Liquorice Torrone and Christmas Wishes / Torrone alla liquirizia e Auguri di Buon Natale

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This is my last recipe before Christmas, I don’t know yet if there will be more confectionery/sweets recipes next year as sugars and dairy product are the biggest no no in my new diet, and I would like to avoid falling into easy temptations even by having a little taste. But change is inevitable, the whole evolving as the days go by. I really wanted to post this recipe to show how sometimes the simple addition of a single ingredient can change a product, making it more special. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Merry Belated Christmas and a latecomer recipe: My Mum’s Mincepies / Tardivi Auguri di Natale e una ricetta in differita: I Mincepies di mia Mamma

mincepies2Merry Belated Christmas! Working in a shop around this time of the year means no time to blog around and unfortunately little baking and cooking too. But I am back, and cannot exempt from leaving one little traditional recipe even though it’s a latecomer.

Christmas is nothing without traditions. I grew up with a weird mix of Father Christmas meets Joan Baez in front of the manger scene. But I guess that’s our tradition. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Roscòn de Reyes / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Roscòn de Reyes

Today for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook a festive recipe. For once not a Christmas one but one dedicated to Epiphany instead, so you still have plenty of time to study it and find the time to bake it. For once I decided to cross cultural boundaries, flying to Spain. Roscón de Reyes is a doughnut shaped bread, made with a dough similar to panettone, which is decorated with candied fruit. This bread is prepared on the occasion of the coming of the Three Kings, on January 6th. In short, the Iberian version of the Swiss Three King Cake Bread! The dough I created is not the simplest to handle. For those who are not familiar with very rich and soft doughs I would recommend using a dough mixer. For reasons balance in the photographs but also to redistribute the Roscon to my various guinea pigs I decided to make mini portions, I think that for a larger donut 20 minutes of further baking lowering to 160 ° C will be surely necessary to bake the bread thoroughly. Try it…I bet you won’t find a softer dough!

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

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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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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Dark Chocolate, Candied Ginger and Orange Zest Fougasse / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Fougasse al cioccolato fondente, zenzero candito e scorza d’arancia

Maroggia's Mill Cookbook- Dark Chocolate, Candied Ginger and Orange Zest Fougasse - Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia- Fougasse al cioccolato fondente, zenzero candito e scorza d'arancia 1

I’d been wanting to try out this bread for a long time, actually since I have been given Jeffrey Hamelman’s book “Bread” for a gift last Christmas. It’s a nice way to break a little from the routine of baking large loaves, rolls and grissinis. An easy bake yet a stunning decorative bread. A perfect recipe to post for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. The original recipe I took inspiration from which is indeed the one by Jeffrey Hamelman and his book Bread although instead of a mix of white and wholemeal flour I decided to use only white flour (the farina bianca nostrana I get from Maroggia’s Mill mulinomaroggia.ch) to not interfere with the flavours of the ingredients I added to the dough. The bread is crunchy on the outside and has a soft crumb. Dark chocolate, candied ginger (here you can find the recipe to make it at home) and orange zest go wonderfully well together. I did not add sugar to the mixture to enable the flavours to come out in all their aromatic notes and to be able to taste the contrast between them. The intense chocolate flavour, freshness of the orange and the tingling sensation the ginger gives to the palate are quite special. I must admit that the only thought of those ingredients put together make me think of Christmas, what about you?

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Dolci Regali, MTC’s third book is here! / Dolci Regali, finalmente il terzo libro della collana dell’MTC!

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I don’t know about you but to me Christmas is a source of massive headaches and late races to purchase gifts. Not to mention gift wrapping and greeting cards, people who know me well are aware of my habit of wrapping presents in old newspapers, which I love to scribble with stupid doodles and vaguely punk collages. This year I won’t miss the opportunity to buy this wonderful volume for some of my friends and family members. “Dolci Regali” is the third book of MTC’s book series, which was born a year ago “L’ora del paté”. With such a title (Dolci means Sweet and Regali has two meanings, gift and royal) there’s no better choice for a Christmas gift, isn’t it? As in the book series’ dna this volume focuses on a very specific topic, exploring a period of time between the late seventeenth and early nineteenth century, which saw the rise and triumph of pastry, with the birth and development of leavened sweet breads starting from the mythical babà. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Raffaele Pignataro’s Panettone / Il Panettone di Raffaele Pignataro

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Christmas is coming, by now most of you will have decorated their living room with a properly decorated tree, maybe yoi have put some pomanders here and there, set up the crib and started the countdown on the an advent calendar. I admit, my innate laziness and the luxury of having my sister (up until 3 years ago) to take care of the tree and house Christmas decorations at our parents made me unfit to recreate a proper festive atmosphere in the house. But as I type it comes up to my mind that some bread wreath, from Essen Mag’s shooting, are still lying around. It would take just 10′ to make a nice decoration, something to be hanged on my front door. That said to me Christmas mood is all in the food. All memories, emotions and Christmas images are filtered by special and traditional dishes. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Walnut and Black Pepper Sablés Biscuits / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Sablés salati alle noci e pepe nero

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And we’re back with a new recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. Usually I try to juggle between sweet and savoury, cakes, bread, biscuits and pasta. So far so good. But what hasn’t been posted yet is a recipe for savoury biscuits. So why not surprise your friends with these crumbly, buttery, delicious squares flavoured with walnuts and black pepper? I was even considering to switch to savoury biscuits for this Christmas presents, instead of the same well known traditional cookies and biscuits. After all during Winter holidays cocktails and parties are held almost non-stop, so why not contribute with some good homemade snacks to go along with the bubbles? The basic ingredients apart from the walnuts and black pepper can be mixed up with any flavouring, such as grated cheese, herbs, fennel seeds, spices. Use your imagination! Continue reading / Continua a leggere…