Homebaker’s Cookbook: Lemon and Vanilla Olive Oil Biscuits / Il Ricettario di Homebaker: Biscotti all’olio di oliva, limone e vaniglia

Once you crunch you can’t stop, don’t you agree with me? Usually I’m more of a crackers and grissini fan, but won’t say no to a crumbly sweet biscuit. And that’s what I propose for today’s Homebaker‘s Cookbook. What’s the secret to achieve such a result? Well with a calculated mixture of durum wheat semolina and cornstarch. In order to have healthier cookies I used olive oil instead of butter, so I suppose they will be lighter on your conscience as well as on your thighs compared to a common cookie! Flavouring is the most classic vanilla and lemon zest combo but I have no doubt that this recipe can be customized with the most disparate additions, from chopped walnuts, to chocolate chips, and spices like cinnamon, cardamom or saffron as well. I can’t wait to do other experiments myself…what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and bake these delicious biscuits, it’s easy peasy!
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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Semolina cheesecake/ Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Cheesecake al semolino

 

Here we are with a new recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. As some of you might know the past year I often travelled to one of the most beautiful cities in Italy: Naples. Falling in love with a proud Neapolitan I did not miss out on the opportunity to visit the city, admiring its culture, beauty but especially enjoying its gastronomic specialties. Specialties of which time by time I have written down the names, usually using my cellphone transferring all manually on post-its when back in Chiasso. Too often these notes are then forgotten, buried by piles of books that gradually accumulate while I research for other recipes during my work of testing and programming for the baking workshops I teach at Maroggia’s Mill. Usually I and end up finding the precious notes while I clear up the mess, which I must admit happens quite infrequently, peeking out from a notebook inviting me with their phosphorescent colors to undertake a new challenge in the kitchen. So it happened with the migliaccio, a typical dessert of the Campania tradition. Hold on, before unleashing horrified comments and anathemas. This recipe has nothing to do with the traditional recipe, if not as an inspiration for this cake that I renamed semolina cheesecake. Why a cheesecake? Well this cake has a crust and the filling as the traditional dessert too requires ricotta, which makes it in itself a sweet cheesecake. Did I convince you? Well I hope so. First of all I decided to use a very fine soft wheat semolina flour, which is great for making gnocchi alla romana too, and compared to the original recipes found online I added a much lower amount of sugar. The dough, made with 00 flour, is also slightly sweetened so if you want you can add ten grams of sugar if you prefer sweeter flavors. Raisins can be soaked in rum to give the sweet an edge and nothing prevents you from adding other ingredients in the semolina filling, may it be candied fruit, nuts, chocolate or fruit it’s up to your preferences. The dessert is fresh and light and if you want to make a simpler version you can skip on lining the cake tin with pastry, but remember to grease well the mold and sprinkle it with plenty of semolina!

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookboo: Sumac Ladyfingers / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Savoiardi al sumac

 

And we are baking sweets treats all over again at Maroggia’s Mill. For today’s Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook recipe I propose a classic of Italian pastry…slightly modified. Ladyfingers. Who hasn’t got memories of ladyfingers being stocked, packet loads of them, in the pantry? They were always there, ready for mummy to whip up a good old trifle or a tiramisu. I loved to steal a couple while she was busy preparing the chosen dessert. I loved their soft and yielding consistency and slightly spongy inside. Dipped in tea, but very quickly in order not to run the risk of turning the liquid into a cloudy porridge, they reached the peak of gustative enjoyment. Here is a whole new version flavoured with sumac, a spice commonly used in the Middle East which tastes a bit like lemon. I really like it and I find that it lends itself well to both sweet and savoury dishes. These biscuits are ideal for an alternative and light tiramisu, with yogurt and red fruits or for a fresh and summery trifle.

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Vegan Rye flour, Almond and Dark Chocolate Cookies / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Biscotti Vegani alla farina di segale, mandorle e cioccolato fondente

Has been quite a long time since the last time I baked cookies for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. Taking a look at the past recipes I realized that all of the cookies baked so far contain butter, eggs, milk or cream. Not even one vegan recipe. Surprising, as these vegan cookies have been a staple of my famous brunches! I adapted the original recipe to the use of Maroggia’s Mill rye flour, but you can always replace with any other kind of flour. These cookies are chewy, a word I tried to translate into Italian with not much success. If, just like me you love chewy cookies this recipe is the one you are looking for!

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Rice flour, Matcha and Lemon Cookies / Biscotti di farina di riso, matcha e limone

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Tea time with a friend. Rice flour which has been sitting in the pantry for too long, as well as a jar of matcha powder which might as well be a find from an archaeological site. Consider lemons are never missing in my fridge. Put all of that above together and what you are left with is a batch of sensational cookies. And here’s the recipe!

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Butternut Squash and Licorice Muffins / Muffins alla zucca butternut e liquirizia

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Butternut squash mon amour. I started appreciating pumpkin and butternut squash quite late into my twenties, but since my father grows these vegetables in his garden I now cannot wait for the arrival of the cold season in order to taste sweet and savoury dishes cooked with this versatile ingredient. Its natural sweetness makes it an excellent ingredient for cakes and muffins so why not do a little experiment and combine it with one of my favourite ingredients ever? And here it is…the omnipresent liquorice! Needless to say the pairing is superb, these muffin are soft and sweet (but not too much). You can’t get any better than this!
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MTChallenge: Macarons / Dell’MTChallenge e dei Macarons gemelli diversi: il macaron gnocco e il macaron cesso

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

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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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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Cinnamon, Almonds, Orange and Dark Chocolate Sablés / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Sablés alla cannella, arancia e cioccolato fondente

Cinnamon, Almonds, Orange and Dark Chocolate Sablés : Sablés alla cannella, arancia e cioccolato fondente 1

Biscuits, biscuits..give me biscuits! I have no clue what is going on with me, but maybe the macrobiotic experience (which I interrupted nearly three months ago) has shocked me to the point that I really needed to walk a bit on the dark side of baked goods and indulge in all those recipes that require a lot butter and a good dose of sugar. I’m pretty confident I will overcome this phase, especially because I don’t think my hips can take so much fat for very much longer. No, I don’t think so. So enjoy these sablés until I feel like posting sweet recipes. And I want to share this with you and all of Maroggia’s Mills friends. When my friend Flavia (a very talented photographer, go and check her work here) invited me over for tea I baked a good batch which was thoroughly enjoyed. In fact they didn’t last long, I can tell by the way my pants feel a bit too thighs! Needless to say, these biscuits melt in your mouth with delicate bursts of cinnamon and orange flavour which blend very well with each other as well as with dark chocolate. The addition of crunchy almonds and chopped dark chocolate add an extra thing to the whole sensory experience you have while biting in. Diet can start tomorrow (you can always go and check my macrobiotic blog…since it’s still online!)!
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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Polenta dorata, Lemon, Thyme and Polenta biscuits / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Biscotti al limone, timo e polenta dorata

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We’re back with Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook and I present you with my the second recipe with polenta flour.

This time around with a sweet recipe for cookies which are perfect to be dunked in tea. I took inspiration from my recipe for sablés and adapted it to the use of corn meal, combined with dried thyme and lemon zest. This blend make these cookies particularly fresh and tasty, but already I am thinking how gorgeous they would be with the addition of dark chocolate chips and toffee cubes. A basic dough with which you can play and have fun inventing new flavours! Polenta flour and raw cane sugar add a nice rough texture to these cookies, which were very much appreciated by my guinea pigs.

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