befanini cookies for new year

I seem to be raising a little cook — not a surprise really, as we probably spend three-quarters of our day in the kitchen. She has taken to liberally adding her touch to dishes that she can reach on the table (apple juice tipped into the marinade and half a jar of dried chilli flakes shaken over the salad were some highlights this week) or completely taking over whenever she sees any type of... Read More

Ortigia "Tricotta"

As promised, following my Sicily List: Part I, here’s Part II: Mount Etna and Ortigia. While we spent most of the time around Noto and Ragusa, Marco had his heart set on visiting Mount Etna’s wine region. We made a break there for the day (a two hour drive up the east coast) to meet the folk at the winery Tenuta delle Terre Nere. I highly recommend visiting at least one winery in this... Read More

Tuscan Gathering porchetta with rosemary potatoes

Last weekend Giulia and I hosted out first Tuscan Gathering, an excuse to cook and eat and drink for hours and wander the woods or fall asleep in front of the roaring fire, an excuse to get together with friends near and far (and to connect in person, as many ‘friends’ are those that we know only via social media, which happens so often these days). It was an idea inspired by the seasonal... Read More

Cassata Siciliana

It’s taken me some time to sit down and digest (pun intended) our trip to the southeastern corner of Sicily a few weeks ago in early November. The trip that I had been dreaming of taking for about ten years left me surprised and perplexed. We rented a little Fiat Panda and stayed in a beautiful 1920s farmhouse nestled in lush citrus groves just outside of the town of Noto, a great spot to make... Read More

Alchermes homemade liqueur

It felt like I was mixing a magic potion. A little bit of this. A little bit of that. A crumbling of some bark, a few seeds. And then the final touch: a couple of spoonfuls of dried insects. Kermes or cochineal insects are what give this Renaissance-aged Tuscan liqueur it’s distinct colour, and its name. The dried insects infuse the liqueur with a deep, pinkish-red magenta hue and are then strained... Read More