Tag Archives: bread

Give us this day our daily bread

Panificio Stucchi Elena

I noticed in my tag cloud to the right that bread is sadly lagging behind the dogs (ya think?), Piemonte, and snow, so let this be the beginning of bulking up the bread tag and putting the focus on the staff of life. We eat it more than we eat pasta, expect an automatic refill of rolls when we dine out, and keep emergency back up in the freezer, so what gives? Mostly lack of initiative since writing a post with recipe is involving, but I will change that today beginning with…Panificio Elena Stucchi (above stash). They’re always trying new things and even offer home delivery service. Clockwise starting from left: onion focaccia, artisan loaf, pane arabo (middle eastern-style buns), cornetti (italian version of croissant) with pistachio cream, sesame seed-topped rolls with vegetable charcoal, and lastly, curry rolls (although they didn’t have a very distinctive curry flavor). It’s the first time I’ve seen vegetable charcoal used in a bakery here, but these are the same guys that were working with grapeseed flour several years ago.

Grapeseed flour and bread

Speaking of grapeseed flour, I purchased through an online source and used some in a basic white bread recipe. It suggests substituting a tablespoon of flour with an equal amount of grapeseed flour for every 100 grams of wheat flour used. Gluten-free and rich in fiber, it doesn’t have any particular flavor used in small amounts, but it might be interesting adding it to other baked products.


The Krampus: Santa’s not so little helper

«You better watch out
You better not cry
better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

He’s making a list,
and checking it twice;
gonna find out
Who’s NAUGHTY and nice… »

Yes, because if he finds out that you’ve been breaking bad*, he’ll just hand you over to the Krampus. You know, this dude shown below. *From the tv series Breaking Bad (best show ever), it means raising hell well beyond the extreme.

Red-faced Krampus
Selfie? Anyone?

Today’s date makes 5 years to the day that we were in in Tarvisio to see the Krampus parade and I can still remember the evening very well. Freezing cold, darkness, the smell of smoke, Mister B shaking like a leaf, and beastly man-goats thrashing whips and dragging heavy chains and balls of fire. If only selfies were trending then! Born from the depths of German folklore, tonight the Krampusse will be out in full force everywhere in alpine countries.

Since that encounter we never felt it was something to have to relive again, but each year on the eve of St. Nicholas (December 5th) I still like to recognize the tradition. There’s Krampus beer, Krampus fruit figures, and Krampus candy among other things. I took the carb route, using about half a pound of bread dough to make Karl the Krampus. Handsome, no?

Krampus bread

And if you’re a good kid?

Well I guess you simply count your blessings that Krampy won’t be giving you a whooping. This is a good time as any to mention, once again, an entirely different way of celebrating the eve of Saint Nicholas’ day here in Lecco. It’s a tale that involves apples and gold, things that kids appreciated before video games came along. The story begins as such…
Long ago, the tradition of the festival of San Nicolo (the patron saint of Lecco) continue reading

pupazzo di San Nicolò

Lembas with goji berries

Lembas with goji berries

I promise no more Elven bread after today, even if this version didn’t immediately win me over on the first bite. The lembas here more or less measures up to the one described in the book (and on many internet sources), in that it is cream-colored in the middle and has a light brown crust. It also includes honey, cheese, and in place of the Mallorn fruit – goji berries, even if said fruit is supposed to be of the nut-type. Okay, now some of you might question the addition of cheese, but according to the recipe here, Tolkien did indeed put cheese in it.

Yeast-raised lembas

On the first attempt at this yeast-risen lembas I added only goji berries (top photo), but on the second try I added both berries and seeds. In all honesty I think it’s a little over the top for Elves (or Hobbits for that matter), kinda like cheese bread deluxe that would certainly get Gollum’s loincloth in a twist. Speaking of Gollum…for last Sunday’s segment of LotR I made fish and chips using Jamie Oliver’s online recipe and the chips were a total bust. Limp and soggy, no matter how matter how golden they turned in hot oil.

You keep nassty chips!
Beer-battered fish okay but you keep nassty chips!