Ricotta & Fig Tiramisu

What are the recipes that you have at your fingertips, those ones that aren’t even recipes, strictly speaking, but a familiar orchestration of ingredients coming together in that way that you like best? I pondered this when I was asked recently about which recipe I could make in my sleep. A recipe that I don’t need to measure, or if I do, one that I don’t need to refer to a book or notes for. A recipe that is also adaptable, changeable... Read More

Italian Table Talk: Ragu di coniglio, a family recipe

It’s perhaps a tad stereotypical but the idea of the family recipe and Italian cuisine really go hand in hand – that idea of the Italian nonna, apron on, standing over bubbling, steaming pots, weaving magic without the use of recipe book, putting her secret touches here and there, getting ready to feed an army, even if there are only four of you eating. It may not be everyone’s nonna, but some still remember her like that. After much... Read More

Back to basics: The soffritto

I remember my mother telling me when I was a young teenager in the kitchen that the key to a good soup or ragu is the way that the onion is cooked – softly, gently, sweating in butter or olive oil until transparent. I’ve followed that advice ever since. The gently cooked onion is a foundation for flavour in the dish. It’s something magical and this is also what it behind the Italian soffritto and the French mirepoix. The soffritto,... Read More

Sarde a beccafico

Whenever I see fresh sardines at the market, shimmering with their silver scales, I have to have them, regardless of what was going to be on the menu before I noticed them. Packed full of flavour, nutrients and cheap as chips, they are an essential ingredient in regional Italian home cooking from top to toe of the peninsula. Pasta con le sarde is probably my all time favourite pasta dish, in any of its guises (though I’ve always loved the Sicilian... Read More

Simple things & saffron salt

Things have been busy lately; deadlines have been piling up on each other, there’s a nearly nine month old baby crawling around my ankles and time seems to just slip away without me noticing it’s suddenly September. It’s times like these that I turn to simplicity to get me through the day – choose the simplest route, the simplest option. It’s usually always a good idea. Take dinner, for example. Believe it or not, despite... Read More

The truffle hunt

It’s a gorgeous winter’s morning – too gorgeous really to be called winter – for a drive through New South Wales countryside towards Reidsdale, near Braidwood. We pass plenty of paddocks, dotted with resting sheep and cows, a blur of pale yellow ochre under a crisp, bright blue sky. It’s a day for truffle hunting. We’re greeted in Braidwood by Kate Marshall, a Sydney girl turned country. Instantly it feels as though we’re... Read More

Italian Table Talk: Gelato, affogato & some history

There is one thing that I don’t miss about Florentine summers and that is the searing, stifling heat. It seems a strange thing to say from Australia, a sunburnt country if there ever was one, but the heat in Florence is one that simply takes over your entire day. There is barely any relief from it. I’m writing this from the end of a particularly bearable Melbourne winter, but I can feel and taste those hot, sticky Florentine summer days... Read More

Biscotti di Meliga – another polenta cookie

Not too long ago I posted a recipe for polenta and elderflower cookies, a lovely little gem found in my go-to cookbook for inspiration, Artusi‘s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well from 1891. It will please those that need gluten-free recipes as it’s made entirely with polenta (or cornmeal as some like to call it), which gives it a gorgeous crunch but can be a little difficult to work with as there is (obviously) no gluten... Read More

A column for Food52: Regional Italian Food

It’s been busy over here lately, with lots of researching and recipe testing going on in between nap times and the demands of a nearly eight month old (none of which I am able to do without the help of Marco, my husband and number one pasta maker), but finally I’m very excited to announce the launch of my new weekly column over at Food52, dedicated to regional Italian food traditions and recipes. The Regional Italian Food column will... Read More

Pasta e ceci

It was my first time being recognised out on the street by a reader of my blog, a moment that made me feel a little bit the celebrity for the rest of the day. There I was on a drizzly winter’s day at my local farmers’ market, having a morning snack of an excellent spring onion pancake, when someone came up behind me. It was the lovely Louisa, armed with an offering of dried chickpeas. Her dad’s own grown chickpeas from Wycheproof,... Read More