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.
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′.
A recipe is a stratification, sweet or salty, bitter, spicy or sweet and sour, of the manifestations of one’s love. I do firmly believe in this statement. May it be a gesture of affection, a manifestation of esteem and friendship, or love expressed as an overwhelming passion if you proceed to remove layers of flavours and gestures to distill its essence what you will obtain is one of the deepest and most sincere of all human feelings. A thought waiting to take shape, the choice of ingredients and the process of turning them into something familiar, desired, which has the power of warming the heart, or an unusual pairing of flavours, a surprise, love at first sight. The long wait, that feeling so similar to the eager stare at the window when waiting for a lover who has been away for a long time. What will be next? A perfectly risen cake, eyes bursting with desire or a collapsed soufflé and a quick peek on the cheek, a glacial politeness falling heavy like a gravestone on a long time exhausted relationship? Food speaks, or allows us to speak to others when words fail or are simply useless. I have seen more manifestations of love on a rich and well prepared table that in readymade Valentine gifts and in badly chosen birthday gifts.
The first meal of the day is the most important, needless for me to say it for the nth time. May it be breakfast on working days or a rich Sunday brunchspent in the company of family and friends it doesn’t really matter, it’s carbohydrates that make the difference. A proper source of energy, carbohydrates are better to be consumed during the first part of the day mainly because by approaching the night hours our capacity to burn down calories is reduced and this may lead, if carbs are consumed in excess, to an important weight gain. Today’s recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook is a twist on zwieback, a great classic of Swiss breakfasts. I admit I do prefer them much to their Italian cousins, rusks, which always seem to be inconsistent and unwilling to be properly dunk in tea. For while dunking a rusk in tea it is important not to exceed those five seconds soaking time separating a properly soaked slice from an impalpable slurry which irredeemably splashes in the cup resulting in Pollock splatters all around, staining clothing, tablecloth and newspaper. Zwieback on the other hand are more compact and can be dunk twice. Italy 0 – Switzerland 1. And why not…lets be dragged by a little national pride, roll up our sleeves and accomplices our faithful and reliable Maroggia’s Mill flours let’s bake together these crispy delights! I added whole wheat flour and a pinch of cinnamon to the mixture to differentiate our zwieback from those available on the market, but you can try to make the classic version using only white wheat flour or pick any other combinations of sweet and savoury ingredients to flavour them. For the record this recipe has been subjected to a brunch tests and got top marks from all of my five enthusiastic guinea pigs. What are you waiting for? Ready, steady, bake!
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 Zweetzwho 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.
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!
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.
Biscuits, biscuits..give me biscuits! I have no clue what is going on with me, but maybe the macrobiotic experience (which I interrupted nearly three months ago) has shocked me to the point that I really needed to walk a bit on the dark side of baked goods and indulge in all those recipes that require a lot butter and a good dose of sugar. I’m pretty confident I will overcome this phase, especially because I don’t think my hips can take so much fat for very much longer. No, I don’t think so. So enjoy these sablés until I feel like posting sweet recipes. And I want to share this with you and all of Maroggia’s Mill‘s friends. When my friend Flavia (a very talented photographer, go and check her work here) invited me over for tea I baked a good batch which was thoroughly enjoyed. In fact they didn’t last long, I can tell by the way my pants feel a bit too thighs! Needless to say, these biscuits melt in your mouth with delicate bursts of cinnamon and orange flavour which blend very well with each other as well as with dark chocolate. The addition of crunchy almonds and chopped dark chocolate add an extra thing to the whole sensory experience you have while biting in. Diet can start tomorrow (you can always go and check mymacrobiotic blog…since it’s still online!)! Continue reading / Continua a leggere…