I know, it has been a long while since I wrote last time. Sometimes life does not go the way You planned even though we tried our best to be punctual. Little Julia was sick for days and she passed the flu to all of us! We had 10 days bad days in which we couldn’t really do almost anything! Finally Julia is healthy again and we are back on track and ready to bake again.
We have also been in Italy (partly sick, doh!) for some days visiting my parents. We have spent some excellent time there even though the weather could have been a bit better. Now it seems the sun is shining in Milan and a full 25˚C spring kicked in. Here in Sweden is much warmer than a month ago but still longing for a wonderful 20˚C.
The first thing I think when I go to Italy, apart my family, is the food and above all the ice cream. If You happen to go to Italy, do not miss “gelato”. I mean the gelato You buy in “gelateria” (ice cream shop), not the one in the supermarket. They are totally different!
As regards food, if You are looking for quality and quantity, we have restaurants that take care of events (birthdays, baptism, Easter, Christmas and so on). Great food and reasonable price. You could have a 5 courses lunch for around 50 dollars (45 euros). Restaurants that take care of marriages are much more pricey.
We went in one the previously mentioned restaurant that was close to a beautiful river on which sides there was forest. The view was enchanting and the food quality just perfect. We had a starter with hot and cold tasty bites, like Parma ham, spinach/cheese pie, salami and so on. Then the “primo piatto” (usually pasta, risotto, ravioli or gnocchi) was served. Half of it was a creamy risotto with mushrooms and the other half was paccheri with seabream.
Italian “Event” lunches have usually breaks in between the courses: a little walk close to the river and some chat, just to relax and let the appetite develops better. Hence we were back on our table and we found in front of us the “secondo piatto” (usually meat or fish): a delicate hoven-baked seabass with cherry tomatoes.
We are not done yet! Maria’s parents seemed to be full already and I kind of understand them! It was a lot of food! Anyway, after the fish, it could not miss the meat: the waiters brought a juicy “tagliata” with herbs and potatoes. Usually, between the fish and the meat, You enjoy a lemon sorbet with or without vodka or champagne. I always thought that sorbet is served to refresh the mouth and prepare it for a completely different flavour. I wonder if this is really the reason.
At this point, I have to confess I was also very full and I would probably not have made it with the dessert if it was a cake. Luckily they had “Macedonia con gelato” (Macedonia is Fruit Salad). The fruits were very fresh, mature and appealing so I ate that too. The dessert was served with a flute of sparkling champagne. Finally coffee, amaro or limoncello and that’s it. Maria and her parents were wondering how we could have possibly made it to fit all that food in our bodies. I hardly could explain it! We do these kind of lunches when we celebrate something. In my experience it is usually 2-3 times a year. It was my birthday and also my parents had their own anniversary so we celebrated together. Nowadays I eat just once a day and it start to be difficult to arrive at the end of those dinners. Luckily, the portions are not very big as they used to be 20 years ago and most of them are bites or 1/3 of the portion.
The day before this lunch, we went to Milan which is already super crowded. Milan is getting the final touch to be (hopefully) ready for EXPO 2015, the World Exhibition. EXPO will last from 1st of May till the end of October. Hence, I will have full time to talk about it in the next post! Don’t miss it! I feel I have talked too much for today.We also baked in the meantime! Just kidding! Maria is very fond of citrus fruits I see. If You go back with posts, we had the “Sunshine Citrus Cake” and “Orange Coconut Popsicles”. The present dessert would be: “Red Orange and Lemon Squares” or also “Red Orange and Lemon Bars”. Those amazing sweet bites have a crispy bottom covered with a pleasant, soft, fruity lemon or red orange filling. I personally love the tangy, fresh taste of lemon and citrus fruit in general. Our Red Orange and Lemon Bars are a bit thicker than the usual ones for some extra pleasure.
These Red Orange and Lemon Squares fit many occasions: they are perfect for a buffet or You could serve them when You need a small, easy-to-do, sweet bite for a tea or coffee. You need to give the final touch to the citrus squares, spreading powdered sugar over them just before You serve them. Don’t let the sugar stay too much above the squares, otherwise it will be absorbed by the creamy filling and You may need to add it again.
- 150 g (1 1/4 stick) butter
- 150 g (1 cup) flour
- 60 g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 225 g (1 cup) caster sugar - [190 g (4/5 cup) for the blood orange squares]
- 22,5 g (1 tbsp) flour
- 1 dl (2/5 cup) + 1 tbsp lemon juice - [1 dl (2/5 cup) blood orange juice and 1 tbsp lemon juice for the blood orange squares]
- 3 tbsp milk
- Mix all the ingredients for the crust in a bowl.
- Work with your hands until the dough comes together.
- Line the bottom of a 20x20 cm baking pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes in 175 degrees C.
- Mix eggs and caster sugar in a bowl and whisk until well blended.
- Add flour, whisk, add lemon juice (and red orange juice for the red orange squares), whisk and finally add milk and whisk.
- Pour into the hot crust.
- Bake for another 18 minutes in 150 degrees.
- Let cool.
- Cut in squares and dust with powdered sugar just before serving!
- The Red Orange filling has the same ingredients than the Lemon filling. You just need to adjust the dosage of thesome ingredients using the ones in the squared brackets.
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