Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Feta, Tropea Red Onion and Sumac Panzerotti / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Panzerotti alla feta, cipolle di Tropea e Sumac

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When I was a little girl right before Christmas it was tradition that I, my older sister and my father would go shopping in Milan on a Saturday. A special event, an opportunity for us to spend some time alone with our Daddy, who was often away from home for business matters. On this same Friday, but twenty-eight years ago, I would be counting the money safely stored in my piggy bank, waiting impatiently for the next morning to come. To my eyes Milan was magical place. I recall the bitter cold which would redden our cheeks and noses. The snow would fall slowly, in fine grains that almost did not leave a trace on the sidewalks. And all those lights, bright lights everywhere.

After long walks in the centre of the city and a due visit to Rinascente and Fiorucci where we would usually find little presents for our mom and friends we would happily end our Christmas pilgrimage at a mythical place: Luini. Luini and its warm to piping hot panzerotti, for which we would patiently wait in line, that same line that in the past years split into three to four separate ones in order to greet as much costumers as possible. Panzerotti must be eaten standing up, preferably leaning against a free portion of one of the walls of the buildings along Via Santa Radegonda 16, not to lose crispness of the dough and lava texture of the filling, which for me will always and only ever be tomato and mozzarella.

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Cantucci di Prato

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Cantucci (or biscotti, as they are called in the States and UK), can’t tell you how many of those I ate when I lived in Tuscany. Actually it was one of my favourite dessert when I went at the restaurant. A nice glass of Vin Santo, the relaxed dipping of the cantucci in the golden boozy liquid. The most perfect way to end a dinner. Before Christmas I was unable to bake panettone so I indulged with backing plenty of cantucci and pandolce (a Genoese version of panettone) that I gave as a gift to family and friends. Searching for the best recipes I came across this one which is just perfect. I found it on a very reliable blog which I already known for years, Anice e Cannella. The only two changes I made have been replacing orange zest with lemon zest, which I much more prefer, and not brushing the cantucci with the egg (more out of laziness than anything else). A gift which my guinea pigs welcomed and appreciated very much. You can store them in nice tin boxes and bring them as a gift to friends who invite you over for dinner, maybe with a good bottle of Vin Santo!

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Mock panettone with candied orange and dark chocolate / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Finti panettoncini all’arancia candita e cioccolato fondente

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It has been hanging around for a long time, this thought. Unfortunately having many things to do and little time to stop and think and do something about it…but I couldn’t stop thinking this blog was born thanks to my passion for sourdough but lately my recipes have been increasingly lacking this ingredient. What happened? Nothing serious, some of it is to blame on the discovery of long fermentation which can make yeasted bread more digestible and fresh for longer time, just like sourdough bread. A little blame is on “Cuochi d’artificio” for which I decided to restrain myself to the use of yeast, being sourdough leavening too complex. And last but not least lately time to plan refreshments and dough rising has failed me big time.

At the first occasion I knew I had to do something about it. I threw a quick loving glance to the jar of my dear Hannibal Dolores Frank, my liquid sourdough culture, and rolled up my sleeves. In a jiffy I found the right ingredients and I started to put down, off the cuff, the recipe for these mock panettoncini fo Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. Mock because mind you, panettone is a serious matter. The recipe is regulated by a disciplinary from which you can not escape, and the commitment needed to come up with a good homemade panettone is remarkable. This recipe in a way is no exception and I don’t recommend it to the faint of heart, or better faint of hand. Unless you are familiar with very hydrated or high in fat doughs, if you’re not quite skilled with handling and shaping breads I warn you nervous breakdown is around the corner waiting for you. But if you are experienced or daring enough go all the way and this recipe will not disappoint you. These little panettoni are perfect for a special, and why not romantic, breakfast. Soft as a pillow and sweet, I tell you. Bake them on a Saturday afternoon for Sunday morning. Pop them for a while in the oven before you tasting them while cocooning in the warmth comfort of your bed, wide smile under your cappuccino foam moustache. That’s amore!

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Cuochi d’artificio: Sweet Winter Bread, baked in a pot / Cuochi d’artificio: Pane invernale dolce cotto in pentola

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Christmas is just around the corner and this month’s episode of Cuochi d’artificio I was asked to bake a recipe for bread that could be baked in a pot. There are plenty of iron cast pot bread recipes out there and I myself have already developed a few recipes. This time around I thought about using the Winter festive time as a pretext to devise a sweet bread recipe, a kind of bread that personally I have never seen on the web. For the spice blend I was inspired by two loaves of German culinary tradition, the Breslau Stollen and the Hutzelbrot. I took some ingredients from each recipe and came up with this soft loaf, which looks a little like a very primitive panettone but is enriched with cinnamon, cardamom, almonds, plums, figs and dates instead of raisins and candied fruit as in the traditional version of panettone.

Here you will find the list of ingredients and step by step description of the recipe, and here you can see the video recipe to have a more accurate visual reference.

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Cinnamon and Hazelnut Rye Flour Babka / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Babka speziata alla cannella e noci con farina di segale

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Catch a Babka in the Rye! I haven’t been baking this soft and pillowy treat for a while and when Alessandro gave me the first few packets of Maroggia’s Mill rye flour I knew immediately I had to try and develop a recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook which had nothing to do with the idea we usually have of rye bread. Nothing better than a Babka. Would I be able to obtain a soft and pillowy crumb with such a flour, which as you know is not as rich in gluten as wheat flour? Well, I am proud to say that I made it! And my guinea pigs loved it. Of course it’s not as light and pillowy as it would be using wheat flour, but i can assure you its surprisingly soft and melts in the mouth beautifully.

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“Cuochi d’artificio”: An easy peasy home baked bread / “Cuochi d’artificio”: Pane casereccio facile facile

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Ready, steady, go! With a little delay on the start of the new “Cuochi d’artificio” season, but here I am. This year we start with a few changes. From now on the cooks on the show can be consulted directly by the public by writing an email. All of the show’s chefs are here to help you resolve problems in the kitchen, giving tips and providing you with the best recipes.

The first question that was sent to me concerns homemade bread in its simplest form. Thinking about it, I realized that this question often comes from people who haven’t got much experience in the kitchen, who might have tried over and over the same recipe without obtaining any satisfactory results but still want to be able to make a genuine bread in their own kitchen. Better if all the process is sort of fast, effortless, without messing the kitchen too much. Daunting task…Luckily a few months ago I came across this gadget, a rubber bowl which allows you to mix the dough, let it proof and bake it in the same container. Not bad for those who do not want to havee too many kitchen tool to clean (after baking the mold is basically clean and just needs a good rinse) and doesn’t have a great dexterity to engage in types and shapes of bread which are far too complicated. The proofing schedule is specifically meant for people who work. This bread just needs a little kneading, proofing a few hours and can be put to rest in the fridge during the day if you want to bake the bread in the evening to return from work, or overnight if you want to cook it the morning after a good night’s sleep. I added a bit of whole wheat flour and seeds to give a more rustic and authentic flavor to the bread, to make it more homely.

Here you will find the list of ingredients and step by step description of the recipe, and here you can see the video recipe to have a more accurate visual reference.

And what about you, do you have any questions?

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Saffron and Chilli Bread Thins / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Sfoglie di pane allo zafferano e peperoncino

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Crack, crunch, crock! As I crunch through a bread thin the first thing coming up to my mind is the classic comic balloon words written in a bold uppercase font and the exclamation point, slightly bigger than the character as to give strength to the onomatopoeic sound. To me crunchy foods, especially if they are baked goods, are irresistible. Is it an ancient heritage we carry with us that drives us to go through entire packs of crunchy crisps and crumbly grissini?

After a quick glance at the blog I realized that along all these years I posted few recipes for crackers. Such a gap had to be filled as soon as possible, I thought to myself! It’s thanks to chilli and a brilliant intuition (which I admit was totally random as when opening the “Food Thesaurus” the first ingredient I came across was saffron) I baked these amazing bread thins. Without modesty I can say this recipe is among the best I ever made for the blog when it’s up to crackers and Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook.

These bread thins are quite spicy, so if you do not like spicy food but you still want to feel a slight tingling I recommend to halve the amount of chilli.

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MTChallenge n° 61: Hunger for tiramisu / MTChallenge n° 61: Miriam mangia il tiramisu a mezzanotte

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Here I am, after oh so many tribulations, ready once more to participate to this month’s MTChallenge.This month’s recipe is only apparently an easy one to whip up: tiramisu. Susy literally threw at us a proper hand grenade…one able to shatter nerves and make our clothes explode under the pressure of fat and calories! Who would have imagined that making tiramisu would be so difficult? I’ll spare you all details of the various problems, errors and frustration I encountered all through my tiramisu journey on order to come up with a recipe that if only I had the skills would be a scream. No pastry skills, no party. What I managed to come up with is rather a tiramimoscio (an italian word I invented to describe my flaccid tiramisu). But I can assure you that if you do have the pastry skill necessary in order to make a proper tiramisu this recipe is truly remarkable. You can either choose to have it as tiramimoscio or a tiramifreddo (another invented word for the frozen version of this dessert). In fact those two version can be easily interpreted as the sweet incarnations of the two female characters from the film from which I drew inspiration: “The Hunger”.
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Buckwheat diamonds in autumnal broth / Pasta di grano saraceno in brodo autunnale

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Autumn. If you have been following my blog for a few years there is no need for me to stress on how much I love this season. If I had to pick a few words to describe this season those words would be: orange, leaves, perfumes, chestnuts, woolly jumpers, fireplace, home. A few words which are already eight…oh the nasty habit of dwelling that I have! To these “few words” I would just add another one: buckwheat.

No other kind of grain embodies in itself all the scents, colours and flavours of the most beautiful season of the year. Aromatic, intense, hot, buckwheat is very well suited for a variety of recipes ranging from sweet to savoy with the advantage of being a highly warming food (something I learned during my macrobiotic phase), therefore ideal for these months that are slowly introducing us to the cold winter. There is nothing better than a good hot soup to reconcile yourself with the world after a hard day’s work. Just imagine being in the cozy warmth of your house, holding a steaming bowl while sitting on the couch watching one of your favourite tv series.

The dough can be prepared it in advance and frozen laying the diamond shaped pasta on a cutting board covered with plastic wrap. When the pasta is thoroughly frozen you can store it in box to prevent it from breaking.

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Cocoa and Orange Marmalade Tarts / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Crostatine al cacao e marmellata di arance amare

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Desserts at my house are quite forbidden. Or I’d rather say that you will hardly find in my pantry packets of biscuits, chocolate bars, candy and all food alike. The main issue is self-control, the other “no sweet stuff factor” is because I’d rather choose ingredients myself since too often store bought sweets contain too much sugar for my palate. This recipe for Maroggia’ Mill Cookbook was born from the desire for something sweet…but not too much. Flavours to pamper your tastebuds with and sweeten a gloomy day and why not, to scent your house with. I simply love it when the perfume of a sweet dessert spreads from the kitchen and permeates all the flat, it always puts me in a good mood. I decided to make small tart, a simple trick not to have too many sweets at home and because I find the little tart or cake format nicer to be photographed. For a 24-25 cm cake of about it is sufficient to multiply the quantities of the two ingredients and to bake the tart for 45′-50′.

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