Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Paprika Puff Pastry Crescents / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Cornetti di pasta sfoglia alla paprika

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Here we are with our usual appointment with Maroggia’s Mill and its Cookbook. Today’s recipe is homemade puff pastry, a recipe I spent several days working on many years ago in order to find the perfect recipe as you can well see my numerous posts on millefeuille. I re-tested the recipe a few months ago using only Maroggia’s Mill flour and, needless to say, the result was excellent. On this occasion I tweaked the basic recipe with savoury pies and croissants in mind and decided to add sweet paprika powder to the flour. This puff pastry is ideal for small pies and finger food to nibble on before dinner. I shaped them into crescent shape, a form that lends itself very well to various fillings (but I haven’t filled them…I am on a diet!).
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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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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Tonka Bean and Tangerine Taralli / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Taralli alla fava tonka e scorza di mandarino

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Here we are, with our usual appointment with Maroggia’s Mill and its Cookbook. Today I propose you a very addictive recipe, which I turned into a sweet version…taralli! You can have them as a snack during coffee break rather than offer them as an alternative to popcorn at your next movie night. I assure, there won’t be much left!
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Butternut Squash and Licorice Muffins / Muffins alla zucca butternut e liquirizia

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Butternut squash mon amour. I started appreciating pumpkin and butternut squash quite late into my twenties, but since my father grows these vegetables in his garden I now cannot wait for the arrival of the cold season in order to taste sweet and savoury dishes cooked with this versatile ingredient. Its natural sweetness makes it an excellent ingredient for cakes and muffins so why not do a little experiment and combine it with one of my favourite ingredients ever? And here it is…the omnipresent liquorice! Needless to say the pairing is superb, these muffin are soft and sweet (but not too much). You can’t get any better than this!
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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Tortelli di San Giuseppe / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Tortelli di San Giuseppe

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And its Carnival time again at Maroggia’s Mill! Last year for this occasion for the Cookbook I prepared some tortelli who believed themselves to be chiacchiere, while today I present the classic recipe for round tortelli di San Giuseppe, which are made with a batter reminiscent of pâte a choux that is used to make cream puffs and éclair. A quick and easy recipe to celebrate Carnival in sweetness.
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MTC Challenge: Indian Style Fried Chicken / MTC Challenge: Pollo fritto all’indiana

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Another month, another MTChallenge. Last challenge, the macaron, literally brought me to my knees and made me regret having a willpower which is close zero. Friendships, relationships…working hard on myself I learned the salutary principle of “Letting go” and understand that everything, EVERYTHING, in this brief life simply comes to an end. Not with the MTChallenge, I simply can’t let go. Like in the most cliché relationships which are ruled by a strong, and constant, imbalance between love and hate it’s impossible for me to desist. Kathy Bates in “Misery” you name her…MTChallenge is far worse than her smashing Paul Sheldon’s legs, I simply can’t get out of it! Last challenge’s winner was Silvia, not a surprise if you go taking a look at the recipe with which she won. It was virtually impossible for her to lose. I immediately said to myself: “She will bash us, she will”. Indeed, a massive bash arrived. Silvia’s fried chicken! So you think that frying is easy don’t you? You couldn’t be more wrong. Being quite experienced with frying (I think my closest friends have heard me billion times instructing them on double frying) I took courage and decided to use an ingredient I’ve never used for frying before. Almonds. Scared about its humidity content and surely quite fearful of burning them I never, EVER, used nuts to coat anything that needed a good old frying session. Of course it took an MTChallenge to throw myself into the boiling cauldron and overcome anxiety. The inspiration for the recipe came from India, as soon as I read Valentina’s original recipe. Blame it on the marinade (spices and spicy!), or the idea of accompanying the chicken with a sauce (firstly my mind went to a yogurt based dip and then moved on to an inevitable chutney, which I decided to mix with yogurt :D), but for certain if chicken is involved, at least where I come from, you have to venture into indian cuisine.

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Vegetarian Seitan Empanadas / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Empanadas vegetariane al seitan

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Another day at the Mill, a new recipe for the Cookbook…or rather two new recipes! Today I will be teaching you how to make seitan, a product that has gained more and more visibility in the past years. It takes very little time to make it and the result is excellent. Seitan is a high-protein food of oriental origins that is often used in vegetarian and vegan diets. Being very rich in gluten it is not suitable for celiacs. If cooked with seaweed or flavoured with soy sauce seitan is a complete food, containing 8 amino acids essential to our diet. A very versatile product and a good alternative to meat (it can be flavoured in many different ways), it is worth to include this ingredient in our diets. One kilo flour is enough to obtain 500 g of seitan in just a few minutes of kneading and washing the dough. The rest of the job is done by soaking and boiling the mixture of flour and water.
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Cuochi d’artificio: Buckwheat and Orange Zest Rusks / Cuochi d’artificio: Fette biscottate al grano saraceno e scorza di arancia

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Good habits…what a task! How many of us run like crazy in the morning in order to get ready and get to work fresh and on time…often with an empty stomach? Over the years I too have learned to wake up a little earlier to allow me to sit and have breakfast. And it feels different, it feels good. No mid-morning jitters, enough energy and concentration to face the day at its fullest. The latest episode of Cuochi d’Artificio I have baked for focuses on good habits and breakfast is the subject given to me. And what kind of bread more than rusk screams breakfast? The addition of buckwheat flour and orange zest (but you can flavour the bread otherwise) make of the plain old rusks something worth getting out of bed, don’t you think so? The loaf itself is delicious eaten as a simple sandwich bread but the rusks will keep longer especially if placed in a tin box lined with parchment paper.

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Yogurt and Toasted Wheat Germ Bread / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Pane allo yogurt e germe di grano tostato

pane-germe-e-yogurt-1A few days ago I went to the Mill to collect some flour to develop new recipes and asked Alessandro if he had any new interesting products. Happens that I just arrived on a lucky day while freshly ground wheat germ was available. Wheat germ is no more than 3% of the entire grain kernel, and is generally discarded because of its more intense flavour and the presence of moisture which can reduce shelf life of the flour. A product rich in vitamins, starches, proteins and lipids, wheat germ is really good for our health. Presence of Omega 3, Omega 6, vitamins A and D, make it a very valid aid for skin, hair and helps fighting free radicals too. To best preserve all its nutritional qualities the advice is to eat it raw (in this way all its properties, especially vitamin E and B and fatty acids are kept intact) in addition to milk, yogurt or soups but without exceeding a daily dose of 50 g. Being a highly perishable product in order to keep more than a few days you can toast it lightly to remove the moisture which encourages rancidity and mould formation.

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MTChallenge: Macarons / Dell’MTChallenge e dei Macarons gemelli diversi: il macaron gnocco e il macaron cesso

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I’m quitting. This is the last one, I swear. I have been repeating the same thing for quite a while now. Too much stress, brainstorming, tetris-like scheduling strategies. What about the anxiety, the overwhelming sense of inferiority I feel every time I check out the other contestants’ recipes, every time a picture gets posted onto the group’s facebook page. And then a new month comes along with a new challenge. I can’t help but participate, I can’t resist to the call of the MTChallenge. Even though I felt a shiver down my spine when I read the theme for this month’s challenge. Our dear Ilaria chose one of the most fearsome recipes…the macaron! A few years back I did experiment a bit and produced dragon eggs for a first attempt and got only close to proper macarons with these Luxemburgerli-like sweets (a swiss version of macarons but of a smaller size) on my second attempt. Fear and Loathing in Chiasso. And on top of it all the tap in the kitchen has been out of order for almost a month and I was forced to wash dishes, bowls and kitchen accessories in the bathtub. You can just imagine my state of mind. And what about the firm conviction that both the shells of the macarons had to be flavored, which led me to test and photograph them a second time because the first one I had forgotten to spice up the shells of one of the two recipes I baked for the challenge. The first macarons batch turned out to be perfect (I have pictures to prove it!!!) but I decided not to fill them in order not to waste time and ingredients. And of course the second time around something went wrong with the cardamom macarons. Virtually they came out in the shape of tits. I think the problem lies in the fact that the mix was very thick and maybe I should have work it a little harder in order to break the air bubbles. Or maybe it just needed a little more egg white having added the cardamom powder and poppy seeds. However having no time nor desire to whip up a third batch I decided to participate in any case, with both macarons: the beautiful and the ugly.
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