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 Marmalade Scones

Gluten free flour can be rather tricky to manipulate. I often find it at once sticky and powdery, a combination of texture that baffles me! I have found that the easiest way to work it is to start the dough in a bowl and mix with with a chopstick or a wooden spoon until a rough dough is formed. At that point is a lot easier to knead it, although it’s important to keep in mind that the feeling will always be different from handling a wheat dough. The flavour and texture of the baked good is, in comparison to a dough made with regular flour, denser and blander, and this is why I trick up my GF scone dough by adding flavorings such as vanilla and a lacquer of sweet and tart jam. As the scones bake and expand, the jammy filling spills out, creating a very attractive coating that imparts a caramelized flavor to your scones. All you need is a dollop of cream!

Ps The dimpled hands in the picture below the method belong to my baby Luna, who has learnt to crawl her way to any good I attempt to photograph!

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INGREDIENTS, serves 6

300 gr of Gluten Free self raising flour (or add 1 tablespoon of GF baking powder to your regular GF flour)

1/2 cup fo milk

2 tablespoons of grapeseed or light olive oil

2 tablespoons of caster sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla paste

2 tablespoons of water(optional)

3 tablespoons of marmalade

METHOD 

  1. Turn on the oven to 180 C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl mix flour, milk, oil, sugar and vanilla. If t seems to dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water. Mix well, then try to knead (as hard as it is to knead a gluten free dough!) to smoothen the dough.
  3. Roll the dough to 2 cm thick, then spread 2 tablespoons of jam over 1 side of the rolled dough. flip the other side on top of the one with the jam, then roll into a log (make sure not to push the jam out as you do so)
  4. Cut the log into 6, roll them up slightly and place them onto the tray, close together (I like my scones to stick together when they bake, and then I take extra pleasure in tearing them apart once baked! Go figure…) Brush the top with the remaining jam, then bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, then serve warm, as they are of with extra jam and cream.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEnjoy!Silvia xoxo

    Did you know I have launched a brand new YouTube channel? Click here and subscribe to get all my new recipes! It’s free and easy! xxx

    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

     

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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Cocoa Swirl Pavlova (from my YouTube channel)

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Video recipe for this beauty is HERE

Pavlova is a much loved dessert from downunder. Some argue it originated in Australia, others will say it is an invention from New Zealand. It doesn’t change the simple fact that this culinary marvel is the easiest showstopper you could possibly present your guests with! The mounds of whipped meringue, both gooey and crunchy is enough to send my head spinning, and when paired with cream and cherries, well, that is just heavenly! Did I mention it is also gluten free?…

Please visit my YouTube Channel to watch me make it and find out more about how to whip egg whites properly, and don’t forget to subscribe, so you can get all my new video recipes!

xxx

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4-6

4 large egg whites at room temperature

1 small pinch of salt

t 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1-1/4 cup of caster sugar

1 tablespoon of vinegar

1 table spoon of corn starch

2 tablespoons of Dutch cocoa powder

200 ml of whipped cream

cherries to top

METHOD

1. Preheat your oven to 120 C (250 F), conventional. Line a rectangular oven dish with baking paper.

2. Whisk the egg whites with salt and cream of tartar in a clean, dry bowl until frothy. Start adding the sugar, whisking continuously, until a glossy and slightly stiff meringue forms. Add vinegar and corn start and fold in with a spoon. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cocoa on top and ripple, without mixing through.

3. Gently dollop the meringue in the tray, creating a slightly higher rim around the edges.

4. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 100 C (210 F) and bake for a further 30-40 minutes, or until dry. Leave to cool in the oven, with the door left ajar. When ready to assemble, whip the cream to soft peaks, dollop on top of the meringue base. Top off with the cream and crown with cherries.

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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

 

Blueberry, Chia and Olive Oil Cakes

When spring lures us with its sweet promise of long, sun-drenched days, but instead delivers endless weeks of gray skies and relentless rain, I find myself itching to get in the kitchen, turn the oven on and whip up a quick, yet satisfactory fix to perk up my mood.

These muffins are my ideal solution to the wet and blistery day ahead of me, a perfect mixture of moist, diary free cake enhanced by precious blueberries and chia seeds, my go-to health boosters. You can use gluten free flour if you are so inclined and reduce the, already low, quantity of sugar of swap it altogether with honey or other natural sweeteners, although I wouldn’t recommend stevia or natvia as they can leave a strange aftertaste. Over to you and your need to lift up your mood!

INGREDIENTS, makes 12 regular sized muffins of 6 Jumbo ones

3 eggs

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup olive oil

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, paste or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean

1/2 cup almond milk

2-1/4 cup of  self-raising flour

1/2 cup of blueberries

chia seeds to sprinkle on top

HOW TO

1. Preheat your oven to 180 C (350 F)

2. Line a medium sized muffin tin with wrappers

3. Beat the eggs with sugar for 5 minutes or until pale and fluffy and the sugar crystals have dissolved

4. Add oil, vanilla, and lemon zest and mix well.

5. Add the almond milk and gradually incorporate the flour, beating gently, until a wet batter is formed. Add the blueberries and fold them in gently

6. Pour the batter into the muffin tin making sure not to fill to the rim as the cakes with grow a lot whilst baking. Top each cake with chia seeds

7. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through if tested with a skewer

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Watch Made in Italy with Silvia Collocaon DVD 9781921383977

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

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Crispy Potato Skins

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, you have peeled a gargantuan amount of potatoes to make your creamy Paris mash/chips/champs you name it…now what to do with the skins? The frugal Italian in me cannot bear the idea of wastage and I’m always eager to conjure up a way to give new life to left-overs and food scraps. A little research shows me that most of the nutritional virtues of potatoes (and there are very many, starch bashers out there….) are trapped in the skin. I am talking about super power boosters such as potassium and calcium, optimal for bone mineral density and protection against strokes. Match that with the everlasting benefits of every Italian’s best friend, extra-virgin olive oil, and you have got yourself a perfect, healthier alternative to potato chips that celebrates resourcefulness and flavor in one nimble move!

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INGREDIENTS, serves 6

The skin of 1 Kg (4-1/2 Lb) of potatoes

4-5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Salt, herbs and freshly ground pepper to taste

HOW TO

1. Place the skin in a large bowl, cover them with warm water and set aside for 20 minutes. In the meantime, heat up your oven to 200 C or 400 F.

2. Drain the skins and pat dry with a tea towel. Toss them with enough oil to cover them evenly (use your hands if helpful), season with salt and herbs and arrange them onto an oven tray lined with baking paper in one layer (bake them in batches, if need be)

3. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Cool at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to crisp them up further and serve topped with freshly ground black pepper and a few rosemary springs, if liked.

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Watch Made in Italy with Silvia Collocaon DVD Silvia’s Cucina the cookbook is available in stores and online!

Silvia’s new book Made in Italy with Silvia Colloca is on sale now!

Made in Italy with Silvia Colloca is produced by SBS Australia and Fremantlemedia

Silvia’s Cucina is on Facebook Twitter and Instagram

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