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: Ricotta and Butter Panini Buns / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Panini alla ricotta e burro

Maroggia's Mill Cookbook- Ricotta and Butter Panini Buns - Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia- Panini alla ricotta e burro 1

Nothing makes me happy as inviting friends over to have breakfast, lunch or dinner. To prepare a lavish feast with all of the best foods, and pick the favourites according to my friend’s taste, to embellish the table with red mats and placing a nice bowl of fresh fruit on the table. To knead and wait patiently, to shape the dough and wait for another while, the nose stuck to the oven glass in contemplation of the soft dough rising, glossy, giving off an amazing scent throughout the house. I especially love breakfasts. Sweet, savoury…nothing is missing from my table (well, nothing missed…now with macro dieting I cut out all dairy and goodbye to my beloved cheese and yogurt). Usually I bake ciabattas and baguettes, but a little leftover of ricotta inspired me to bake these sandwiches. I never imagined they would turn out so perfect on the first try…but yes they truly are perfect. A well-leavened, soft and light dough. Another recipe which is ideal for a snack and for breakfast, or even for a sandwich to have on the fly on a lunch break. This is my gift to Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook and to all of you. Enjoy!
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“Cuochi d’artificio”: Focaccia Pudding

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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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Ravioli with ricotta and zucchini with olive oil, lemon and wild fennel emulsion / Ravioli alla ricotta e zucchine con emulsione di olio evo, limone e finocchietto

ravioli ricotta e zucchine 1

It has been was quite a while since I last made pasta from scratch, and it’s just the second time I do some stuffed pasta for the blog. Not having any finely ground semolina (like the wonderful friscello speciale from Maroggia ‘s Mill), which unfortunately was to be found infested by moths on my return from vacation, I opted for normal semolina. Unthinkable, with my back bruised from the accident Copenhagen, going to the Mill to pick up the usual pack of 5 kilos. As a result I liked it. You will not feel much difference from the usual pasta, maybe yes it is a bit unrefined compared to the other version, but I quite like a rustic touch! The filling is very delicate and fresh, especially if you find the time to make ricotta at home as I did. What can I say, I should do it more often! It is worth taking the time to knead, roll out the dough to the thickness that suits you best, and prepare a stuffing from A to Z. What a satisfaction! And you, what are you waiting for? Try out for yourself and let me know what you think about it!
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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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Ricotta and Candied Ginger Cheesecakes / Cheesecake di ricotta allo zenzero candito

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These cheesecake are a typical example of fridge-emptying experiment. I had some ricotta cheese getting close to it’s expiry date, too many fresh eggs from my aunt’s happy hens and some candied ginger and syrup which I made during Christmas time, languishing unused in the pantry. In a few minutes I pulled together this recipe, not really considering publishing it on the blog. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

My mother’s memories of a posh grocery and cheesecakes: Leicestershire curd tarts / I ricordi di mia madre, tortine al formaggio e un alimentari molto chic: Leicestershire curd tarts

leicestershire tart 1

This recipe has been “commissioned” to me by my mother so I am leaving the post to the words she e-mailed to me. The recipe she sent me can be found on this page which has some other Leicestershire recipes on it too. The pastry I chose is a quick “rough” one but proved to be very good, flaky and crisp. You can find it on British Larder, at this page. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

What a Daring Challenge! Sfogliatelle ricce / Che sfida ardita, le Sfogliatelle ricce per Daring Bakers!

sfogliatella

Sandie of the lovely blog, Crumbs of Love, was our November hostess. Sandie challenged us to make a traditional Italian dessert, along with its American version – Sfogliatelle (or better known in the US – lobster tails!) The flakey, 1000 layers of super thin dough, shaped into a horn and filled with a scrumptious filling. Così buono!

Sfogliatelle ricce has always been one of my favourite sweet treats. Anything made out of layers, especially food, fascinates me. Like a surgeon I dissect mozzarella layer by layer, and do the same thing with Msemen, a moroccan bread a friend taught me to bake recently that will be surely included in the blog. Savouring sfogliatelle I’m used to gently pull one end to see at which extent the spiral will unravel before breaking. It’s a childish but irresistible way of savouring food. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

About blackberries cheesecake and “abductions” / Di “rapimenti” e torta alle more e ricotta

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As you all know some ingredients, if not handpicked in our backyards, can be quite expensive. Blackberries, at least in Switzerland, are among those. As a child I would pick them, and clearly remember a bush near to my father’s vegetable garden, but now no trace of them can be found in the surroundings. Luckily my uncle has a huge blackberry bush near to his house and two weeks ago I decided to go over and pick some with him. No warnings of abduction whatsoever. Yes abduction.

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