A couple of months ago I was interviewed by a young local journalist, Ivan Campari, for a series of articles he is publishing on the newspaper LaRegione featuring young people from the Mendrisiotto area. For this I have to thank my friend Alan Alpenfelt, the mind behind the independent Radio Gwen and the acting company V XX Zweetz who was interviewed too and gave my name amongst others. To greet both the photographer and the journalist I decided to bake a batch of biscuits, which proved providential as the only good picture of me is one I am transferring them from the baking tray to the rack! I am such a terrible photography subject as I always feel very embarrassed and pull faces and eventually end up throw evil glances at the camera.
I had been working on a new vegan dough for my last episode of “Cuochi d’artificio” a few months ago and fell in love with it. The use of cocoa butter has proved decisive for its softness, something I would never imagine possible without the use of butter. Having experimented with sweet dough I thought it might be interesting to develop a recipe for savoury brioche, and here it is. For the shaping I looked back to the good old babka (check out my Chocolate Babka and Licorice, White Chocolate and Strawberry Babka). The result? A pillowy soft, scrumptious, fragrant and summery bread! Even my friend Nevia, who is skeptical about “bread which has stuff in it” tried a slice and loved it! Perfect to whip up some Sunday brunch sandwiches, eaten alone or with a nice cream cheese.
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Antinea is a special person. We’ve known each other for little over a year but it is as if it were a life time that we have been friends. It was a mutual friend who introduced her to me. With the impending 35th birthday I thought it would be good for me to start some kind of physical activity to keep fit. Amongst the various options the most popular for women in their thirties seemed to be pilates and talking to Marko it came out that her friend Antinea is pilates instructor. There was a nice vibe from the start and despite my stiffness and the struggle to assimilate her teachings I decided to trust her, committing to exercising and trying to overcome my limits. And so it was. I’m sure that without her there would have been no “Cuochi d’artificio” and I am convinced that pilates has greatly contributed to my physical and psychological well-being, giving me not only a new body but also a new mindset. Perhaps at my age I have finally reached a state of equilibrium and for that I must thank Antinea too.
Today for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook I want to present you with a very practical and entertaining recipe, as well as delicious of course! Bread in a can is the perfect example of how man can use anything as a cooking tool. Really, there is no point in owning multiple moulds and bread tins when you can re-use tin cans. Besides the result is so nice and the rounded slices of bread are perfect for making appetizers!
And here we are, time flies doesn’t it? This is my last episode on this season of “Cuochi d’artificio” as the program is taking a well deserved summer break. A challenging adventure which made me grow so much and discover the fascinating world of tv production, one experience I hope to have the honour and privilege to repeat next year. This episode has for a theme snails. Well, nothing more suitable for bread, as dough is often shaped in this guise, and bread snail can be found in bakeries filled with all kind of ingredients, both sweet and savoury. In the past I have used this shaping to make my Crunchy Licorice Snails, Rye and fennel seeds snails with blood oranges and red onion chutney and Poppy seed snails. This time around I thought it could be fun to bake snails that at first glance might seem stuffed with basil pesto…while instead they are flavoured with a fresh mix of minced mint, pine nuts, white chocolate and a touch of grated lemon zest. The dough is 100% vegan. The use of cocoa butter makes it particularly soft, the best vegan bread I have developed so far…it’s really light as a feather and very similar to brioche dough. You can change the filling omitting white chocolate and put another 100% vegan ingredient. Unfortunately my knowledge in this area is limited and my attempt to produce a vegan vanilla custard failed miserably.
Here is a list of the required ingredients and step by step instructions to bake the bread and to make the filling. Here you can see the episode where I explain all the steps to bake these cute snails at home.
Recipe for fresh pasta I’ve already posted plenty on Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook…from farfalle with walnuts and thyme sauce, to the pici with sausage, coffee and hazelnuts sauce and trofie with chestnut and pumpkin sauce. But what I had never tried before was putting another ingredient in the dough…why not try with some cheese to add flavour and taste to the pasta? Luckily Maroggia’s Mill flour for pizza never disappoints me…add my aunt’s happy hens’ eggs and a little cheese and voilà, cheese flavoured pasta! The dough is a bit more delicate than usual fresh pasta, since the presence of cheese tends to make it more prone to breaking. For this reason I advice you to roll it in fairly thick sheets to obtain rustic tagliatelle.
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Pizza in a pan logbook. When Antonietta proposed her recipe for this month’s MTChallenge I could not believe it…finally my favourite, pizza! Anyone who knows me personally is well aware of the efforts I have undertaken years ago in the search for the perfect traditional pizza. What they probably don’t know is that pizza pan is a true mystery to me. Even though I am a proud owner of Gabriele Bonci’s book “Pizza”, which was given to me as a gift by my sister, all my attempts so far (very few I must admit) have ended in a big failure. Being totally honest with you I am not a huge fan of pizza in a pan. But a challenge is a challenge, and for this occasion I decided to overcome my limitations and my fears and bake Antonietta’s pizza in a pan. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…
Bagels. If I’m not mistaken this is the second recipe I tried after discovering my passion for bread baking. The first one was the Cottage Loaf, a bread which has been the staple of my baking when sixteen. Around that time my father used to travel a lot to the United States, something which I guess summed up with my passion for american tv series and MTV played a role into feeding my interest for this bread. I then did a 10 day holiday in N.Y. where I religiously followed my plan to eat a typical american breakfast every single morning, with the rule of changing both menu and place every single day. Amongst the breakfast I had there where bagels too, of course. I would opt for a classic philadelpia cheese and smoked salmon bagel, straight from the oven and still warm. No doubt one of my favourite breakfasts during my american holiday. I haven’t been baking bagels since, for no reason really. This time a pretty weird idea to use Maroggia’s Mill flour came to my mind. Liquorice flavoured bagels! Take a look into Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook with me and let’s see how these beauties can be baked at home.
Bicycle! Bycicle!, when Alice proposed me this theme I clearly sensed her perplexity…what would I do of it? Was it feasible, with bread? Her uncertainty was palpable and I had to think quick in order to convince her everything would be fine and not miss this opportunity. Paris-Brest, of course! One of the most famous and popular French pâtisserie classics was created in 1910 by chef Louis Durand to commemorate the Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race begun in 1891. It’s basically a wheel shaped choux filled with praline flavoured cream. What about a bread wheel, filled with a foie gras cream? To recreate the craquelin effect, a decorative crackly topping, I relied on the recipe for the topping for tiger bread rolls. The result? Simply stunning! Unfortunately due to ethical issues my first recipe for the filling was rejected. But since I personally find it amazing and love foie gras I decided to post it, in case you would like to try it. The recipe I cooked in the studio has more of a strong and rustic flavour, but is still very good.
Here you will find the list of ingredients needed and the directions to bake the bread and to whip up the filling (sorry it’s in Italian but I’m pretty sure google translate will be ok) and here you can find the whole episode with me explaining all the steps to bake this beauty at home. Are you ready?
Sometimes the best recipes for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook are born this way…recovering ingredients that have been languishing in the fridge for too long and next to their expiration date. Full cream, I can’t ever recall for which recipe I had bought it. Was it to make a batch of fleur sel caramel or rather to bake some cookies to nibble on at tea time? No clue at all! Then I came up with this bizarre idea. What about trying to bake sweet full cream infused grissini, would they taste any good? The answer came with the verdict from my faithful guinea pigs, these grissini are simply AMAZING. And highly addictive to…Flavia knows something about it, having said at least three times “This is the last one, I swear” before sealing the bag and leaving the few survivors on her studiomate Micha’s desk. These grissini can be underbaked, maintaining an internal softness which makes them very pleasant and accentuates the creamy quality of its dough. Alternatively, you can bake a little longer and let them dry in the oven to make them crispy. However you decide to bake them they are perfect as a snack for tea time or to munch on in front of a good movie. The sugar and pistachio breading can be replaced with other kinds of chopped nuts. What are you waiting for, roll up your sleeves and knead!
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