I must admit, I am a foreign” film-aholic”. I just caught a ‘delicious’ film that is worth blogging about. it is actually a Greek film but I saw it in Italian. “Il Tocco De Zenzero’ (A Touch of Ginger).
It narrates the story of Fanis Iakovides. a professor of astrophysics at the University of Athens. She was deported to Greece from a mass deportation of the Greeks that were in Turkey.
However, the beauty of the story is that she grew up in this family that their food represented a close to their country of origin and every event becomes a wonderful excuse to find themselves together in the kitchen to prepare typical traditional dishes.
Foods and spices are tied to their every memory. Fanis recalls her happiest memories together with her grandfather, who was the owner of a spice store. he taught her the secrets of Greek cooking using those spices. But he also taught her about life -from the principles of astronomy to the matters of the heart- in a touching way- using the spices as a symbol- i.e.-
“pepper- its hot and can burn, just like the sun”
“salt -everyone has their own dose to properly flavor their life”
“cinnamon is bittersweet, just like a woman”
“life like food calls for its own dose of salt”
“combined together there are some spices that can be combined to get a flavor that is impossible to achieve on their own”
However, the title is based on the ending of the movie where Fanis decides to make Greek meatballs and decides to add a new ingredient to the old recipe- a touch of ginger. needless to say the results..well. I won’t spoil the movie for you. .. It is worth watching. A heartwarming look at family and food and old world charm!
My favorite spice is saffron or as we say in Italian ‘zafferano’. There are many delectable recipes you can make with saffron and it has many health benefits as well.
One of my favorite recipes is Risotto Milanese. You can find saffron in most gourmet stores or in the gourmet aisles of your supermarket.
1 cup of arborio rice (or carnaroli rice)
1 packet of saffron
1 cup of dry white wine
2 tblsps of olive oil
4 tbsps of parmigiano-reggiano cheese
4-5 cups of broth (vegetable or chicken)
1 tblsp of butter
1 slice of onion finely chopped
Place olive oil in saute pan, warm and then place in onions. Place in pan the dry rice and sauté for 1 minute. Then add in (1/2 cup at a time) the broth, constantly stirring. When the liquid is all absorbed add in another 1/2 cup. Continue this for approx 15 minutes. About 10 minutes into cooking- add in the cup of wine. The add in packet of saffron and stir, when liquid is absorbed add in more broth. After 15 minutes taste rice, if aldente it is done. If it is too crunchy continue to add more broth and cook until al dente- about another 3 minutes. Remove from heat, place butter on top and parmigiano cheese, stir and serve.
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