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, Hardie Grant. We specialise in creating beautiful cookbooks. I would love to hear from you.

pappardelle pasta

I read it a few times over, just to make sure I was reading it correctly, before running through the house to find my husband to throw my arms around him, shouting the news (it was perhaps a tad too early in the morning to be shouting things to sleeping people but I figured for this would be forgiven).

Many more email exchanges later and a visit to the London office of the publishers, then the Melbourne office, then some invaluable advice on things like book proposals, statistics and royalties from generous friends like Rachel Roddy (I am so keenly awaiting her upcoming book inspired by the food of her Roman neighbourhood, Testaccio, and her English background), Katie Parla (She is currently working on a much-awaited book on Roman cuisine), and Emma Galloway (author of blog and kitchen-staple cookbook, My Darling Lemon Thyme), along with some amazing support from the team at Food52, and I could finally say to myself, I’m writing a cookbook.

But I’m still pinching myself and I probably will be until August 2015, when the book is to be released.

porcini and chantarelle mushrooms

The subject, I feel lucky to say, is exactly what I wanted to write about. It’s a subject very close to my heart, and a subject that I have been writing about for many years: Florence and her food. Not Tuscany, but more precisely, Florence. The city I called home for seven years, the city where I met and married my husband. The city where I started this blog and the place that inevitably inspired this blog.

It will hopefully be a one of a kind cookbook. A first, really – at least in English. The sort of book that shares the stories and the recipes of a unique city (helped along by a hefty dose of photography), as if you were taken by the hand and led through the streets, stopping off at bakeries, markets, trattorie and wine bars, sampling dishes along the way. Something that is, quite frankly, very traditional, and very – well, Florentine, which just happens to be the title of the book.

florence - cookbook

I’m here right now, collecting some last minute material and photographing my favourite food icons of this city. Mornings have been spent at the markets for seasonal things like uva fragola (concord grapes) to make schiacciata all’uva or funghi porcini, buying little household items like wooden pastry rollers and treats such as a thick slice of crostata or some warm necci and perhaps a little too much coffee. All in the name of research, of course.

I love that “research” has also included things like chats with my husband’s aunt for her ideal recipe for trippa alla fiorentina, Florentine style tripe (and subsequent visits to the in-laws’ preferred countryside butcher) or visits to the local artisan pasta maker for tips on making fresh pasta.

fresh herbs for mushroom pappardelle

Fresh from this morning’s trip to the market were these porcini, with a few finferli (chanterelles) thrown in for colour. Some pappardelle made before my very eyes at one of my favourite Florentine shops and my daughter zealously taking cuttings from the herb pots on the terrace and lunch practically made itself.

This isn’t one of the recipes in the book so I’m happy to be able to share this wonderful autumnal dish, a recipe I wrote about back in 2011 using Caesar’s mushrooms. It is my favourite way to prepare any wild mushrooms — that is, extremely simply, letting the mushrooms speak for themselves. If you use ready made pasta and once you’ve taken the time to clean the mushrooms of their forest floor dirt, this meal can be on your plate in a matter of minutes. Don’t go too crazy with the cheese, you don’t want to mask the flavour of the mushrooms.

pappardelle ai funghi

Pappardelle ai funghi

  • 2 medium porcini mushrooms
  • handful of chanterelles
  • knob of butter
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • handful of grated Pecorino cheese
  • handful of fresh calamint (nepitella), or oregano

See the full recipe here.


  1. Tiina G says:

    Absolutely wonderful news! Awesome, I’m so happy for you!! I can’t wait to hear more and see your work!

  2. Asha says:

    Congratulations Emiko!!!! So glad your dream is coming true! I know it’s a long road of hard work but here is wishing you enjoy every step and moment of it and cherish the process as much as the product!! xxxx

    • Emiko says:

      Thanks! The process sure is an interesting one (and I am learning so much!) but hopefully I’ll look back on this as an amazing time too! 😉

  3. Robyn says:

    Congratulations! I’m always pleased when the RSS feed announces a new post on your blog. What a treat a whole book will be.

  4. Valeria says:

    Yay! It’s official! I am so so so proud and happy for you, and I can’t wait to see it! I love the title, so classy and essential. Perfect. x

  5. Dulcistella says:

    Congratulazioni! Stavo pensando di scriverti questo messaggio in inglese, ma in effetti non ha molto senso 😀
    Ti leggo con piacere da un sacco di tempo, ma non credo di aver mai lasciato un commento… sono molto contenta per te, te lo meriti, ho sempre apprezzato le tue ricette e le tue foto 🙂
    Lato pratico: in questo libro quante delle ricette saranno nuove e quante già qua sul blog? Le unità di misura saranno come sempre quelle del sistema internazionale? Sarà un libro diviso per stagioni o per portata (primo secondo ecc)? E soprattutto, puoi rispondere a queste domande o ti sto istigando a violare qualche patto contrattuale? 😀
    Grazie per tutto e in bocca al lupo!

    • Emiko says:

      Ciao Teresa! Grazie mille per il tuo commento. Saranno quasi tutte ricette nuove (tipo 90% nuove! E quelle che sono gia’ state sul blog sono comunque un po’ diverse per il libro). Le unita’ di misura saranno come quelle che uso sul blog (litri, grammi/chili ecc), comunque per peso non per volume. E il modo in cui il libro sara’ diviso e’ ancora una sorpresa ma diciamo piu’ o meno come portata! 🙂

  6. rach says:

    so happy, so proud, can’t wait, lets eat, drink and throw food (L and M) to celebrate xoxoxo

    • Emiko says:

      Yay! Thank YOU! Also just knowing that you are going through a similar thing (working on a manuscript with a two year old around) is enough to help keep me going! Can’t wait to do an in person book swap 🙂 xx

  7. Congratulations!!! So happy for you. But also for me, because, yes, there is a HUGE need for a book like yours and I can’t wait to read it, and cook from it.

    • Emiko says:

      Thank you Elizabeth! Means a lot! And yes, I thought too that there was a rather large hole needing to be filled by a book like this – I truly hope I do it justice! x

  8. Rachel says:

    Congratulations, I’m really excited for this as you’re recipes are brilliant, and you’re right. Hardie Grant create beautiful cookbooks. Also, are their new London offices not simply amazing?!

  9. Oki says:

    What fantastic news! So well deserved. Been googling for your name on Amazon in hopes and now I see it’s reality. Will absolutely buy for me and as presents. Congratulations to you, your family and all who made this happen!

  10. Flavia says:

    Auguri, Emiko! I first saw your announcement on Instagram and am so happy to read the details here on your blog. I’m looking forward to making your cookbook a part of my collection and one that I am certain will be well-used and loved. Bravissima!

  11. Francesca says:

    Congratulazioni! I have enjoyed your blog for a long time and I am sure your book will be wonderful.

  12. Giulia says:

    so happy for you! 🙂 can’t wait to see book, I already know it will be fantastic, so you!

  13. Congratulations! Such wonderful news & I can’t wait to have it on my shelf! xxx

  14. janie says:

    What wonderful news. I love your blog, check you out on Food 52 and now I look forward to having your book at home. Can’t wait!

  15. Sophie says:

    Congratulations!! Your blog and recipes are always great, so I’m looking forward to the beautiful book.

  16. This is SUCH wonderful news. I’ve always thought you would write and photograph the most beautiful cookbook. And Florence! A city so close to my heart. I’ll have to buy copies for my parents and some of our Tuscan friends too. So so thrilled for you – if you ever have any questions about the cookbook process, as someone who’s just come out the other side of it, I’m always happy to help! Kate xx

    • Emiko says:

      Oh thank you Kate! So lovely of you! Now that the manuscript is finally in, I can look forward to the bit I think will be the most fun – the cookbook shoot! 🙂

  17. v says:

    Porcini!!! Yumm, included in my list of must cook (today)!
    I also think you might like this…


  18. Emiko I am SO thrilled for you. Congratulations! This comes as no surprise to me 😉 Your book will be just beautiful, I can already tell. Your work is some of my most favourite. What an exciting, fun, creative time for you. Enjoy the process. Cannot wait to get a copy and read your words, make your recipes and feel that Firenze magic! x

    • Emiko says:

      Thank you Heidi for your beautiful comment! It is a pretty amazing (and nerve-wracking) process! But I’m looking forward to the cookbook photo shoot the most, should be good fun! Also I’ll be back in Melbourne and then Mornington for a couple weeks for that, perhaps we can catch up for coffee? x

  19. Sara says:

    How thrilling! Congratulations and good luck as you work on the book.

  20. Anthony says:

    That is unbelievable news!! Well done!!

  21. Looking forward to it! I find myself buying fewer and fewer cookbooks, but this is one I won’t want to miss!

  22. Sanjana says:

    Congrats Emiko for your dream coming true!!! Well deserved.

  23. Nick Santopaolo says:

    Wow Emiko well done you! I certainly hope it will be available to purchase in the UK because I shall definitely be treating myself to a copy, roll on August ’15!

    Oh! I wanted to thank you very much for the very beautiful advice you gave me last year on the best eats in Cinque Terre – I liked them all and it made my trip even more memorable. You can see my pics here… https://www.flickr.com/photos/105186293@N04/

    Thanks again and congrats!


    • Emiko says:

      It should definitely be available in the UK as Hardie Grant have an office in London too! And I’m so glad you enjoyed the Cinque Terre, looks fantastic – brought back some nice memories for me, as it’s been a little while since I’ve been back there!

  24. JZ says:

    I just got to know this blog while searching for Ribollita the other day! And what a surprise, I can’t wait to see your book!!!! I’ve been living in Florence for 5 years now and I understood so well your post… but I’m not writing a book yet… =)

    In bocca al lupo!

  25. Emiko, this really is wonderful news, congratulations… I’m sure it will be a beautiful book. Well done.

  26. Paola says:

    Dear Emiko, I am not sure how the news of your book deal escaped me until now. How very exciting, huge congratulations. What a thrill!!! I really look forward to seeing your lovely book

Leave A Comment