Rustici di sfoglia, AKA puff pastry bombs!

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Puff pastry is by far one of those kitchen staples I always stock in my freezer. I have attempted making it myself at times and, although I did love the end result, I wasn’t a huge fan of the labour involved. All that folding, rolling, naps in the fridge, turning clock wise business,  really isn’t my forte! I have now found a trusted brand that is made with 100% good quality butter and no canola oil and that means that in a whim I can turn the oven on and create a snack, a meal or a dessert, how easy is that? Let me tell you, these puff pastry bombs are as easy as cutting some disks and filling them with some classic Italian flavours. If you have traveled around Italy and sampled the offerings at local Pasticcerie (patisserie shops), you would have encountered these savoury bites, known as rustici, or pizzette di sfoglia or even  pizzette sarde, but let’s keep it simple here and stick to Rustici!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, they are a life saver when you have unexpected guests and in need of a snack or nibble to go with a Spritz!

Ciao Ciao! xxx

INGREDIENTS, makes 8

2 large puff pastry sheets

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup of crushed tinned tomatoes

8 anchovy fillets

1-2 tablespoons of capers, well rinsed

8 bocconcini

METHOD

  1. Preheat you oven to 180C (350F)
  2. Line an oven tray with baking paper
  3. Cut 16 disks out of the pastry sheets (I used an 8cm/3 inches cutter). Line 8 onto the tray. Spoon a little crushed tomatoes in the middle, leaving the border dry, then top with 1 torn bocconcini, a few capers and an anchovy fillet. I normally don’t add any salt because both capers and anchovies are super salty. Up to you, really). Feel free to add herbs too, I din’t have any!IMG_3416.jpg
  4. Top with the remaining 8 disks, pressing slightly with your fingers to seal the pastry together. Using a smaller cutter, create a indent around the top disk. Don’t press too hard so that you break the pastry, you just want to create the outline of a circle. This will help the pastry puff up nicely.  Brush with beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and puffed up. Enjoy warm or at room temperature!IMG_3417.jpgOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Gluten Free Turkish Bread (Pide)

I bet you have been looking at this picture thinking “that is gluten-free???”… Yes, indeed, it looks rather miraculous and I would love to take full credit for this creation, but the truth is, this impeccable result is the combination of a specialty Gluten Free flour designed for bread baking and a few old tricks of mine. If you are familiar with my gluten free bread recipes, this is no surprise to you, however if this is the first time we meet, I suggest you have look at THIS post and also at THIS one.

This wondrous flour (Caputo Fiore Glut, available in Australia via Basile Imports) combined with extra-virgin olive oil and buttermilk are the hidden secrets of this dough, which is well suited to create Turkish style bread, but I would not hesitate and give this a go for pizza and focaccia as well.

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Happy Gluten free baking!

INGREDIENTS, MAKES 1

500 gr Caputo Fiore Glut (or a GF flour made especially for bread baking)

7 gr of dry yeast

125 ml of water at room temperature

1 cup (250 ml) of buttermilk

2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil for the dough, plus a little extra for drizzling on top

2 teaspoons of salt for the dough, plus more to sprinkle on top

sesame seeds

METHOD

1. Mix the yeast with 100 ml of water and stand for a few minutes until frothy.

2. In a large bowl mix in flour, buttermilk, oil, yeasted water. Mix well with your hands and if it feels too dry add the remaining water. When you first start mixing this type of flour, it feels very sticky and powdery at the same time. Start kneading and after a few minutes it will almost resemble wheat flour. Add salt and knead until smooth.

3. Place back into the bowl. Cover with plastic film and allow to rise for 3-4 hours in a warm spot, until doubled in size.

4. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Lift the dough out of the bowl and, using your hands, stretch it to cover the tray, so that it’s about 3 cm thick. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for 1 hour. In the meantime, turn the oven on to 200 C

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5. Create dimples with your fingers, then drizzle with oil and season with extra salt and sesame seeds. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Take the tray out of the oven and cool the bread onto a rack

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Enjoy!

Silvia xoxo

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SILVIA’S CUCINA is available in stores and online!

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How to make easy, no-knead focaccia!

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This is a culinary wonder! Simply mix the ingredients and let time create your dough. No mess, no fuss. The next day, bake it and enjoy! This is one of my most popular and versatile recipes. You can use this dough to create bread and pizza too. So easy, all you need is to mix, let it rest and bake. Suits vegans and people with nut, egg and dairy allergies too.

You can watch the video for this recipe on my YouTube channel! Don’t forget to leave a comment and to subscribe, it’s free and easy!

How to make easy, no-Knead Focaccia, serves 6

INGREDIENTS

4 cups of 00 or all purpose flour

tip of a teaspoon of dry yeast

1+1/2 cup of water at room temperature, plus a few tablespoons, as needed

2 teaspoons of salt flakes

1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling on top)

METHOD

  1. Mix together, flour, yeast and most of the water and mix with a chopstick. Don’t add all the water at once as you may not need it all, it will depend on your flour. The texture you are looking for is a very soft dough. Add salt and oil and mix with a chopstick. Cover with plastic film and allow to rise for 10-12 hours or until more than doubled in size and very bubbly. In warmer climate this will take less. FullSizeRender.jpg
  2. Preheat your oven to 220 C, 430 F. Using olied hands, gently lift the dough (it will be sticky) out of the bowl and spread it onto an oiled oven tray (or one lined with baking paper). Drizzle with oil on top, create dimples with your fingers and season with salt flakes.
  3. Bake for 25-20 minutes or until golden.
  4. Serve as it it or with thick slices of tomatoes!  IMG_0967.JPG                                                                                                                                  SUBSCRIBE to keep enjoying my recipes for free!   DAY 2 RECIPE 2.00_05_53_11.Still003                                                    Watch this recipe on my YouTube channel   DSC_4086SILVIA’S CUCINA is available in stores and online!MADE IN ITALY is available herehere   and here

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Gluten-free Ricotta Soft Buns

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Here they are, my fiends! After posting a picture of this buns on my Instagram page (@silviacollocaofficial), my inbox got flooded with messages asking for one thing and one thing only: post the recipe, Silvia! I have to say, I do love it when the image of a baking success stirs so much excitement that I cannot keep up with replying to you all. I suppose a little tease is part of the game, the more I read you trepidation, the more I am keen to improve the recipes to deliver formulas that will not fail you. And so, here it is. A recipe for gluten-free soft buns, that you can have as dinner rolls, burger buns, sandwich rolls, or simply slathered in copious amounts of butter and jam. They are truly wonderful freshly baked (although, always wait an hour before eating, they do need to cool down for the crumb to settle), but they are also quite delicious toasted the following day. I have frozen a few and the jury is still out on what they taste like (and what the texture is) once they are thawed, but I officially declare this a recipe success and I now pass it on to you.

If you are familiar with my gluten free bread (read this post here, if you aren’t), you know I use Caputo Fiore Glut GF flour, for optimal result. I have to admit I am yet to find a GF flour that delivers the same results as this one. Please note I am not commercially associated with this brand, so I can’t help you find stores that stock it, but I am confident a google search will indeed help you.

For the love of precision, I am only providing metric measurements, as I feel more confident this way.

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INGREDIENTS, makes 8 small buns

400 gr of Caputo Fiore Glut GF flour

7 gr of dry yeast

130 gr of fresh ricotta

1 tablespoon of honey

50 ml of olive oil

150 ml of water at room temperature

2 teaspoons of salt flakes

1 beaten egg to brush on top

METHOD

1. Put flour and yeast in a large bowl, add water, oil, honey and ricotta and start mixing with a wooden stick.

2. When the dough is coming together, add salt and start kneading. Tip the dough onto a floured bench and continue kneading until smooth. If it seems too sticky, add 1-2 tablespoons of flour. Similarly, if too dry, add a little water. Keep in mind that this is meant to be a soft dough.

3. Once smooth, roll into a ball, place back into your bowl. Cover with plastic film and rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours or until doubled in size.

4. Using oiled hands, lift out the dough that has risen, stretch it into a rectangle, fold each side into the middle, then roll into a ball and prove for 1 hour or until risen by 2/3.

5. Dust your bench with GF flour, stretch the dough into a rectangle, fold each side into the middle, then roll into a log. Cut the log into 8 pieces and roll them into a ball. Arrange them close together onto a tray lined with baking paper. Allow to rise for 40 minutes.

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6. Bring your oven to 200 C (390 F), conventional. Brush the buns with beaten eggs and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Each oven is different, so your baking time may be longer or slightly shorter. Cool on a rack for 1 hour before eating, to allow the crumb to cook through.

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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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A Wonderful Gluten Free Bread

IMG_0399.jpgIt is with great joy and anticipation that I share this recipe with you today. I have been trying to create decent and palatable gluten free breads for longer than I care to remember. I have had so many failed attempts in my kitchen, the fingers on both hands aren’t enough to count. My main concern with the end product was a lack of flavor and a texture that was together too crumbly, too crunchy and too sticky. The many requests I received from you inspired me to look for more suitable flours and, about a month ago I got my hands on Caputo Fiore Glut flour, especially made for bread baking. And the bread pictured above is a result of such fortunate encounter. In case you are wondering, yes, it tastes as good as it looks! I served it to my husband and eldest son, who are used to eating my home-made wheat sourdough, and for a moment they didn’t even realize this bread was gluten free! I have trialed this recipe six times, to make sure I have the right familiarity and confidence to talk you through what to expect when using, touching and tasting it. I hope my experiments and advise are enough for you to try for yourself and succeed.

PS I would advise you go online and find out how to get your hands on this flour, as I am not sure substituting with any other GF flour would work. I have no commercial association with this brand, so I can’t be helpful in suggesting where to find it. Please note I am in Sydney, Australia. You can try searching for “deglutinated” bread flour” and see what you find.

Please remember this flour contains no gluten, which, once reacting with water and yeast is the force that makes the bread dough rise. As there is no gluten in this recipe, the dough will not rise as much as a regular wheat loaf.

This bread is very similar to the flavor and texture of sourdough. If you are after a softer type of bread (like sandwich bread or rolls), hang in there, I will start testing for those soon!

INGREDIENTS 

450 gr Caputo Fiore Glut GF flour

1×7 gr sachet of dry yeast

300 ml of luke warm water

1 teaspoon of  GF rice malt syrup (or honey)

1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons of salt flakes

METHOD

Please note I have only included metric measurements as this is how I tested this recipe and feel more comfortable. You can try translating into oz, but I would avoid cups, as they are not precise enough for this type of preparation. 

The timing and oven temperature is based on my own home oven (Ilve). All ovens seem to vary slightly, so you may need to adjust according to your oven specifications

1. Place flour in a large mixing bowl, add yeast, rice malt syrup, oil and 250 ml of water. Use a wooden or plastic chopstick to mix ingredients together. Add the rest of the water gradually, as needed. Add the salt and mix through.

At this stage the dough looks a bit like cement, hence the use of a stick instead of kneading with your hands.

2. Once the dough is coming together, use your hands to squish it like you would with play dough. You will soon start to notice it’s becoming “kneadable”. Flour your bench with GF flour, tip the dough onto the bench and start reading until smooth. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Roll into a ball, place it back in the bowl, dust with GF flour and cover with plastic film, to rest and prove for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

3. Once the dough has proven, tip it onto a bench, dust with GF flour and stretch the dough into a rectangle.

You will notice it will look slightly crumbly at this stage.

Fold each side into the middle, then roll into a ball. Repeat two more times. Shape back into a ball and leave to prove, smooth side down, onto a bread basket or colander well dusted with GF flour. Prove for 2 hour or until almost doubled in size. In cold climate this can take longer.

You will notice that the more you fold and roll, the more it starts resembling wheat dough. Basically we are cheating this GF flour to act like wheat flour! Also the folding and rolling will ensure you a nicer crumbs, dotted with little holes, just like wheat sourdough.

4. Preheat your oven to 250 C (480 F), conventional. Once the oven has reached the desired temperature, gently tip the risen dough onto a cast iron pot lined with baking paper. If you have proved the bread in a bread basket or colander, make sure the pattern embossed onto the dough is on top. Score the top with a sharp knife or razor. Put the lid on (make sure there are no plastic parts) and bake it for 35 minutes. Turn the heat down to 220 C (420 F), take the lid off and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the top is a dark caramel. Bake it for a little longer, if need be. You know your loaf is cooked through if it sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom, Take the pot out of the over (please use mitts!), lift out the bread, peel off the baking paper and cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before slicing.

If you don’t have a cast iron pot, simply place the proved dough onto an oven tray lined with baking paper. Score the top with a knife or razor, put in the oven and spray the top with water using a spray bottle. Repeat the spraying after 5 minutes, This will ensure you a lovely, crunchy crust, with a little shine to it. Bake at 250 C for 35 minutes, then turn the oven down to 220 C to finish baking. Cool on a wire rack as indicated above.IMG_0647.jpg

This bread will keep for a few days, wrapped in baking paper. When slicing, always use a serrated bread knife, as the crust really needs it. When eating once it has just cooled down, this bread is at its very best! Crunchy crust and soft moist crumb. Once it starts going stale, it is lovely toasted, in fact I have just had a little jam toast using a 2-day old GF bread!

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SILVIA’S CUCINA is available in stores and online!

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Cornetti (Italian Croissants)

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For those of you who have travelled to Italy this is old news: we love a sweet breakfast. We also love a fast breakfast. Often standing by the counter of a busy bar after we have elbowed our way to the front line, where we are inevitably seduced by an array of sweet offerings. From Crostatine (mini tarts), bomboloni (donuts) to our one true love, the Cornetto, an Italian version of the famous French croissant. And if you think that standing by a busy counter to sample such treat defies the purpose or having the treat in the first place, think again! We don’t need to savor it. In fact we Italians devour it with gusto, especially once we have decisively dunked it into our espresso or cappuccino (no soy lattes or frapuccinos where I come from…). Although I am a fierce admirer (and consumer) of the French croissant,  with its buttery, flaky layers of pastry, my loyalty lies with the denser, richer Italian version. A masterful combination of brioche pastry laminated with butter and shaped into perfect crescents. Yes, you get the flaky, buttery layers as well as a sweeter, more perfumed dough that will make all your resolution crumble at the mere sight of it. Arguably these babies are a bit of a labour of love. Do not go near this recipe if you need instant gratification in the kitchen. However, if, like me, you love a baking challenge, don you apron and get the flour ready! See you on the other side. With coffee!

INGREDIENTS, Makes 16/20

For the pastry

500 gr of strong baker’s flour
60 gr of sugar
2 tablespoons of soft butter
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
finely grated zest of 1 orange or lemon
1/2 cup of water at room temperature
1-1/2 tablespoons of dried yeast
For the lamination
200 gr of soft butter
For the glaze
1  beaten egg mixed with 2 tablespoons of milk
a little raw cane sugar for dusting on top
 WARNING!!!
Start this recipe the day before. Better not to attempt this unless you have a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook… Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
HOW TO
1. Dissolve the yeast in the water and stand for 5 minutes or until frothy. In the meantime put 3/4 of the flour in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook (I told ya!), pour in the yeasted water and mix on low speed for 1 minutes. Add 1 egg and mix well, then add the second egg and mix until well incorporated into the dough. At this point the dough will be very sticky. Don’t panic, it’s all ok! Add the rest of the flour and the sugar and beat on low-medium speed for 5 minutes, the add the 2 tablespoons of soft butter, the orange zest, the vanilla and mix well. If the dough is still too wet add 1 or 2 tablespoons of four, but keep in mind that the dough needs to be a little sticky.
2. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and rest for 30 minutes. After that time, take the dough out of the bowl, stretch it into a rectangle and fold it onto itself. Place it back in the bowl, covered. Repeat after 30 minutes. After the second folding of the dough, allow to rise at room temperature for 3 hours or until doubled in size.
3. Roll the dough onto a floured working bench to shape a rectangle about 1 cm thick. Distribute the cubed, soft butter onto the rolled out dough, then fold into three like you were folding a business letter and roll gently with a rolling pin. Cover with plastic film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, roll the dough into a rectangle then fold into three again, cover with plastic film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Repeat two more time.
4. After the dough has rested for the fourth time, roll it out to shape a circle. Using a pastry cutter or a butter knife, cut the circle into 4 sections and each section into 4 or 5 isosceles triangles, according to how many cornetti you wish to shape and their sizes. You should end up with 16/20 triangles. Roll each triangle onto itself starting from the base and gently stretching the dough. The idea is that the more you can roll it up, the prettier it will look. However the taste will be the same, so if this is too finicky for you, don’t stress! Tuck the thinner tip under the belly of your newly shaped crescent to make sure they don’t come apart during baking. Repeat with the remaining dough.
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At this point you can let them rise at room temperature for 1 hour and then bake them (and eat them!) otherwise you can lay them onto a tray lined with baking paper, cover the tray with plastic film and slow prove them overnight, ready to be baked in the morning. Alternatively, you can freeze them in the tray. Once frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag. When you want to bake them, simply thaw them out for 3-4 hours, glaze and bake! I often do that as we are unlikely to eat 16-20 cornetti in one sitting…however tempting it is!
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5. When you are ready to bake them, bring your oven to 200 C (350 F), glaze the cornetti, dust the with sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Dunk away!
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Adapted from Anice e Cannella

Watch Made in Italy with Silvia Collocaon DVDSilvia’s Cucina the cookbook is available in stores and online!Silvia’s new book Made in Italy with Silvia Colloca is on sale now!97819213839779781921383373Made in Italy with SilviaColloca is produced by SBS Australia andFremantlemediaSilvia’s Cucina is on Facebook Twitter and Instagram

 

Easy Spelt and Rye Onion Focaccia

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Many friends of mine seem to be under the impression that I spend my days covered in flours, hands stuck in sticky doughs ready to be shaped into extravagant breads and pizzas. Oh, how I have deceived you with my Instagram posts! The bare truth is that I make a large batch of dough once or twice a week, I let it slow prove in the fridge and only pinch some out when I need to bake starchy goods. I find this method to be very efficient. Basically, I make a mess in the kitchen only sporadically, but I can enjoy the benefits of home-baked goods daily. And so it happened that I had this left over batch of healthy dough fermenting at cold temperature, ready for me to roll, top with sweet onion and enjoy for lunch with a tomato salad and a cold beer. Heaven!

INGREDIENTS , makes 1 large Focaccia

200 gr (1-1/3 cup) of baker’s flour (strong white flour)

200 gr (1-1/3 cup)of spelt flour

100 gr (2/3 cup) of rye flour

1/2 teaspoon of yeast

340 (1-1/3 cup) ml of water

2 teaspoons of salt

(double the quantity of the above ingredients if you wish to make a double batch)

3-4 French shallots, thinly sliced

3-4 tablespoons of extra-vigin olive oil for drizzling on top

Rosemary sprigs

HOW TO

1. Mix flour, water and yeast together with a wooden spoon until combined. Add salt and mix well. Your mixture will look and feel quite sticky. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let it prove for 10/14 hours at room temperature. The dough will look bubbly, wet and it will have grown in size considerably.  At this point, you can use the dough as your focaccia base or you can rest the bowl in the fridge, well covered with plastic film for up to 5 days. The flavour and structure of the dough will improve the longer you slow prove it. The dough used for the focaccia pictured here had been in the fridge for 2 days after the long fermentation at room temperature.

2. Preheat you oven to 220 C (430 F).

3. Line an oven tray lined with baking paper. Tip the dough onto the tray, spread the dough with wet hands to the deisred shape. Using a rolling pin won’t work as the dough is very wet. Be mindful when manipulating the dough not to burst the air bubbles that will have formed during the slow fermentation. Those coveted air pockets hold the secret to a light-as-a-feather crust.

4. Top the base with the sliced shallots, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and salt

5.  Rest the focaccia at room temperature for 30 minutes.

6. Bake for 15 minutes then add the rosemary (adding in at the beginning will make it burn in the oven). Bake for another 10-15  minutes, or until the crust is caramel brown and the bottom is crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Silvia’s new book Made in Italy with Silvia Colloca will be on sale from November 11 2014!

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Wholemeal Focaccia with Olives and Chillie (Focaccia integrale con olive e peperoncino)

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It’s the weekend and this wondrous realization springs a few things to mind: sleeping in (we have trained the boys to entertain themselves for an hour or so, until we are ready to get out of our cave! So far so good, they are both still intact…), leisurely breakfast and baking! These three simple joys of mine incapsulate the intrinsic beauty of spending time at home with the ones I love and I cherish them dearly. Sleeping in is something I have always been terrific at, it’s embedded in my DNA, I’m Italian, as much as I try to disguise it, I am lazy! The long, indulgent breakfast is possibly not so Italian, we are famous for our quickies at the counter of a café as we rapidly ingest a short black and devour pastries. I suppose when I became an Australian citizen I acquired this new, lovely habit, along with excellent swear words and slang! Then there’s the baking… if you are familiar with my recipes, you know by now I’m a self-confessed baking addict, especially when it comes to yeasted goods. And so I can’t think of anything more perfect than kneading a silky dough, watch it grow and top it with some Italian favourites. This wholemeal focaccia with olives and chillie is just what I need.

INGREDIENTS, serves 8-10

1 tablespoon of dried yeast

1 cup lukewarm water

1 teaspoon of barley malt syrup or honey

1-2/3 cup of wholemeal (wholewheat) flour +1 cup of 00 or plain flour

2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons of salt

For the glaze : 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of water

salt for sprinkling on top

1/2 cup of mixd pitted olives

1 chillie, sliced

HOW TO

1. In a large bowl dissolve  yeast with 3/4 water, add  flour, oil and  barley malt syrup or honey. Mix for for a few minutes, then add the salt. If you think the dough is too dry, add the remaining water. Wholemeal flour can require a little extra moisture than regular flour.

2. Knead vigorously until it looks smooth and elastic, this will take about 10 minutes if doing by hand or 5 if enlisting the help of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.

3. Shape into a ball and rest for 20 minutes in a bowl, covered with a tea towel.

4. Stretch it with your hand to form a rectangle and fold into 3. This step will give strength and texture to your dough and is essential in order to obtain a soft,  airy and chewy focaccia. Repeat one last time after 30 minutes.

5. Place the folded dough in an oiled oven tray, cover it with a tea-towel and let it prove for around 90 minutes or until it doubles in size.

6. Once the dough has risen, stretch it out to cover the tray and sprinkle the surface with seasalt.

7. Let it rest for another 30 minutes, then, using your fingertips, press the dough down onto the tray to create lots of little holes.

8. Drizzle the holes with the glaze and sprinkle with some more salt. Top with pitted olives and roughly sliced chillies.

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9. Let your focaccia rest for another 20 minutes, while your oven heats up to 200 C (390 F).

10. Bake for 20-25 minutes  until it looks slighly golden and delicious. Allow to cool at room temperature in the tray for 10-15 minutes, then serve cut into pieces.

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Spelt and Oats No-knead Bread (pane con avena e farro)

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The benefits of oats and spelt have been glorified by the health conscious and seem to be living a new renaissance these days. How lovely to think that these have been staple ingredients in the Italian diet since time immemorial, proving once more that our traditional cuisine boasts health recipes to suit most dietary requirements. Naturally such perks are complemented by one other fundamental asset: the both impart a warm, nutty flavour to bread, making them you best allay in the kitchen. So, if you are trying to stay away from refined white bread, this recipe might be just what the doctor ordered.

INGREDIENTS, makes 1 loaf

300 gr (2-3/4 cups) of spelt flour

200 gr (1- 2/3 cups) of unbleached baker’s flour or all purpose flour

380 ml (1- 2/3 cups) of lukewarm water

1 teaspoon of dry yeast

1 teaspoon of honey

2 teaspoons of salt

1-2 handfuls of rolled oats for dusting on top

HOW TO

1. Mix the flours in a large bowl, add the yeast, honey and water and mix until combined.

2. Add the salt and mix through using a wooden spoon or a spatula. The mixture will be rather sticky and will not require kneading as such. Just mix until all the ingredients are amalgamated. If you think the dough is a little dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.

3. Leave the dough to prove in a bowl covered with a damp tea towel for 8-12 hours or until it has more than doubled in size.

4. Dust a working bench with flour, tip the risen dough onto it and fold it into three. Roll it back into a ball using floured hands (the dough will be very sticky, don’t be alarmed!) and place in on top of an oven tray lined with baking paper to prove for 1-2 hours at room temperature, covered with a tea towel.

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5. Heat up your oven to 220 C/430 F. Place an empty metal bowl or skillet on the bottom tray to heat up.

6. When the dough has risen for the second time, dust it with oats and slide the tray in the oven. Fill the hot bowl or skillet with cold water to create steam and close the oven door to block the heat from escaping. After 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 200 C/390 F. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.

7. Cool at room temperature on a wire rack. Allow to cool down to 1 hour before slicing.

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