Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Banitsa / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Banitsa

It’s been more than six months, but it seems like a century ago. In June we went on a short trip to Sofia, Bulgaria. A strange city, which I feel I still have to visit in order to fully understand (or at least try to understand). Needless to say that in 4 days we ate plenty of local food. I must say that variety is not a hallmark of Bulgarian cuisine and that in our daily trip to the bakery we often opted for a warm banitsa, a bread stuffed with eggs and feta. As is well explained in this Wikipedia page banitsa is generally served with boza. For your own sake I do not recommend trying this drink.
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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: Udon / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Udon

Today for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook we take a trip to Japan. I have tried before to make Udon from scratch but always had problems. This time around I added a little arrowroot to Maroggia’s Mill flour and the result was perfect! Udon is a very thick kind of pasta very popular in Japan. It can be eaten in hot broth or cold, seasoned with vegetables, meat or fish.
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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Soft Milk Flatbreads / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Focaccine soffici al latte

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Yet another Friday with Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook and yet another bread: a flat bread. Nothing more handy. Flatbread can be stuffed, lends itself perfectly as an accompaniment to a main dish or serves beautiful as a simple snack. A soft and versatile bread that doesn’t need to be sliced and can be easily portioned by tearing it into smaller pieces. Ideal to have for breakfast as for lunch and dinner. This time around I wanted to try and enrich the dough with eggs and milk to make the bread as soft as I could. The result is great but I would recommend you to consume this bread when still hot or to warm it briefly in the oven or toaster after brushing it with a little water, to fully taste its softness and fragrance. You can flavour the dough with seeds, spices or chocolate chips for a tasty snack.
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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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Liquorice and Beetroot Babka / Babka alla barbabietola e liquirizia

For those who know me well this recipe does not come as a surprise… you know ho much I love beetroot and licorice don’t you? I tried this babka for breakfast and it is simply delicious, pillowy soft and just slightly sweet, want a slice? Well, roll up your sleeves and get started baking!
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MTChallenge: Terrine!

Another month, another challenge. Welcome back to the monthly appointment with the MTChallenge. The last challenge was won by Giuliana, our vintage hen which is quite passionate with terrines.I must confess. Terrines scare me, they always did. I don’t like them. Blame it on the gelatin, which remind me of culinary horrors of the 70s which can be found on many pages of my mum’s culinary scrap books. I always considered terrines a too playful and poor of substance dish (forgive me Giuliana!). But MTC is MTC, one simply can’t escape from it. As a matter of fact, the more a subject is far from what I like the most, the more stress it generates and the more excited I feel. More or less. The roughest British sides of me started saying “No cold jellies… can’t you see you finally have the chance to try and bake your own pork pie? You don’t want to lose this opportunity do you?”. HI must come out of the pie closet and my beloved Van Pelt will be shocked, she will… I’ve never ever baked a pork pie in my whole life. I needed MTC to finally bake one! I have to be honest. I had many ideas mainly involving apples, oranges, beetroot and liquorice. Then I had a fennel, lying on its own in my fridge, and decided to flavour the broth with spices and the pig with herbs. No overthinking and simply following my gut.
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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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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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