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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Fudgy, crackly Mother’s Day Cookies

FullSizeRender 3.jpgI think it’s safe to say I enjoy the process of making these cookies just as much as I love devouring them. It’s quick work if you have a standing mixer or a hand held electric whisk, as whipping the egg with the sugar until triple the volume is the key to the fudgy texture of the crumb, which, combined with a crackly, meringue-like edge, pretty much makes these the best cookies ever. Big claim, I know, but if you don’t believe me, then take the word of master baker Edd Kimber (the boy who bakes), whose recipe I adapted to create a fitting Mother’s Day treat.

Don’t despair if you are not in possession of kitchen gadgets, a good ol’ hand whisk and elbow grease will do the trick, and will infuse the batter with all the love our mammas deserve.

INGREDIENTS, MAKES 10, adapted from The Boy Who Bakes

80 gr of unsalted butter

small pinch of salt

150 gr of milk and dark chocolate (mix it up as you wish, I still had Easter eggs I needed to use up!)

1 egg

150 gr caster sugar (Edd’s recipe uses a combination of caster and soft brown sugar, which I didn’t have on the day. If you do use a mixture of both, you will get a shiny crackly top)

100 gr of self raising flour

2 tablespoons of Dutch cocoa powder

a few strawberries, cut into three

METHOD

1. Preheat you oven to 170 C. Line two oven trays with baling paper.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter together by placing them onto a bowl and sitting the bowl of top of a pot of boiling water (stove on low). Make sure the water in the pot doesn’t touch the bowl, or the chocolate will seize. Add the salt. Mix and rest for 5 minutes.

3. While the chocolate mixture is cooling, whip the egg with sugar until it triples in volume. If using electric beaters, this will take about 5 minutes. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the egg one and mix well.

4. Gently mix in the flour and cocoa. The mixture will be thick and fudgy. You will want to stick your fingers in there. Go for it. Chef’s privilege!

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5. Dollop tablespoons of mixture onto the trays, very well distanced apart as the cookies will spread during baking. Top with strawberries.

6. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool onto the tray for 10 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Please note that after 12 minutes in the oven, the cookies will feel super wobbly. They will set harder as they cool. Don’t be tempted to bake for longer.

7. Give to your mamma with a big hug!! xxx

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Eggs in Hell! (from my YouTube channel)

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Welcome to Italian Healthy Fast Food! This classic dish, also known as Eggs in Purgatory, epitomizes Italian, simple home-cooking at its best. Traditionally it is made with leftover sugo (tomato sauce, the type you dress your pasta with), simply reheated with a little water. The eggs are cracked straight into the sauce and poached for a few minutes, until set to your liking. And if you don’t have leftover sauce, it is very easy to make your own, as you can see in my new video recipe. Why have the eggs gone from Purgatory to Hell? The addition of a LOT of chillie! Suit your taste, add as much or as little as you can handle.

Watch the video for more tips and please, make sure you subscribe to get all my tips and recipes!

Ciao Ciao! XX

EGGS IN HELL VIDEO

INGREDIENTS Serves 4

2-3 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil

1 spring onion, thinly sliced 1-2 hot chillies, thinly sliced

1 small rib of celery, finely chopped 1 tablespoon of finely chopped

1-2 tablespoons parsley stalks, finely chopped

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup of water

salt and pepper for seasoning

4 eggs

baby celery leaves to sprinkle on top

METHOD

1. Heat the oil in a medium sized frying pan, add spring onion, chillies, celery, chopped parsley stalks and cook together for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add tinned tomatoes and water, bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, lid on. Season for salt and adjust to your liking.

2. Take off the lid, create 4 indents in the sauce to accommodate the eggs, Crack the eggs, one at a time, and gently place them in the indents in the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 5-6 minutes or until the whites are cooked through and the yolk is cooked to your liking.

3. Serve straight from the pan, with baby celery leaves, extra chillies (if liked) and chopped parsley.

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SILVIA’S CUCINA is available in stores and online!

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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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Vegan Banana, Coconut and Raspberry Bread (ok, cake!!)

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Yes, let’s be honest here. When I say “bread”, I mean cake. I am not quite sure how this kind of preparation got its deceiving name from, but the fact of the matter is, it’s got sugar, therefor it must be cake! This particular loaf happens to be vegan. I would like to say it is because I have resolved to be ethical and just this year, but really, it has to do with the lack of eggs and dairy in my fridge when the craving for baking hit me the other day. However vegan this cake may be, I dare you all to try it, vegan or not, and tell me the difference! Did I mention it’s a one-bowl/no fancy equipment wonder and the batter comes together in a matter of minutes? You are welcome. xxx

INGREDIENTS, serve 8-10

2 soft bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork

1 cup of shredded coconut

1-1/2 cup of self-raising flour (you can also use Gluten free self raising flour)

3/4 cup caster sugar (super fine sugar)

1 cup almond milk

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 cup of raspberries

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 170 C, 340 F
  2. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
  3. Mix mashed bananas, milk, flour, sugar and shredded coconut together until a batter forms. Add lime zest and juice and mix though. Add 3/4 cup of raspberries in the mix and stir gently. Pour the batter into the tin.
  4. Dot the top with the remaining berries.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and cooked though. Cool on a rack before slicing

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Overnight oats with Chia, Berries and Seeds

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Have you made your resolutions for the new year yet? To be honest, I haven’t even attempted to this year… Why? I guess the simple answer is that life has taught me that whichever plan I make or may wish to stick to, I have no control over it and losing such control would then send me into a spiral of anxiety (which I have an on-going struggle with) that would cripple my day to day life greatly. So, instead of setting myself up for failure with unrealistic expectations on how I should be, what I should achieve, how much I should earn, how hard I should train, I let all of it go and think more simply. And more kindly. And some days I will indulge in cakes, and some others I won’t. Some days I will manage to fold the laundry and put it away, some others it will stay there and pile up. And that is perfectly ok too. Because in the end I am only trying to do my best and be a good person, and some days I will succeed and some others I won’t. And that’s ok! It’s ok not to be ok all the time! The one tool I always turn to when I need to regroup and relax is playing with food. Even when the recipes are as easy (hardly a recipe at all!) as this overnight oats I love to have for breakfast (and some lazy nights for dinner too!!), cooking never fails to put a smile on my face.

Happy New Year and be kind to yourselves, my friends, you are all doing great!

INGREDIENTS, serves 4-6

2 cups of rolled oats

1/4 cup of chia seeds

1 grated apple

Juice of 1 lemon

water to soak the oats

small pinch of salt

4-5 tablespoons of unsweetened thick Greek Yogurt (you can use coconut yogurt for a vegan option)

Berries and seeds to serve

Honey or maple syrup to drizzle on top, if liked

METHOD

1. Place oats, salt and chia seeds in a large bowl, cover with enough water to just submerge them. Add the apple, lemon juice and yogurt and mix well. Cover with plastic film and set in the fridge  overnight.

2. The next day, loosen the mix with a spoon and stir. If need be, add a little more yogurt.

3. Serve in bowls with lots of berries, pumpkin or sunflower seeds (or nuts) and drizzle a little honey or syrup, if liked.

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SILVIA’S CUCINA is available in stores and online!

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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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Chickpea and Aubergine Warm Salad

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Silvia’s Chickpea and Aubergine’s salad

And so, without fail, we have bid our adieu to yet another year and welcomed the new one with expectant hearts. We have duly complied a list of resolutions for 2016 and on day 5 we are still sticking to it. Marvelous! Drink less, exercise more, work less, laugh more, play lego with boys, don’t yell at them, kiss husband more, eat healthy food… As I type this I have a big smile on my face knowing that however short-lived all these aspirations are, I still believe in writing them down and implementing those changes in my life, for however long they last! The two things I am sure I won’t fail at, are kissing hubby (he’s rather irresistible) and prepare healthy meals for my family to enjoy. All year round.

Ingredients, serves 4 as a side (vegan, gluten free)

1 large aubergine (eggplant), cut into 2cm cubes

1 garlic clove, skin on and bashed with the back of a knife

4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 tin of chickpeas, well drained

salt and pepper for seasoning

parsley leaves and nasturtium to scatter on top

Method

1. Heat up the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan, add the garlic and cook in the oil to infuse its scent into it for 1 minute. Add the aubergine, stir well until well coated with the oil, then turn  the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and allow the hot oil and the steam to cook the vegetables gently for 15 minutes. Stir from time to time.

2. When the aubergines look soft and slightly caramelized, add the chickpeas and paprika, stir well and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly.

3. Serve warm topped with parsley and nasturtium leaves and a grounding of black pepper.

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