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Nostalgic baking new entry: la Crostata Stellata

I developed this recipe for what I am calling a Crostata Stellata, for a Ci Piace Cucinare Christmas menu. It all started after our summer trip to Abruzzo, when I started researching traditional sweets for a Lunch in Abruzzo story. I stumbled across a recipe for Sfogliatelle Abruzzese, a kind of cousin of Neopolitan sfogliatelle, perhaps one of the greatest sweets ever created, on par … Continue reading Nostalgic baking new entry: la Crostata Stellata

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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.

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

australian classics: meat pies ‘n sausage rolls

When you go to a football game in the southern part of Australia, where we follow Australian Rules Football, a home grown style of footy first played in Melbourne in the 1800’s, the standard stadium food is a meat pie, with sauce, otherwise known as a pie ‘n sauce.  Meat pies are essentially English – but when eaten in front of an Aussie rules football match, they … Continue reading australian classics: meat pies ‘n sausage rolls

australian classics: scones with jam and cream

For better or for worse, Australia occupies a sort of novelty position in the eyes of many Italians.  Newspapers run spots about killer sharks and koalas on the loose, and us auw-stra-yalini get lots of questions like how long does the flight take? and are there really seven varieties of deadly spider?  Beyond this Italians often ask me for examples of a typical Australian meal or characteristic food.  … Continue reading australian classics: scones with jam and cream

rustic Italian baking – focaccia

Roughly three years ago Rachel Roddy, Carla Tomasi and I sat in Carla’s kitchen with mugs of tea, looking out onto Carla’s blooming kitchen garden and chatting about how Market to Table would become our chance to cook together with curious travelers from around the globe.  Market to Table has become a glorious celebration of the Roman seasons, of recipes we love and a true … Continue reading rustic Italian baking – focaccia

crostata, crostata

There is often a huddle of people waiting outside the nondescript bakery on a corner of the Jewish ghetto, the one so small there is only room for 3.5 customers at a time, the rest obliged to wait outside gazing into the windows filled with biscotti and crostate and whatever festive specialty there happens to be at that point in the Jewish calendar. The cherry and ricotta … Continue reading crostata, crostata

Pecorino, cured pork and Solidarity

In Italy fair trade products; most often coffee, sugars and chocolate, are marked by the words Equo e Solidale.  Equo meaning equal and fair, with solidale translating as solidarity; together with, in union.  Solidarity is a word that gets used a lot in these trying times, and I think (many) Europeans seem to have an inbuilt understanding of the idea, one that has run through their … Continue reading Pecorino, cured pork and Solidarity

ten.6 good starts

The preface to this series needed to go something like this: Not for a minute do I believe that Italians hold the copyright to good sense in the kitchen.   I should have started by saying that the Italians in these ramblings are like a placeholder for all those authentic culinary traditions that derive from what grows well in local soil and is raised on local pastures. Factors as pivotal … Continue reading ten.6 good starts

ten.5 harvest, or cooking with what’s just off the trees

The late summer harvest season has been wonderfully satisfying in its very humble way on our little patch of volcanic soil at Lubriano.  Apart from the tomatoes and (Lebanese) cucumbers, we have had blooming amethyst like plums and our own crop of hazelnuts from the tree that rose from the shrubby bush inherited three years ago.  There have been trips to collect blackberries and baskets full … Continue reading ten.5 harvest, or cooking with what’s just off the trees