Liquorice and Beetroot Babka / Babka alla barbabietola e liquirizia

For those who know me well this recipe does not come as a surprise… you know ho much I love beetroot and licorice don’t you? I tried this babka for breakfast and it is simply delicious, pillowy soft and just slightly sweet, want a slice? Well, roll up your sleeves and get started baking!
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MTChallenge June: Horse Meat Hamburger with Eggplant, Beetroot crisps, pepper ketchup in a liquorice bun / MTChallenge Giugno: Hamburger di cavallo con melanzana, barbabietola e ketchup di peperoni in panino alla liquirizia

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Here I am a little sleepy and with half closed eyes as I sit here, typing at my computer. What an adventure for this month’s MTChallenge! Diabolical Arianna saparunda.blogspot.ch, who won the contest last month, launched a pretty complex challenge inviting us to cook our own version of the world famous American Hamburger. I can’t deny it, as all the staff of the challenge is very understanding when allergies and special diets ar involved I first contemplated the option of participating with a macrobiotic hamburger. That thought lasted about thirty seconds, then I realized that it had no sense at all, at least from my personl point of view on this dish. Let’s face it hamburgers must be rich, fat and rewarding. It didn’t feel quite right to stick a vegetable burger into a wholemeal bun with a tahini and umeboshi sauce. Hey, hold on a second…now that I came up with this I must admit it does sound quite appealing. Maybe I’ll give it a try soon. But anyway back to my burger. Blame it on the diet restrictions or just my own view on burgers (burger = meat), but I decided to focus on a juicy and tasty version of the American fast food par excellence. And I don’t regret it. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Living on my own: Swiss Chard, Beetroot and Feta Salad / Living on my own: Insalata di coste, barbabietola e feta

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I’m back with a fast, healthy and tasty recipe for you single friends! Swiss Chard is a vegetable rich in vitamins, fiber, folic acid and minerals. The higher concentration of vitamins and carotene is in the green outer leaves, but that does not mean that this vegetable can not be consumed entirely. In fact the stem is my favorite part, it’s so crisp and fresh! Beetroot is one of the vegetables I love the most because of its versatility. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Twelve Loaves June: Cherry and Beetroot Buns wrapped in Bacon / Twelve Loaves: Panini al latte con ciliegie e barbabietola avvolti in pancetta

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With the start of a new month one of my favorite baking appointments, Twelve Loaves, comes too. What I like the most is when we choose an ingredient rather than a generic theme, such restrictions are always a good starting point to feed the imagination! Besides it’s too interesting to see how everyone interprets differently the monthly ingredient. For June, choice fell on cherries, a fruit that I love – a picture of me as a child testifies it, my face is completely plastered with juice and bears an unmistakable expression of satisfaction…”cherry thief”! – and for which it’s easy to fall into the temptation of baking a sweet bread.

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Beetroot, Orange and White Chocolate Muffins / Il ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Muffin alla barbabietola, arancia e cioccolato bianco

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Two weeks have passed since the first recipe especially conceived for Maroggia’s Mill flours. Weeks during which flour was consumed a lot, in my search for new recipes. Some have already appeared on the blog and others that are waiting in the “limbo” folder on my desktop. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Beetroot, tangerine, tonka beans and vanilla Sourdough Bread / Pane al lievito madre con barbabietola, mandarino, fava tonka e vaniglia

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This bread was inspired to me by this month’s Twelve Loaves theme: roots. I had been looking for many weeks at the great achievements obtained by fellow bakers with this kind of bread (both professionals and home bakers) during my web surfing. Every single one had a different shade of pink, a different crumb, crust and rise. A whole world of beetroot breads.
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MTChallenge: Terrine!

Another month, another challenge. Welcome back to the monthly appointment with the MTChallenge. The last challenge was won by Giuliana, our vintage hen which is quite passionate with terrines.I must confess. Terrines scare me, they always did. I don’t like them. Blame it on the gelatin, which remind me of culinary horrors of the 70s which can be found on many pages of my mum’s culinary scrap books. I always considered terrines a too playful and poor of substance dish (forgive me Giuliana!). But MTC is MTC, one simply can’t escape from it. As a matter of fact, the more a subject is far from what I like the most, the more stress it generates and the more excited I feel. More or less. The roughest British sides of me started saying “No cold jellies… can’t you see you finally have the chance to try and bake your own pork pie? You don’t want to lose this opportunity do you?”. HI must come out of the pie closet and my beloved Van Pelt will be shocked, she will… I’ve never ever baked a pork pie in my whole life. I needed MTC to finally bake one! I have to be honest. I had many ideas mainly involving apples, oranges, beetroot and liquorice. Then I had a fennel, lying on its own in my fridge, and decided to flavour the broth with spices and the pig with herbs. No overthinking and simply following my gut.
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Gnocchi with tomato, thyme and fennel seeds / MTC o anche pararsi le terga in corner: Gnocchi freschi al pomodoro, timo e semi di finocchio

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Time flies so quickly it’s hard for me to believe that next month will mark my three years as a participant to the MTChallenge. The toughest, craziest and most instructive foodblogger challenge in the worldwide web. Some challenges I had to give up to, many ones I took part to were spent addressing not so nice thoughts to the challengers but all of the challenges have been an occasion to learn new techniques and recipes. I always tried to participate to the best of my means, were they economical, in terms of the time I had on my hands and my creative resources. But never a challenge had been so tough on me. Gnocchi. Apparently an easy one, but someone like me who has always eaten gnocchi straight from a bag and topped them with butter, sage and parmesan this challenge has been THE CHALLENGE. No wonder I do have the sentiment that I am participating as a loser from the start, except for one thing: finally I was able to make proper gnocchi for the first time in my life. So thank you so much Annarita for her thorough post in which she presents us with three different recipes, perfectly described in every detail.

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Leftover Cake Muffins / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Muffins con resti di torta

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What remains of the cake…what to do with it? Sometimes, even though not very often, a bit of cake may remain uneaten, waiting to be finished and eventually ends drying up. Or in the worst cases, as it happened to me with Antinea’s birthday cake, a part of a layered cake might break effectively becoming unusable. And what about the tops, cut to level perfectly the cake layers? Too much cake to eat, at least for me! I then asked myself what I could do with those poor cake crumbles, but also with the double Gruyère cream I had bought in excess (rather than running out an ingredient I have a tendency of buying too much) and the ridiculous amount of eggs I was given by my aunt, who has now taken the habit of delivering about a dozen every week…high cholesterol anyone? Adverse and hostile as I am to cake pops, an option which seems amongst the most popular when it’s up to use leftover, I thought of using the leftovers to flavour a batch of muffins, a sweet recipe which has been missing for quite a while in my column for the Maroggia’s Mill. In fact my last sweet muffins recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook has been the one for Beetroot, Orange and White Chocolate Muffins.

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Furesta Nera Cake (or my version of Black Forest Cake) / Furesta nera (o anche la Foresta nera a modo mio)

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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.

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