Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie: Kids' Thumbprints

And so this is it : the last TWD post.... I really resisted publishing it because it makes me very sad but I'm sure our group will still bake together from February on our new book !

These wonderful (too much for me..) cookies were chosen by Dorie herself and I imagine they were hidden on purpose to the the las day so that we would keep a great memory of  Baking from My Home to Yours.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bread Baking Buddies : Stollen

Our Host this month is Susan of Wild Yeast and on a very special day for her she chose to bake Stollen with us.
I came to know Stollen many years ago from my friend Jakob's mum and after so long I baked it again.
Sometimes Stollen has a marzipan roll inside which I'm not too fond of, so I enjoied this 'empty' version really much.


Yield: 1500 grams (3 loaves, more or less)
  • Candy and dry citrus peel: 12 hours or more (can be done ahead)
  • Soak the fruits: 12 hours
  • Mix and ferment sponge: 12 hours (can be simultaneous with fruit-soaking)
  • Mix dough: 20 – 30 minutes
  • First fermentation : 30 minutes
  • Preshape, rest, and shape: 30 minutes
  • Proof: 90 minutes
  • Bake: 30 minutes
Sponge Ingredients:
  • 120 grams flour
  • 80 grams water
  • 0.1 gram (small pinch) instant yeast [or 0.13 g active dry, or 0.25 g fresh]
Soaked Fruit Ingredients:
  • 130 grams raisins
  • 75 grams dried cherries (or more raisins, or chopped dried apricots, or a combination)
  • 61 grams candied orange peel
  • 92 grams candied lemon peel
  • 82 grams slivered almonds
  • 34 grams rum
Final Dough Ingredients:
  • 348 g flour
  • 53 g milk
  • 25.3 grams (2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) instant yeast [or 18.6 g osmotolerant, or 31.6 g active dry, or 63.3 g fresh]
  • 8 g (1-1/3 t.) salt
  • 8 g (2-1/3 t.) diastatic malt powder (omit if you don’t have it)
  • 51 g sugar
  • 50 g egg (about one large egg)
  • 5 g grated lemon zest (one average lemon)
  • 5 g grated orange zest (one small orange)
  • 1/3 t. of each of these ground spices: cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, allspice, nutmeg
  • 273 g unsalted butter, at room temperature (should be pliable)
  • all of the sponge
  • all of the soaked fruits
Finishing Ingredients:
  • clarified butter
  • fine granulated sugar
  • powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  1. Toss the soaker fruits with the rum in a medium bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature for about 12 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the sponge ingredients in another medium bowl. Cover and ferment at room temperature for 12 hours.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine all of the final dough ingredients except the soaker. Mix in slow speed until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Continue mixing in medium speed until the gluten reaches full development. The dough should come together around the hook and should no longer stick to the sides and bottom of the bowl. This could take about 25 minutes or more, but will depend on your mixer.
  5. Add the soaked fruits and mix on slow speed just until they are evenly distributed through the dough.
  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered container. Cover and ferment for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  7. Turn the dough onto the counter. Divide into three pieces, or however many you would like. Preshape the dough into balls and let them rest, covered, for 30 minutes.
  8. To shape each loaf: Form a blunt-ended batard and dust it lightly with flour. With a thin rolling pin, press down firmly, separating the dough into two parts with one slightly larger than the other. Roll out the flap of dough connecting the sections so it is about 2 inches wide. Flatten the larger section slightly with your hand, then fold the smaller section over to rest on the larger one.
  9. Place the loaves on parchment-lined baking sheets (two per sheet) and slip them into a large plastic bag with a bowl of warm water. Proof for about 90 minutes, replenishing the water when it cools.
  10. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 on convection setting or 400 on regular bake setting. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes, open the oven door briefly to allow any remaining steam to escape, and bake for another 20 minutes. If you do not have convection, you may need to rotate the position of the baking sheets halfway through the bake to ensure even browning and keep the one on the lower rack from burning on the bottom.
  12. While the loaves are still warm, brush them with clarified butter. Dredge them in fine granulated sugar, brushing or shaking off the excess.
  13. To finish, sift powdered sugar over the loaves.
  14. Cut when completely cool. You can leave the stollen out overnight to let the loaves dry and the sugar crust up a bit.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TWD: Rewind : Perfect Pound cake, Cocoa Salt and Pepper Shortbread , Tropical Crumble and more

This is the one before the last of our baking binge with Dorie.....and I went almost all the way back to the beginning of the group choosing the Perfection Pound Cake which was chosen by Laurie back on Jan 22 2008. 

I would like to post more goodies ...

On July 12  Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu chose Cream scones . They were a real breakfast treat !!

On August 16, 2011  Gaye of Laws of the Kitchen chose Tropical Crumble. I wish I still could have a taste of it...

September 20  Tia of Buttercream Barbie chose Salt and Pepper Shortbread It was my first NO SPREAD COOKIE WOW!!!!

On Sept 27 Becky of Project Domestication chose Flip-Over Plum Cake. A very fun cake to bake

And on October 4, 2011  Katrina of Baking and Boys chose Apple Nut Muffin Cake a simple and delicious cake.

Please visit The TWD site for more rewind recipes !

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Heart Cooking Clubs : Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns

I'm  cooking this week for the first time with Tessa Kiros.
One of the things I love about IHCC particularly is the fact I get to know about cooks I'd never had heard of.
I bought 'Fallen Cloudberries' and I love the outlook of the book too. 
This week is Potluck so I chose to bake these wonderful buns, the house smelled like IKEA...
Please visit the blog to see much more !


Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes


  • * * * * Bun Dough * * * *
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • 1 (1 ounce) cake fresh yeast
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 pound plus 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • * * * * Cinnamon Butter * * * *
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup superfine sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
  • 5 ½ tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


Makes about 35 buns.
Put the milk and sugar in a bowl and crumble in the yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until the yeast begins to activate. Add the egg, butter, cardamom, and salt, and mix in. Add the flour, bit by bit, mixing it in with a wooden spoon until you need to use your hands, and then turn it out onto the work surface to knead. It may seem a little too sticky initially, but will become compact and beautifully soft after about 5 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a clean cloth and then a heavy towel or blanket, and leave in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
To make the cinnamon butter, mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Divide the butter into four portions and set aside.
Put the dough on a floured work surface and divide it into four portions. Begin with one portion, covering the others with a cloth so they don’t dry out. Using a rolling pin, roll out a rectangle, roughly about 12 by 10 inches and 1/8 inch thick. Spread one portion of butter over the surface of the dough with a spatula or blunt knife. Sprinkle with about 3 teaspoons of the cinnamon mixture, covering the whole surface with quick shaking movements of your wrists. Roll up to make a long dough sausage. Set aside while you finish rolling out and buttering the rest of the dough, so that you can cut them all together.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, or bake in two batches if you only have one sheet. Line up the dough sausages in front of you and cut them slightly on the diagonal, alternating up and down, so that the slices are fat V shapes, with the point of the V about 3/4 inch and the base about 2 inches. Turn them so they are all the right way up, sitting on their fatter bases. Press down on the top of each one with two fingers, until you think you will almost go through to your work surface. Along the sides you will see the cinnamon stripes oozing outward. Put the buns on the baking sheet, leaving space for them to puff and rise while they bake. Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle a little sugar over the top. Let the buns rise for half an hour and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake them for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden. Check that they are lightly golden underneath as well before you take them out of the oven. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature and, when they are cool, keep them in an airtight container so they don’t harden.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Daring Cooks' December :Cha Sui & Cha Sui Bao and a very late Moo Shu

After a very long time I' m finally back and what a coming back ! We went crazy for this recipe and I soon want to make the steamed buns as well !

Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!

In the recipe Pork's meat is marinated and grilled, afterwords is finally cut and stir fried and finally is the filling for the delicious buns.
You will find he recipe in a handy PDF here.

Being in a Chinese mood we decided to go on and I prepared the recipe that was the Daring Cooks' challenge for October.
A delicious dish served with very thin pancakes and hoisin home made sauce.

 The October Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cookand her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce.

This recipe was delicious as well if you want to try it the recipe is in a PDF here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TWD: Puffed Double Plummed Tart and more..

I'm finally back with my posting, sadly it is one of the last bakes of the TWD baking group.
I cannot believe I've baked so much from a single cookbook and with such joy. I've learned a lot and tried things I've would have never dared to.
The book will end in December and then we'll start baking from 'Baking with Julia'.

Puffed Double Plummed Tart chosen by Julie of Someone’s in the Kitchen
Even in Italy I didn't find the right plums but switched succesfully to apples.

Honey Almond Fig Tart in the Florida version chosen by Kayte of Grandma’s Kitchen Table
Again no figs around so I tried the grapefruit version.

at least I got a bump (and I suspect a not straight oven..)

Earl Grey Madeleines chosen by Nicole of Bakeologie
I finally bought a madeleines mold and discovered a passion for them in my kids..

Normandy Apple Tart chosen by Tracey of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures
A very classic torta di mele !

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

TWD : Classic Brownies

My dear Twd friends I'm coming back to my oven and to my blog with this classic and loved recipe. I sure hope to be able to keep baking and posting, I certainly wish to bake all the past twd recipes that I missed.

I baked these brownies almost as directed only substituting the hazelnuts to the walnuts and the rice oil for the butter (which is something I'm trying to do as often as I can to control our cholesterol level). I loved they fudgy center contrasting with the crunchy nuts.

The recipe was chosen by Anne of Anne Strawberry and she'll post the recipe for you.
Please visit the LYL section of the TWD site to see more versions of this recipe.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

TWD : Chocolate Chunk Muffins and trying to catch up

Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles chose Chocolate Chunk Muffins this week and certainly I'm not entitled to tell you why these are muffins and not cupcakes but from my experience they are great to bring out a smile from anyone.
I brought Them at the last wu-shu class of my childen and were a success.
I doubled the amount of chocolate, melted and in chunks, and followed the recipe otherwise. Please visit Bridget for the recipe and the TWD site for more muffins.

Now I must apologize with you my TWDers friends for being so bad in posting lately I wasn't so busy not to bake but didn't blog about it.
Let me introduce to you the main cause of my work overload, a Pontifical Zuave (1865) which is a strange thing to work on in this year where we italians celebrate the 150 anniversary of our Country due to the defeat of the Pontificial State.

And for the sweet part here we go with the past week's baking, Please visit the hosts for the recipes.
Spike of Spike Bakes chose Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Cookies I made them with dried cherries instead of raisins and made them a them 1 inch in diameter knowing they would spread. Yummy ! Especially for Anita.

Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet chose Date-Nut Loaf and was this loaf super delicious ! I really wish I had some now but ....

Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes chose Chocolate Biscotti which I baked along with the next recipe for a kid's party and were gone quite SUBITO !

Cindy of Everyday Insanity chose Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake I used a frozen berry mix and these babies where a joy to eat.

Peggy from Peggy the Baker chose Caramel Pots de Creme, I had never thought of mixing the caramel in the cream as we usually just pour it in the mold; the results were very greedily welcomed.

Patricia from Life With a Whisk chose Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones even if so many days have passed I remember how I liked the nice crunch they had.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Moosewood Mondays : Fried Green Tomatoes

I'm finally back ! I'm on vacation since 4 days and after emptying the luggages, going grocery shopping and so on (and trying to get a hold the computer for longer than five minutes) I managed to cook one of the recipes I found on the Moosewood's site (not enough room in the suitcase for cookbooks).
I had been curious about the fried green tomatoes since I saw the movie, but had never tried them; while I was preparing them my brother told me we were going to dye of too much solanine and said I could prepare arsenicum-tomatoes as well...but a few hours have passed and we are all still alive.
Please visit Natashya, the creator of Moosewood Mondays, to see what see choose today.
If you dare trying them (maybe not on a daily base) the recipe follows (you can find it along with other ones here)

from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant

This unusual, tangy side dish was popular in my family. Try it while you're waiting for the tomatoes in your garden to ripen. Use only tomatoes that are entirely green and unripe.

Serves 6 to 8

3 large or 4 medium unripe tomatoes (very green-not red at all)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
cayenne, Tabasco, or other hot sauce (optional)
⅓ cup unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons white or yellow cornmeal
¼ cup vegetable oil

Slice the tomatoes into quarter-inch slices. Discard the ends. Spread the slices out on a platter or cutting board and sprinkle generously with salt, black pepper, and, if desired, cayenne or Tabasco. Turn the slices over and season the other sides.

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour and cornmeal. Dredge the tomato slices in the flour mixture, one at a time, covering each side thoroughly. Using 2 forks to the this job keeps your hands neat. Shake any excess flour off the tomato slices.

Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, preferably well-seasoned cast iron. When the oil is hot but not smoking, fry the slices in batches; don't overcrowd the pan. Fry for about 3 or 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Cake Slice : Orange Almond Caramel Upside Down Cake

The recipe for this month's cake makes a deliciously moist flavourful and orangy cake, I'm sorry I photographed it to late in the evening and it looks like charcoal !
You can visit the blogroll and see much better looking ones and start baking the cake right now !


Ingredients – Topping
50g sliced almonds
75g unsalted butter
120g light brown sugar
55ml honey

For the Cake
180g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
80ml sour cream
2 eggs
55ml orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
1 tbsp grated orange zest

Method - Topping

Heat the oven to 180C. Grease a 9 inch round non stick cake pan and line the base with parchment paper. Dust with flour.
Spread the nuts on a baking tray and toast until golden, 8 to 10 minutes (mine only took 4 minutes!!) Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Whisk in the brown sugar, turn the heat to low, and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Drizzle over the honey and scatter over the toasted nuts.

Method - Cake

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Combine the sour cream, eggs, orange juice and vanilla in a glass measuring cup and beat lightly.
Combine the butter and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Stir in the orange zest.
With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour the egg mixture into the bowl in a slow stream, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides.
Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, a third at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Then mix for 30 seconds on medium speed.
Pour the batter over the almonds, gently spreading it into an even layer.
Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand for 5 minutes.
Holding the pan and a plate together firmly with oven mitts, invert the hot cake onto the plate. Peel away the parchment paper. If necessary, replace any almonds stuck to the base of the pan. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.
Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.

French Fridays with Dorie : Bacon, Egg and Asparagus Salad and much more obviously !

Here is the fresh and satisfying asparagous salad which I loved a lot.

The spinach bacon quiche that I had ready for last week but was hijacked by Blogger problems !

The wonderfully surprising quinoa, fruit and nut salad.

Here is the chicken b'stilla which can make your dinner party very succesful.

The basque potato tortilla that my son particularly loved.

And two parisian specialties : gnocchi a la parisienne

And Paris mushroom soup !

Now you tell me if this wonderful book by Dorie Greenspan is worth or not buying ! I' really happy to be still very behind (and my husband is even happier !).
Please visit the site and get a copy of Around my French Table !

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

TWD : Maple Corn Biscuits

Lately our cat Cagliostro has decided to wake me up around four in the morning so yesterday, not before feeding him and another nap with him, I decided it was the right occasion for baking these biscuits for breakfast !

They were chosen by Lindsay from A Little Something… Sweet ; I never ate 'real' biscuits or scones and I have no idea of how White Lily flour feels but I thought these biscuits were so good I'm glad, for my diet's sake, that I only made half batch and that my children and husband loved them too !!
Please visit Lindsay for the recipe and the TWD site for more biscuits.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Weekend Herb Blogging #283 Cauliflower and Millet Puree. In Italiano a seguire

WHB was created in October 2005 by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen,you will find history here. This event has become popular in the years thanks to all bloggers participating with recipes and informative posts about new ways of cooking with herbs or unusual plant ingredients.
Since November 2008 Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once has been managing this weekly event, all recaps here

This week WHB is hosted by Simona of briciole.

I decided to prepare a Cauliflower, Millet Puree I found on The Bold Vegetarian.

Millet is one of the oldest foods known to humans and possibly the first cereal grain to be used for domestic purposes. It is mentioned in the Bible, and was used during those times to make bread. Millet has been used in Africa and India as a staple food for thousands of years and it was grown as early as 2700 BC in China where it was the prevalent grain before rice became the dominant staple. It is documented that the plant was also grown by the lake dwellers of Switzerland during the Stone Age. Millet is considered to be one of the least allergenic and most digestible grains available.

We really loved this recipe it surprised both children and adults (Andrea licked the bowl !).


1 pound cauliflower, cut into florets [500g]
2 large shallots or 1 small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1⁄2 cup millet [100g]
11⁄4 cups vegetable stock or water [325ml]
1⁄4 cup plain yogurt, preferably organic [60ml]
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Boil or steam the cauliflower florets until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and
run under cold water until cool. Set aside. 2. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook the shallots and garlic in 1 tablespoon
of the oil over medium heat until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. 3. Add the millet and toast for another minute, stirringfrequently with a wooden
spoon. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender.
If the liquid evaporates before the millet is done, add a small amount of water
and continue cooking until tender. 4. In a food processor, pureethe cauliflower until smooth. With the machine on, add
the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the yogurt, and a generous amount of salt and pepper.
Add the millet and blend again until well incorporated. If not serving right away,
keep warm in the oven or on the stovetop over very low heat.

Il Weekend Herb Blogging è una raccolta settimanale di ricette e/o note informative sulla miriade di prodotti vegetali che ci circondano, siano essi fiori, piante, frutti, semi, alle volte davvero inusuali ed inaspettati.
E' nato in America quasi per caso nell'ottobre del 2005 dalla mente creatrice di Kalyn di Kalyn's Kitchen, potete trovare tutta la storia qui.Questo evento è diventato sempre più popolare di anno in anno grazie ai tanti bloggers partecipanti che, con le loro ricette e i loro posts, arrichiscono la propria cultura culinaria riguardo al mondo vegetale, in qualunque forma esso si presenti. Ed è proprio questa la peculiarità dell'evento: riuscire ad acquisire più conoscenza e dimistichezza sulla cucina con i vegetali.
Dal novembre del 2008 Haalo di Cook (almost) Anything At Least Onceè la nuova infaticabile "direttrice" di questo evento settimanale, di cui potete trovare tutte le raccolte settimanali qui. Da fine novembre Bri cura l'edizione italiana, potete dare un occhio alle raccolte settimanali qui.

Questa settimana il WHB è ospitato da Simona di briciole.

Ho scelto di preparare un purè di cavolfiore e miglio che mi aveva incuriosito sul libro 'The Bold Vegetarian'

Il miglio è un cereale molto antico, originario dell'Asia centroorientale, coltivato anche dagli antichi egizi. Ha una grande importanza nell'alimentazione di alcuni paesi africani e asiatici, molto meno utilizzato in Europa, dove è conosciuto più che altro come becchime per pollame e uccelli da gabbia. Il miglio ha una composizione simile al frumento, ma non contiene glutine e quindi è adatto nell'alimentazione dei soggetti affetti da morbo celiaco.
È l'unico cereale con un effetto alcalinizzante, quindi è indicato per chi soffre di acidità di stomaco.

Qusta ricetta che sembrava così 'strana' ci ha sorpreso tutti grandi e piccini (pensate che Andrea ha fatto la scarpetta fino all'ultima traccia).


500g cavolfiore diviso in cimette
1 cipolla media o due scalogni tritati
3 spicchi d'aglio tritati
3 cucchiai di olio EV
100g di miglio
325ml di brodo vegetale o acqua
60ml di yogurt
Sale e pepe

1. Fare lessare o cuocere a vapore il cavolfiore finchè è tenero. Scolarlo freddarlo sotto l'acqua fredda e tenerlo da parte. 2. In una casseruola far stufare gli scalogni (o cipolla) e l'aglio in un cucchiaio di olio. 3. Aggiungere il miglio e farlo tostare per un minuto, mescolando spesso con un cucchiaio di legno. Aggiungere il brodo, portare ad ebollizione. Fare sobbollire fino a cottura.
Se il liquido dovesse evaporare aggiungerne altro. 4. In un frullatore ridurre a purea il cavolfiore, lo yogurt, i restanti due cucchiai di olioe sale e pepe. Aggiungere il miglio e lavorare fino ad ottenere una crema. Tenerlo in caldo se non lo consumate subito.