Stinging Nettle Tortellini

The great thing about being part of a big Italian family is that if you need to find something, someone will always have it or will endeavour to find it for you. In my case, a few weeks ago it was untreated roses to make rose petal jam. Marco’s cousin came to the rescue. She had a wonderful fuchsia-coloured rose bush growing against an old tin shed. Going back to her garden again for my second batch of jam, she had something else waiting for me:... Read More

Unwinding with Tagliolini al Limone

We all need time to unwind and relax, to get away from the usual routine and leave the “to do” list at home. A weekend by the sea is my preferred technique at the moment, while the Spring weather is still not too hot yet not too cool, sometimes stormy, but mostly gloriously sunny. We are blessed to have a place where we can always stay in a little beach side village on the Etruscan coast, one of my absolute most favourite parts of Tuscany. The... 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

Baccelli: Spring on a Plate

It’s a definite sign of Spring when the first baccelli start making an appearance at market stalls around Florence. Baccelli are otherwise known as fave, or fava beans, and tend to be slightly smaller than normal broad beans. Traditionally presented at the table as they are – long, green, shiny pods which belie the little treasures tucked away inside – the beans are shelled and eaten raw with a nice, salty pecorino cheese or silky,... Read More

Carrot Gnocchi

I once heard that the goodness in carrots helps get over jet lag. I’ve just gone through a 30 hour journey from Italy to Australia, passing through five airports and being thrown 10 hours ahead to get from one home to the other. I’m going to need some carrots. This wonderful gnocchi recipe came to mind. It’s a unique and a beautiful dish that was made for me by an equally unique and beautiful person, Sara, a talented and offbeat Italian... Read More

The Search for Ribollita

While writing the post on leftovers over Christmas weekend, I had an overwhelming craving for Ribollita – the ultimate Tuscan winter vegetable and bean soup – so much so that Monday morning, the day after boxing day, I headed out to my local deli to get some of the fresh ribollita they usually always have at this time of year to take to work for lunch. But no. Not today. Obviously, December 26 is a day where nothing goes on, shops and markets... Read More

White Truffle Butter

November is my favourite month. My birthday is in November for starters, so that’s always a good excuse. It also happens to be white truffle season, and San Miniato, the small and steep hilltop town where my husband comes from, is the place to get prized white truffles, tartufo bianco, in Tuscany. 2010 was a great year for truffles, even if we had to put up with non-stop rain in Spring and a short summer. Because of the abundance of truffles this... Read More