Cuochi d’artificio: Buckwheat and Orange Zest Rusks / Cuochi d’artificio: Fette biscottate al grano saraceno e scorza di arancia

3fette-biscottate-integrali-alla-cannella-1

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

pane-invernale-1

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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“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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“Cuochi d’artificio”: Bicycle! / “Cuochi d’artificio”: La bicicletta!

Bread Paris Brest

Bicycle! Bycicle!, when Alice proposed me this theme I clearly sensed her perplexity…what would I do of it? Was it feasible, with bread? Her uncertainty was palpable and I had to think quick in order to convince her everything would be fine and not miss this opportunity. Paris-Brest, of course! One of the most famous and popular French pâtisserie classics was created in 1910 by chef Louis Durand to commemorate the Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race begun in 1891. It’s basically a wheel shaped choux filled with praline flavoured cream. What about a bread wheel, filled with a foie gras cream? To recreate the craquelin effect, a decorative crackly topping, I relied on the recipe for the topping for tiger bread rolls. The result? Simply stunning! Unfortunately due to ethical issues my first recipe for the filling was rejected. But since I personally find it amazing and love foie gras I decided to post it, in case you would like to try it. The recipe I cooked in the studio has more of a strong and rustic flavour, but is still very good.

Here you will find the list of ingredients needed and the directions to bake the bread and to whip up the filling (sorry it’s in Italian but I’m pretty sure google translate will be ok) and here you can find the whole episode with me explaining all the steps to bake this beauty at home. Are you ready?

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Cuochi d’artificio: “Messy Spring Frisella” / Cuochi d’artificio: “Frisella primaverile pasticciata”

Frisella primaverile pasticciata

It was a long wait…the first weeks of April showering with rain and confusing us with it’s sudden meteorological moods switching from cold autumnal temperatures to sunny days, but finally Spring is here to delight us with it’s sunny and mild climate. To greet the coming of Spring I thought up this simple recipe which I presented on my last recording at “Cuochi d’artificio”. The theme of the episode was “Mess”.

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“Cuochi d’artificio”: Alice in Wonderland / “Cuochi d’artificio”: Alice nel Paese delle Meraviglie

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Last year she turned 150, and I can say I was there celebrating her birthday having participated to the gorgeous Dinner in Wonderland organized by my dear friend Antonella. It’s Alice Liddell, the famous protagonist of “Alice in Wonderland”, one of the most famous children book ever written and the theme chosen for this episode of “Cuochi d’artificio”.
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“Cuochi d’artificio”: Turmeric Bread Casket and it’s jewels / “Cuochi d’artificio”: Scrigno di pane alla curcuma e i suoi gioielli

Scrigno di pane alla curcuma 1

“All that glitters is not gold” has been the theme of the last episode of “Cuochi d’artificio” I took part to. My main inspiration came from Iran, a place I’ve never visited but whose cuisine I know enough to declare my love for. I imagined a chests, made of breadand filled with “precious jewels”. What about these precious jewels?
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“Cuochi d’artificio”: Soft, sweet…Asia! / “Cuochi d’artificio”: Soffice, dolce…Oriente!

baozi dolci : sweet baozi 1

For this episode of “Cuochi d’artificio” I was given a very specific theme: steam. Not an easy one, especially since I was given the task of developing one or more idea for the long recipe part of the program. My first thought went to Chinese steamed bread, baozi, which I had been thinking of for a long time and planned to develop a sweet recipe soon.

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“Cuochi d’artificio”: Brunch time!

english muffins

                                                 English Muffins

I simply love brunch. If and when I have the occasion of indulging into some proper brunching I never miss out to eat both savoury and sweet dishes, even if it often means I will leave the table with a bloating stomach. It’s simply irresistible. With this premise you can well imagine my reaction when I was asked to think up two recipes for a brunch themed episode of “Cuochi d’artificio”. I was over the moon and of course my main concern was to present two recipes that would incarnate well the whole concept of brunch. At first I obsessed quite a while around crumpets, which I still have to nail, then resigned to downshifting to the most easy pikelets (since I doubt anyone in Ticino would buy crumpet rings just for the thrill of attempting to cook crumpets when it is really difficult to pull out a proper result). Of course crumpets and pikelets are best eaten with salted butter and honey or jam but I had to add another recipe in order to fill up the many minutes I was given to illustrate both recipes so I thought they would be definitely scrumptious if paired with a velvety lemon curd. As for the savoury part of the brunch what is more suitable than proper crispy english muffins topped with an avocado cream and a well poached egg? I can’t tell you how many eggs I have poached (luckily my aunt’s hens have started producing an incredible amount of egg and there is nothing better than a fresh egg to achieve the perfect poaching) but in the end, through internet surfing and tips studying and many trials I finally made it! So here you will find the video illustrating all steps to cook english muffins and pikelets, make a heavenly lemon curd and poach perfectly eggs. Here you will find all the quantities and instructions you can google translate (hopefully something intelligible will turn out) and print. And don’t forget to call your friends over for a Sunday brunch!

P.S.: The blog is on holiday until January the 8th!

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