Ricotta and spinach ‘gnudi’ video recipe

When I was writing the manuscript for Florentine, I enlisted the help of an army of recipe testers — about 80 people from all over the world — to test every recipe thoroughly. Only one came back to me consistently with problems. From Minnesota to Melbourne, three testers wrote to me that their very first attempt at making Tuscan gnudi (ricotta and spinach balls that, rather than be encased in pasta like for ravioli, are simply dusted... Read More

Spaghetti with monk’s beard

The sudden burst of spring produce in the market after a long, monotonous winter of cavolo nero and bright oranges is one of the things that constantly reminds me why I love living and eating in Italy. A wander through the market like any other becomes, in spring time, a new experience. I feel like a fresh arrival, like it’s my first time walking through my local market. There are long, twisty fava bean pods, waiting to be podded and munched... Read More

Seasonal cooking classes at Latteria Studio in Rome

I have a disclaimer, right off the bat. I love the Latteria Studio and the people involved in it. Alice Adams (pictured here above) who runs the show, is a longtime resident of Rome, a food stylist and recipe developer from Melbourne with an Italian husband and two bilingual kids. She worked on my latest cookbook with me and we hired many of the beautiful props from the studio. I feel like she is the big sister I never had and after the week we... Read More

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 problem for me is that I’m indecisive. Should I make the boozy cherries? That’s how long ago it was when I first started reading... Read More

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 (his ideal comfort food), but either doesn’t have the patience to cook the sauce or the desire to turn on the stove (except to boil the... Read More

Zucchini and zucchini flower soup

I would describe the past month (or two or three or five) as one huge juggling act. I’ve been traveling a lot, or working from home, writing, while trying to tend to a three year old’s needs (who, as you can see, if always at my heels), often barely having time to stop and rest, let alone cook (you know what this is like, anyone who freelances and doesn’t set “office hours” for their work). Soup has saved me. It’s... Read More

Nonna Lina’s Pomarola

I never met Nonna Lina, my husband’s grandmother. She passed away six weeks before I met him, coincidentally on the exact same day my maternal grandfather died. But from the way my husband and my mother-in-law talk about her, the constant references to her, especially when we are in the kitchen, I feel like I know her. And I feel connected to her when I cook her recipes. Lina was tiny, little Tuscan lady, and a good cook. A pedantic one. But... Read More

Raw artichoke salad and a new home

Well, we did it. We moved back to Tuscany from Australia. Something about the way of life and the role that family play here in Italy were enough to call us back to where our hearts belong – although we did leave behind a piece of our heart in Australia too. Being back in Tuscany in spring has been great. I’ve been revelling in that much too short season of ‘perfect’ weather: not too hot, not too cold, not yet too crowded to enjoy... 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

A book deal & pappardelle with fresh porcini

As long as I can remember I have wanted to write a book. But in more recent years, the book of my dreams has been a cookbook. Like many with a similar dream, it’s really the whole reason I began this blog. And then one day, just like in a dream, I received an email, out of the blue. Are you doing a book? Asked the subject line. I read it and re-read it. And then, Would you be interested in the idea? It was from one of my favourite publishers,... Read More