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Friday, October 14, 2011

Recipes, unusual pairings and blogging with Dynamic Views






I had the students from my Italian class for dinner last night, everybody brought food and drinks and we ate a lot!!! I made a salad, a pizza and a dessert, and I experimented with some "alternative pairing".

The salad was a Caprese" tomato, mozzarella and basil (all dressed with extra virgin olive oil and salt), but I added something extra: Florence fennel. I was curious to see how it would go, usually I don't pair fennel with tomatoes, or with mozzarella, and especially not with basil! But it was truly a success, the flavours, the textures... the colours! A lovely salad or starter.


Caprese with Florence Fennel









Since the salad was a Caprese I opted for a different kind of pizza: instead of tomato and mozzarella I went for spinach and feta. I used 600 g of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted at room temperature, to which a added salt and olive oil to taste. I used a block of basil pesto flavoured feta, cut into cubes, it worked quite well. A vegan version with marinated tofu would also work well.




Pizza with Spinach and Feta







For this pizza slab I used the canned cherry tomatoes. I made the base (recipe here) but also added a tbsp of wheat gluten (these days I find that High grade flour is not 'strong' enough for making pizza). After 2-3 hours I rolled the dough on a large baking tray (90 cm), then I put spinach and feta on top. 
I drizzled on top a little more olive oil and then I baked the pizza in the oven at 240°C for about 25 minutes. 







Lastly the dessert was my special Tiramsù (everybody has one!!), and here too I added something different. I couldn't resist the punnet of fresh raspberry I saw in the shop, they looked really perfect, and I even if I don't pair raspberries with coffee, here as a topping/decoration they worked ever so well!





Tiramsù Topped with Raspberries




Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


Blogging with Dynamic Views


And now something that may interest bloggers who blog with Blogger. I changed the look of Only Recipe, my recipe collection online, I guess that now it is easier to see all the recipes (and photos), and it is definitely more 'visual'. For the default setting I have chosen Magazine, but it is quite fun to look at the recipes on Flipcards or on Snapshot, or Mosaic (there are other views too, just click magazine on the tab and select from the menu how you would like to see the posts). 

Blogger hase been promoting his new Dynamic Views and so far I am sure that many people tried it, but I am the first among my blogger friends, so I have just thought that I could share with you my first impressions. 

I applied the same view to Vegan Recipes too, I am still getting used to it (especially because now is not so easy to access and edit or post in blogs with Dynamic Views), and I think that readers need to get used to it as well. In fact I have noticed that the comments have dropped. But the statistics? Golly!!! For both blogs page views doubled overnight, in fact some days they tripled! I am not sure if this is Blogger automatically checking out all my posts or what, maybe to encourage Dynimic Viewers to stick to the new app., and I guess that I just have to see if the trend continues over the next few weeks. 

But I miss the gadgets, sidebar, blogroll (especially the blogroll, essential for keeping up with other bloggers), and the followers' avatars looking at me when I open the blog... Blogger says that they are working on adding those back too, and I am curious to see how they would look. And finally the pages: I had two extra pages on one of the blog, but they don't scroll down like they used to, so that too will be something that Blogger will probably have to think about. 

Well, I will probably keep this blog as it is for now, and keep Dynamic Views for the other two, I hope that my feedback was useful to you, and do let me know what you think of the other blogs (and if you can post comments easily on them!!)


25 comments:

  1. What a FAAAABULOUS dinner menu! I bet your Italian class membership goes up when the others tell their friends about you!!

    Is there a good substitute for spinach?? I like it - but not in large quantities, and I never know what to use instead!

    Have a great weekend!!

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  2. Davvero una splendida carrellata di piatti!
    Vista l'ora inizierei col tiramisù, per poi proseguire con gli altri! :)
    Un bacione!

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  3. Quando entro nel tuo blog mi rifaccio sempre gli occhi: sia visivamente che, ci scommetto, a livello di gusto, i tuoi piatti sono magnifici!

    Un bacione e buon week-end, GG ;-)

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  4. @ Red, ;-) the students may not enjoy grammar but they love the food! Can you eat silver beets? They are a good substitute to spinach.

    Emanuela e GC, grazie :-)

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  5. Che brava! Con i miei studenti dei piccoli corsi di cucina italiana è un'avventura riuscire a modificare le ricette originali...mi chiedono sempre le stesse cose :-(

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  6. Hai anche una classe di cucina???? sei un mito!!...io mercoledì faccio la mia prima simil-lezione con delle amiche!

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  7. Veramente e' una classe di lingua italiana... di solito ci incontriamo alla Dante Alighieri, ma ieri sera sono venuti a casa mia :-).

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  8. pizza da 90 cm, mi chiedo che forno c'hai ^^
    complimenti per il menù, le fantasie in cucina e i tuoi super-impegni in ogni fronte!
    Ora fame, fame, fame ^^
    ma la tua classe è vegetariana???
    E.

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  9. un menù saporito e completo senza essere pesante, anch'io per ora preferisco tenere il blog in stand-by in attesa che gadgets, sidebar, blogroll
    vengano aggiunti.....mi mancherebbero troppo, ciauzzzzzz e buon Week end.

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  10. Ciao Ale!
    grazie degli aggiornamenti!!!
    la tua cena è stupenda!!!! sai che adesso vado a vedere i cambiamenti degli altri tuoi blog...io per ora il mio non l'ho ancora modificato, ma non avevo capito che "manacavano" tutti i gadget....

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  11. Yum, that dinner looks amazing! I especially like the raspberries on the tiramisu :)

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  12. @ Elena, no, nella mia classe non ci sono vegetariani, ma ovviamente hanno portato tutti qualcosa vegetariano (antipasti, muffin salati, tortine salate, formaggio e biscotti... e tanto vino!!). Sanno benissimo che siamo vegetariani a casa, sarebbe come portare il prosciutto a casa di un ebreo, che lo porti a fare se sai che non lo assaggiera' nemmeno?

    Solo quando ho grandi feste, oltre 40 persone, allora qualcuno porta qualcosa di carne o pesce per gli altri ospiti (e con il loro piatto e coltello pure, solitamente pesce che qualcuno ha pescato o affumicato, o piatti tradizionali, una volta anche un opossum al curry che era finito nella nostra trappola ed il vicino di casa (un vecchio hippy quasi vegano che pero' mangia solo opossum perche' li dobbiamo uccidere in ogni caso). Capisco il suo punto di vista, ma io preferisco seppellirli.

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  13. Ah, Elena, il forno!

    Si' ho quello Smeg di 90cm, infatti forse il vassoio e' leggermente piu' corto. Mi piace troppo fare pizzone e focaccione e grissini e filoni lunghissimi, e poi per il mio lavoro e' essenziale :-).

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  14. Sounds like a wonderful evening Alessandra. The caprese salad is beautiful.

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  15. Those are some amazing looking dishes! Your like the food photo queen! :)

    http://haymarket8.blogspot.com

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  16. Your students are spoilt !
    Looks like you had all a great time.
    I had a look at the dynamic view and it makes for a very friendly use.
    Enjoy your week-end !

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  17. ma che bei piatti, da oggi ti seguiamo anche noi, ciao

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  18. bè d'altra parte sei una cuoca, se non ce l'hai tu un forno così chi deve averlo, anche per casa propria?
    la rivisitazione della caprese mi piace, forse perchè non amo particolarmente la caprese in effetti, e tendo sempre a ficcarle dentro qualcosa....grazie per il suggerimento di veganizzazione della pizza, e il tuo tiramisù è proprio bellissimo, pure io non ho resistito ai lamponi questa settimana.
    per il blog....io non lo modifico per ora, ci ho provato ma non mi piace la nuova versione dinamica, sembra più una specie di testata giornalistica o un sito professionale e non corrisponde a me....e poi appunto nel dinamico mancano troppe cose che invece io vorrei mantenere. Vedremo, se lo sistemeranno gli sviluppatori ci farò un pensierino ma per ora no.

    PS: confessa che wonder woman, quella vera, sei tu! ....lezioni a scuola, lezioni di cucina, libri, cuoca professionista, promozioni del libro e quindi sfornare dolcetti per giorni, letture, casa, famiglia e trovi anche il tempo di postare e rispondere sempre a tutti. Sei speciale :)
    Bibi

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  19. Your menu looks great, and I am sure the students enjoyed being together. I want to tell you, I am an Italian student, one of five of us who gather at a kitchen table as (mature) students of a local Italian lady. I like your blog not just because of it's content and photos, but because when some comments are in Italian, I can try to figure out what they have written. It is a 'good exercise' for me. Ciao..

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  20. Well Gardeningbren, che bello! Feel free to join in the Italian conversation too and don't be shy, even if you make mistakes nobody will mind here, this is a blog, i don't spell check my English :-).

    B. queste due settimane sono superwoman davvero, non per immodestia, non per scelta. A casa e in ufficio c'e' un tot da fare: i bimbi sono in vacanza da scuola e mio marito e' a Francoforte, devo calcolare sei mesi di IVA, correggere le bozze di due libri di testo giapponesi e rigurdare l'impaginazione di un altro libro con pochissima esperienza di indesign (cioe', arrivo fino a dove posso arrivare e poi chiedo aiuto). Pero' sono cosi' stanca... penso che qualcosa non quadri, le superdonne non dovrebbero avere energia a palate?? Comunque, forse tra qualche decennio tutto tornera' tranquillo e potro' finalmente riposarmi! :-).

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  21. I love the new look of your other blog, it looks great :-) ! And wow! So much delicious food!! My favourites are the salad the tiramisu, yum!

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  22. Loving adding fennel to the caprese and that tiramisu looks amazing! +1 :) I did check out the dynamic views....look amazing but I miss my gadgets :)

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  23. Love some of your pairings Alessandra, and your tiramisu looks gorgeous.

    Had a look at the dynamic views blogs - it is certainly a lovely fresh look, but I agree with you about missing the side bar and gadgets - also seems not so easy to find where to comment. Will be interested to know what you think after a few months.

    Sue xo

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  24. I know Sue, in fact the comments have dropped, but it is an interesting experiment that I can do since these are my 'secondary' blogs, and more than blogs they are just recipe catalogues. Maybe I can give my comments at the conference :-).

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