Orecchiette pasta with turnip tops

Orecchiette con le cime di rapa from Puglia I was on the telephone to my Gran the other day talking about the availability of certain ingredients in the UK and in Italy, and she was reminiscing about certain foods that were available in wartime Britain but which have now all but disappeared from the market…

Halloween in Italy

Happy Halloween to all of you! Halloween is a funny one… I really love this time of year, and when I was a kid (and when I was a student to be fair) it was a fantastic excuse to dress up in as silly and as outlandish a costume as I could possibly conceive and…

Torta di fichi freschi e noci

Fresh fig and walnut pudding from Campania Well, I say Campania, because I was in Salerno when the idea came into my head, but it’s not exactly traditional… I had a load of fresh figs in my fridge because my green grocer knows I love figs and the season is almost at an end. However,…

White wine escalopes

Scaloppine al vino bianco from Lombardy Scaloppine originally were a Northern Italian dish reserved mostly for holidays and parties. Nowadays, because they are so quick and easy to make as well as being relatively cheap they are eaten every day by many families the length and breadth of the peninsula. You can make these with…

Stuffed zucchini flowers with anchovies and mozzarella

Fiori di zucca ripieni di mozzarella e alici from Lazio Another Roman dish! This dish was immortalised in fact by Julia Robert’s in the film adaptation of the book Eat, Pray, Love. When she sits at that table in Rome, outdoors on the street, and cuts into the crispy shell of the flower so that the rich,…

Tagliatelle with langoustines and fresh tomato sauce

Tagliatelle ai scampi e pomodoro fresco Think Italian food, and you think messy spaghetti in tomato sauce (not as messy as in Naples perhaps, but still). Think classy and you think seafood. So this, my friends, is the perfect combination of classic Italian pasta and elegance. Not to mention tasty. Fish: also known as “the…

risotto with prawns and courgettes

Risotto con zucchine e gamberetti from Lombardy In Italy, it used to be said that if you ordered risotto in the South and pasta in the North then you would get exactly what you deserve – wallpaper paste. This may have been true at one time as risotto certainly hails from the Milan area and…

Rich man’s carbonara

Carbonara con salmone affumicato Sorry it’s been a bit slow again over the past few days, I’m really not feeling well at all to tell the truth – sore throat, no voice, impacted wisdom tooth… the list of my health woes goes on, but that isn’t what anyone wants to read so now I’ve got…

Summer spaghetti – zucchini e fiori di zucca

Summer is here and it is hot hot hot, so the last thing that you want to do in 40°+ heat is spend ages in front of the stove cooking some elaborate dish. Firstly because it would be torture. Secondly because in this heat you probably wouldn’t even enjoy eating it anyway. The solution is…

Rustic Restaurants, punctures and snow in Southern Italy

Il Brigante, Sieti (SA) The name of this restaurant is “the robber”, but it won’t run away with your money, honest! This was one of the very first restaurants I came to with the Italian boy and friends, and where I first experienced a group meal “the Italian way”, that is to say with a…

Pasta allo Scarpariello

Pasta allo Scarpariello from Campania This is probably the simplest yet most quintessentially Italian dish one can think of. The word Scaprariello may for many of you call up images of delicious bites of chicken, flash fried with garlic and white wine, rosemary and various other ingredients, but this dish, while yummy, is actually not Italian. It’s…

When in Rome…

…do as the Romans do. Rome is one of my favourite cities in the world. I love to visit it, and never get tired of walking around looking at the architecture, discovering pretty corners and eating ice-cream. I swear there are more ice cream shops per square kilometer in Rome than anywhere else on the…