New Year's Eve Table

This year has passed so fast! It seemed like yesterday that we were testing detox recipes and now we are again grappling with the cotillion and the New Year’s Eve party.

Therefore, how can we propitiate the arrival of the new year? Paper and pen to take note: red underwear (surely should be a couple of it somewhere in a drawer), the mistletoe given to the Celts by the gods (better not plastic), already soaked lentils that absolutely must not to miss the menu, the fireworks without noise (so our hairy friends not get scared), the old calendar and the new one (what? Haven’t you bought it yet?), dried fruit and fruit in grains.

Written everything? Well, remind a bit ‘of bending that the propitiatory actions to be done in a minute will be a lot!

First you should wear red. Why? At the time of Octavian Augustus, during the New Year, it was custom of women and men to wear something red, a colour that represented power, heart, health and fertility. According to the Chinese, instead, wearing a red belt allows you to hold your positive Ch’i. From the belt to the underpants the step is very short: anyway, the important thing is to concentrate energy.

Then, we can burn the old calendar at the tolling of midnight and immediately hang the new one; toss what we want to throw through the window and, finally, it is essential to make love as a good wish for the new year. An Italian adage says: what you do on New Year’s Eve you will do it all year long.

And what’s going on around the world? Well, in Spain there is the use to eat twelve grains of grapes at midnight, one for each bell toll shot by the great municipal clocks. In Russia, after the twelfth toll, people open the door to let the new year enter. In Ecuador and in Peru, papier-maché dummies are shown outside the homes, and at midnight they are burned in the streets. In Japan, before midnight, families go to the temples to drink sake and listen to the 108 gongs announcing the arrival of the new year. Listening to these sounds purifies the soul, because it is believed that the number of sins committed in one year by a person is precisely 108. What do you say? Are your sins more numerous? Well, you could try drinking more sake.

Finally, pay close attention to what you will do on January 1st, and even for this, every country has its own tradition: in the Bergamo province you have not to lend any objects. In Abruzzo, women start as many activities as possible. In other regions, on the other hand, the first of the year must be spent in absolute rest, otherwise you will get tired all year round. Finally, in Piedmont, it will bring good luck to meet a wagon of hay or a white horse. Very unusual meetings.

The recipes of the last issue of 2018 are fast and tasty, allows you to respect all traditions, to propitiate the good luck and have the necessary time for cuddle.

Well, we love to fry anything so we dress the Pannerone with the colours and the scents of the spices, and we pair it with a pear chutney with a slight note of mustard. For the second recipe we think a little “red”, better “pink”: during the Christmas time the salmon becomes a tasty protagonist that will give all the needed sweetness, together with the beetroot scones and the incredible goodness of the mango and pepper chutney. In the end, a recall to the tradition that should never fail, especially on the holydays table, so here is the perfect couple: lentils and cotechino, with steamed spinach slightly scented with paprika and the hummus prepared with a part of the cooked lentils.

All that remains is to wish you a happy 2019!

Anna Maria Pellegrino
Chef and Foodblogger

“FRIED AIR”: SPICED BREADING PANNERONE WITH PEAR CHUTNEY

Ingredients: 400 g Pannerone di Lodi, 100 g flour 00 anti-lumps, 200 g grated bread, 1-2 spoons curry madras, 1-2 spoons Provence herbes, 2 eggs at room temperature, grape seed oil for the frying, Chutney with pear, celery and mustard, Tellicherry black pepper, edible flowers.
Cut the Pannerone in cubes of 2x2, roll them in the flour, in the eggs and finally in grated bread previously mixed with the spices and aromas.

Repeat the two latest steps. Meanwhile heat at 190 °C the grape seed oli and fry the cheese cubes, 2 pieces at time at most, for a few seconds. Dry them on absorbent paper and put apart in oven already heated at 80 °C. Serve immediately with the chutney and a grind of black pepper.Fried Pannerone


“THINK PINK”: BEETROOT SCONES WITH MANGO CHUTNEY

Ingredients: 220g flour type 00 or type 1, 5 g beetroot in powder, pulp or extract, 4 g cream of tartar, 2 g baking soda, 120 g whole milk at room temperature, 50 g butter, 10 g sugar, 200 g Sockeye wild salmon, 1 organic lemon in juice and zests, fresh dill, star anise, salted butter, salt, Muntok white pepper, chutney with mango, sweet pepper and basil

Heat the oven to 220 °C, cut the butter into cubes and cover a baking pan with parchment paper. Sift the flour, the beetroot powder, the baking soda and the cream of tartar in a bowl, add sugar and salt. Add the butter and knead with fingertips until to get a granular dough, add the milk and mix to get a firm dough. Roll out to obtain a dough of 3 cm in height; cut rounds of ø 4-5 cm and bake them for 14-16‘ until they’re browned. Meanwhile, open the salmon and leave it at room temperature. Mix the lemon zests with extra virgin olive oil, a few teaspoons of lemon juice, the minced dill and the star anise. Stir and spread on the salmon. Cut the hot scones in half: spread the salted butter on a base and a little chutney in the other, place 1/2 slices of salmon and decorate with the dill. Serve with chutney.Scones con salmone


“HAPPY NEW YEAR”: COTECHINO, SPINACH AND LENTILS HUMMUS

Ingredients: 500 g lentils, 1 clove of garlic minced with mortar, 30 g tahini (sesame paste), 30 ml delicate extra virgin olive oil, the juice of 1 organic lemon, 1/2 spoon cumin, 1 pinch of chilli pepper, 1 cotechino by Meggiolaro, 100 g di spinach (small leaves), a knob of butter, salt, pepper, paprika powder, chutney with plums, radicchio and Teroldego wine.

Wash the lentils, transfer them in a pot, cover with vegetable stock or water and cook covered over low heat for about 25’. They must be crispy. Drain, hold the remaining cooking water and transfer half of the lentils in a mixer with all the other ingredients, working them to obtain a smooth and velvety cream (add some cooking water if necessary). Season with salt and chilli pepper, transfer in a bowl and set aside. Immerse the bag with cotechino in boiling water and wait 20’ from the resumption of the boil. Let stand 10‘, drain the cotechino, dry it and cut it into slices. In pan melt a knob of butter and lightly fry the spinach, season with salt and pepper and set aside. To serve, place a spoonful of spinach and flavour with paprika, add 2/3 slices of cotechino and the lentils. Serve with sheets of carasau bread, lentil hummus and chutney.Cotechino e lenticchie