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 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”: 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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“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”: Focaccia Pudding

Focaccia pudding 2

For this episode of “Cuochi d’artificio” I did no kneading, at least not in the tv studio’s kitchen (of course I could not stop myself from baking the focaccia I used for this recipe) but found myself using my beloved focaccia as the main ingredient for the dish. Too little time and too many steps to bake a well honeycombed and fragrant focaccia, not to mention the structure of the dough which is very wet and difficult to handle and this might put off some viewers. But who knows, maybe I will have the opportunity to present my own recipe for focaccia on tv sooner or later. But no more talk. Pudding is a great way to recycle old bread and focaccia leftovers (even though it never occurred to me to have focaccia leftovers) and in this case instead of the usual sweet pudding dessert I decided to make a savoury version. To flavour it I used formaggella ticinese, a very fat cheese, anchovies and the right dose of one of my favourite ingredients…licorice! Are you curious? Then click here to access to the episode with the recipe and here for all the ingredients you need and the steps to follow to bake the recipe. Bon appétit!

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“Cuochi d’artificio”, creativity and a piadina that believed itself to be ravioli / “Cuochi d’artificio”, la creatività e delle piadine che si credevano ravioli

piadina that believed itself to be ravioli - piadine che si credevano ravioli 1

What is creativity? An impulsive motion triggered by sudden illumination which moves the pen, the brush, the fingers on the keys of a computer or a piano? Or rather is it an education to see, to hear, to reinterpret things that surround us? As Bruno Munari well says in his book “Fantasia” it is both. A reading I much enjoyed during my university study and which I’ve picked up lately to help me coming out with new ideas for the theme of the second episode of “Cuochi d’artificio” I have been cooking for. Obstacles are often an instrument for the development of new projects so I started from the assumption that the recipe should be prepared in a limited time and shouldn’t pose too many practical problems as long proofing times or handling a messy dough. The simplicity of a flat bread, modest, versatile, provides with a thousand possibilities of interpretation. And what if this piadina wanted to be something else? Maybe it would like to be turned into cannoli…or ravioli! To be able to come up with new ideas we need to subvert all preconceptions we have. Piadina is a staple of Rimini’s street food, stuffed with sweet or savoury filling. Is this recipe untouchable or can play with it to transform it to our liking? I decided to play with it, transforming it in a bite sized treat. One bite and the hand is already reaching out to the next “ravioli piadina”. Soft ricotta whipped with just the right amount of grana padano hits the tastebuds. Enough to salt and not cover the flavour of pistachios, which now creak under the teeth, and the one of chives, refreshed by a touch of lemon zest, an ingredient which is always able to bring back the dead. Blessed zest, blessed citrus flavours that make our palate sing! The hand is reaches out, but the plate is now empty.

This is the recipe told in words. Here you can find the video where it is explained step by step, and here you will find all the ingredients and quantities needed to make your taste buds dance. If you not so much into some of ingredients just be creative, customize the recipe, play with it, have fun. Use your imagination!

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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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