about my father, seville oranges and making marmalade

I don’t often write about my father on my blog, unfairly so, because I am, and I think you can say this at 44 years of age, as much my father’s daughter as I am a replica of my mother.  Our real shared love is for the Australian high country, a special sort of bond built over years of camping and walking; of long drives … Continue reading about my father, seville oranges and making marmalade

spinach and ricotta gnocchi

Years ago a friend gave me Elizabeth David’s biography and in a week’s reading ED was transformed from trusted cooks’ companion to flesh and blood woman of adventure living in an era decidedly more romantic than our own.  Aside from the voyeuristic element; the tales of her smoking while she cooked and her famous spats with lovers (she was so much cooler than Julia Childs) her writing … Continue reading spinach and ricotta gnocchi

about my mother and the importance of beans

My mother Alison was born in 1938 in suburban Melbourne, into that generation known as war babies, the children that spent their early years albeit far from the horrors of Europe but nonetheless under the blanket of food rations, bomb shelters and the BBC war broadcast.  My Grandfather Jim was an engineer and my Grandmother Marjorie a seamstress, and their three girls grew up in a … Continue reading about my mother and the importance of beans

mopping up the juices

My first job in Rome was in a restaurant owned by a Neapolitan man and his Roman wife.  The best food in the place was undoubtedly that cooked by his mother; who would shuffle in bearing great trays of Melezane alla Parmigiana; heavy with eggplant that had been first fried (Neapolitans love to fry) before being layered with rich tomato sauce and mozzarella.  Between being harangued by … Continue reading mopping up the juices

un bel pasticcio and other sticky situations

‘O mamma’ cries the child, ‘ho fatto un pasticcio’ is one of those lovable Italian expressions, translating roughly as ‘I’ve made a mess’ and most often heard in situations that involve play dough, cake mix and mud pies, and less frequently in those involving adult style misunderstandings. Pasticcio in the Italian kitchen can describe both a simple pie or cake, or a sticky – be it physical or metaphorical … Continue reading un bel pasticcio and other sticky situations

butternuts and farro

About a year ago I wrote about the beautiful dark skinned pumpkins from Mantova in the north of Italy, the spiritual home of Italian recipes involving the zucca.  In Rome, one of the best places to go on the hunt for a fine pumpkin is the Campagna Amica farmer’s market in Via San Teodoro.  Last Saturday I selected a beautiful big butternut, and over a few days … Continue reading butternuts and farro