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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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Bread Bunnies / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Marogggia: Coniglietti di pane

Here comes another appointment with Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook which is also a good opportunity to celebrate. Easter is approaching and what more appropriate than a recipe for festive bread bunnies? The dough is super soft and can be also used to make simple rolls or to be shaped into any kind of animals to make tour children’s snacks more fun!
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Cuochi d’artificio: “Happy Hour” Focaccia / Cuochi d’artificio: Focaccia “Happy Hour”

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Happy Hour has been in vogue since the ’60s starting as a trend in America and gradually spreading in other Anglo-Saxon countries. Recent years have witnessed an exponential explosion of the trend especially in our latitudes. I do not know about you, but when I was twenty (well 15 years ago…gosh!) we hardly made arrangements to meet up for Happy Hour but would usually meet for a beer, helping ourselves to a sad bowl of greasy chips straight from the bag in order to fill our bellies. Things have changed in recent years, and bars and restaurants offer Happy Hour serving delicious buffet and platters of cheese and cured meats. But Happy Hour can also be the perfect occasion to welcome friends who come over to dinner, or as an enjoyable convivial moment before going to a party. That’s Cuochi d’artificio’s staff decided to devote an entire episode to the topic. And I was asked to come up with a recipe. What a better occasion than this one to present you with my focaccia recipe? Or should I call them focaccia skewers?

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: 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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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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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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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

Finti panettoncini all'arancia candita e cioccolato fondente 1

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

pane casereccio facile facile

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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