To my surprise and delight I find myself hosting this month’s challenge for Fresh from the Oven, after the scheduled host had to withdraw at the last moment. Being Signor Biscotti, I just had to come up with something Italian for people to get their teeth into. That’s quite an appropriate metaphor, as this focaccia has a crunchy caramelised topping of salty butter and sugar, which settles into the dips in the surface as a sort of caramel sauce. Continue reading
Nota per lettori italiani/e: troverete una versione italiana della ricetta alla fine del post.
Saffron buns are a speciality of one of my favourite places in the whole world, namely Cornwall, so when I saw that they were the subject of this month’s challenge for Fresh from the Oven, I just had to have a go at making them. As is my way, I interpreted the brief a little loosely, and made a loaf as well as the buns. What’s more, as you will discover, I got a bit carried away and made a rather exotic variation on the theme as well. Continue reading
Una versione italiana di questo post si trova qui.
Last September, we spent a week on Marettimo, the most remote of the Egadi Islands off the northwest coast of Sicily. It would take a long time to do justice to the wonders of this enchanting island. Apart from the beautiful scenery and crystal clear sea, it is a paradise for lovers of fish and seafood. I’m afraid I don’t really fall into that category, but my partner most definitely does. So we visited a number of the excellent fish restaurants on the island, where I endured quite a bit of good-natured abuse and the occasional look of contempt from the proprietors, when I asked if they could serve me with meat.
But I had no qualms about the bread. Golden brown and crusted with sesame, its crumb a lovely yellow, and with a rich and elusive flavour, it was some of the best bread I’ve ever tasted. In Palermo, where we spent a few frenetic days at the end of our holiday, the sesame was enhanced by a little bit of aniseed. Continue reading
An English version of this post will be found here
Durante il nostro soggiorno sulla meravigliosa isola di Marettimo, la più lontana delle Egadi, ed a Palermo, la città più frenetica del mondo, una delle cose più memorabili che ho mangiato era anche la più semplice. E’ stato il pane, che era fra i migliori che io abbia mai assaggiato. Appena tornato a casa, mi sono messo a cercare una ricetta. Ne ho trovato una in “The Italian Baker” di Carol Field, e per fortuna avevo portato dall’isola un sacco di semola rimacinata (ingrediente molto difficile da trovare qui in Inghilterra).
Su Marettimo si faceva il pane sotto forma di bastone, ma io ho voluto fare due forme più interessanti della tradizione siciliana, cioè occhi e mafalda. Non sono sicuro fino a che punto ci sono riuscito: la mia pagnotta occhi è meno ricurva che avrei voluto, e la mafalda è un poco tozza. Ma sono stato abbastanza contento del loro aspetto e sapore, e mi potevo immaginare di nuovo sulla nostra terrazza di Marettimo, guardando le acque cristalline del Mediterraneo mentre mangiavo questo gustoso pane con del miele di rosmarino dell’isola. Continue reading
I love Panettone and intend to make it some time – I’ve even bought the cases already – but I get the impression it takes an age, is quite complicated, and is prone to failure (sometimes collapsing after you’ve proudly extracted it from the oven). Not that that will deter me. In the meantime, these buns are far simpler and still have the authentic texture, aroma and flavour, just in a smaller package. Not that they’re that small. In fact one would make quite a mouthful for just one person. Continue reading