Cuochi d’artificio: “Happy Hour” Focaccia / Cuochi d’artificio: Focaccia “Happy Hour”

focaccia-happy-hour

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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Annunci

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

alice in wonderland 1

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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A new adventure: “Cuochi d’artificio”…my recipes on tv, starting with seduction! / Una nuova avventura: “Cuochi d’artificio”…le mie ricette in tv, partendo dalla seduzione!

brioche zafferna e cardamomo, saffron and cardamom brioche

I have been keeping a secret from you. Since August I’ve been biting my tongue out of superstition. Ok some of my closest friends knew and eventually, when drawing nearer to the first recording, I disclosed the news to some acquaintances. A new adventure has started for me since I’ve been called to collaborate with “Cuochi d’artificio” the newest cooking show on La1, the first channel of the Swiss Italian Broadcasting Corporation. On the 13th of October my first recording was aired, and to much of my surprise it went down very well even though all my friends underlined the fact I came across as quite bossy towards the tv presenter, who I say in truth I simply adore and must thank once more since without her by my side I would never have been so “relaxed”. And lets face it I was funny bossy not bossy bossy…I just hope people at home got the playful mood! Here is the link of the episode which of course is in Italian. I baked a saffron and cardamom flavoured bread to accompany a beetroot and mango gazpacho. Unfortunately due to copyrights reasons I am not able to post the recipe directly on the blog, so if you’re interested you will have to click directly on the link and use a translating tool. I’m pretty sure you won’t have any problems, the recipe is easy peasy! The bread pictured is different from the one I baked for the tv. Since the whole process was too long I had to skip the first proofing. To achieve a more brioche-like texture like the bread picture i suggest you proof the dough untile doubled in size, shape it and then go to the final proofing. To help fermentation I use a little trick putting a pan of boiling water in the bottom of the oven. Moisture and heat help a lot proofing of the dough, speeding up the overall time of fermentation.

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