Minne di Sant’Agata

If you’ve ever studied art history, you’ll know how to easily spot Saint Agatha in a fresco painting – she’s the one holding her breasts on a platter, a hint at the legend behind her torturous martyrdom where they were cut off with pincers by a powerful Roman suitor when his advances were rejected. The young girl, said to be from a noble family in Catania in Sicily’s east, was buried in her home town where she still watches... Read More

A batch of soft Tuscan cookies

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 dough being made, rolled or cut out. In fact, it’s... Read More

Caramelised Rice Pudding Pots from Homemade Memories 

One of my favourite food stories ever is the one of Proust’s Madeleines. It’s a story that I think resonates with so many people because there is something about revisiting the perfume or a bite of a special, sweet treat that you had a child, when you are an adult. Something magical. Like the narrator in Proust’s Swann’s Way, a madeleine dipped in tea immediately produced a flood of memories that eventually filled seven volumes:... Read More

Maritozzi with whipped cream

When it comes to Roman food, there is one place I like to go first — the blog of Rachel Roddy, Rachel Eats. Her book, Five Quarters, is coming out any day now and I’m pretty sure its going to be a firm favourite that doesn’t even make it to the bookshelf, it’ll just sit permanently on the kitchen counter next to my other most well-used cookbooks. We had a little chat about maritozzi, these delightfully sticky, sweet Roman... Read More

Ada Boni’s eggless, butterless chocolate cake

I’m always looking for interesting recipes in old cookbooks, things that are perhaps a bit forgotten and old fashioned or even a bit quirky. Even the classic things that haven’t changed for decades or centuries interest me for the fact that they don’t change. It’s something of a passion of mine and I’ve managed to make it the theme of my new column for Cucina Corriere, the food blog of Italian newspaper, Corriere della... Read More

Torta Pasqualina (Ligurian Easter pie)

Easter is just around the corner, believe it or not. I love the work that goes into Easter traditions — pies that take days to make, like the Neapolitan pastiera and the abundant use of spring eggs like in Tuscan Easter schiacciata. This torta pasqualina or Easter pie  (pasqua means ‘Easter’ in Italian), made with fine layers of dough and filled with chard, eggs and ricotta, is no exception. One of Liguria’s iconic dishes... Read More

Making food memories with sweet pizza

I have to admit, I was late in the game with discovering Ruth Reichl’s work. In fact, I hadn’t really known much about her until she came to Australia last year for the Melbourne Writers’ Festival to talk about her novel Delicious! But then I was serendipitously sent a wonderful book, the Italian translation of Reichl’s memoir, Tender at the Bone (La parte piu’ tenera in Italian). It’s the first of a series of... Read More

Four ingredient (gluten & dairy-free) birthday cake

When I say that this cake only needs four ingredients I mean the frosting too. And what’s more, it’s completely gluten free and dairy free. It’s easy to make and light as a feather. In short, it’s a pretty magical cake that makes you realise you can do so much with just eggs, sugar and corn starch (the fourth ingredient is a 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar, which you could even leave out if you were very, very confident about... Read More

Date, fig and walnut focaccia

Last week I created a rather ambitious Christmas recipe for my Regional Italian Food column over at Food52 – a date, fig and walnut panettone. I have to admit, it wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve baked, but definitely a satisfying one to make. It’s much easier to buy a large panettone at the local deli and call it a day, as making it at home requires a lot of patience, plenty of rising time, two days, special baking tins and a bit... Read More

Cinnamon christmas cookies

Every year when Christmas rolls around I try and make some sort of handmade gift to give out to people. One year I went mad making spiced jams and herb salts. Biscotti and other cookies always go down well. Last year I tried my hand at Sardinian nougat, one of my favourite handmade gifts to date. There’s something about a handmade, home made, edible gift. You can give them to many people, they don’t cost the earth yet they’re made... Read More