March 24, 2011 by
A few days ago, I attended a very interesting dinner my Harvard Alumni Club organized in Milan. Umberto Veronesi was our dinner guest. He is the founder of the Veronesi Foundation, which carries on very important scientific research in order to fight cancer.
At the dinner he spoke about the scientific advances in genetics and their impact on hereditary diseases and predictive medicine. He told us that doctors and scientists strongly believe certain foods can be very powerful in order to prevent cancer. Still, there is not enough evidence; however, they are doing lots of research to demonstrate the importance of food.
Among the many food products he talked about, he said strawberries may be very powerful against cancer.
We already know about the many health benefits strawberries have. They are rich in phenols (anthocyanins) which make up the red colour and serve as potent antioxidants. Also a research from Harvard Medical School showed that strawberries may offer heart disease protection.
In addition to that, strawberries are an important source of ellagic acid. Veronesi’s team are studying the ellagic acid’s possible benefits against cancer.
After listening to this speech, I and Marika have been eating strawberries every day, in many different ways: at breakfast with cereals, at lunch and dinner with salad.
Pietro, the farmer from whom we buy all the ingredients for our cooking classes, grows organic and super tasty strawberries.
We like making a salad with a few drops of red wine or the very old balsamic vinegar. This is to enhance the phenols (anthocyanins) benefits. Then we decorate with a few mint leaves or basil.
Good healthy strawberries!
May 10, 2009 by
In Italy, we say that we are a population of “Mammoni” (mummy’s people): la “Mamma” is a very important person for Italians in general.
Therefore, today’s Mother day is going to be a very important festivity (almost more important than Christmas!). Everybody gives to their Mammas the most beautiful flowers.
I and Marika thought of making a “savory flower”. We were inspired by the red color of the beautiful poppies we now have in the countryside in Puglia.
We prepared this summery strawberry dessert, that we called “strawberry flower”.
(for 6 servings)
500 grams strawberries
1 tbsp sugar
1 freshly squeezed lemon
For the pastry cream:
½ liter skimmed milk
7 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp 00 flour
1 lemon zest
To prepare the strawberry sauce:
Leave aside 10 big strawberries. Cut in small pieces the other strawberries and place them in a bowl with 1 tbsp of sugar and 1 freshly squeezed lemon. Stir with a spoon and let them marinate in the fridge. After about 2 hours, use a food processor to reduce the strawberries to a sauce (leaving some big chunks of fruit).
To prepare the pastry cream:
Put the yolks and sugar in a pan and mix with a spoon, while adding the flour little by little. Pour half milk and keep stirring with a spoon until the flour is completely dissolved.
Peel the whole lemon zest and add it to the mix. Move to the stove, reduce the flame to the minimum and keep stirring with the spoon, while adding the remaining milk. Keep stirring for about 8-10 minutes. Let the pastry cream cool down completely (for at least 1 hour) and then remove the lemon zest. (Instead of using the lemon pastry cream, you could also use the mascarpone cheese).
Place a first layer of ladyfingers in a serving bowl and, using a spoon, moisten them with the strawberry sauce. Add a layer of pastry cream on top.
Continue adding another layer of ladyfingers, strawberry sauce and pastry cream.
Slice the 10 strawberries and use them to garnish. Finish with some mint leaves.
How do you celebrate today’s Mother day?