Bookmarks – 11 April 2015

Carbs et al. Like most years, Alessandro and I spent the Easter bank holiday weekend staying with his parents in a small village not far from Rome. Spending most of the weekend eating (or talking about eating) reminded me again how good Italians are with carbs. Of course there is Pizza, thin and crispy Roman style, or thick and pillowy like they serve it in Naples. But then there are also the thick slabs of sourdough bread to start a meal, slightly charred and topped with a fresh tomato salsa or thin slices of rosemary flecked lardo or even just drizzled with olio nuovo (the beautifully grassy first olive oil of the season), thin strands of homemade tagliatelle like the ones you can see in the picture above (beautifully yellow as Alessandro’s dad made them with duck eggs) – cooked not too long so they retain some bite (al dente) before being thrown into a pan of funghi porcini, or the torn

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Kamut and Polenta Bread

I have the habit of buying myself a Chrismas present each year. Nothing frivolous, but something I really want and something I might not otherwise buy. This time it was the third Tartine book – encouraged by a number of reviews, an article about the sheer amount of research Chad Robertson put into the creation of this book and my friend Sara who thought I would enjoy the book given the large number of recipes using ancient grains created by Chad. And Sara was right. I have only had the book for about a month, but in between the present-buying frenzy, traveling and Christmas itself, I have already baked the Chocolate Rye Cookies (crack in cookie form if you ask me), eaten far too many of a batch of the 50/50 sablés, munched my way through 3 loaves of the Toasted Buckwheat Bread and revolutionised my scones thanks to learning about Tartine’s technique of using both baking powder and sourdough

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No Knead Bread

This is the recipe published in the New York Times back in 2006 that got me really into baking my own bread, and it is so simple, so tasty, I really cannot praise it enough. My mum has been baking her own bread for years now (using a homemade sourdough starter that must have reached toddler age by now) and always emphasises how easy it is. Yet, however easy or tricky the recipes my mum uses are, the one thing they require which I am lacking is time – time to prepare a fresh sourdough starter and keep feeding it until ready (my last starter, offspring off my mum’s starter, died a slow death as a result of a few hectic weeks of work and lots of travel), leaving the dough to autolyse (i.e. letting the flour hydrate before kneading etc), letting the dough rise once or twice (not for a set time but usually until dough is doubled in

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