Review: Love Laugh Bake! – Silvia Colloca

Love Laugh Bake

Love Laugh Bake!

Silvia Colloca

Pan Macmillan Australia


ISBN: 9781925481457

RRP $39.99



For passionate home-cook and baker Silvia Colloca there is nothing more satisfying than baking – combining the simplest of ingredients and seeing them transformed into the most delicious creations to share with others.


In Love, Laugh, Bake! Silvia shares more than 120 of her must-have recipes: breads, pizzas and focaccias, tarts and pies, cookies, simple cakes and also baking for special occasions. There are recipes for new and experienced bakers alike, from the easiest one-bowl cakes to crusty sourdough loaves and flaky jam-filled cornetti. Learn how to make the perfect pizza base, fluffy focaccia and deliciously rich tarts. Standout sweets include hazelnut brownies, blackberry and pear crostata, and plum and red wine upside-down cake. Silvia is well known for her fresh take on gluten-free baking and in this book she shares more than 50 of her most popular gluten-free and vegan recipes that you will want to bake again and again.


This is easy, generous food for every day. Silvia’s baking is simple, classic and is always enriched with her warmth and a unique sense of joy and abundance. Love, Laugh, Bake! will inspire you to discover the delights of baking for yourself, so grab your trusted rolling pin and roll up those sleeves!


The Author:

Silvia Colloca is an Italian-born food lover living in Sydney, Australia and has claimed the mantle of Passionate Italian Home Cook in Australia since arriving here in 2009. She share unfussy, delicious, recipes that have been passed down through her family for generations. Her food is traditional, authentic, simple, and embedded in it is the legacy of her mother and grandmother. She has authored three books Silvia’s Cucina, Made In Italy and La Dolce Vita and has hosted and co-produced Made in Italy on SBS and the ABC’s Silvia’s Italian Table.



My View:

I first meet Silvia when I was scouring the net for hints and advice on making a sour dough starter and sough dough bread. Luckily I came across Silvia’s website  and I proceeded to finesse my sough dough making skills.  So when I had an opportunity to review a book written by this famous author I leapt at the chance. It has not disappointed.


This is a great book for all home bakers.  The recipes are simple, elegant and they work! I particularly like that Silvia has catered to a variety of readers/bakers and their differing lifestyle needs; there are recipes that are vegan, gluten free, dairy free…there are breads, scrolls, chocolate dipped coconut macaroons (and I hesitate to make this statement but I think they are even better than my late mother in laws, but we will keep this between us, mother in laws cooking skills should always be respectedJ ), an amazingly easy and yummy gluten free Orange and Blueberry cake ( sorry no pictures we devoured it before I had an opportunity to photograph but I may make this again soon…I’ll let you know), there are brownies (gluten free), pavlova, biscotti, savoury and sweet tarts…there is something here to delight all bakers.


Now I have visitors coming for morning tea tomorrow so I best get baking!



Fennel and Thyme Cheese Biscuits: The Great Australian Bake Off Companion – BBC Worldwide


Extracted from The Great Australian Bake Off Companion (Hachette Australia November 2016)


p204-fennel-cheese biscuitsFennel and Thyme Cheese Biscuits

For the biscuit dough

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

350g plain flour

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

3 teaspoons dry thyme leaves

280g unsalted butter, chopped

100g Parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus extra 40g for sprinkling

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons caster sugar

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, for sprinkling


For the egg wash

2 egg yolks, beaten

2 tablespoons milk


  1. For the dough, place two cookie sheets in the refrigerator or freezer to cool. In a small frying pan over a medium heat, dry toast the fennel seeds until fragrant. Transfer the toasted fennel seeds to a food processor. Add two-thirds of the flour and the salt, sugar, chilli and thyme to the food processor. Pulse the mixture in the food processor until just combined.
  2. Add the butter, spreading it evenly around the food processor. Pulse the butter and flour mix together until everything comes together and forms a rough dough. Spread the dough evenly around the bottom of the food processor. Sprinkle the remaining flour evenly over the dough in the food processor. Pulse until it forms a crumb-like mixture. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over the dough mixture and fold the water into the dough using a spatula.
  3. Repeat this step, folding 5 more tablespoons water into the dough. The dough will be quite wet. Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and gently knead to combine. Divide the dough in half. Pat the dough into flat circles and wrap in cling film. Place in the refrigerator to firm up (approx. 30–45 minutes).
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line the two chilled cookie sheets with baking paper. Roll out the dough on a sheet of baking paper to a large rectangle. Sprinkle about half the Parmesan cheese onto the rolled dough. Fold up the dough to cover the cheese, like an envelope. Roll out the dough again to a large rectangle. Sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan cheese. Fold up the dough again. Roll out the dough again until 3–4mm thick. Using a 6cm round cookie cutter, cut out 36 round biscuits and transfer onto a lined cold cookie sheet.
  5. Rest the cut biscuits in the refrigerator for 15–30 minutes. Brush egg wash over the biscuits. Scatter the extra Parmesan and fresh thyme leaves over the biscuits. Bake the biscuits for 18–20 minutes or until golden. Transfer the cooked biscuits to a cooling rack to cool.


Zucchini, Parmesan & Basil Muffins – BakeClass- Anneka Manning

BakeClass Cover_Jacket

Recipes and Images from BakeClass by Anneka Manning (Murdoch Books).


Zucchini, Parmesan & Basil Muffins
Savoury muffins are a great alternative to the sweet ones, especially when served as a snack or instead of bread alongside soup or salad. The zucchini in these makes them lovely and moist while adding substance. (p.86)


Preparation time: 15 minutes (+ 5 minutes standing time) Baking time: 25–30 minutes  
Vegetable oil, to grease (optional)
150 g (51/2 oz/1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
150 g (51/2 oz/1 cup) wholemeal plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
70 g (21/2 oz/2/3 cup) finely grated parmesan cheese
65 g (21/4 oz/2/3 cup) coarsely grated vintage cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
185 ml (6 fl oz/3/4 cup) buttermilk
80 ml (21/2 fl oz/1/3 cup) light olive oil or sunflower oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 zucchini (courgettes), about 100 g each, coarsely grated
40 g (11/2 oz/1/4 cup) pine nuts, to scatter
Cayenne pepper, to sprinkle

Zucchini, parmesan and basil muffins


1 Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) or 170°C (325°F) fan-forced. Line a 12-hole 80 ml (2½ fl oz/1/3 cup) capacity muffin tin with paper cases or grease with a little vegetable oil.
2 Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, returning any husks left in the sieve to the bowl. Season well with pepper and then gently stir in the parmesan, cheddar and basil. Make a well in the centre.
3 Use a fork to whisk together the buttermilk, olive oil and eggs in a bowl. Add the zucchini and mix to combine. Add to the flour mixture and use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold together until just combined. (Don’t overmix – the batter should still be a little lumpy.)
4 Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin holes, dividing evenly. Scatter over the pine nuts and sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes or until the muffins are golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Baker’s tip
These muffins are best eaten the day they are baked, however they freeze well – wrap individually in plastic
wrap and then seal in an airtight container or freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.

Post Script: Shakespeare, Not Stirred – Caroline Bicks & Michelle Ephraim

Cover Shakespeare Not Stirred

Shakespeare, Not Stirred

Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas

Caroline Bicks & Michelle Ephraim


ISBN: 9781925106909



Let the Bard into your lounge and have him whip up some sharp cocktails and soothing snacks for the comedy or tragedy in your life. From ‘Get Thee to a Winery: girls’ night out’ to ‘Exit, Pursued by a Beer: drowning your sorrows’, this stage-sensitive, merrily blended book brings a Shakespearean swirl to life’s everyday highs and lows. Readers who downed Tequila Mockingbird and felt the force of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will thrill to its intoxicating mix of literary nerdery and cheeky wordplay.


Caroline Bicks and Michelle Ephraim are eminent English professors and eminent merry punsters. While poking a little fond fun at the man who gave them their careers, they dish up a delightful high-low mash of food, drink, and drama. Shakespeare, Not Stirred pops all the corks. Remember, with Falstaff: ‘thin drink doth so over-cool their blood…’



My View:

Entertaining, clever, witty…and delicious.


This book will entertain and amuse you – what fun these two scholars have had playing with the Bard’s famous words and introducing a cheeky gourmet/liquid refreshment perspective to this mix of classic literature. I can assure you once you have heard/read the chapter titles here they will be forever imprinted on your brain! Who can forget these words: chapter 2 “Now is the Whiskey of Our Discontent – Drinks for the Domestically Distressed,” with great recipes such as Kate’s Shrew Driver, Volumnia’s Bruise-Chetta, Cleopatra’s Flings In A Basket…or such greats as chapter Five “Shall I Campari to a Summer’s Day” – with recipes such a as Much a Ado about Frothing, Helena’s Raspberry Lime Mickey, A Midsummer’s Night Bean Dip …I can feel those smiles appearing on your faces already J How many phrases do you recognise?


Great writing, some excellent illustrations, wonderful word games, witty remarks and fabulous food and drink. Fun, entertaining… delicious.