I’m quitting. This is the last one, I swear. I have been repeating the same thing for quite a while now. Too much stress, brainstorming, tetris-like scheduling strategies. What about the anxiety, the overwhelming sense of inferiority I feel every time I check out the other contestants’ recipes, every time a picture gets posted onto the group’s facebook page. And then a new month comes along with a new challenge. I can’t help but participate, I can’t resist to the call of the MTChallenge. Even though I felt a shiver down my spine when I read the theme for this month’s challenge. Our dear Ilaria chose one of the most fearsome recipes…the macaron! A few years back I did experiment a bit and produced dragon eggs for a first attempt and got only close to proper macarons with these Luxemburgerli-like sweets (a swiss version of macarons but of a smaller size) on my second attempt. Fear and Loathing in Chiasso. And on top of it all the tap in the kitchen has been out of order for almost a month and I was forced to wash dishes, bowls and kitchen accessories in the bathtub. You can just imagine my state of mind. And what about the firm conviction that both the shells of the macarons had to be flavored, which led me to test and photograph them a second time because the first one I had forgotten to spice up the shells of one of the two recipes I baked for the challenge. The first macarons batch turned out to be perfect (I have pictures to prove it!!!) but I decided not to fill them in order not to waste time and ingredients. And of course the second time around something went wrong with the cardamom macarons. Virtually they came out in the shape of tits. I think the problem lies in the fact that the mix was very thick and maybe I should have work it a little harder in order to break the air bubbles. Or maybe it just needed a little more egg white having added the cardamom powder and poppy seeds. However having no time nor desire to whip up a third batch I decided to participate in any case, with both macarons: the beautiful and the ugly. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…
Bagels. If I’m not mistaken this is the second recipe I tried after discovering my passion for bread baking. The first one was the Cottage Loaf, a bread which has been the staple of my baking when sixteen. Around that time my father used to travel a lot to the United States, something which I guess summed up with my passion for american tv series and MTV played a role into feeding my interest for this bread. I then did a 10 day holiday in N.Y. where I religiously followed my plan to eat a typical american breakfast every single morning, with the rule of changing both menu and place every single day. Amongst the breakfast I had there where bagels too, of course. I would opt for a classic philadelpia cheese and smoked salmon bagel, straight from the oven and still warm. No doubt one of my favourite breakfasts during my american holiday. I haven’t been baking bagels since, for no reason really. This time a pretty weird idea to use Maroggia’s Mill flour came to my mind. Liquorice flavoured bagels! Take a look into Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook with me and let’s see how these beauties can be baked at home.
Breakfast, you already know how much I love this moment of the day and I won’t go on stressing how important it is for me to start the day with a rich meal. I have already experimented with a bread recipe using Maroggia’s Mill pasta and pizza flour (which is a mixture of wheat flour and very finely ground semolina flour) and I was pleasantly surprised. The result was very good, with an aromatic flavour and a good texture regarding the crumb.
The Paris-Brest, a jump into the void. Yes I admit, not without shame, that I never had one before trying the recipe at home. No romantic breakfasts with a view on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, no foodie raids at Hermé’s. My last trip to Paris probably dates back more than twenty years ago. Just a child, fascinated by Loire’s Castles and Diane de Poitiers. So what got me into experimenting with this classic gem of French pastry? Definitely my passion for beauty, the challenge of being able to obtain a product not only palatable but also aesthetically appealing (do you remember the ordeal I had gone through to make “simple” éclairs?) and an innate curiosity.
This month’s MTC Challengewas a massacre for me…never underestimate what a flatbreadcan 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.