Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bread Baking Buddies : Dan Lepard Garlic Bread

I know that some of you get scared when they read garlic, some are even allergic to it BUT this bread is magic : it is so wonderful you would want to live only on it forever !
It's a recipe from Dan Lepard chosen by the great Garlic Ambassador Natashya for the Bread Baking Babes and I really urge you to try it, you won't regret it for a second.

I made it almost as soon as it was posted because I had some garlic confit hanging around, but you know what ? I'm going to prepare some garlic and bake it again today !

Dan's Garlic Bread
reprinted with permission from Dan Lepard
Exceptional Breads, by Dan Lepard
Dan has reworked the recipe to include a longer rise, less yeast, and less sugar.

for the pre-ferment
200ml water, at about 35C - 38C (95F - 101F)
1 tsp fast acting yeast
200g strong white bakers flour

for the dough
225ml water at 20C (68F)
325g strong white bakers flour
10g sea salt
75ml extra virgin olive oil

for the garlic filling
3 heads garlic, separated
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
50ml water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 spring fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped

for the pre-ferment

To easily get the temperature of the water roughly correct measure 100ml of boiling water and add 200ml cold water, then measure the amount you need from this. Stir in the yeast then, when dissolved, stir in the flour until evenly combined.

Leave the mixture covered at about 20C - 22C (warmish room temperature) for 2 hours, stirring the ferment once after an hour to bring the yeast in contact with new starch to ferment.

for the garlic filling

Break the heads of garlic into cloves and place in a saucepan, cover with boiling water from the kettle and simmer for 3 - 4 minutes.

Then strain the garlic from the water, cover the cloves with cold water to cool then peel the slivery skin from the garlic. It's surprising how few cloves you get after peeling so don't be alarmed if "3 heads of garlic" sound like way too much.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan then place the add the cloves to it and cook until they are lightly brown (not burnt) on the outside. If you burn the garlic the flavour is nasty and you will have to start again, or serve it to your friends with a straight face, so watch them carefully.

Measure the balsamic and the water then add this to the pan with the sugar, salt, pepper and rosemary. Simmer for 5 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a thick caramel.

Scrape into a bowl and leave to cool. The garlic cloves should be tender when pierced with a knife.

back to the dough:

After 2 hours the pre-ferment should have doubled and look bubbly on the surface. Measure the water into a bowl and tip the pre-ferment into it. Break it up with your fingers until only small thread-like bits remain (this is the elastic gluten you can feel in your fingers)

Add the flour and salt then stir the mixture together with your hands. It will feel very sticky and elastic. Scrape any remaining dough from your hands, cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes so that the flour has time to absorb moisture before being kneaded. Be sure to scrape around the bowl to make sure all of the flour is incorporated into the dough.

Pour 2 tbsp olive oil onto the surface of the dough and smooth it over the surface with your hands. Now rub a little oil on your hands and start to tuck your fingers down the side of the dough, then pull the dough upward stretching it out.

Rotate the bowl as you do this, so that all of the dough gets pulled and stretched. You'll find that the dough starts to feel and look smoother. Leave the dough in a ball, cover and leave for 10 minutes.

Repeat the pulling and stretching of the dough, for no more than about 10 - 12 seconds. You may find that an oiling piece of dough breaks through the upper surface. This isn't a bad thing, but it is a sing to stop working the dough. Cover the bowl again and leave for a further 10 minutes.

This time oil a piece of the worksurface about 30 cm in diameter. Oil your hands, pick the dough out of the bowl, place it on the oiled surface and knead it gently for 10 - 15 seconds. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

Uncover the dough, oil the worksurface once more and flip the dough out onto it.

Stretch the dough out into a rectangle, then fold the right hand side in by a third.

Then fold the in by thirds again so that your left with a square dough parcel. Place this back in the bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

Lightly oil the worksurface again and stretch the dough out to cover an area roughly 30cm x 20cm. Dot the garlic over the 2/3rds of the surface and then fold the bare piece of dough over a third of the garlic-covered dough.

Then roll this fold of dough over so that the remaining garlic-covered piece is covered by dough. Then fold this piece of dough in by a third...then in by a third again. Finally place the folded dough back in the bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

Wipe the oil off the worksurface and lightly dust it with flour. Pin the dough out again as above and fold it in by thirds each way. Replace it in the bowl, cover and leave for a further 30 minutes.

Pin the dough out again fold it in by thirds each way again as shown. Leave the dough for 10 minutes while you prepare the tray the bread will rise on.

Cover a large dinner tray with a tea-towel. Lightly dust it with white flour, then cut the dough into thirds with a serrated knife.

Place the dough cut side upward on the tray then pinch the fabric between each so that they stay separated.

Cover and leave for 45 minutes while you heat the oven to 200C (same for fan assisted)/390F/gas mark 5-6. I put a large unglazed terracotta tile in the oven and shovel the dough directly onto it with the back of a small cookie tray. It gives a much better finish and perhaps the bread is slightly crisper, but the bread will still be good placed on a tray just before baking. I also put a small tray of water in the bottom of the oven so that the heat is a little moist, which will help the bread to rise and colour.

Lightly dust the back of a cookie tray (if you have a stone in the oven) or the surface of a baking tray with semolina or flour. Carefully pick the dough up off the cloth, scooping it in from end to end with your finger then quickly lift it clear of the cloth and onto the tray.

Either shovel the dough onto the hot stone, or place the baking tray in the oven, shut the door quickly and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until the loaves are a good rich golden brown

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TWD : Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

I was hoping to win the Spreader title at the (sad) end of our Tuesday with Dorie Mission, but with these soo good shortbread cookies chosen by Valerie I' m afraid I won't be alone. I was blaming Italian butter, cookies not cold enough or just a personal gift I had, but with these babies I was not the only one to get The Spread !
Well, Spread or not I loved them. Crunchy as they were (actually are but I hid them) and with the lime hint Valerie suggested in the P &Q I absolutely loved them !
Please visit Valerie for the recipe and much more and the LYL for more cookies.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Moosewood Mondays : Broccoli Mushroom Noodle Casserole

I don't know how you choose the recipes you cook and post I think the right way would be to choose the recipe and then go shopping well I usually have some things in the fridge and search the index of my cookbooks to find a suitable recipe, in this case I was lucky: I had broccoli, mushrooms and tagliolini, it was a sign !
The Moosewood book this time is THE original by Mollie Katzen.
Please visit Natashya and check her Moosewood's recipe !


16 ozWide egg noodles; or less
2 tbButter or margarine
2 cOnions; chopped
3 mdGarlic; minced
1 lg bunchfresh broccoli; chopped
1 lbmushrooms; Sliced or chopped
1/2 tsSalt; to taste
Lotsfresh black pepper
1/4 cupdry white; Optional
3 eggs; beaten, Optional
3 cCottage cheese
1 cSour cream; (may be lowfat)
1 1/2 cFine bread crumbs;


Preheat oven to 350F. Butter or oil a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling water until about half-done. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again and set aside. Melt the butter or margarine in a large skillet, and add onions and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes over medium heat, then add broccoli, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is bright green and just tender. Remove from heat and possibly add optional white wine. In a large bowl, beat together optional eggs (or not) with cottage cheese and sour cream or buttermilk. Add noodles, sauteed vegetables, and 1 cup of the bread crumbs. Mix well. Spread into the prepared pan, and top with remaining bread crumbs and, if desired, grated cheese. Bake covered for 30 minutes; uncovered for 15 minutes more.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I Heart Cooking Clubs :Jamie Oliver’s Favorite Curry Sauce – Chicken Version

This is chicken or eggs week at I Heart Cooking Clubs with Jamie, and I chose a curry dish I knew we would like (even if it was hot Anita dared to try it) .
The recipe is simple and aside fenugreek and curry leaves the other ingredients are usually in my pantry.
I made a fragrant rice from '30 minutes recipes' by Nigel Slater who is Jamie's friend so I'm sure he's not going to mind and we were all set !

Buona Pasqua a tutti !

Jamie Oliver’s Favorite Curry Sauce Chicken Version

from Happy Days with the Naked Chef, 2002

  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (I didn't find them)
  • 3 fresh green chillies, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 handful of curry leaves (I didn't find them either)
  • 2 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 3 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped (I used one large can tomatoes)
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • salt
  • 4 chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2 inch strips ( I've used the upper thighs)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed

Heat the oil in a pan, and when hot add the mustard seeds. Wait for them to pop, then add the fenugreek seeds (or don’t), fresh green chillies, curry leaves (or not) and ginger. Stir and fry for a few minutes. Using a food processor, chop the onions and add to the same pan. Continue to cook for 5 minutes until the onion is light brown and soft, then add the chili powder and turmeric. Using the same food processor, pulse the tomatoes and add these to the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add 1 or 2 wine glasses of water and the coconut milk. Simmer for about 5 minutes until it has the consistency of double cream, then season carefully with salt.

Stir-fry the chicken strips and coriander seeds until lightly colored, then add your sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with steamed basmati rice.

Friday, April 22, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie : Mustard Batons... and Chocolate Eclaires

I cannot believe I finally made it this Friday !! I baked this wonderfully yummy and superfast goodies which are fantastic : they come together in minutes and are really delicious, I want to try them with different fillings too.
I promised myself to catch the group up with all the recipes and started with these 'get out of here or I'll eat you all' babies. I made the chocolate version half recipe (froze some ganache and chocolate pastry cream for a bright future !)
Please visit French Fridays with Dorie to see more, and get yourself a copy of Around My French Table.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Cake Slice : Cold Oven Cream Cheese Pound Cake

This month's recipe for The Cake Slice , we are still baking from Cake Keeper, is a wonderful cake made with cream cheese and cooked starting from a cold oven.
I made half a recipe and our cake wasn't small.
We really loved this cake and I strongly suggest you try it !
Please visit the blogroll to see more cakes !

Cold Oven Cream Cheese Pound Cake
(Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman)


360g cake flour
1½ tsp baking powder
200g unsalted butter, softened
230g cream cheese, softened
500g caster sugar
6 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1½ tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp grated lemon zest


Adjust the oven rack to the lower – middle position. Grease a large 10-12inch Bundt pan and dust with flour.
Combine the flour and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl.
Combine the butter, cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each
addition. Beat in the vanilla, ginger and lemon zest.
Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, a few spoonfuls at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Then mix of 30 seconds on medium speed.
Spread the batter into the Bundt tin and place the cake in a cold oven. Turn the oven to 160C and bake, without opening the oven door, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 65 to 80 minutes.
Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert it onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing and serving.
Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TWD : Tourtely Apple Tart

Jeanette of The Whimsical Cupcake chose the recipe this week, we loved this tarte or pie, I'm the least entitled to say what it is, but I can tell you the all building had its share and it was very welcomed !

I only had three apples but had made an unsweetened apple sauce few weeks ago so I added a few tablespoon of it to the apples when cooking and I had enough filling.
Please visit the LYL post and find out how many different versions there can be !

Monday, April 18, 2011

Moosewood Mondays : Potatoes Latkes

As an Italian, I have very mixed origins : my last name, Maovaz, always requires some spelling, as my mother's (Delcroix).
My Grandfather was born in what was then the Austro-Ungarian Empire, has become Jugoslavia and now is Croatia, on my mother's side her grandparents came from Belgium.
My nonno Maovaz was Buddist but none of my ancestors was Jewish that I know of.
In Rome there is a big Jewish Community, actually is the oldest in Europe, dating back to the II century B.C. and, as you can imagine Roman Jews eat pasta and not Latkes !
I'm very interested in the Jewish world as in the Jewish Cuisine, but, I must admit, these fritters are so good my children deveaured them without much interest in their origins !

The recipe calls for rutabaga and beets as well but I have never seen a rutabaga in my life and beets are no longer around.

Please visit Natashya to see what wonders she came up to !

(from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates)

3 cups peeled and grated Russet Potatoes
1/2 cup grated onions
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspon ground black pepper
1/2 cup peeled and grated rutabaga (I skipped this)
1/2 cup peeled and grated beets (I skipped this too)
1/2 cup chopped parsley (no green things wanted)
2 Tablespoons fresh dill (same as above)
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Line a colander with paper towels. Place the grated potatoes and onions in the lined colander and vigorously press out as much liquid as you can, until the grated potatoes are somewhat dry. This will help create crisp latkes.
Transfer the grated potatoes and onions to a large bowl and stir in the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Divide the mixture among three smaller bowls . Mix the rutabaga into the first bowl, the beets into the second and parsley and dill into the third.
Preheat the oven to 200°.
Warm the oil on high heat in a large cast iron skillet until a drop of batter sizzles. Drop the batter into the skillet and fry until both sides are crisp.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Heart Cooking Clubs : Pot-roasted Pork in White Wine with Garlic, Fennel, and Rosemary

April Showers Bring May Flowers...
I had never heard of this saying, maybe because we have more rain in March.. this year though the weather is strange : it was so hot a week ago and now it seems November !
So I went for a wintery Roast very tasty and rich of perfumes from fennes seeds, garlic and white wine.
I served it with potatoes Latkes but I'll tell you more tomorrow about those.
You can find the recipe here on the Food Network or read more.
Please visit the site for more April showers !



  • 1 (3 pound/1.5 kilogram) pork loin, off the bone and skin removed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 2 to 3 large knobs butter
  • Olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, skin left on
  • 1 handful fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 1/2 (750 ml) bottle Chardonnay


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

With 2 or 3 bits of string, tie up your pork loin, do this any way you like. It doesn't have to be fussy, you just want to keep the meat in a snug shape while it's cooking. Season generously with salt and pepper, then roll the meat in the fennel seeds until covered.

In a casserole pan or roasting tray, fry the meat for a couple of minutes in half the butter and a little olive oil, until nice and golden.

Throw in the garlic, herbs, fennel, and wine, then cover the tray loosely with some wet greaseproof paper and cook until an insertedmeat thermometer reaches 150 degrees F. As the pork loin is off the bone it cooks very quickly. Remove from the oven and allow the meat to rest on a plate. Then, without using any more heat, finishoff your sauce in the pan, scraping any goodness off the bottom and adding the rest of the butter. Remove any large bits.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Creative Concotion # 2: Polpettine di Calamari

My friend Ivy of Kopiaste to Greek Hospitality is actually one of the few blogging friends I had the pleasure to meet, when she and her husband came to Rome for a visit last year.
She is a fantastic cook and a very energetic one too, you can see her last creature here.
When I saw her last cooking group idea she got me a little worried because it's a question of NOT following a precise recipe but to create a version of a given one if not a brand new recipe; being very unsecure I always worry to make something wrong but what the heck ... I tried !
Our children love a restaurant near our place called Hosteria Pistoia they make wonderful meals very creatives and more important exquisite ! When we go there Carlo eats everything as if he had never eaten before : it's a real pleasure to see.
One of the things Carlo loves are the polpettine di calamari so I tried to make something similar.


500 gr calamari rinsed and cleaned
Stale bread
Orange Zest
(this is supposed to be a Lenten recipe so no eggs and cheese but I'm sure you could add some pecorino cheese and a couple of eggs)

Pulse the calamari in your mixer, add some water to the bread and when soft add to the calamari with parsley, orange zest salt and pepper.
Shape in small balls and roll in breadcrumbs before frying or cooking in your oven.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

TWD : Strawberries Double Crisp

Sarah of Teapots and Cakestands chose this wonderful crisp for us this week and I must say it's so good even without Rhubarb I really would love to try it with it.
I halved the recipe and made four mini ramekins, easier to share this way !
Please visit Sarah for the recipe and the LYL for more crisps.