Tag Archive for 'pane'

Taralli with fennel seeds (take 3)

taralli with fennel seeds

taralli with fennel seeds

First of all let me explain what taralli are. They are basically gorgeous little snacks which have a similar consistency to crackers/grissini (bread sticks). They come from the Puglia region, which is the heel of Italy, and they are made with an unleavened dough of flour and flavoured in many different ways (with crack black pepper, chillies, fennel seeds etc.). The main ingredients are: flour, olive oil and white wine. The ones I have made are the most common ones. There are many recipes out there and in theory you are supposed to boil them first before you bake them. HOWEVER I tried twice to boil them first and I had to chuck them in the bin. GRRRRR! They were hard as rock and basically unedible. Mind you: it might have something to do with the fact  I later discovered I had used the wrong flour (strong instead of plain). :-( So I must try boiling them again using the right flour and see what happens. In the meantime let me share this recipe with you for which I’ve used my trusted sourdough (yes! Still alive after all these years!), as suggested by my sister in law Stefania (who apparently has been making them successfully in this way for a while). I have used the recipe she sent me on line which comes from the issuu.com website. Continue reading ‘Taralli with fennel seeds (take 3)’

Chilli cheese cornbread

chilli cheese cornbread

chilli cheese cornbread

I recently tried this cornbread recipe, from the mighty Jamie Oliver. And very interesting and unusual it was too, both in terms of taste and texture! I gather this is an American dish from the Southern States. I am not sure how/when the Americans eat it but I must say I really liked it. I reckon it would go very well with a soup or a bean stew, or indeed a salad. Mind you: if you don’t like polenta don’t even attempt it as the best way to describe it is a savoury, cheesy polenta bread. I found it  even nicer the following day, sliced and toasted, with melted cheese on the top. You would definitely not need much else to eat as it’s rather filling! Continue reading ‘Chilli cheese cornbread’

The fabulous grissini torinesi

grissini torinesi

I couldn’t believe how easy these grissini were to make! For the English audience not familiar with the Italian terminology grissini are none other than bread sticks (well…you can see from the picture). I have always loved grissini, particularly the hand made variety from Turin. This is partly because they are objectively gorgeous and partly because they bring back memories of my childhood. My grandparents were Torinesi born and bred and and lived in Turin all their lives. There were always these really long and knobbly grissini on their table. What a treat!  I used to scoff them by the handful. The truth is that once you start eating them there is no stopping you. They are utterly addictive.  Great to have with dips. I followed the recipe from the Sorelle Simili’s book Pane e roba dolce. They vanished in a flash, proof they were indeed truly yummy. Once again I enlisted the help of my 10 years old nephew Ale. While he was here visiting he took a real liking to messing about in the kitchen with me. Every day his first question would be ” And what are we going to bake TODAY, auntie?” Bless him!!! By the way: I am going to disappear for a while. It’s holiday time! Back to the Dolomites. Yes!! Continue reading ‘The fabulous grissini torinesi’

An experiment with bread: the iron pot!

bread in the iron pot

Hello everyone! Let me share with you this novel way of cooking bread: using an iron cast pot. I never knew about this method until I accidentally stumbled upon a recipe last week. Well, I never! Cooking bread in a pot? With a lid on? I was intrigued…. As it happens I do possess an iron cast pot by Le Creuset (which hardly ever sees the light of day) so what better way of putting it to good use? As you know I LOVE bread and I have been baking my own for months now. I am getting rather good at it, modestly speaking, but I’m still looking for new ideas all the time. This particular method is truly great as you end up with a lovely crusty loaf which is crispy on the outside and lovely and soft on the inside. I’ve never quite achieved this level of perfection before. Before I made this loaf I was worried it would stick to the pot but no: it just lifted out leaving the pot absolutely clean. I followed James Morton’s technique (the Scottish young guy who was in the Big Bake off programme). Apparently he loves cooking bread using iron pots. And if it’s good for James it’s good for me! Continue reading ‘An experiment with bread: the iron pot!’

The legendary pretzels


I absolutely ADORE pretzels but I always thought they could only be done professionally hence never attempted making them. Until very recently, that is. As you know I am experimenting with all things yeasty at present so decided that the moment had come to try them out. Why not? At worst they were going to be a disaster not to be repeated and blogged as a misdemeanour, right? So imagine my surprise when I sank my teeth in my very first pretzel and ….. WOW! I discovered it tasted damn close to the real thing! Ok, ok…I am sure that what I produced was not 100% kosher and a German person might very well turn his/her nose up at my creation (Beate? Your comment, please) but oh boy! They were soooooooo good!! I made them reasonably big in order to be able to cut them in half and butter them. I have tried them three times now and every time they were a success. They are not dissimilar from bagels in the sense that you need to boil them in water first before baking them. But that’s hardly complicated, right? The recipe was found on the BBC Good food website. I have adapted it slightly. If anyone out there likes pretzels DO HAVE A GO! You will be surprised about how easy they are. By the way I had to put a search on google for a video to show me how to knot them up. If you just go on Youtube  you’ll find more than one. Once you have learnt the technique you can do them with your eyes shut. I promise! Rocket science it ain’t!

Continue reading ‘The legendary pretzels’

Date and honey wholemeal bread

                                     date and honey wholemeal bread

Despite my previous post this bread was not made with sourdough. Anybody can do it, don’t worry! (Having said that I confess I am now in the habit of adding a dollop of sourdough to all the breads I bake. It is supposed to improve the texture.) My fascination for bread continues, following the two bread making courses I attended. I hardly ever buy bread from the supermarket these days. At a push I get it from the local artisan bakery but I have now got into the swing of baking my own. Once you get into the routine it is really quite easy. Plus I get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction out of it. I’m sure it’s much better for your health anyway (have you looked at the ingredients list of those supermarket loaves- the sliced ones sold in plastic bags, I mean? There is all sort of rubbish! How else could they last for weeks? SCARY!). Continue reading ‘Date and honey wholemeal bread’

Naan bread

naan bread

I bet I’m not the only one who loves naan bread!  I often order one to accompany a curry when I go to an Indian restaurant. It’s one of my favourite things. Despite my love for it, for some reasons, I never attempted making one until now. I thought it was complicated and you needed a special oven. But apparently not so:  you can use a normal oven at a very high temperature. A bit like what you would do for a pizza. So I had a go (being very interested in bread, as you know) at making some to accompany a vegetarian Indian dish called  dal recommended to me by my son Tom (recipe to follow).  The naan bread turned out just as it should be: lovely and fluffy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. Great! Definitely something I shall do again. By the way the recipe I used is by Madhur Jaffrey, slightly adapted. Continue reading ‘Naan bread’

La treccia di pane di Meret. Il vero Speckzopf svizzero

No, Meret non porta le trecce, almeno abitualmente, ma alla domenica mattina può decidere di alzarsi prima e infornare la gloriosa treccia svizzera o Speckzopf  (la tradizione dice, chissà, che ha quella forma perché le vedove si tagliavano la treccia e la seppellivano con il marito). Allora avrete la casa che profuma di buono e a pranzo una ricca e fragrante pagnotta che è ottima  soprattutto con l’antipasto, per un brunch o anche da sola. W la Svizzera!

Se non avete Meret (la signorina Emerenzia Servitori) sottomano dovrete accontentarvi della sua ricetta. Eccola qui. Continue reading ‘La treccia di pane di Meret. Il vero Speckzopf svizzero’



My friend Carmelita donated a bag of organic polenta flour to me the other day. Yes, I know, my friends and I don’t give each other standard presents.  For some reasons they tend to be of an edible, home made nature…I wonder why.  :-) Anyway, I was really keen  to use it. As I had made some soup I scoured my  books for some interesting, quick bread recipes to go with it and finally found this one for cornbread.  BINGO!  I could use my polenta! The results were very pleasing indeed:….. the bread looks like a light sponge cake but of course it is savoury. It is really soft and it has a delicate taste, not to mention the lovely yellow colour. Furthermore it  has a slight crunchy texture, thanks to the polenta flour, which makes it particularly interesting. It would be delicious with other added ingredients, like grated cheese, chilli, sweetcorn or bits of bacon. I have been so impressed with it that I’ve decided to share it  rightaway, before other recipes that have been patiently awaiting their turn to achieve blog status. Ha ha… Surprise, surprise it is by Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall. Yes,  AGAIN!  Where has he been all my cooking life? But what can I say? I love his recipes! Continue reading ‘Cornbread’