Chestnuts Flour and Walnut Bread / Pane alla farina di castagne e noci

Chestnuts Flour and Walnut Bread - Pane alla farina di castagne e noci 1

How I love the cold season. Vendors at every turn of a corner, the thick smoke coming from the roasting racks. Paper cones filled with roasted chestnuts keep my hands warm. Autumn and winter are my favourite season for their distinctive perfumes and flavours. Chestnuts come in the first place of my cold season food top ten. Sweet and fragrant, once amongst the staple food of our ancestors here in Ticino it has now become quite an expensive ingredient to buy in stores. Definitely not an every day ingredient if not for those who have the chance of being able to go in the woods and pick some. Every now and then I treat myself with a bag of chestnut flour and bake kolache. Lately I have been experimenting a bit and came up for this recipe for a bread I took to a dinner with friends. It’s flavour is intense and lends itself well to accompany a vegetable soup which is so seasonal. Chestnuts, walnuts and polenta are all products which are typical of my region and blend perfectly. This bread is one with a strong personality, it is rich and dense and keeps fresh for several days…a bit like bread did in the old days.

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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…

Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Rye Flour Focaccia / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Focaccine con farina di segale rotta

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Focaccia mon amour. Once you’ve been to Genova and gained two solid kilos by feeding yourself daily with focaccia there is no possible way out, as this crispy and soft flatbread leads to severe addiction. Along the years I baked many focacce, the first one published in the blog was a gorgeous artichoke and red cabbage focaccia for Sourdough Surprises, then I ventured into potato focaccia and developed a recipe for semolina focaccia too. But up until now I had never baked a rustic version of focaccia. This is the reason why I decided it was about time to experiment a little with whole flours too, for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. Maroggia’s Mill special pizza flour helps the dough to develop and proof in the best possible way, providing with a soft crumb and a crunchy crust, while the rye flour gives this focaccia a rustic flavour and texture. Long fermentation, needless to say, helps obtain a more digestible bread, with an aromatic and soft crumb reason why I will never stress enough about the fact it is so much worth the wait of a day. With the sunny and warm weather finally setting in you can bake a batch to share with friends for a Sunday picnic brunch. This focaccia is simply heavenly with soft goat cheese and fresh salad. Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and bake?

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Semolina Flour Focaccia / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Focaccine con farina di semola

Focaccia friscello 1

For once my english introduction to the recipe has to be completely different from the italian one. Why this? Focaccia is quite a common snack (or at least it was) in High Schools both in Ticino and in Italy. I remember those round flatbreads, that were handed out at screaming and pushing (and quite commonly spotty) teenagers during recreation time. There were few focaccias and pizzas, wrapped in grease paper (or was it the actual grease from the breads?) and many, too many of us. Those who had the chance to get their hands on such a treat would rarely share, grinning at those who were left with nothing. Oh teenagers! What was it that made to us those rubbery and greasy breads so appealing I still ask myself, watching back to those days. But let’s look forward. Luckily my tastebuds have had a proper breaducation along the years, no such “breads” are seen in my house, and I rather not eat than bite into rubber foam discs. This focaccia is what all High School pupils deserve. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Panissimo’s Ecole de boulangerie: La Coupe Saucisson / Panissimo e la sua Ecole de boulangerie: la coupe saucisson

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Panissimo also has it’s little school of baking, and every month we are given homeworks in the guise of a new bread shape. Last month finally my friend Michela’s wishes were met, and the shape we had to bake is this very nice saucisson which she had been wanting to make from the start. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…