all the articles tagged as:

nostalgia

Riccardo’s Lost Recipe – Torta con i ciccioli

I was dropping in on Marco’s aunt and uncle, Franca and Riccardo a few years ago. We let ourselves in through the gate, attempting not to let Asia, the giant Maremma sheepdog, escape, and slipping into the house where, behind several piles of books, Riccardo was printing out a short story to share with me. It’s about cake; he thought I would like it. It was a cake often made by Nonna Maria, a farmer’s daughter from the countryside... Read More

Sausage and Mushroom Lasagne di Pane Carasau

We’ve had a strange April, most of it spent in ‘red zone’ lockdown (this weekend is the first time since mid-March that some slight restrictions are lifted — two steps closer closer to freedom!) with temperatures dipping to freezing point, even though a month ago it seemed as if summer had arrived a few months early. The cold front was devastating for winemakers in northern Italy, some even set up burning pyres to warm the... Read More

Nonna Vera’s Almond Cake and a new cookbook

Introducing my new cookbook, Torta della Nonna ~ Making sweets was my first foray into cooking independently in the kitchen, and as a teenager I could often be found baking my way through my mother’s cookbooks, in particular an American pie cookbook – I have always had a thing for pastry. You will see a bias towards it in this collection too, from southern Italian custard and jam bocconotti to ricotta-filled crostata and Florence’s... Read More

Lina’s pollo in galantina, an Italian family classic

My favourite butcher shop, Sergio Falaschi, which is one of the reasons why we bought a house in San Miniato (joking — sort of!) has one of the prettiest and enticing counters, it could compete with any pastry shop window. It is run by my friend Andrea, Sergio’s son, and they are the fourth and third generation to run this shop, with great care for the products, and in turn the heirloom breed animals and local farmers they work with (see... Read More

Tuscan spice pumpkin bread, a tale of forgotten drugs

I am quite aware that this title sounds a bit ridiculous — because there is no such thing as Tuscan spice pumpkin bread and it sounds like one of those recipes that I see online and abhor, that has nothing at all to do with Tuscany, like “Tuscan salad dressing” (no such thing exists in Tuscany, we just use olive oil and a wine vinegar of choice). But this time Tuscan spice really is a thing and it’s a fascinating thing too,... Read More

Pici all’aglione, Tuscany’s rustic pasta al pomodoro

Cooking post-lockdown is still keeping us grounded, but also relaxed and even entertained. I have been turning more than ever to Tuscany’s comforting, frugal cuisine for inspiration – it just feels right. Not because we can’t get ingredients or are rationing but just using what we have on hand or what is abundant (hello tomatoes) at the little bottega in the piazza, skipping that trip to the supermarket in favour of staying home or close... Read More

Stay at home with these comforting family recipes

What a summer! Post-lockdown Florence is bittersweet, we are wary and careful – masks still on, distances kept, obsessive hand washing and hand sanitizer a prerequisite for entry into any indoor space – the streets and piazze are free of travellers and previously tourist-dependant parts of the city now are left for residents to discover their own city again. It’s great to be able to see friends and family again and even take the... Read More

Introducing Tortellini at Midnight

I’ve shown you the behind the scenes and you may have seen some of the recipes, like Nonna Anna’s polpette and the love story behind them, or this comforting rice pudding but here I would finally like to properly introduce you to Tortellini at Midnight. It’s a cookbook with a family story woven throughout it that follows the ancestors of my husband Marco’s family from Taranto in Puglia to Turin in Piemonte and finally to... Read More

Ad occhio, cooking by eye

Ad occhio, Italian for “by eye”. It’s a very natural way to cook, measuring by eye and cooking not by the clock but by the way something looks (or smells or feels). It’s the way I first learned to cook – standing on a stool so I could look over my grandmother’s electric stove top, learning to scramble eggs. Or making pancakes dotted with banana slices or fried rice with eggs (still my go-to comfort food) with my mother. These... Read More

Honey from a Weed, the world of Patience Gray

Honey from a Weed is one of those few cookbooks I could keep by my bedside. I like to open it at random and become absorbed by a recipe or a story, like the one about sharing a dinner with shepherds on Naxos, the differing views of a Milanese and a Salentine diver on what to do with the an octopus, or the “majestic” Catalonian feast that ended with a century old wine that tasted of chocolate syrup.  Published in 1986, it is more than just a... Read More