MTChallenge: Terrine!

Another month, another challenge. Welcome back to the monthly appointment with the MTChallenge. The last challenge was won by Giuliana, our vintage hen which is quite passionate with terrines.I must confess. Terrines scare me, they always did. I don’t like them. Blame it on the gelatin, which remind me of culinary horrors of the 70s which can be found on many pages of my mum’s culinary scrap books. I always considered terrines a too playful and poor of substance dish (forgive me Giuliana!). But MTC is MTC, one simply can’t escape from it. As a matter of fact, the more a subject is far from what I like the most, the more stress it generates and the more excited I feel. More or less. The roughest British sides of me started saying “No cold jellies… can’t you see you finally have the chance to try and bake your own pork pie? You don’t want to lose this opportunity do you?”. HI must come out of the pie closet and my beloved Van Pelt will be shocked, she will… I’ve never ever baked a pork pie in my whole life. I needed MTC to finally bake one! I have to be honest. I had many ideas mainly involving apples, oranges, beetroot and liquorice. Then I had a fennel, lying on its own in my fridge, and decided to flavour the broth with spices and the pig with herbs. No overthinking and simply following my gut.
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Annunci

Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Parmesan and Chive Polenta Muffins / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Muffins alla polenta, parmigiano e erba cipollina

muffin polenta 1

Polenta. For centuries it has been the staple of our grandparents and great-grandparents diet, accompanied by meat, cheese, or more commonly by milk (even though I’m aware it is a quite childish on it’s my favourite combination). Corn is a tenacious plant with a very good yield, two features which make of this plant the most commonly cultivated and the staple of many peoples diet all around the world. It can also be toasted and reduced to a fine powder to produce farina bona, a special flour which is typical of the Valle Onsernone, a Valley in Ticino. Corn flour can be used in many different ways, as coating meat or bread sticks instead of using breadcrumbs, and can also be used in sweet preparations such as cakes (like amor polenta) and biscuits. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Sage and Mixed Seeds Grissini / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Grissini alla salvia e semi misti

Sage and Mixed Seeds Grissini - Grissini alla salvia e semi misti 1

Do you know what it takes to make me happy? Hand me a pack of proper grissinis and this will keep me good, quiet and happy for a good half an hour…just long enough for me to eat them all! There is nothing I can do, they are simply irresistible to em! It has been a while since I have baked a batch especially for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook so I came up with a new version, which have passed successfully my guinea pigs’ test. To add more crispiness and crunch I added some mixed seeds which Alessandro, production director at Maroggia’s Mill and my faithful miller, handed me over the last time I visited. I added some dried sage too. The result is fragrant, aromatic, crisp and extremely addictive. Try the recipe and let me know what you think about those ones!

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Coffee and caraway seeds bread / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Pane al caffé e semi di cumino

Coffee and caraway seeds bread, Pane al caffé e semi di cumino 1

What makes a loaf special? Is it the crust, thick and evenly browned under proper blazing heat or is it a balanced crumb, pillowy soft and moist? Is there anything that can beat up a plain rustic loaf made with water, flour, salt and any leaven agent of choice, simply shaped? Probably not. But what would be of the art of baking if early bakers would have been content with just their first attempts at baking bread? We would be missing on gorgeous brioche doughs, on aromatic fougasses, on crispy yet chewy focaccia. We wouldn’t be eating beetroot flavoured bread, pain au chocolat, and caraway seed bread. Caraway seed breads are quite typical in northern countries such as Germany, Austria, the Trentino region in Italy… You can find fully leavened bread as thick yet crispy flatbreads, which very much resemble knäckebröd. I simply love spices and flavoursome seeds of all kind and use them in both savoury and sweet dishes. But I had never tried to bake my own caraway seed bread. I have some memories of eating a caraway flavoured bread in Toronto, at Forno Cultura, but I’m not sure whether it had some coffee in the dough too, it might have. It’s nothing new, but it’s something simply too good to miss on. So I am proud and glad to present my own caraway bread for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. Try it with honey, you will be amazed at how the two flavours blend marvellously but make sure to savour it with a slice of good cured ham and a generous spread of mustard. Simply heavenly!

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Rye Flour Focaccia / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Focaccine con farina di segale rotta

focaccine segale 1

Focaccia mon amour. Once you’ve been to Genova and gained two solid kilos by feeding yourself daily with focaccia there is no possible way out, as this crispy and soft flatbread leads to severe addiction. Along the years I baked many focacce, the first one published in the blog was a gorgeous artichoke and red cabbage focaccia for Sourdough Surprises, then I ventured into potato focaccia and developed a recipe for semolina focaccia too. But up until now I had never baked a rustic version of focaccia. This is the reason why I decided it was about time to experiment a little with whole flours too, for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. Maroggia’s Mill special pizza flour helps the dough to develop and proof in the best possible way, providing with a soft crumb and a crunchy crust, while the rye flour gives this focaccia a rustic flavour and texture. Long fermentation, needless to say, helps obtain a more digestible bread, with an aromatic and soft crumb reason why I will never stress enough about the fact it is so much worth the wait of a day. With the sunny and warm weather finally setting in you can bake a batch to share with friends for a Sunday picnic brunch. This focaccia is simply heavenly with soft goat cheese and fresh salad. Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and bake?

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Semolina Flour Focaccia / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Focaccine con farina di semola

Focaccia friscello 1

For once my english introduction to the recipe has to be completely different from the italian one. Why this? Focaccia is quite a common snack (or at least it was) in High Schools both in Ticino and in Italy. I remember those round flatbreads, that were handed out at screaming and pushing (and quite commonly spotty) teenagers during recreation time. There were few focaccias and pizzas, wrapped in grease paper (or was it the actual grease from the breads?) and many, too many of us. Those who had the chance to get their hands on such a treat would rarely share, grinning at those who were left with nothing. Oh teenagers! What was it that made to us those rubbery and greasy breads so appealing I still ask myself, watching back to those days. But let’s look forward. Luckily my tastebuds have had a proper breaducation along the years, no such “breads” are seen in my house, and I rather not eat than bite into rubber foam discs. This focaccia is what all High School pupils deserve. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…