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rustic Italian baking – torte salate

I have always gravitated towards a piece of pastry that wraps up something tasty.  Mum’s Egg and Bacon Pie (whole eggs, lots of parsley) and Cornish Pasties (authentic, she has Cornish blood), featured regularly in the hamper lunches of my childhood, and I felt immediately drawn to the Italian equivalent.  A torta rustica is what people take along when they go to a picnic and … Continue reading rustic Italian baking – torte salate

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zucchini season, how we shop, and a recipe for lombrichelli pasta

It was a funny kind of summer in Italy (last year).  Cooler than normal (no complaints here), punctuated by tragic headlines (making it feel not quite the right moment for holidays), but given a sort of rhythm by the patter of day to day life in a small town. I often wonder whether there is a spike in sales of real newspapers in Italy in … Continue reading zucchini season, how we shop, and a recipe for lombrichelli pasta

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How to peel an artichoke and other stories.

Quick, it’s artichoke season, hurry to the market.  There are bulbous deep purple Romanescos, paler green but equally plump globes, and pretty tulip shaped violette. There are baskets, piles, and crates.  Truckloads parked on street corners selling ten for a song. The first time I cooked artichokes they were an unmitigated disaster.  I had chanced upon them at the Victoria Market, and probably just the … Continue reading How to peel an artichoke and other stories.

Artisans & Antiques; PUGLIA trips 2019

At the heel of the Italian boot, Puglia is a land of wild beauty where the stark rocky coastline seems to fall into the sea; a land of ancient olive groves and carpets of flowers,  where the light dazzles against the white of the Southern baroque piazze. As sure as the sea in Puglia is of the clearest turquoise, the food that comes out of the kitchens all over the region is … Continue reading Artisans & Antiques; PUGLIA trips 2019

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bookmarks: roads less travelled and unique places to stay

May 2018.  It is mid afternoon when we pull into the farm hotel.  A deep calm blankets the property and there is no sign of anyone apart from a French couple that pad across the courtyard toward the pool.  The tractors have been shut down for the day and the farm workers have gone home, but the air is alive with insect and bird life, … Continue reading bookmarks: roads less travelled and unique places to stay

Ancient grains for every season

Farro is one of those ingredients that magic a meal out of a few vegetables.  It is wonderful in summer; with punchy tomatoes and fresh herbs or alongside the nicoise family of tuna, capers and olives, but also great in winter with pumpkins and brassicas. We eat it a lot.  Long faces are occasionally pulled when the smaller people find out it is farro instead … Continue reading Ancient grains for every season

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when in Rome – tips for travelers

Since I started writing here back in 2014, I have noticed that readers like information.  So here I am at the start of a new year, and a new decade, with some practical pointers for Rome (and some free opinion). This year I will turn fifty.  Surprisingly I woke up on the first of January feeling kind of excited about it, as if flipping from … Continue reading when in Rome – tips for travelers