Spring allows you the luxury of long days outdoors, drinking in the inebriating colours of nature as it reawakens, and feeling the burning desire to open your eyes to the delicate pastel hues and vitamin nuances capable of “reviving” the soul worn down by the greyness of winter. In order to avoid laziness getting the better of you this coming weekend, weighed down by worries about the week ahead, we’ve put together the perfect ingredients for you to enjoy a restful break. They’ll allow you to create a pleasant balance of little things that will transform your relaxation into special moments. As in all the best recipes, we advise you to stick to the ingredients shown and follow the order given in order to achieve the authentic flavour of a properly balanced break.
FIRST INGREDIENT: WAKE UP AND ARMANI JEANS BACKPACK
Sunday is the one day of the week that you can allow yourself to wake up gently and grab a few extra hours of sleep in order to open your eyes feeling refreshed. A good breakfast, slowly savoured – better still in bed – will allow you to recoup the energy required for the week ahead. Reactivating your body is essential, for your soul as well as your body, and so it’s time to pamper yourself with tempting treats that you deny yourself during the week. It’s important to treat yourself to dispel the tension accumulated during the week that’s just ended and to charge yourself up for the one that’s about to start. The right amount of sugar will make you feel fit and will benefit your mood too.
What better Sunday treat than delicious marshmallows? You’ll feel completely revived and ready for a relaxing Sunday. Accompany them with freshly squeezed orange juice to bring a guaranteed smile to your face!
RECIPE: MARSHMALLOWS AND TRUSSARDI JEANS BAG
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 30 g gelatin sheets
- 160 ml cold water • 120 ml warm water
- 300 g caster suga
- Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
- 2 tbsps icing sugar, plus a little for sprinkling
- 2 tbsp cornflour
Makes 20–24 MARSHMALLOWS
Line a rectangular baking dish (33 x 23 cm) with cling film and brush with vegetable oil. Set aside. Soak the sheets of gelatin in 160 ml of cold water for 10 minutes. In the meantime, heat the sugar with 120 ml of warm water in a small pan over a medium heat.
Bring to the boil, without stirring, then stir and cook for 1 minute until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Remove from the heat and add the softened gelatin sheets, stir, and then add the water in which they were soaked. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk for about 5 minutes until it is thick, white, opaque and holds its shape.
Spread evenly over the lined baking dish and sprinkle icing sugar over the top. Leave to rest for at least 2 hours or overnight. Mix the 2 tablespoons of icing sugar with the cornflour and spread over a chopping board.
Turn the baking tray upside down onto the cutting board to remove the marshmallows. Cut into squares with a sharp knife (you’ll probably need to rinse the blade between cuts to stop it from sticking) and cover each marshmallow with a thin coating of icing sugar and cornflour.
Serve immediately or keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
SECOND INGREDIENT: LUNCH . . . WITH LOVE
Our frenetic lifestyle often forces us to consume small rushed meals, and sometimes we don’t even have time to realize what we’re eating. Sundays are thus the day to treat yourself to a leisurely lunch after having dedicated time to your body. It should be a meal to enjoy rather than gulp down, consisting of feel-good dishes creatively and lovingly prepared by someone who has chosen to make time for themselves, as a gift to themselves and their loved ones.
Open the gates to your culinary imagination: it’s not necessary to be accomplished chefs to prepare a gourmet lunch, you just need to create themed menus inspired by seasonal produce, such as squash.
You’ll agree it’s the best meal of the week, both because it’s a reflection of you and because you can enjoy it at the right pace dictated by your need to rest.
RECIPE: YELLOW SQUASH RISOTTO AND COCCINELLE BAG / PROSECCO AND ARMANI JEANS BAG
- 320 g Carnaroli rice
- 600 g squash
- 100 g yellow onions
- 1,5 l vegetable stock
- 80 g Parmigiano Reggiano
- 60 ml white Wine
- 50 g butter
- Black pepper to taste
- Salt to taste
- 20 ml extra virgin olive oil
First of all, make a light vegetable stock for cooking the rice. Chop the vegetables and place them in a large saucepan. Cover with water and add salt. Put a lid on the saucepan, bring to the boil and allow to simmer for about an hour. Strain the stock and keep warm.
Now remove the seeds and skin from the pumpkin, cut the flesh into slices and then dice. Finely chop the onion and transfer to a large pan in which you’ve heated the oil. Sauté over a low heat for about 10 minutes, until it’s so soft it almost dissolves. Add the pumpkin and brown for a few minutes, stirring to ensure it doesn’t stick.
Now start to add the stock very gradually, one ladle at a time, until the pumpkin is cooked (about 20 minutes). It should be tender and creamy.
Heat a large frying pan and toast the rice in it. The dry method must be used to toast the rice – essential to ensure the grains hold their shape during cooking – because it’s impossible to do it in the moist environment of the pan with the pumpkin.
Toast the rice over a high heat until it becomes opalescent, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t burn. (2–3 minutes). Add the white wine, stirring to prevent the rice from sticking to the pan. When the wine has completely evaporated, transfer the rice to the pan with the pumpkin.
Stir well to combine the flavours and stop the rice from sticking.
As soon as the risotto starts to dry out, add a ladle of hot stock and continue like this, adding the next only after the current one has been absorbed, until the rice is cooked< (15–20 minutes, depending on the rice).
When tender, add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter and the grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Stir well and then add a final ladle of stock if you prefer a creamier risotto. Allow to rest for a minute before serving and eating.
THIRD INGREDIENT: THE COMPANY OF A GOOD BOOK
After having savoured every moment of a leisurely lunch, it’s time for some well-deserved relaxation. It’s very important to nourish your soul as well as your body, and the chance to spend a few hours on the sofa with a good book is often the best option.
If your eyes are frequently concentrated on the screen of your smartphone or tablet during the week, making you forget the tactile pleasure of turning the pages of a book, dedicating time to reading can only be a good thing. This is particularly true if when it’s in the warmth of your home, surrounded by the peaceful silence of someone who needs to rest and chooses to revive their mind by retreating from the chaos and frenzy of the all-absorbing social networks.
RECIPE: A BOOK OF YOUR CHOICE
FOURTH INGREDIENT: DELICIOUS AFTERNOON TEA
After having revived your mind by reading a good book, purging it of the thoughts, worries and news that cloud your clarity, you can enjoy the happiness of an afternoon tea that will plunge you into the fresh, cheerful colours of spring. You can thus rediscover the pleasure of a break that paves the way for feelings of joy and the happy moments of a woman hungry for new emotions and sensations.
Opt for tasty but not excessively high-calorie sweet treats, avoiding commercial snacks: the idea is to experience the moment as authentically as possible, enjoying the slow pace and memories that surface when you stop hurrying.
Choose a good homemade cake or have fun making these cheerful (and delicious) macarons, getting your hands covered in flour like you used to when you were a child. Accompany them with a carefully prepared pot of tea, which is always an elegant and relaxing ritual, or choose the citrus flavour of fresh orange juice, which is an excellent pick-me-up.
RECIPE: LEMON MACARONS AND FRESH ORANGE JUICE / ANNA CECERE CLUTCH BAG
- 150 g ground almonds
- 250 g icing sugar
- Yellow food colouring
- 4 egg whites
- juice of ½ lemon
- 5 egg yolks
- 150 g sugar
- 150 g butter
- 3 lemons
Put the egg whites in a bowl and beat with a teaspoon of sugar and the lemon juice. Continue until stiff, light and glossy. Gradually add the ground almonds and the food colouring and fold in carefully until the mixture is smooth.
Transfer to a piping bag with a smooth nozzle and pipe small discs on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Allow the meringues to rest for about an hour, then bake for 10–15 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 160 °C. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Prepare the lemon filling by beating the egg yolks with the sugar and then adding the juice and grated zest of 3 lemons. Transfer to a small saucepan, bring to the boil and allow to thicken for a few minutes. Add the butter, in small pieces, and stir well.
Put a small dollop of the cream on the flat side of one meringue and sandwich it with another.
Repeat until all the ingredients are finished. Allow to rest in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
FIFTH INGREDIENT: A LIGHT DETOX DINNER
It’s seven in the evening and time to make dinner and choose a good film. Sunday dinner is always rather a sad moment because it means the weekend’s almost over, so it’s important to make it a time for pampering yourself.
Allow yourself the luxury of dining on the sofa, which will lighten dark moods caused by the time and the many worries that pile up like dirty washing. Make dinner a moment for a playful break all for yourself.
You can concentrate on social-issue films or fun comedies, depending on your inclination.
There are plenty of options, just find the one that best fits your mood.
RECIPE: CANAPÉS WITH LUMPFISH ROE AND MIXED SALAD LEAVES / PATRIZIA PEPE BAG
- Sliced white loaf or sandwich bread
- Lumpfish roe (caviar surrogate)
Make the base of the canapés from the slices of bread using cutters (in the shape of trees, stars, etc.). Spread the mayonnaise on the bread and cover with lumpfish roe.
Use a piping bag to decorate the canapés and the plate.
What about the sixth ingredient?
You can choose the last ingredient yourself: it’s the icing on your cake, the spice missing from your ideal soup, the finishing touch to customize your dish and make it absolutely perfect. Learn to make time for yourself without running away, or filling every waking moment to keep your mind occupied.
Allow yourself a day of relaxation to live to the full: you deserve it.
TEXT: Alessia Milanese of TheChiliCool.com (www.thechilicool.com)
PHOTOS: Max Fiorindo (www.maxfiorindo.it)
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