Tastes of Venice
Asmuss was created because we love to travel but struggled to find stylish clothing that worked for all the places we visited and all our adventures along the way.
Food plays a huge part in our travel experiences, encountering new styles of cooking and searching out the unique tastes and techniques each place has to offer is one of our favourite ways to explore.
One of the places we love and regularly visit is Venice, travelling every couple of years to attend La Biennale di Venezia d’Arte, an amazing arts exhibition and festival of events that showcase and support artists from a wide variety of disciplines.
While art was the main reason for our many trips there, we could also indulge in our love of great food & wine, with so many delicious options to spoil ourselves in a city famous for its fantastic food and culture.
Since travelling is currently limited from one room to another during the Covid-19 lockdown, we thought we’d explore the world slightly differently - using the kitchen- to share some of our favourite dishes from the destinations we’ve visited and hopefully bring some of that fun and flavour to your lockdown location.
For our first recipe we thought we’d start with something easy, but effective- a cocktail!
We wanted to pay homage to this Venetian institution, famous as the birthplace of the Bellini, first served in 1948.
While a little touristy now, it is well worth a visit to witness white-jacketed waiters whirl round this petite wood- panelled bar while you sip one of their signature cocktails and nibble on a dish of fat, juicy olives, for a quintessentially Venetian experience.
Bringing a little Venetian glamour to the table is simple- the ingredient list is nice and short: all you need is
- A bottle of Prosecco
- Peach Puree (preferably White Peach Puree)
- Peach Bitters (non-essential, but if you can find them it adds an extra kick)
Put 4 dashes of peach bitters in the bottom of a flute shaped glass
Add 50ml of peach puree
Top up with prosecco
Sip away! Enjoy with some olives or flavoured nuts for the full experience.
On one of our early Venice we enjoyed a fantastic cooking class with a lovely lady called Isabella, through Le Baccanti Tours. Since our class was held on a Sunday, we didn’t get to explore the Rialto area with its famous covered markets, but instead met in a nearby square where Isabella took us to try some mouth-wateringly good mozzarella en carrozza. These fried mozzarella sandwiches are a cheesy Italian delight, we got ours from Rosticceria Gislon - a small lunch and snack spot, popular with Venetians and now a firm Asmuss favourite whenever we want to carb load after a long morning walking around Venice.
From there, we wound our way through the calle and up to Isabella’s top floor apartment. Her lovely, spacious home was a great way to get some insight into the Venice the locals see- she had a clever set of steps emerging onto a roof terrace that offered stunning views over the tiled roofs of the city, a far cry from the tourist masses below.
When we had taken in the scenery, Isabella put us to work creating some delicious Italian classics.
Here are a couple of the recipes (you'll have to trust your taste with these recipes as they aren't very specific) we made under her expert guidance that take us right back to that rooftop whenever we cook with them.
Hopefully they’ll have the same uplifting effect for you. Enjoy eating them al fresco if the sun is shining!
GNOCCI DI PATATE
- 1 kg potatoes (floury)
- 300g white flour (00 if possible)
- Pinch of salt
- Additional ingredient: Substitute potato quantity with 350grm Pumpkin or Spinach
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sweet Passata or Chopped Tomatoes
- Basil Leaves
- Fresh buffalo mozzarella (cut chunks to taste)
Peel the potatoes and put them in the steamer for 20 minutes until they are cooked through. If you don't have a steamer, leave the peel on so the potatoes do not absorb water, and boil them.
Put the potatoes little by little through a potato ricer while they are still warm. If you don’t have a potato ricer, mash them until all lumps are removed.
Add some salt and half of the flour.
Mix the ingredients using a wooden spoon.
Put everything on a board (preferably silicone, marble, or some form of non-sticky one) and form a dough by adding as much of the remaining flour as necessary. It needs to be a firm dough.
Form long round sausage shapes, then cut into ½ inch pieces and roll gently on a gnocchi roller/ a fork/ the back of a parmesan grater using your thumb.
Alternatively; if you want to make pumpkin or spinach gnocchi just boil the extra vegetables and add to the potatoes (substitute potato quantity with pumpkin or spinach as per ingredients list), making sure to squeeze all the water from them beforehand.
Cook gnocchi in salted boiling water, a few at a time, and take them out when they come to the surface.
Isabella normally dresses her gnocchi with a very simple sauce made of garlic, extra virgin oil and sweet passata (tomato sauce). Top with parmesan to taste, some fresh basil leaves and fresh buffalo mozzarella (cut into pieces sso it melts).
- 250g mascarpone. It should be of a quality that doesn't become liquid when you mix it.
- 2 or 3 eggs
- 2 or 3 full tablespoons of sugar
- Brandy (to taste)
- Sponge fingers (Savoiardi biscuits or Pavesini)
- Espresso coffee (prepare the coffee in advance as it must be cold)
- Bitter cocoa powder
Separate the yolks from the whites. Mix the yolks with the sugar and add some brandy.
Whisk the whites until stiff.
Add the mascarpone to the yolk and sugar mixture and mix gently. Add the whites, and fold in gently.
You can make individual portions or a single big cake, similar to a lasagne.
Start assembling with the mascarpone & eggs mixture on the base.
Next add a layer of the Savoiardi biscuits dipped in the espresso coffee, pay attention you don't lose the biscuits in the coffee!
Cover them with the mascarpone & eggs mixture.
Finish with a dusting of bitter cocoa powder. Repeat layer after layer till you reach the end of your container.
You can decorate your tiramisù with coffee beans, shavings of dark chocolate, or as we did in the cooking class crumbled amaretti biscuits for texture.