The year that I spent in the States was very inspiring. My favourite pastime was to wander among the counters of the farmer markets, discovering flavours and ideas that I later tried at home.
Granola was one of the specialities that intrigued me most. It is sold by gathering directly from large aluminium tubs or in glass jars of all sizes, with hand-decorated caps or those covered with coloured fabric.
The recipe for granola is a bit like that for the Italian lasagna or meatballs, every family has its own, passed down from generations. There are varieties flavoured with coconut, chocolate or berries, with or without nuts.
My recipe is the result of dozens of trials, a very simple mix actually, that I also offer in my restaurant at breakfast or as a base for a dessert.
Here are the Hundred-hundred and Zero- zero (fat-free and sugar-free) versions.
Ingredients for the Hundred-hundred version
Organic oatmeal 350 g
Peanut seed oil 50 ml
Maple syrup or honey 50 ml
Water 35 ml
Vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
Cinnamon 1 teaspoon
Salt 1 teaspoon
Unpeeled almonds 30 g
Peeled almonds 30 g
Put the oil, syrup, honey, cinnamon and vanilla in a pot to simmer on low heat . If you have a wood-burning stove, leave the pot on the cast iron plate for a while, until it degreases well. In the meantime, arrange the oatmeal and almonds on two plates covered with wax paper.
Pour the syrupy mixture over it covering all of it and put in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes at 160°C. After ten minutes, gently stir the mixture without breaking all the lumps and then cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time so that it browns evenly.
After it has finished cooking, it will be mushy but there is still one step left: hardening!
Let the granola stand for at least 5 hours, but all night would be better, in the oven with the door half-closed. You can certainly use your oven at home, but the wood-burning oven is ideal for this step, because you can leave the plate inside at night, when the embers gradually extinguish and continue to heat gently.
Now the granola is ready and you can store it tightly closed in airtight plastic or tin boxes.
My dessert is prepared with fresh fruit, you can see it with raspberries in the photo, but you can also use strawberries, blueberries, peaches or apples, as you like. I let a part of the fruit just barely simmer without sugar in a saucepan. Then I prepare the jar layering a bit of cooked fruit, whole organic yoghurt, a little more cooked fruit, a nice layer of granola and fresh raspberries to end.
Ingredients for the Zero-zero version
Organic oat bran 350 g
Egg whites 6
"Stevia" (a natural zero-calorie sweetener) 6 tablespoons
Vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
You should try the "diet" version of granola and the process is very similar.
Mix the oat bran, egg whites, stevia and vanilla extract and then spread the mixture on two plates lined with wax paper. It has to be cooked in the oven at 160°C for 30 minutes.
Halfway through cooking, crumble the preparation so that it bakes evenly.
The Zero-zero granola should be quite brown when taken out of the oven. Also in this case it has to be left to harden in the oven, with the door half-closed for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.
Once cooled, it is stored exactly like the other version, in a tin box.
If you like, you can also prepare the Zero-zero version of my dessert, eliminating the fruit (so good but rich in sugar!) and substituting the whole yoghurt with low-fat yoghurt.
First studied Pharmacy for two years which enabled her to acquire the basics of nutrition and food chemistry. Then in Colorno (Parma), at the Academy of Italian cuisine of Gualtiero Marchesi (ALMA), she acquired not only the passion but also the professional skills for cooking and baking, mastering the techniques and acquiring the absolute knowledge of ingredients. Then Switzerland, Rome and the United States. Finally, the birth of a project, "her" project, named "Zero-Zero Hundred-hundred", completed in collaboration with Chiara Manzi, nutritionist and president of Association for National Safety in Cooking. The result is a program that was so well-liked that it transported her across the ocean to Los Angeles, where she worked as a consultant for a year, to create light menus in the most popular restaurant chains in America.
Elena is just 28 years old and her cooking is traditional and experimental at the same time.
Traditional because it always starts with simple ingredients and cooking process.
Experimental because every recipe has two versions: Hundred-hundred is the traditional one, without particular limitations, dedicated to those who do not have weight issues; Zero-zero is the version with as low a percentage of fat and sugar as possible, inspired by the "Dukan style", for those who struggle with weight but don't want to give up taste and the pleasure of eating in company.
Elena decided to give away some of her treats to yourFire, to be cooked strictly in the oven, on the griddle or grill. We'll find out together with her how fire can also help you keep in shape.
Il Boscia Billi bistrot
In the heart of Padua, in via Boccalerie 5, with a beautiful location in Piazza della Frutta, Elena Boscia and her partner Alessandro Billi have created an intimate and refined environment, where you feel immediately at home. They greet you with a fresh welcome drink, water-based and flavoured with cucumber and lemon and spoil you with a balanced and ever-changing menu, composed of simple but far from trivial dishes.
From breakfast to dinner, Boscia Billi bistro is a place to return to often, even several times a week, without worrying about your wallet or weight.