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

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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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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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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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Santa’s Cinnamon Cookie

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Christmas eve is finally here! How many of us have been longing for this day to arrive, each passing hour accented by the scent of vanilla cookies baking, the surprise in opening a new window of our advent calendar, and that manic joy of wrapping a bottomless pit of presents whilst humming carols? My advise, from a Christmas celebration enthusiast to you, is to shameless enjoy this magical time, indulge, give, share and receive with glee, it is only once a year after all. And, of course, make sure you leave a good supply of home-made cookies for the Old Fella himself! Word has it that he is an avid consumer of cinnamon cookies, and so these russet, spiced beauties await his arrival…

And so do I.

Merry Christmas to all! xxx

INGREDIENTS, makes 12-16

100 gr (3/4 cups) icing sugar, plus more for dusting

150 gr (2/3 cups) of soft butter

150 gr (1 cup and 1/3) of self raising flour, 100 gr (3/4 cup) of plain flour

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste

1 tablespoons of ground cinnamon

1-2 tablespoon of milk (optional)

cinnamon sugar for dusting on top

HOW TO

1. Work the icing sugar and butter together until creamy and smooth (you can do it by hand or using a standing mixer)

2. When the mixture is creamy, add the flour, 1 table-spoon of corn starch, a teaspoon of vanilla paste and the cinnamon. If the dough is too dry, add 1-2 tablespoon of milk.

3. The cookie dough will look and feel sticky. Use a spatula to scrape it onto a sheet of baking paper. Roll it up in the shape of a sausage and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight.

4. Once it’s rested and feels firm, slice it up into  1/2 cm rounds and  put them back in the fridge for 10 minutes.

5. Bake at 170 C, 340 F,  for about 15 minutes, or until the edges start to color. Cool at room temperature. Dust with cinnamon sugar and and serve with a tall glass of milk and a note to Santa…

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Panettone

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Panettone is the ultimate Italian Christmas enriched bread. It’s more than a cake or a brioche, it is a piece of our culinary history and no Italian would dream of not slicing into this delectable treat at Christmas time. However it has to be sad, most Italians buy Panettone from reputable bakeries or pasticceria, the reason being that is it mind-blowingly laborious to make. But, you know me, the baking addict, no challenge is too scary for this fearless baker!

I don’t mean to write this to discourage you from trying, but I do feel it is important to issue a warning with the release of this recipe: it is for advanced bakers only, those who understand gluten, how the bonds develop and how butter, eggs and sugar work together to create a rich dough. Also, for those who own a sturdy standing mixer!

For this reason, I have not translated my measurements in cups or oz, as I only ever work in grams and ml when it comes to this creation, and I would hate for things to get lost in translation.

Christmas is 4 sleeps away… are you ready for the challenge?

Step 1 – making the ferment

1 x 7 g sachet dried yeast

3 tablespoons lukewarm water

4 tablespoons plain flour

grated zest of 1 mandarin

Dissolve the yeast in the water and stand for 5 minutes. Add the flour and mandarin zest and mix well. Rest the soft dough at room temperature, well covered with a tea towel, for 11/2– 2 hours or until it looks bubbly and it has doubled in size.

Step 2 – Building the dough

the ferment from step 1

150 ml water, at room temperature

100 g plain flour

Work the ferment with the water, then mix in the flour with your hands or a wooden spoon until combined. Cover with a tea towel and rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

Step 3 – Building the dough

the dough from step 2

2 tablespoons caster sugar

90 g plain flour

80 g softened unsalted butter

If you have a stand mixer, you might want to get it out now. The next two stages require a lot of strong kneading and I would never attempt this by hand. Mix the dough from step 2 with the sugar, then add the flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Add the butter and knead for a further 2 minutes. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and rest at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

Step 4 – Building the dough with the addition of flavourings

the dough from step 3

100 g mixed sultanas, currants and raisins

1/2 cup (125 ml) water

3 tablespoons rum

290/320 g plain flour (according to the size of your eggs. Start with 290 gr, then add more if needed)

100 g sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons honey

60 g softened butter, cut into cubes

3 eggs

grated zest of 1 orange

grated zest of 1 mandarin

80 g mixed candied peel, mixed with 1 tablespoon plain flour (to stop them dropping to the bottom of the cake)

Soak the sultanas, currants and raisins in the water and rum for 1 hour. Drain, discarding the soaking liquid.

Add 290 g flour to the rested dough and knead on low speed for 1 minute, then add the sugar, vanilla and honey and knead for a further 3–4 minutes. Add the butter, a little at a time, until well incorporated, then add the eggs, one at a time, kneading all the while. Don’t panic if the dough looks really wet at this stage – the constant kneading will make it come together. Knead in the mixer for a further 15–20 minutes (see why you’d never this by hand?) or until it looks transparent if stretched. If it struggles to come together as it is too wet, add the remaining flour, a little a time, until the dough is smooth and soft, but not sticky.

Add the grated zest, mixed peel and soaked sultanas, currants and raisins, and gently mix to incorporate them into the dough.

Tip the dough onto your cooking bench, then fold it into three and onto itself to shape a ball. Put it in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and rest for 1 hour.

Place the dough on a floured surface and stretch it gently with floured hands to form a rectangle and fold it into three. Shape it back into a ball and rest it in the oiled bowl, covered, until it has doubled in size, approximately 2–3 hours.

Stretch and fold the dough one last time, then put it into the mould or tin you wish to bake it in. I order my supply of panettone moulds online, but you can also use a round cake tin. Grease it and flour the tin and line the sides with a 10–12 cm tall collar of baking paper. Place the mould or tin in the fridge, well tucked under a tea towel. Alternatively, put the tin in a plastic bag and put the whole bag in the fridge to prove. I often do this with bread too – it’s like a homemade proving cell!

Step 5 – Scoring and baking (finally!)
The dough, well risen in its mould
20 g softened unsalted butter

Confidence! You are nearly there …

Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).

Take the panettone out of the fridge. Using a sharp knife or a razor blade, gently score the top in an X-shaped pattern. Be very careful not to score too deeply or you will risk deflating the dough! With the aid of your blade, lift up four flaps and place a teaspoon of butter under each. Close the flaps.

If this method scares you, simply slash a large X on the top and place a large knob of butter in the middle. The outcome will be just as good.

Step 6 – Cooling

Gently transfer the panettone to your oven and bake for 45–55 minutes or until evenly risen and the colour of dark caramel. A wooden skewer inserted in the centre should come out moist, but not doughy. If it looks like it’s browning too fast, cover it with baking paper, but keep in mind that the crust is supposed to be quite dark.

Take the panettone out of the oven. If using a metal tin, let the bread cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving.

If using a panettone mould, pierce two long metal skewers or knitting needles all the way through the panettone and through the paper. Hang the panettone upside-down over a large stockpot or between two objects of equal height.  Cool it for a minimum of 6 hours.

Although a bit finicky, drying and cooling your panettone this way will ensure it keeps its dome-shaped beauty and the roof will not collapse. You have come this far, you might as well go the full distance!

Panettone will keep fresh for 1-2 days and will still be delicious toasted and dusted with icing sugar after 4–5 days. It also freezes well and can be used as a base for bread and butter pudding, tiramisu and trifle.

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Merry Christmas!

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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

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Mini bundt cakes with chocolate drizzle

Mini bundt cakes with chocolate drizzle

Yes, I’m playing the chocolate card, guilty as charged! As if mini, individual bundt cakes weren’t adorable enough, I had to go and drizzle a sticky, luscious dark lacquer all over them, thus rendering them utterly irresistible. These cakes incapsulate … Continue reading

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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Roasted Cauliflower Salad

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Is the humble cauliflower enjoying a new renaissance? Whether you work in food or simply enjoy your home-cooking time, it appears that this pearly white cluster of florets is now proudly sitting at the forefront of the pantry. We have devised creative ways to turn it into cous cous and have compounded it into pizza bases (although the jury is still out on that one…), we are using it as a potato substitute in thick, wintery soups and enjoy it raw, thinly sliced like a carpaccio. Is there anything cauliflower can’t do? It turns out, you can also roast it until deliciously caramelized and crunchy, but still tender to the bite. With the added nutritional boost provided by vitamin C, K, B6 and folate, I am pretty much convinced that cauliflower wears the crown as the healthiest cruciferous!

INGREDIENTS, SERVES 4

1 cauliflower heard, cut into florets

4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of baby capers, roughly chopped

2 anchovy fillets, thinly chopped

1-2 French shallots, finely chopped

1 small chillie, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar

2 more tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper for seasoning

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METHOD

1. Pre-heat you oven to 200 C (395 F)

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil  and cook the cauliflower florets for 5-8 minutes, or until soft but still retaining some firmness. Drain well then tumble onto an oven tray lined with baking paper. Season with oil, salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes or until golden.

3. Make the dressing by mixing together baby capers, anchovies, chillies, vinegar and oil. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly.

4. Pour the dressing over the roasted cauliflower florets and scatter fresh herbs on top. Enjoy warm or at room temperature as a light lunch or a side dish.

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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! Silvia’s Cucina is on  Facebook Twitter and Instagram

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