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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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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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Tortelli di San Giuseppe / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Tortelli di San Giuseppe

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And its Carnival time again at Maroggia’s Mill! Last year for this occasion for the Cookbook I prepared some tortelli who believed themselves to be chiacchiere, while today I present the classic recipe for round tortelli di San Giuseppe, which are made with a batter reminiscent of pâte a choux that is used to make cream puffs and éclair. A quick and easy recipe to celebrate Carnival in sweetness.
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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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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Yogurt and Toasted Wheat Germ Bread / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Pane allo yogurt e germe di grano tostato

pane-germe-e-yogurt-1A few days ago I went to the Mill to collect some flour to develop new recipes and asked Alessandro if he had any new interesting products. Happens that I just arrived on a lucky day while freshly ground wheat germ was available. Wheat germ is no more than 3% of the entire grain kernel, and is generally discarded because of its more intense flavour and the presence of moisture which can reduce shelf life of the flour. A product rich in vitamins, starches, proteins and lipids, wheat germ is really good for our health. Presence of Omega 3, Omega 6, vitamins A and D, make it a very valid aid for skin, hair and helps fighting free radicals too. To best preserve all its nutritional qualities the advice is to eat it raw (in this way all its properties, especially vitamin E and B and fatty acids are kept intact) in addition to milk, yogurt or soups but without exceeding a daily dose of 50 g. Being a highly perishable product in order to keep more than a few days you can toast it lightly to remove the moisture which encourages rancidity and mould formation.

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Cantucci di Prato

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Cantucci (or biscotti, as they are called in the States and UK), can’t tell you how many of those I ate when I lived in Tuscany. Actually it was one of my favourite dessert when I went at the restaurant. A nice glass of Vin Santo, the relaxed dipping of the cantucci in the golden boozy liquid. The most perfect way to end a dinner. Before Christmas I was unable to bake panettone so I indulged with backing plenty of cantucci and pandolce (a Genoese version of panettone) that I gave as a gift to family and friends. Searching for the best recipes I came across this one which is just perfect. I found it on a very reliable blog which I already known for years, Anice e Cannella. The only two changes I made have been replacing orange zest with lemon zest, which I much more prefer, and not brushing the cantucci with the egg (more out of laziness than anything else). A gift which my guinea pigs welcomed and appreciated very much. You can store them in nice tin boxes and bring them as a gift to friends who invite you over for dinner, maybe with a good bottle of Vin Santo!

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