Gluten free Almond Crunch Amaretti (from my YouTube Channel)

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Have you subscribed to my brand new YouTube channel yet? It launched a few weeks ago and it is steadily gathering followers, which excites me greatly. I am keen to create a community of like minded food lovers I can offer brand new video recipes to. This is the LINK. Check it out and let me know your thoughts!

This recipe is the first I uploaded on the channel, hoping that a cookie that is simultaneously soft and crunchy, delicious and easy to make as well as gluten and dairy free would possibly appeal to most of you! Please watch the video for more detailed instructions and to see me at work in my actual Sydney kitchen.

Ciao Ciao! xx

Ingredients Makes 16

2-1/2 cups of ground (almond meal)

1-1/4 cup of caster sugar (extra fine sugar)

2 egg whites (from large eggs)

1 teaspoon of vanilla paste (or extract) or seeds of 1 vanilla bean

1-1/2 cups of almond flakes

1. Preheat you oven to 170 C (340 F). Line a tray with baking paper.

2. Mix ground almond and sugar in a large bowl. Add egg whites and vanilla. Mix until a sticky paste forms.

3. Place the almond flakes in a bowl. Divide the almond paste into walnut sized balls. roll each ball into the almond flakes and shape into crescents. Place on oven tray, slightly distanced apart.

4. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden. Cool on the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cook completely.

SILVIA’S CUCINA is available in stores and online!

MADE IN ITALY is available herehere   and here

LA DOLCE VITA is available online  on Amazon  and here

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My New YouTube channel!

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My dear friends, it is with great excitement and little trepidation that I make this announcement: I have launched a YouTube channel dedicated to home-cooking, featuring brand new, easy recipes that cater from everyone. From Vegan cakes, to easy focaccia, gluten free cookies, sturdy sausage stews and home-made pasta! This is a major undertaking as it is entirely, 100% my own effort. I have written the content, tested the recipes, styled the set (my own kitchen!), prepped the food, washed the dishes, and broken a few glasses in the process (clumsy!) Then I hired a camera team and we shot it, at my house, while the kids were at school and baby Luna was snoozing or quietly playing in the background (sometimes you can hear her cooing too). Over 2 massive days we managed to record 10 mini episodes that I plan to release over the next weeks, with two already available on my channel.

This has been an entirely different process to the shows I have previously made with SBS and ABC. Although I was indeed a creator, writer and producer of my shows, I also had a team of expert TV professionals to guide me along the way, in a effort to create something that was entertaining and in line with the broadcasting network. I have been very lucky to be able to produce two shows like MADE IN ITALY and SILVIA’S ITALIAN TABLE, but the time seems ripe now for me to try and build my own content, in a simpler and very authentic way. This is me, in my Sydney kitchen, with no fancy lighting, equipment or elaborate make up. This is as close as it gets to being in the room with me. No bells and whistles. And no commercial breaks either!

I truly hope you enjoy the experience. Please take a moment to visit my channel and subscribe (it’s free and easy) and if you like the content, please comment and share, so we can create a nice community of like minded people. The more of you take the time to support this and subscribe, the more I am able to produce more content, so I thank you sincerely for your support.

Silvia Colloca Food Channel

That’s all for now, love

Silvia xxx

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Christmas Marbled Ciambella

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5 more sleeps… If the Christmas spirit is abundant in your house as it is in mine, you are probably busy in the kitchen baking cookies, getting high on ginger and nutmeg and humming carols on repeat.

It is no mystery that this is a time of the year I cherish and hold dear. I believe in the magic of Christmas, in the mystical power of the nativity story and I am known to spot Santa’s elves in every corner, helping the old fella compiling his “naughty or nice list”.

I do know for a fact that a sure way to fast track a prime spot in the “nice” list is by baking Christmas treats, so if you need inspiration, this cake is for you. It’s a rich Italian ciambella (bundt cake) infused with the classic spices that characterize baked good this time of the year, and is sure to be a hit amongst humans and elves alike…

INGREDIENTS

5 eggs

1+1/4 cup of brown sugar

3 tablespoons of thick Greek Yogurt

70 ml of olive oil or grape seed oil

1+1/2 cup of self raising flour (or all purpose flour mixed with 1 tablespoon of baking powder)

3/4 almond meal (ground almonds)

1/4 cup of milk

1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon of allspice

1 teaspoon of mace

1-1/2 tablespoons of Dutch cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons of Frangelico or Marsala Wine

METHOD

Preheat your oven to 170 C/340 F and grease a flour a bundt tin.

Beat the eggs with sugar until pale and fluffy. Add oil and yogurt and mix well. Add flour, almond meal, spices and milk and mix to combine. Divide the batter into two bowls. Mix one with the cocoa and Frangelico (or Marsala).

Pour the pale batter in the tin, then pour in the cocoa one and use a chopstick to swirl it though. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until  skewer comes out clean if inserted into the centre of the cake. Cool in the tin completely before turning out.

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Merry Christmas!

SILVIA’S CUCINA is available in stores and online!

MADE IN ITALY is available herehere   and here

LA DOLCE VITA is available online  on Amazon  and here

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Silvia’s Cucina is on Facebook Twitter and Instagram

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Drizzle Hazelnut Biscotti

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Some exciting work commitment has brought me back to Italy for the last couple of months, and if ever I needed to reaffirm the love I feel for my home land, this time has provided just that. And more. Since moving to England first and then to Australia, I have only ever been back to Italy for a few weeks at a time, immersed in family gatherings and trying to catch up with all my friends at once. This time it’s been different. I’ve travelled, with the heart of an Italian but with the eyes of a tourist, trying to take in the simple and utter beauty of this blessed country, avoiding doing the thing that we Italians tend to do, taking Italy for granted. I have discovered, learnt, tasted and more importantly, I have fallen in love all over with my cultural inheritance. Ah, yes, and then there’s the food. The glorious Italian offering of exquisite produce, cooked simply and eaten with gusto and love for life. Mostly healthy, sometimes indulgent, at other times just downright opulent! These chocolate and hazelnut biscotti sit in the middle…one or two dunked in your morning coffee or afternoon tea won’t do enough damage to your waistline, but will still provide that often needed sugar hit!

INGREDIENTS (makes a lot!)

450gr. (4 cups) Self raising Flour
350gr.1 3/4 cups) Sugar
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste or extract (or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean)
1 tablespoon of milk
a pinch of salt
120 gr.(3/4 cup) hazelnuts, roughly chopped

To decorate

1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips melted

How to

1. Beat the eggs with  sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy.

2. Add the sifted flour, butter,salt, milk, then the nuts.

3. Shape the dough with floured hands to form into two logs and  baked them in a medium oven for around 25 minutes.


 4. Cool at room temperature for 3-5 minutes, then slice them at an angle using a sharp bread knife. You will notice than the inside of the biscuits is still a little wet. This is fine. Place the sliced, semi-cooked dough back onto the tray and into the oven and toast each side for about 5 minutes.

5. Cool the biscotti at room temperature. In the meantime melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Drizzle the chocolate liberally over the biscotti. Ideally, allow to set before eating!

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Silvia’s Cucina the cookbook is available in stores and online

Author-Bio1-Silvia

 

X’mas Hazelnut Cookies (Dolcetti alle Nocciole)

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The Christmas season is heralded in my house with the inebriating smell of sweet treats baking in the oven, may they be my almond pastries, favoured by my boys for their resemblance with Rudolph’s red, shiny nose, or my dad’s morsel of choice, soft hazelnut cookies. These rustic looking nuggets are simply irresistible and they can happily carry you throughout your busy festive day: perfectly dunked in your morning coffee, afternoon tea or after dinner digestivo, they are sure to become your new best friend. The fact that they are rolled and baked in under 30 minutes will make them highly addictive…You are warned!

INGREDIENTS, makes 20

2 egg whites

1 cup of hazelnut meal (ground hazelnuts)

1-1/2 cup of icing sugar, plus more for rolling the cookies in

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, or the seeds from half vanilla bean

HOW TO

1. Heat up your oven to 180 C (350 F)

2. Mix egg whites, gournd hazelnut, vanilla and sugar in a large bowl until a thick paste forms.

3. Pinch off small bits of paste to shape balls the size of a large walnut.

4. Generously roll the balls in plenty of icing sugar.

5. Place the cookies, well distanced apart, onto an oven tray lined with baking paper.

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6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cracked and beautifully puffed up.

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Cool at room temperature and merrily consume with glee.

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Silvia’s Cucina is on Facebook Twitter and Instagram

Silvia’s Cucina the cookbook is now available in stores and online!

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Silvia’s Cucina, the cookbook!

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My dear friends, it is with great trepidation and excitement that I can finally announce to you all that my first cookbook, Silvia’s Cucina will be released  in stores and online on September 25! This is just a day after the wonderful Matt Moran will host my book launch at his restaurant, Chiswick. Have I won the lottery, I wonder?                                                                              I have had the honour of being hand-picked by the delightful Julie Gibbs at Penguin Australia amongst a multitude of food bloggers. To this day I can’t quite fathom why she chose my blog and my story over so many on offer to her, but, here I am, exuding pride and joy as I share with you such exciting news. One thing is for sure, I would not be writing this post hadn’t I been so lucky to gather such a generous and loyal readership, so keen to explore my recipes, try them and share them with friends and family. To you all, GRAZIE MILLE! The process of writing this book has been exceptionally creative and fulfilling and it took about 18 months to go from first day of writing, to print. But there it is, my legacy in 220 pages!                         Take a look at a few images (photos by Chris Chen) and let me know what you think!

Love,

Silvia

My Mum’s Roasted Capsicum Salad

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Il Peposo, A Feisty Tuscan Stew

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Torta Gianduja, flourless dark chocolate and hazelnut cake

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Walnut, Dark Chocolate and Honey Flourless Cake

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Some unions seem to make perfect seasonal sense. Think spring and a bowl of freshly picked, oozy strawberries to dip in cream, comes summer and hardly anything will come as close as the perfect marriage of stone fruit and almonds. Autumn is heralded by an abundance of figs best served along with pistachios and ripe cheeses and as the weather cools ever further, what could we crave more than opulent, dark chocolate and freshly shelled walnuts? As much as they are wonderful enjoyed as they are, as an after dinner treat (better still with a shot of Grappa…), they give their very best when turned into a rich, molten cake batter, enriched by Italians cream cheese of choice, mascarpone.

INGREDIENTS, serves 8

170 gr of dark chocolate chips

170 gr of Mascarpone

2 tablespoons of Cointreau

2 tablespoons of honey

120 gr of shelled walnuts, ground in a food processor

200 gr of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of dutch cocoa powder

1 scant tablespoon of baking powder

3 eggs, whole

HOW TO

1. Melt the chocolate in  a double boiler or in the microwave. Add honey and liquor and mix through. Add the mascarpone and set aside to cool slightly.

2. Process the nuts with the sugar and cocoa. Add the baking powder and mix through.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the nuts mixture.

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4. Line a cake tin (or a muffin tin, if making individual cakes) with grease-proof paper, pour in the batter and bake in a medium over (170 C, 340 F) for 35-40 minutes or until the sides are slightly cracked but the centre is still a little wobbly (if using a muffin tin, baking time will shorten by 5-10 minutes). Allow to cool at room temperature in the tin before serving.

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5. Serve dusted with icing, sugar, cocoa powder or drizzled with honey, preferably along with a generous helping of vanilla gelato or whipped cream.

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6. Start dieting tomorrow…

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Note:

Check out my other flourless chocolate cake recipe, Torta Gianduja (hazelnut and Chocolate Cake)

Fig and Pistachio Frangipane Tart

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I am a summer person. I was born in summer. My true self seems to come to life at the early signs of the warmer months approaching. I hardly ever feel the heat, in spite of being feisty and hot-blooded, I don’t tend to perspire in excess either. Alas, summer is gradually fading here in Australia, the days getting shorter and cooler and, as I prepare for the months to come with stacks of home-made tomato passata and chillie oil in the pantry, I relish the bounty of seasonal fruit this time of the year brings, saluting the summer that has been and heralding a new autumn, in the way only figs can do. Sweet consolation!

INGREDIENTS, serves 8

For the pastry

250 gr/8 oz of  flour

110 gr/ 3,6 oz butter, cold and cut into small cubes

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon of vanilla paste or extract

For the Frangipane Filling

100 gr/ 1 cup of pistachio

100 gr/ 1 cup sugar

100 gr/ 3.5 oz butter, soft

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons flour

6 figs cut into thin slices

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HOW TO
1. To make the pastry, put all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with blades and pulse until you have moist crumbs. If the dough is too dry add 1 or 2 tablespoons of cold water and pulse again until moist. Tip the crumbs onto a floured surface, press them together with your hands to shape a ball, wrap it in plastic film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2. In the meantime, prepare the frangipane filling. Put the pistachio in a food processor and process until they resemble coarse flour (like almond flour). Add the rest of the ingredients, process for about 20- second or until nicely combined. Put the paste onto a bowl, cover with plastic film and rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
3. Bring your oven to 170 C (340 F). Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it thinly between tow sheets of baking paper. Put the rolled pastry onto a tart dish (well greased and floured), cover with a sheet of baking paper, top with baking beans of rice and blind bake for 15 minutes. Take the tart shell out of the oven. Remove the paper with the beans (or rice) and put the tart shell back in the oven for 5 minutes until pale golden. Rest at room temperature until cold.
4. Fill with the pistachio frangipane filling, top with the sliced figs and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the frangipane has set and the sides are slightly crusty.
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Serve as it is or with a generous helping of vanilla ice-cream.
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Hazelnut Amaretti (Amaretti alle Nocciole)

Just when I thought I couldn’t make Amaretti because I was out of almond meal (and in no way inclined to take a trip to the supermarket with child and toddler in tow) I found a half-packet of hazelnut meal hidden in the cupboard. The idea struck me immediately, but what if it wouldn’t work? Good news, it did! The savoury nuttiness of the hazelnuts , combined with the gentle sweetness of the meringue and the bitter kick of cocoa powder turns this classic Italian cookie into an irresistible grown-up affair. The addition of chocolate chips has the potential to lure children into tasting them and enjoying them with gusto.

Ingredients

1 egg white, at room temperature

75 gr (1/3 cup +1 tablespoon) of sugar+extra for sprinkling

140 gr (1 cup +2 tablespoons) of hazelnut meal (roasted ground hazelnuts*)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 scant tablespoon of cocoa powder

24 dark chocolate chips

How to

1. In a clean dry bowl, beat the egg white with the sugar until they are stiff and shiny. If you are impatient, like I am, I suggest using a hand-eld electric beater to do the job.

2. Gently fold in the hazelnut meal, add vanilla and cocoa and mix well until all the ingredients are well amalgamated. Don’t panic it , at first , it looks like the egg white won’t be enough to bind the dry ingredients. It will come together in 1 or two minutes and you will be left with a soft, sticky batter.

3. Shape the dough into 12 balls, they size of a walnut and dust each ball with  sugar.

4. Gently push your index finger in the middle of each ball to create a little crate. Push two chocolate chips into each crate.

5. Put the shaped amaretti on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

6. In the meantime bring your oven temperature to 170 C (340 F).

7. Bake for 25/30 minutes or until the amaretti are slightly cracked, but retain some softness. To make sure they are cooked through check that the base is firm and tanned.

Cool them at room temperature (not in the oven,as my friend Helen did…) and enjoy with coffee, gelato, hot chocolate or, if you can handle it, some fiery Grappa.

* Toast shelled hazelnuts in a hot oven for ten to fifteen minutes. As soon a you take them from the oven, rub the nuts vigorously with a towel to remove their bitter brown skins. Grind in a food processor fitted with a sharp blade.

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Panforte, an Italian Christmas treat

Panforte is as traditional Italian as it can get.

Legend has it, and some historical accounts may prove this too, that crusaders themselves used to carry, on the way to their quest, slabs of what was described as a durable confection made with honey and sugar syrup, spices, nuts and dried fruits: Panforte, that is.

It’s name means “Strong bread” , which refers to the generous amounts of spices such as clove and cinnamon as well as black pepper.

It is one of the most popular and loved Italian confections, that seems to be mostly consumed around Christmas, especially in Tuscany, its geographical home-land.

The recipe for Panforte is one of those controversial ones. The reason being that the Tuscan confectioners from Siena would rather set they hair on fire than share their century-old knowledge.

So, for avid home-bakers like myself the choice is to experiment in the kitchen until I get a good approximation of what they proudly produce in the Tuscan hills.

Experimenting may at times involve burnt caramel and a non-rescuable frying pan, but other than this minor set back, I think I may have come up with something worthy.

And guess what? Since I’m not Tuscan but Lombard/Abruzzese, I will happily share this with you….

INGREDIENTS

  • 50g (1/3 cup)  whole blanched almonds
  • 50g (1/3 cup)roasted hazelnuts
  • 3 table spoons coarsely chopped dessert figs
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons mixed peel
  • 55 g (1/2 cup) plain flour
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon of freshly found black pepper
  • 40 g chopped dark chocolate (70%, preferably)
  • 85 (1/4 cup) ml  honey
  • 3 tablespoons  sugar

Preheat oven to 170°C/ 340 Farenheit.

In the meantime, make a syrup by dissolving the sugar with the honey and the dark chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce and keep simmering, without stirring for around 2 minutes. Do not leave the stove at this stage or you will end up with burnt caramel….don’t ask me how I know…

Place almonds, hazelnuts and dried fruit in a large bowl.  Sift over the cocoa, the flour, the ground pepper and spices and stir to combine. Add the chocolate and honey syrup and mix well. At first to will look dry, have faith and keep combining until you obtain a dark, gooey paste. If it struggles to come together , add 1 tablespoon of honey.

Line an oven dish with non-stick baking paper, pour in your panforte mix and smooth and flatten the surface with the back of a spoon or by pressing baking paper over it.

Bake for around 20 minutes or until just set. As it cools down it will firm up more.

Cut into squares, dust with icing sugar and accompany with coffee or grappa. Or both!

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