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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Wholemeal Flour Friselle / Friselle con farina integrale

friselle integrali 1

Summer is almost over but some juicy tomato are still hanging on the plants of most of home gardens…a wonderful opportunity to try out a great classic of Italian baking: friselle. Have you ever tasted one?

Before moving on to the recipe let’s find out more about these delicious baked goods. Frisella (or frisedda, freseḍḍa, frisa or friseddha in the various variants of Apulia) is a bread biscuit which is only partially baked, cut in half and then baked once more to dry it. It is typical of Southern Italy regions such as Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria. Before the war, wheat flour friselle were reserved for the most affluent and celebrations. The poor ate barley flour or barley and wheat flour friselle. The characteristic shape is the result of transportation and storage needs, in fact friselle were strung on a cord to facilitate transport and storage. Fishermen used to wet them with sea water to make them soft and to be able to eat them.

Generally the bread is rubbed with garlic, wet with water and seasoned with fresh tomato and a drizzle of oil, but you can be more creative and use all sorts of ingredients…I even had friselle with lumpfish roe once! Friselle keep for several days if kept in a tin box but personally I can get through a batch in just a few days with the pretence of a snack or an aperitif!

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

muffin polenta 1

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…

Semolina Flour Tozzetti / Tozzetti di semola rimacinata fine

tozzetti 1

Bread sticks, bread sticks…an endless love. Grissini have always been my favourite snack (as a child when we went out for a pizza I would steal grissini bags to all diners at our table, then grissini became the staple snack I would nibble during trips on trains when I went at the university), I never get tired of trying new recipes and mix of ingredients. This time I tried to put together one of my favourite flour (the friscello or fine semolina) with some farina bianca nostrana, equivalent of a strong bread flour. From the fridge I removed a tiny jar of shortening which was left from making pies, mainly out of curiosity (shortening is often amongst the ingredients of artisanal bread sticks that can be found in shops and supermarkets) as it seemed the right amount for this recipe and waste not want not, right? I used some refreshed and very active liquid sourdough and voilà the perfect recipe is served, more out of luck than anything else. I’m not sure whether the flour, lard or simply the mix of all these ingredients made the trick, but this recipe is among the best I’ve created so far. These tozzetti (meaning stocky, as I named them for their flat, short and thick shape) are the apotheosis of crunchiness. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Multi grain, Fennel Seeds, Lemon Zest and Black Pepper Crunchy Donuts / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Ciambelline croccanti ai quattro cereali, semi di finocchio, scorza di limone e pepe nero

ciambelline finocchio, pepe, limone 2And here we are with the usual appointment with Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. This time I delight you with a recipe for some very nice crunchy appetizers, to offer to your friends with a good cocktail or simply to munch in front of a good movie. I made them a few weeks ago, to thank a couple of friends who invited me over to theirs for fantastic persian dinner. Of course I indulged with various baked goods (I hate going over to friend empty handed!) including some toasted flour and black sesame seeds naan and my legendary chocolate and cinnamon cake which my friend Laura calls “the most delicious chocolate cake in the world”. The crunchy donuts were received with much enthusiasm and frantic chewing, an unmistakable signs of success! Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

MTC Challenge: Celeriac, Turmeric, Apple and Onion mini pies with dill brisée pastry/ MTC Challenge: Tortine al sedano rapa, curcuma, mela e cipolla con brisée all’aneto

mtc marzo 1

For this month’s MTC Challenge Elisa challenges us with a basic cooking preparation, brisée pastry. At first I thought I could not participate because the guideline called for the use of Michel Roux’s recipe. Fortunately, after writing to MTC’s staff I was reassured that in cases of allergies and health problems we were allowed to use other ingredients to substitute the ones indicated in the given recipe, so I decided to try out my first vegan brisée. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Oh all these excesses! Bread Thins against Sourdough waste / Oh tutti questi eccessi! Sfogliate di pane per combattere lo spreco di pasta madre

sfogliate pane 1¨

A mess, such a total mess I collected not 150 grams, not 300 grams but one kilo excess sourdough. These things happen when scheduling gets out of control, chaos grows and my excess sourdough jar fills up to the brim. What to do? Luckily bread thins are always there to save the day (and are quite appreciated by my guinea pigs). If you are like me, a waste hater that gets lost into too many projects this is the recipe for you. It does take some time but it has an addictive quality to it, once you start rolling out the dough you soon get into a state of trance. Try it for yourself, you won’t be disappointed by these super crisp crackers, far the best I have ever tasted and baked in my own house. You can flavor them as you please, in fact I did three different flavoring a for these batches. Are you ready to roll the bread thins? Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Twelve Loaves August: Basil Buns / Twelve Loaves Agosto: Panini al basilico

panini basilico 1

And we’re back with the monthly appointment with Twelve Loaves, one of my favourite collections of bread. In August the theme we were given was that of herbs. I immediately thought of making a dough with a high concentration of basil, a Hulk dough that would lend perfectly itself to a weird project that I have been having in mind for some time. This project was inspired to me by a person whom I respect very much. Among the people I have been following for years, and who I’ve also had the great pleasure of meeting personally, is a talented photographer and art director who works in Milan. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…