they are Porcini, but I could be wrong, of course. Perhaps they are SHIITAKE - the Japanese name by which they are also known in Europe. The simplest way to tell dried Porcini from Shiitake, is that the former has a stem that at it's widest point is almost the width of the cap, or 2/3 the width of the cap, whereas the shiitake stem is much thinner. But please don't be discouraged, I would be absolutely thrilled if you tried this. :-)
  7. Especially in Northern Italy, the classic "risotto ai funghi porcini" is a delectable creation much favoured in the autumn season, and especially in mountaineous areas, when the woods are full of earthy-smelling fungus. The northern Italians are rather better with rice than the southerners, not least because the River Po winds its way via Torino, Ferrara, and through an extensive area of flat land which is the Po Valley (Valle del Po), and this area is responsible for the production of three well-known rice varieties. Actually, these are the northernmost latitudes at which rice may be successfully cultivated. These three rice varieties are unique to the region and are protected by the EU DOP insignia, ensuring that the price remains very high : Carnaroli, Arborio and Vialone Nano. All three are suitable for risotto, and much besides. It just so happens that northern Italy also produces some good white wines, and from a wide variety of grapes. White wine is a perfect accompaniment to risotto, and today we experimented with two very reasonably priced examples : SOAVE from the well known house of MASI, and a drier "Serego Alighieri", a very pleasing mix of Sauvignon Blanc and Bianco di Garganega grapes ( produced in collaboration with Masi ). Although the latter was more interesting, the soave complemented the risotto better in my opinion. We tasted several times, and my husband agreed. Italian terminology I : riso = rice; risaia = rice field; risotto = is the augmentative form, implying something substantial made of rice; mondariso = person who weeds rice fields. Italian terminology II : porcini = of pigs. The classic risotto fungus has the scientific name Boletus edulis, and this is commonly known in Italy (in the plural) as "funghi porcini". It's not entirely clear if the association with pigs, is because of the rotund nature of the fungus, the fact that pigs are efficient at sniffing them out ( as with truffles ) or if they are relished by pigs as much as by humans. To cut a long story short, porcini = "pig mushrooms" = Boletus edulis. Notes : 1. Substitution doesn't work well here, because flavours are subtle. Change the rice and the mushrooms and your risotto disappears. IF Carnaroli or other risotto rice is unavailable, use a good Japanese rice, as this is the closest (subspecies of the Italian rices is japonica) 2. Button mushrooms provide texture and a filler only, the flavour and richness comes entirely from the dried Porcini mushrooms. If dried Italian mushrooms are not available, the only option is to take to the woods with a field guide on edible BOLETUS fungi. This is what many fungus-mad Italians do at this time of the year. 3. If you are incredibly rich or fortunate enough to have access to fresh, non-poisonous, Boletus, then don't waste time with any pathetic field mushrooms. 4. In the pictures below you can see CARNAROLI rice close-up. 5. See photos. Notice the dark fluid produced from soaking real PORCINI mushrooms. This liquor is absolutely priceless in providing the deep and rich, woody flavour. Without it, It is possible to produce a risotto that is absolutely tasteless ! Take care to throw away the last part as it contains sediment ( see photo ). Recipe : serves 6 people 15g dried Italian Porcini mushrooms 490g Risotto rice 300g button mushrooms 80g butter 1 large onion, finely sliced in two directions to obtain small pieces. 3 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil Small bunch parsley, finely chopped Freshly ground black pepper from the mill 200g Parmesan cheese Salt to taste METHOD : Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water. Chop the onion very finely and put into a heavy pan with butter and olive oil. Retain some butter for final MANTICARE stage. Add a little salt to the onion, put the lid on and cook very very gently. It must not brown. Stir the pan occasionally, replacing the lid each time, and ensuring the temperature is correct. Keep cooking until very soft and transparent. Meanwhile, after about 20 minutes or until soft, drain the dried mushrooms and retain the fluid. Chop the porcini mushrooms very finely to a paste. Clean the button mushrooms using a damp cloth, having first removed the soil and their ends. Finely chop the parsley. Rinse and drain the rice well. When the onion is almost done add the parsley and the Porcini paste and continue to cook on low heat with lid on. Add the drained rice, and "fry" very gently for two minutes, stirring frequently. Add the porcini fluid, the chopped button mushrooms, and sufficient water to just cover the whole. Add salt and check for flavour. Add Parmesan "ends" if you have any. Can be removed before serving. I eat them ! Bring to the boil, but gently, then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir frequently as the rice sticks. When rice is almost cooked add most of the grated Parmesan and check again for salt, AFTER adding the Parmesan ( which is quite salty ). A few minutes before the rice is completely cooked, turn off the heat, and leave with the pan lid ON. Enrich with a little more butter and Parmesan and stir ( MANTECARE stage). Serve IMMEDIATELY and sprinkle with more Parmesan and freshly ground pepper from the mill.
  8. Paola Mannaro

    Vidyarthi Bhavan

    Gosh, that looks good. Chetan's dosa looks especially crisp on the outside, and is it a little softer, damper than usual on the inner side ? Extra large "bubbles" in he batter too, all part of the secret dosa recipe, I guess ? I will think v seriously about seeking out this place when I pass through Bangalore ( about 2 months from now). Would someone be kind enough to tell me when they open / close and if dosas are served all day - any other advice ? Thank you so much to all who posted above. I'm in heaven !
  9. Paola Mannaro

    The Cabins of Kolkata

    Oh, this is just lovely ! I can't tell you how much I enjoy these little peaks into the past. So romantic. Thank you v much.
  10. Paola Mannaro

    Mashed Potatoes

    Compared to the skill and experience required to make most / many Indian foods, I would say that risotto is fairly easy, but one must know what the beast is, else we risk a case of the "blind men and the elephant". I will post recipe and photos and you can judge for yourselves. I have the time and passion, but I can no longer work in the kitchen for hours on end, it's age.
  11. Paola Mannaro

    Durga Pooja festival in Bangalore

    Jyotirmoy, thank you for answering my question. Raunak, what a nice description with some wonderful details. Enjoyed v much.
  12. Paola Mannaro

    Hello from Indulge Chocolates.

    Dear Sushma, Hallo and Welcome ! I'm a fan of chocolate AND Jo Brand, so we're off to a great start.
  13. This recipe is a richer variation of a recipe found in the IRISH BAKING BOOK by Ruth Isabel Ross Although a Rich Fruit Cake may be eaten at any time of the year, it is more suitable for the colder months accompanied by a little sherry, port or just a nice cuppa. [b]Ingredients [/b] 225g Butter 225g Brown Sugar 450g Plain Flour 6 large Eggs 900g Mix of Sultanas / Currants / Raisins 125g Mixed Citrus Peel 50g Glace Cherries 300g Whole Pre-Roasted Almonds 1 teaspoon Baking Powder 4 teaspoons Cake Spice 4 tablespoons Treacle or molasses Fresh lemon zest from 3-4 lemons 1 tablespoon Brandy or Whisky [b]Cake Spice :[/b] 1/4 Cinnamon stick ( [i]Cinnamomum verum NOT Cassia, [/i][i]Cinnamomum cassia / aromaticum )[/i] 10 Black peppercorns, 3 Star anis, 12 Cloves, 1/2 a vanilla pod, little sugar for mixing Put all the cake spice ingredients into a coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder. The addition of a little sugar ensures that more of the expensive spice, and especially the vanilla pod, is nicely removed from the grinder. Grease and double-line a tin of around 22cm diameter. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the flour and beaten eggs alternately, beating well after each addition. Add all the dried fruits, peels, zest, vanilla sugar and cake spice and mix well. Finally add the sieved baking powder, and mix thoroughly. Make a hollow in the centre of the mixture once it is in the baking dish, this will fill-in and flatten. Prevents the "hill effect". Bake at around 135C for around 2.5 hours. Surface should be even and fairly flat, if it starts to crack, reduce temperature. Check centre of cake with a wooden toothpick. When the cake is ready the pick will come out clean and dry. Remove from oven and allow the tin to settle un-disturbed on a cooling tray for 4-5 minutes. Undo the tin, and gently slide the cake onto the tray with its covering of greaseproof paper. Cool completely before serving. [b]Notes :[/b] 1. A LOT of dried fruits and peel may be added to this cake, such that the flour mixture acts only as a thin amalgam between the fruits. When the fruit : flour mix ratio reaches that level, it can rightly be considered a Christmas or Wedding Cake, rather than a mere Fruit Cake, but then it's really VERY rich, and most people find even a small piece a little sickly. The ratio given here is quite nice. 2. Blackstrap molasses lends a fantastic richness and dark hue to the cake, it is also a rich source of iron. 3. In the photos below ( I made this cake today ), I have increased the cherries and I have omitted the candied mixed peel, as I didn't have any ! It's also fine to add additional nuts such as walnuts ( not roasted). All these adjustments are well-tolerated by the recipe. 4. The cake below was cooked at 135C for just under 2.5 hours, but it cracked a little. Had I been paying attention, I might have turned the oven down a little to prevent cracking. 5. It is a little unusual to add "Cake Spice", and especially one containing pepper, this is my own twist, probably best avoided for a Wedding. It comes from the N. Italian traditions of Panforte and Pan Pepato, as well as the other spiced breads and cakes of N. Europe. 6. It's very important to prepare the cake tin in advance and to LINE it. See my post on how to line a tin, also posted today.
  14. Paola Mannaro

    Lining a Baking Dish for Cakes

    For cakes that require an extended cooking time in the oven, or for a cake that is a little delicate, it is always a good idea to line the tray with one or several layers of greaseproof paper. Most Italian housewives use the simpler and quicker method of greasing followed by flouring, and this is fine. It provides all the non-stick qualities required for almost all baked confections, BUT, it does not protect in the case of particularly sticky mixtures, nor does it provide any HEAT INSULATION. A little paper between the metal and the cake is obviously very helpful. In the case of Wedding or Christmas cakes, of the type RICH FRUIT CAKE, it may be necessary to provide additional insulation by tying newspaper around the baking dish with string. This is how I was taught in the UK in domestic science class in the 70s. That may have been before the advent of fan-assisted ovens. Nowadays, I cook rich fruit cakes for 2.5 hours without any more protection than greaseproof paper. The newspaper may have prevented burning of the outside until the core of the cake was done, and for idiosyncratic ovens with very uneven heat distribution, it may have mediated the situation somewhat. A good housewife knows how to budget, and going back 50 years or more, it would have been usual for British ladies to save fat of any kind, either from cooking a Sunday roast or even from grilling bacon. This little pot was then used for greasing baking trays. Dripping or lard were also cheaper forms of fat that might be employed for this purpose. Since a few grams of butter will suffice, I suggest you melt a little and use that. Mrs Beeton will be turning in her grave ! Below is a step-by-step guide to lining a round cake tin. Square and rectangular tins may be tackled in precisely the same way, loaf tins require a little cunning, and fancy gugelhupf or savarin molds require considerable cunning. Message me if you're stuck ( tee hee ). 1. Place the outer ring of the pan onto the greaseproof paper and inscribe a circle, double up the paper and cut so you have 2 or more circles of equal size : [attachment=3209:A01.jpg][attachment=3210:A02.jpg][attachment=3211:A03.jpg] 2. Measure the length of paper required for the edge, and leave a generous overlap [attachment=3212:A04.jpg] 3. Fold the paper lengthwise to a width that exceeds the depth of the pan by at least 2cm 4. Fold so as to obtain 2 or 3 thicknesses of paper, leaving a single-thickness edge of around 1cm width [attachment=3213:A05.jpg][attachment=3214:A06.jpg][attachment=3215:A07.jpg] 5. Open out the single edge and make even cuts almost to the base at about .8cm intervals [attachment=3216:A08.jpg][attachment=3217:A09.jpg] 6. Grease the tin carefully using a pastry brush. Silicon is not ideal, but it overcomes the problems of hair-on-cake with traditional brushes. [attachment=3218:A10.jpg][attachment=3219:A11.jpg][attachment=3220:A12.jpg] 7. Put the long folded paper into the tray with cut edge at the base, gently press into place. [attachment=3221:A13.jpg][attachment=3222:A14.jpg] 8. Ensure you grease between the overlaps to keep them steady and stuck. [attachment=3223:A15.jpg] 9. Using the pastry brush, smooth the cut edges flat and grease the entire inner surface of the paper. [attachment=3224:A16.jpg] 10. Finally, insert the round portion, curly side down ( also ink side down if you used a pen ), and grease between each round and over the uppermost round. [attachment=3225:A17.jpg][attachment=3226:A18.jpg][attachment=3227:A19.jpg][attachment=3229:A21.jpg] Your tray is now ready to use ! See the RICH FRUIT CAKE RECIPE for something to fill it with.
  15. Paola Mannaro

    Mashed Potatoes

    Dear Anil, are you posting these as good, bad or indifferent examples of risotto ? Who cooked them ? ( uh oh, I sense trouble coming :-) )