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Preserving Italy and Tropea onion jam

I’ve had this cookbook sitting beside my bed for weeks, trying to decide what to cook. I’d pick it up, let a page fall open — almost like letting fate choose the recipe — and get distracted reading. It continued this way for a while. It’s my favourite way to read a cookbook. But the […]

Tropea onion jam

Renovating a kitchen in Florence

I’ve put up with some pretty awful kitchens in my 18 years of renting, particularly in Florence. Most of them called for some inventive improvising and I’m sure in some way or another that I’m a better, or at least more resourceful, cook because of them. There was the one in the studio apartment with […]

Kitchen after with handmade pallet stools, kitchen island and open shelves

Coffee, almonds and ice

Three ingredients, and there you have my favourite type of iced coffee ever, and my ideal pick me up on a slow, hot afternoon. ‘Caffe in ghiaccio’ or Caffe Leccese is a favourite summertime drink in Lecce, the beautiful capital of Puglia‘s southernmost area of Salerno, something I tried — and got hooked on — during my […]

Almond milk ice in a Caffe Leccese

Raw tomato sauce for hot summer days

Quite possibly the best way to enjoy really good, ripe summer tomatoes – as well as making the most of spending as little time in front of a hot stove as possible – is raw tomato sauce for coating pasta. It’s something Marco makes for lunch on a warm day when he’s craving pasta al pomodoro […]

raw tomato sauce for pasta

Settignano, the Other Florence

We’ve moved again. I’m losing count but I think it’s the seventh move since I started this blog which I began while living in a shabby fifth-floor apartment that I fell in love with for its rooftop views of Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio, never mind that it was freezing in the winter and a sauna in […]

Settignano - la sosta del rossellino

White peach and basil jam

I’m really trying to stop lamenting about the heat — the relentless, humid, Tuscan heat — but it’s hard when it engulfs you 24 hours a day and there’s barely any relief from it aside from taking cold showers throughout the day. But I know I’ll want it all back as soon as winter comes and I’m […]

white peach jam with ricotta and crostata slices

Summer Highlights on the Tuscan Coast

About halfway through a Tuscan summer the heat begins to really take its toll. Oppressive heat, like a hair dryer pointed in your face. Stone piazzas that bake all day in the sun, trapping the heat like an oven. Crowds. Rare air-conditioning. You begin living off things that don’t need any cooking at all: paper thin […]

Breakfast al fresco at Colle Donatucci

Rome.

I’ve always thought of Rome as incredibly romantic. It probably has something to do with watching Roman Holiday over and over again as a teenager. It’s ingrained in my mind: a princess wandering the cobblestones, buying sandals and gelato, losing and finding herself. Of course, life is not a film, and mostly when I am in […]

Radicchio at Campo dei Fiori

Ciliegie sotto spirito — boozy cherries

Preserving fruit under alcohol and sugar is an age old preparation, and an enjoyable one at that. The liqueur infuses the fruit, the fruit infuses the liqueur and the sugar adds a bit of sweetness that takes the edge off the strength of the alcohol. Marco’s nonna used to make these in the summer during the height […]

ciliegie sotto spirito

Making lady fingers at home

Lady fingers, also known as savoiardi in Italian, are widely used in dessert making, namely, for soaking up rum-splashed coffee and layering into a glass dish with that creamy, rich, sweetened and egg-fortified mascarpone for tiramisu. There are other biscuits you can use but I consider savoiardi indispensable for tiramisu. My Tuscan mother in law […]

savoiardi made at home