ostro-ricotta gnocchi MG_8866

I have known, and admired, Julia Busuttil Nishimura, for many years now and always felt connected through our love of Italian food, Tuscany (Julia lived in Florence and in Orbetello, just 10 minutes away from where we lived in Porto Ercole while I was writing Acquacotta) and Japan. So I have been eagerly awaiting her debut cookbook, Ostro: The Pleasure that Comes From Slowing Down and Cooking with... Read More

Trento pastel palazzi

Last month we spent a few wonderful days visiting our friends Rosa and Massimo who live just outside of Trento. It was our third visit to the area (on one of them I snapped up this recipe for persimmon cake), so I feel it’s about time to share some our favourite things that we’ve been shown by locals. Trento is only a four hour drive from Florence — passing Bologna and Verona on... Read More

gnudi - Tuscan ricotta and spinach balls

When I was writing the manuscript for Florentine, I enlisted the help of an army of recipe testers — about 80 people from all over the world — to test every recipe thoroughly. Only one came back to me consistently with problems. From Minnesota to Melbourne, three testers wrote to me that their very first attempt at making Tuscan gnudi (ricotta and spinach balls that, rather than be encased... Read More

Summer-in-Italy

Newstands this morning declared the centre of Florence “feels like” 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) and signs warned of extreme heat this week, to stay indoors and avoid outdoor activity. They say this is the last (the fifth) heatwave of the summer. Here’s how to deal with it. Under the Tuscan Sun may embody a dream for many, but Tuscan summers have always felt like an inferno... Read More

Venice-cichetti-vaporetto

“This is a food memory for me,” Valeria said, as we podded fresh, marbled-pink, borlotti beans, “Not exactly cooking but they were one of the first activities I was involved in as a young girl helping in the kitchen during the summer months: I was on podding duty.” If you are a long time reader of this blog, then Valeria needs no introduction — we became friends, first... Read More