Cuochi d’artificio: “Happy Hour” Focaccia / Cuochi d’artificio: Focaccia “Happy Hour”

focaccia-happy-hour

Happy Hour has been in vogue since the ’60s starting as a trend in America and gradually spreading in other Anglo-Saxon countries. Recent years have witnessed an exponential explosion of the trend especially in our latitudes. I do not know about you, but when I was twenty (well 15 years ago…gosh!) we hardly made arrangements to meet up for Happy Hour but would usually meet for a beer, helping ourselves to a sad bowl of greasy chips straight from the bag in order to fill our bellies. Things have changed in recent years, and bars and restaurants offer Happy Hour serving delicious buffet and platters of cheese and cured meats. But Happy Hour can also be the perfect occasion to welcome friends who come over to dinner, or as an enjoyable convivial moment before going to a party. That’s Cuochi d’artificio’s staff decided to devote an entire episode to the topic. And I was asked to come up with a recipe. What a better occasion than this one to present you with my focaccia recipe? Or should I call them focaccia skewers?

Here you will find the list of ingredients and step by step description of the recipe, and here you can see the video recipe to have a more accurate visual reference.

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Annunci

Cuochi d’artificio: Buckwheat and Orange Zest Rusks / Cuochi d’artificio: Fette biscottate al grano saraceno e scorza di arancia

3fette-biscottate-integrali-alla-cannella-1

Good habits…what a task! How many of us run like crazy in the morning in order to get ready and get to work fresh and on time…often with an empty stomach? Over the years I too have learned to wake up a little earlier to allow me to sit and have breakfast. And it feels different, it feels good. No mid-morning jitters, enough energy and concentration to face the day at its fullest. The latest episode of Cuochi d’Artificio I have baked for focuses on good habits and breakfast is the subject given to me. And what kind of bread more than rusk screams breakfast? The addition of buckwheat flour and orange zest (but you can flavour the bread otherwise) make of the plain old rusks something worth getting out of bed, don’t you think so? The loaf itself is delicious eaten as a simple sandwich bread but the rusks will keep longer especially if placed in a tin box lined with parchment paper.

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Cuochi d’artificio: Sweet Winter Bread, baked in a pot / Cuochi d’artificio: Pane invernale dolce cotto in pentola

pane-invernale-1

Christmas is just around the corner and this month’s episode of Cuochi d’artificio I was asked to bake a recipe for bread that could be baked in a pot. There are plenty of iron cast pot bread recipes out there and I myself have already developed a few recipes. This time around I thought about using the Winter festive time as a pretext to devise a sweet bread recipe, a kind of bread that personally I have never seen on the web. For the spice blend I was inspired by two loaves of German culinary tradition, the Breslau Stollen and the Hutzelbrot. I took some ingredients from each recipe and came up with this soft loaf, which looks a little like a very primitive panettone but is enriched with cinnamon, cardamom, almonds, plums, figs and dates instead of raisins and candied fruit as in the traditional version of panettone.

Here you will find the list of ingredients and step by step description of the recipe, and here you can see the video recipe to have a more accurate visual reference.

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“Cuochi d’artificio”: Bicycle! / “Cuochi d’artificio”: La bicicletta!

Bread Paris Brest

Bicycle! Bycicle!, when Alice proposed me this theme I clearly sensed her perplexity…what would I do of it? Was it feasible, with bread? Her uncertainty was palpable and I had to think quick in order to convince her everything would be fine and not miss this opportunity. Paris-Brest, of course! One of the most famous and popular French pâtisserie classics was created in 1910 by chef Louis Durand to commemorate the Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race begun in 1891. It’s basically a wheel shaped choux filled with praline flavoured cream. What about a bread wheel, filled with a foie gras cream? To recreate the craquelin effect, a decorative crackly topping, I relied on the recipe for the topping for tiger bread rolls. The result? Simply stunning! Unfortunately due to ethical issues my first recipe for the filling was rejected. But since I personally find it amazing and love foie gras I decided to post it, in case you would like to try it. The recipe I cooked in the studio has more of a strong and rustic flavour, but is still very good.

Here you will find the list of ingredients needed and the directions to bake the bread and to whip up the filling (sorry it’s in Italian but I’m pretty sure google translate will be ok) and here you can find the whole episode with me explaining all the steps to bake this beauty at home. Are you ready?

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Cuochi d’artificio: “Messy Spring Frisella” / Cuochi d’artificio: “Frisella primaverile pasticciata”

Frisella primaverile pasticciata

It was a long wait…the first weeks of April showering with rain and confusing us with it’s sudden meteorological moods switching from cold autumnal temperatures to sunny days, but finally Spring is here to delight us with it’s sunny and mild climate. To greet the coming of Spring I thought up this simple recipe which I presented on my last recording at “Cuochi d’artificio”. The theme of the episode was “Mess”.

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“Cuochi d’artificio”: Alice in Wonderland / “Cuochi d’artificio”: Alice nel Paese delle Meraviglie

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Last year she turned 150, and I can say I was there celebrating her birthday having participated to the gorgeous Dinner in Wonderland organized by my dear friend Antonella. It’s Alice Liddell, the famous protagonist of “Alice in Wonderland”, one of the most famous children book ever written and the theme chosen for this episode of “Cuochi d’artificio”.
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“Cuochi d’artificio”: Turmeric Bread Casket and it’s jewels / “Cuochi d’artificio”: Scrigno di pane alla curcuma e i suoi gioielli

Scrigno di pane alla curcuma 1

“All that glitters is not gold” has been the theme of the last episode of “Cuochi d’artificio” I took part to. My main inspiration came from Iran, a place I’ve never visited but whose cuisine I know enough to declare my love for. I imagined a chests, made of breadand filled with “precious jewels”. What about these precious jewels?
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“Cuochi d’artificio”: Focaccia Pudding

Focaccia pudding 2

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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