Valentine’s Pigeons, a recipe for lovebirds

There is a legend that recounts that Saint Valentine miraculously helped two young people fall in love by rounding up a pairs of amorous pigeons to fly around them, inspiring the Italian term for lovebirds, piccioncini, which more precisely (and aptly) translates as ‘little pigeons’. Since then, lovebirds (or little pigeons as the case may be) all over the world have been celebrating the Saint’s day on February 14th all in the name of love and... Read More

A Spicy Slice of Panforte

I love finding old cookbooks, hand-me-downs from relatives or books found rummaging through second hand bookshops. Once, I even carted home a box full of old cookbooks waiting for the recycling truck. There are treasures in these books, even little ones, like a dog-ear and stained page from that well-used recipe, or – my favourite – a handwritten recipe tucked away in the pages. An old book on Tuscan cooking borrowed from my husband’s aunt had... Read More

Oysters alla Tarantina

As the end of November approaches at lightning speed, I am suddenly reminded of next month’s big event – Christmas. It’s a busy time in normal circumstances, but I’ve just moved from the Italy to far flung Australia. We’re not only busy setting up a new life in Melbourne, but also – we’re hosting Christmas. Missing furniture aside, Christmas for my family in Australia is really all about the food and a fitting excuse to get everyone... Read More

Artusi’s November: Pumpkin Pie

I’ve said many times how much I love autumn, particularly for the season’s food. It just feels natural to be a little more indulgent at this time of the year, allowing yourself plenty of comfort food or that extra slice of pie. Pumpkin has to be right up there as one of my favourite autumn vegetables. Just before leaving Italy a few weeks ago, we had pumpkins coming at us from all directions, most notably from my husband’s nonna’s... Read More

Artusi’s April: Gnocchi alla Romana

As Easter normally falls in April, Artusi‘s reliable suggestions for this month’s Italian menu consist of plenty of dishes that you could traditionally find on an Easter table, including the ones that Italians call “magro” or lean, in other words, fish or vegetables (but no meat), the diet to be followed on Good Friday. Among a list of some of my favourite Spring dishes such as artichoke tart, fava beans served raw, Easter lamb, chocolate... Read More

Pastiera Napoletana

The first time I came across Naples’ famous Easter dessert, pastiera, I wasn’t entirely sure how to react — except that I knew I needed to have more. It’s a rather unusual, unique pie made with an array of ingredients that seem almost to have accidentally ended up together but are each in their own symbolic and traditional to Naples. And as a whole, they create an absolutely delicious concoction. Whole wheat berries (known... Read More

Christmas Leftovers: Nutella and Panettone pudding

The Florentines are great at doing leftovers. Whether it’s getting creative with the unwanted parts of animals or reusing last night’s dinner, many of Florence’s most famous dishes are based on the concept of recooking leftovers and not wasting any food. Soups such as Ribollita and Pappa al Pomodoro or the summery bread salad, Panzanella, have yesterday’s stale bread at the heart of their recipes. There are also countless dishes that use leftover... Read More