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

macaron-1

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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Annunci

“Cuochi d’artificio”: Sweet Pesto Snails / “Cuochi d’artificio”: Lumachine al “pesto dolce”

lumachine al pesto dolce copia

And here we are, time flies doesn’t it? This is my last episode on this season of “Cuochi d’artificio” as the program is taking a well deserved summer break. A challenging adventure which made me grow so much and discover the fascinating world of tv production, one experience I hope to have the honour and privilege to repeat next year. This episode has for a theme snails. Well, nothing more suitable for bread, as dough is often shaped in this guise, and bread snail can be found in bakeries filled with all kind of ingredients, both sweet and savoury. In the past I have used this shaping to make my Crunchy Licorice Snails, Rye and fennel seeds snails with blood oranges and red onion chutney and Poppy seed snails. This time around I thought it could be fun to bake snails that at first glance might seem stuffed with basil pesto…while instead they are flavoured with a fresh mix of minced mint, pine nuts, white chocolate and a touch of grated lemon zest. The dough is 100% vegan. The use of cocoa butter makes it particularly soft, the best vegan bread I have developed so far…it’s really light as a feather and very similar to brioche dough. You can change the filling omitting white chocolate and put another 100% vegan ingredient. Unfortunately my knowledge in this area is limited and my attempt to produce a vegan vanilla custard failed miserably.

Here is a list of the required ingredients and step by step instructions to bake the bread and to make the filling. Here you can see the episode where I explain all the steps to bake these cute snails at home.

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: White Chocolate Sachertorte, or Gio’s cake / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Torta Sacher al cioccolato bianco, o anche detta torta della Gio’

White Chocolate Sachertorte - Torta Sacher al cioccolato bianco

It has been quite a while now since I last posted a cake recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. As you know by now my diet unfortunately does not allow me to eat sweets, although on rare occasions I happen to cheat (better not mention the Christmas festivities, which have been a disaster as far as diet is concerned). But this cake is simply divine and I could not keep myself from posting the recipes. It’s a reinterpretation of the most famous Sachertorte, the original recipe I have worked on comes from a recipe which I have been baking for nearly 20 years ripped from an old issue of a magazine which I cannot tell anymore whether it was “A Tavola” rather than “Italian Cooking”. However, the recipe of the original Sacher is superb but this white version is not far behind. I used Maroggia’s Mill Nostrana flour and the result is soft and spongy to perfection, very moist and sweet without being sickening (to avoid it being to sweet I decided not to cover it with a white chocolate glaze, which is to my taste a bit too sugary). A bite leads to another bite, melting quickly in the mouth. The first person to test the recipe was my friend Gio’, which I found out loves white chocolate both reasons why I decided to rename this recipe “Gio’s cake”. I also tried to make a bigger cake using a classic 20 cm diameter mould ring and it was met with great enthusiasm, but keep in mind a bigger cake requires different temperatures and times for baking. What are you waiting for, why don’t you try it too?

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A Spring Menu nr 4 / Un menù primavera nr 4

gnocchi ortiche primavera

This is the last appointment with my spring menus (you can check the first, the second and the third menu by clicking directly on them). Here are the four courses of my forth spring menu:

Kidney Bruschetta on Rocket and Hazelnut Spread
Gnocchi with nettles, butter and mint
Fried Lamb Chops with Mustard and Apple Compote
Frothy Custard with Saffron, Cardamom and Rose Water

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MTChallenge February: Bread, Anise and Lemon Zest Baci / MTChallenge di Febbraio: Baci al pane, anice e scorza di limone

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What is love? This month Mtchallenge challenges us with baci, Perugina’s world famous chocolate confection and with the daunting task of opening our hearts. Difficult task, tempering chocolate as exploring the darkest recesses of our hearts. Looking back I can see how my view on love has changed, through relationships and heartbreaks. Different shades of the same colour, or so it seems. Have I yet understood what love really is or will my perspective change once again? One thing is clear, however, falling in love is to love as bran to wheat and only in trust, freedom, respect and above all sharing one can find true love. I consider myself lucky having had such a love in my love, even though it’s over now.
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MTC Challenge: Piadina Romagnola

BANNER

This month’s MTC Challenge was a massacre for me…never underestimate what a flatbread can do to your brain. Tiziana (last month’s winner) requested not one but 5 recipes. Yes 5 recipes, and obviously I had to come up with something different, an attitude I have always had and which eventually turns up against me like in this case.

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Bavarian Cream with White Chocolate, Cinnamon and Orange and Dark Chocolate Butterflies / Un bavarese a quattro mani e due cervelli: Bavarese al cioccolato bianco, arancia e cannella con farfalle di cioccolato fondente

bavarese 1

As I promised to you here on my Garganelli homemade pasta post I am finally posting the recipe for the dessert me and Michela made while her visit in Switzerland. Pastry is a world that fascinates me. Accuracy, balance of ingredients, pure aesthetics. Three core elements that just thinking about them make me shake with anxiety. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Twelve Loaves: Licorice, Strawberries and White Chocolate Babka / Twelve Loaves: Babka alla liquirizia, fragole e cioccolato bianco

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Here we are, as every month I participate to Twelve Loaves bread collection. I must admit this month’s theme has been a bit hard on me since strawberries, the chosen ingredients, are anything but in season at my latitude. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Daring Bakers: White Chocolate and Pistachio Flower Brioche / Daring Bakers: Fiore di brioche al cioccolato bianco e pistacchio

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Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise,
challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?

This month Daring Bakers is hosted by one very good blogger I’ve been following since the early days of my blog, Sawsan of Chef in disguise. Her choice fell on a recipe and shape I know quite well, a recipe that brought a good share of luck to my life landing me to Azione with whom I collaborate every now and then and to an interesting collaboration with Maroggia’s Mill: the Brioche Flower. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Celeriac, White Chocolate, Cardamom and Fleur de Sel Caramel tartellettes / Tartellettes al sedano rapa, cardamomo e caramello al fleur del sel

sedanorapa1

I have been toying with this idea for a long time now. The inspiration came both from Kate’s beautiful blog, Veggie Desserts, and a mock bechamel sauce I made a few years ago with the use of celeriac to avoid fatness and heaviness given by butter and milk while using the natural sweetness and creaminess of this plant. Creaminess, sweetness, white, white chocolate, cardamom. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…