MTChallenge: Rolls! / MTChallenge: Paracul Rock’n’Rolls!

As I write it is my birthday. I woke up at 6.30 to prepare everything, both the rolls for the challenge and a sweet dessert to celebrate. So forgive me for cutting short, time is short and I even have to pack for tomorrow since I’m going to fly to the UK for a family reunion.

MTChallenge keeps lifting the stalk and I admit, I am struggling. It’s a lot to deal with, the degree of complexity, not to mention the degree of sophistication required…imagine what happened in my mind when I saw these beautiful rolls with which Giovanna challenged us. I quite not fit in. I’m rough and tough. Im not good with sophisticated things, at least not in the kitchen. These kind of challenges always make me quite anxious. On top of it the UK trip and a fridge to empty rather than to fill. So no coup de theatre, just two little recipe in order to participate. I hope Ale and Giovanna will forgive me but after all, the most important thing is to participate, isn’t it?

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Gin Bisbino Babà / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Babà al Gin Bisbino

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Today for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook I propose you my own interpretation of a great classic of Neapolitan pastry. The babà! Three years ago I baked babà for the first time thanks to the MTChallenge and I then promised to myself to try out other combinations sooner or later. I just had to wait until Alessandro wrote to me one day asking me if I had some original ideas to promote a new brand of gin, 100% local, produced by friends of his. I had already heard about Gin Bisbino and already had the opportunity to taste it but in fact I had never thought of using it in a recipe. Gin Bisbino really impressed me for its delicate flavour. A real pleasure to taste Gin Bisbino goes perfectly well with the fresh flavours of rosemary and grapefruit I chose to flavour the pastries with. To balance the bitter note of the grapefruit I added a little rose water that comes very delicately as an aftertaste, especially when the cream is eaten on its own. I decided to brush the babàs with rhubarb jelly which is slightly sweeter albeit maintaining the sourness of the other ingredients. And if you do not want to get your hands dirty, you can always try the recipe of Gin Bisbino to make an excellent Gin Tonic!
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Rice flour, Matcha and Lemon Cookies / Biscotti di farina di riso, matcha e limone

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Tea time with a friend. Rice flour which has been sitting in the pantry for too long, as well as a jar of matcha powder which might as well be a find from an archaeological site. Consider lemons are never missing in my fridge. Put all of that above together and what you are left with is a batch of sensational cookies. And here’s the recipe!

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Rye flour Blinis / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Blinis alla farina di segale

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Here we go again with another post for Maroggia’s Mill and its Cookbook. More precisely with rye flour. After this gorgeous recipe for a soft, sweet rye bread I decided to whip up some blinis, one of my favourite options when its up to deciding what to cook for a relaxed and rewarding breakfast, preferably on a lazy Sunday morning in the company of family or friends. The recipe is a bit time consuming due to all the proofing steps but I assure you will not be disappointed. Alternatively, you can prepare a large batch of blinis and freeze what’s left by stacking them between layers of plastic wrap. Thaw 10′ in the oven at 150° C, they will keep their soft consistence as if they were freshly cooked. If you don’t have enough time on your hands you can reduce the first rest to 30′ and skip all the other steps by incorporating the remaining ingredients, always respecting the sequence in which they are mixed in, but the blinis will not be as soft!
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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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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Tonka Bean and Tangerine Taralli / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Taralli alla fava tonka e scorza di mandarino

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Here we are, with our usual appointment with Maroggia’s Mill and its Cookbook. Today I propose you a very addictive recipe, which I turned into a sweet version…taralli! You can have them as a snack during coffee break rather than offer them as an alternative to popcorn at your next movie night. I assure, there won’t be much left!
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Butternut Squash and Licorice Muffins / Muffins alla zucca butternut e liquirizia

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Butternut squash mon amour. I started appreciating pumpkin and butternut squash quite late into my twenties, but since my father grows these vegetables in his garden I now cannot wait for the arrival of the cold season in order to taste sweet and savoury dishes cooked with this versatile ingredient. Its natural sweetness makes it an excellent ingredient for cakes and muffins so why not do a little experiment and combine it with one of my favourite ingredients ever? And here it is…the omnipresent liquorice! Needless to say the pairing is superb, these muffin are soft and sweet (but not too much). You can’t get any better than this!
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MTC Challenge: Indian Style Fried Chicken / MTC Challenge: Pollo fritto all’indiana

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Another month, another MTChallenge. Last challenge, the macaron, literally brought me to my knees and made me regret having a willpower which is close zero. Friendships, relationships…working hard on myself I learned the salutary principle of “Letting go” and understand that everything, EVERYTHING, in this brief life simply comes to an end. Not with the MTChallenge, I simply can’t let go. Like in the most cliché relationships which are ruled by a strong, and constant, imbalance between love and hate it’s impossible for me to desist. Kathy Bates in “Misery” you name her…MTChallenge is far worse than her smashing Paul Sheldon’s legs, I simply can’t get out of it! Last challenge’s winner was Silvia, not a surprise if you go taking a look at the recipe with which she won. It was virtually impossible for her to lose. I immediately said to myself: “She will bash us, she will”. Indeed, a massive bash arrived. Silvia’s fried chicken! So you think that frying is easy don’t you? You couldn’t be more wrong. Being quite experienced with frying (I think my closest friends have heard me billion times instructing them on double frying) I took courage and decided to use an ingredient I’ve never used for frying before. Almonds. Scared about its humidity content and surely quite fearful of burning them I never, EVER, used nuts to coat anything that needed a good old frying session. Of course it took an MTChallenge to throw myself into the boiling cauldron and overcome anxiety. The inspiration for the recipe came from India, as soon as I read Valentina’s original recipe. Blame it on the marinade (spices and spicy!), or the idea of accompanying the chicken with a sauce (firstly my mind went to a yogurt based dip and then moved on to an inevitable chutney, which I decided to mix with yogurt :D), but for certain if chicken is involved, at least where I come from, you have to venture into indian cuisine.

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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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