Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Feta, Tropea Red Onion and Sumac Panzerotti / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Panzerotti alla feta, cipolle di Tropea e Sumac

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When I was a little girl right before Christmas it was tradition that I, my older sister and my father would go shopping in Milan on a Saturday. A special event, an opportunity for us to spend some time alone with our Daddy, who was often away from home for business matters. On this same Friday, but twenty-eight years ago, I would be counting the money safely stored in my piggy bank, waiting impatiently for the next morning to come. To my eyes Milan was magical place. I recall the bitter cold which would redden our cheeks and noses. The snow would fall slowly, in fine grains that almost did not leave a trace on the sidewalks. And all those lights, bright lights everywhere.

After long walks in the centre of the city and a due visit to Rinascente and Fiorucci where we would usually find little presents for our mom and friends we would happily end our Christmas pilgrimage at a mythical place: Luini. Luini and its warm to piping hot panzerotti, for which we would patiently wait in line, that same line that in the past years split into three to four separate ones in order to greet as much costumers as possible. Panzerotti must be eaten standing up, preferably leaning against a free portion of one of the walls of the buildings along Via Santa Radegonda 16, not to lose crispness of the dough and lava texture of the filling, which for me will always and only ever be tomato and mozzarella.

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Saffron and Chilli Bread Thins / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Sfoglie di pane allo zafferano e peperoncino

Crackers allo zafferano e peperoncino 1

Crack, crunch, crock! As I crunch through a bread thin the first thing coming up to my mind is the classic comic balloon words written in a bold uppercase font and the exclamation point, slightly bigger than the character as to give strength to the onomatopoeic sound. To me crunchy foods, especially if they are baked goods, are irresistible. Is it an ancient heritage we carry with us that drives us to go through entire packs of crunchy crisps and crumbly grissini?

After a quick glance at the blog I realized that along all these years I posted few recipes for crackers. Such a gap had to be filled as soon as possible, I thought to myself! It’s thanks to chilli and a brilliant intuition (which I admit was totally random as when opening the “Food Thesaurus” the first ingredient I came across was saffron) I baked these amazing bread thins. Without modesty I can say this recipe is among the best I ever made for the blog when it’s up to crackers and Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook.

These bread thins are quite spicy, so if you do not like spicy food but you still want to feel a slight tingling I recommend to halve the amount of chilli.

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Leftover Cake Muffins / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Muffins con resti di torta

Leftover Cake Muffins 1

What remains of the cake…what to do with it? Sometimes, even though not very often, a bit of cake may remain uneaten, waiting to be finished and eventually ends drying up. Or in the worst cases, as it happened to me with Antinea’s birthday cake, a part of a layered cake might break effectively becoming unusable. And what about the tops, cut to level perfectly the cake layers? Too much cake to eat, at least for me! I then asked myself what I could do with those poor cake crumbles, but also with the double Gruyère cream I had bought in excess (rather than running out an ingredient I have a tendency of buying too much) and the ridiculous amount of eggs I was given by my aunt, who has now taken the habit of delivering about a dozen every week…high cholesterol anyone? Adverse and hostile as I am to cake pops, an option which seems amongst the most popular when it’s up to use leftover, I thought of using the leftovers to flavour a batch of muffins, a sweet recipe which has been missing for quite a while in my column for the Maroggia’s Mill. In fact my last sweet muffins recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook has been the one for Beetroot, Orange and White Chocolate Muffins.

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

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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…

“Cuochi d’artificio”: Soft, sweet…Asia! / “Cuochi d’artificio”: Soffice, dolce…Oriente!

baozi dolci : sweet baozi 1

For this episode of “Cuochi d’artificio” I was given a very specific theme: steam. Not an easy one, especially since I was given the task of developing one or more idea for the long recipe part of the program. My first thought went to Chinese steamed bread, baozi, which I had been thinking of for a long time and planned to develop a sweet recipe soon.

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Kanelbullar / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Kanelbullar

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I simply love breakfast. Sweet or savoury it makes no difference at all, it’s just one of my favourite meals by virtue of its versatility. I discovered kanelbullar while “bakery hunting” for my morning breakfasts in Copenhagen. Not that i didn’t know well it’s british-american counterpart, the cinnamon bun, but what intrigued me the most was its shape. Braided breads of all sorts have always an effect on me, it must be my aesthetic and artistic inclinations playing a big part in this fascination.

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Mustard Flavoured Pita / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Pita alla senape

Mustard Flavoured Pita - Pita alla senape 1

Flatbreads are amongst my favourite breads. Why? First of all they are already portioned and ready to be eaten on the go for a quick snack or stuffed for an easy lunch to take with you to eat on your mid-day break. They also make the perfect side dish bread, to be dunked in rich gravies, to clean the plate from the tomato sauce that hasn’t been trapped linguine or spaghetti or even to be used instead of cutlery to scoop food from the plate as one would do with a spoon or a fork. No slicing, no morsels, no fuss. For this recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook I thought to add a little flavour and spice to the dough by simply mixing in some mustard. Heavenly…you don’t need to spread mustard anymore as the flavour is already in the bread! These pitas are pillowy soft, melt in the mouth and keep fresh up to 5 days if stored in plastic bags. You can also freeze them and keep them stored on case of a bread emergency. Simply pop them in the toaster or the oven!

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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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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Stale bread focaccia / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Focaccia con pane raffermo

stale bread focaccia - focaccia pane raffermo 1

I don’t know what’s your policy at home, but at my place nothing gets thrown away. Food is sacred and anything that is left over is eaten the next day, possibly converting the dish into something else or mixing up with other ingredients. This rule goes for bread too. I had already used breadcrumbs to bake pain de beaucaire, discovering how the addition of ground stale bread to give something extra to the flavour of the dough. With this in mind I came up with this tasty focaccia, covered with a crunchy breading, especially for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. Suffice to say it has been all the rage at RSI (the tv channel I am working for) and people still ask me with pleading eyes to bring some more!

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