Monday, 25 May 2015

Fennel bread.

A delicious and yet very simply recipe for one perfectly formed aromatic fennel loaf. I adore this bread with simple antipasti such as cured meats, olives and artichokes. Great for an level of baker.

Preparation time: 15 minutes             Proving time: 2 hours 30 minutes     
Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
Serves: 6-8

300g strong white flour
150g 0 flour
6g salt
1tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
290ml tepid water
7g dried yeast
20g butter, melted
Preheat oven: 190°C / Gas 5

1.      Pour the flour into a large bowl and sprinkle in the salt.
2.      Crush the fennel seeds using a pestle and mortar.  This will add texture to the bread by varying the size of the fennel seeds.
3.      Add the yeast to the tepid water and stir, this will wake up the yeast.
4.      Sprinkle ¾ of the fennel seeds into the flour and slowly pour in the yeasted water and melted butter.
5.      Using your fingertips, work the flour and water together until you have the start of a dough.  Once combined tumble the dough out onto a lightly floured board.
6.      Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes and form the dough into a ball.
7.      Place the dough into clean oiled bowl and allow to prove for 1 hour 30 minutes in a warm place away from draughts.
8.      After the first prove, tip your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knock back the dough and form into an oval.  Prove for a further 1 hour.
9.      Preheat the oven.
10.  Place the dough onto an oiled baking tray, slash the top with a sharp knife and sprinkle over the remaining fennel seeds.
11.  Bake for 30 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when tapped.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Southern Italian Family Cooking by Carmela Sophia Sereno

‘Southern Italian Family Cooking’ is not just a cook book, it’s a journey, a journey through the gastronomic memories that Carmela Sophia Sereno (Hayes) holds so dear to her heart of cooking with her mother Solidea and with her grandmother Nonna Carmela. Now those memories and recipes have been being recorded to be enjoyed forever, inspiring the next generation of cooks who love good honest Italian food.

‘Southern Italian Family Cooking’ brings together over 120 inspiring and rustic recipes from the south of Italy that Carmela grew up with and now teaches to her own children today, in the true style of an Italian mamma passing on her recipes to sons and daughters. Sadly, this is a practice that is under threat in modern Italy today.

‘Southern Italian Family Cooking’ is full of ‘Cucina Povera’ recipes, which literally translates as ‘poor kitchen’, the food of the Italian south. This collection of honest and original recipes (many of which are never not seen outside of the family kitchen) uses fresh, seasonal and inexpensive ingredients, creating tempting and delicious dishes the whole family can enjoy time and time again.

From the novice to the more accomplished of cooks, the recipes in ‘Southern Italian Family Cooking’ range from simple antipasti dishes to slightly more complex fish and meat dishes. This book has no glossy photos, offering you the chance to use your own imagination adding a twist to the recipe to make it your own.

Carmela was born in Bedford to Italian parents from Puglia and Molise, who settled in the UK in the late 1950’s.  Today half of Carmela’s family have made their way back to Italy, carrying on their own traditions and cooking styles, which remains as a constant point of reference for Carmela.

Carmela is married to James and has four young children Rocco, Natalia, Santino and Chiara. She holds her Italian heritage very close to her heart and teaches her Cucina Povera cooking style at regular classes in the local area. Carmela continues to travel Italy looking for inspiration and new recipes for a new book on ‘Pasta & Sauces’ currently underway that looks like being as exciting as ‘Southern Italian Family Cooking’.

For those looking for traditional Italian recipes from the heart, ‘Southern Italian Family Cooking’ is a must have for any cook. Buon appetito!         

For further information please contact:
Carmela Sophia Sereno (Hayes) on
Carmela Sophia Sereno: Southern Italian Family Cooking £8.99
ISBN: 9780716023746