ROSE-PETAL GOATS’ CHEESE & DARK BUCKWHEAT CRACKERS

I thought I’d take a different slant on St. Valentine’s Day this year…and focus on Goats! Not in a romantic way I hasten to add..…but because it happens to be Chinese New Year on February 19th and we enter The Year of the Goat – with its potential of bringing us more peace and harmony.…… Continue reading ROSE-PETAL GOATS’ CHEESE & DARK BUCKWHEAT CRACKERS

FESTIVE ‘NO-PASTA’ TORTELLI with JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE & PUMPKIN

Twelve days ‘til Christmas and it’s just been snowing in the mountains. A clear starry night now beckons us outside promising roasted chestnuts, a glowing fire and a steaming glass of vin brulè mulled with warm spices! We’re celebrating! Tomorrow is December 13th an important date here because it heralds ‘La Festa di Santa Lucia’…… Continue reading FESTIVE ‘NO-PASTA’ TORTELLI with JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE & PUMPKIN

MILLEFOGLIE OF APPLE CRISPS & “TIRED COW” CHEESE

The Dolomites were on fire! Like the grand finale of a fireworks display, we watched the autumn leaves give a last explosive and magnificent burst of colour…..before dropping exhausted to the ground. We were on the hunt for apples and because they’re grown prolifically in this part of Alto Adige we decided to drive up…… Continue reading MILLEFOGLIE OF APPLE CRISPS & “TIRED COW” CHEESE

HERE’S A QUICKIE: FRESH FIG & TRUFFLE ROLLS on ROSEMARY SPRIGS

I was lucky enough to be given some fresh figs from my neighbour’s garden so I made these one evening for a starter….. INGREDIENTS • Fresh ripe figs – if the figs are small I would use 2 or 3 per person for a starter • Truffle oil • Thin slices of prosciutto – about…… Continue reading HERE’S A QUICKIE: FRESH FIG & TRUFFLE ROLLS on ROSEMARY SPRIGS

AUTUMN IN THE LANGHE: WHITE-TRUFFLE SCENTED POPCORN

Yes, truffle season has just started in the Langhe, Piemonte!….and the air in Alba is perfumed with bewitching wafts of this earthy fungus. Truffles might look like small wrinkled old potatoes but these buried treasures are not called ‘White Gold’ for nothing. Alba white truffles fetch the highest prices when they are finally auctioned in…… Continue reading AUTUMN IN THE LANGHE: WHITE-TRUFFLE SCENTED POPCORN

SUMMER TASTER of TOMATO AGAR-AGAR & PARMESAN GELATO, with TOMATO SKINS & BLACK SESAME SEEDS

I’ve taken to the bottle recently……self-tan not alcohol!….because my summer this year has been virtually non-existent in terms of sun and heat. Italy had the worst July for years and then I had to spend August in a wet and windy North England, only to return once again to storms and rain here in Northern…… Continue reading SUMMER TASTER of TOMATO AGAR-AGAR & PARMESAN GELATO, with TOMATO SKINS & BLACK SESAME SEEDS

SALT-BAKED SARDINES with HERBED POTATO CHIPS (A Warm Summer ‘Fish & Chips’ Salad)

‘Twite Shad’…there, I’ve said it! A few years ago I went for a weekend to Lake Como (and yes, I did see George Clooney!) where I found a restaurant offering “missoltino con crostone di polenta fritta e alborelle” or as the English translation read….”salty twite shad with polenta and bleaks”. Fabulous!…particularly as I could not…… Continue reading SALT-BAKED SARDINES with HERBED POTATO CHIPS (A Warm Summer ‘Fish & Chips’ Salad)

A ROMANTIC ITALIAN WEEKEND IN A CASTLE?

‘Oh let’s just pack and go’ we said, last Saturday morning…’let’s be spontaneous and see where we end up’. For me, born and raised in England, one of the joys of being in Europe is knowing that we don’t have to book planes or ferries, we can just climb in a car and in a…… Continue reading A ROMANTIC ITALIAN WEEKEND IN A CASTLE?

PINZIMONIO with SEAWEED SPELT FOCACCIA & LAVENDER SALT

Spring is in full swing here and as we speak I can hear the far call of the cuckoo echoing around the valley, mingling sonorously with the frenzy of bird chirpings, tweetings and general spring ‘busyness’ that is happening outside my window. Actually, come to think of it, it’s quite noisy! However there’s nothing noisy…… Continue reading PINZIMONIO with SEAWEED SPELT FOCACCIA & LAVENDER SALT

MARBLED EGGS, EDIBLE FLOWERS & RUCOLA with AN EASTER EGG-CRACKING GAME

I learnt the art of marbling paper as a bookbinder many years ago. An art apparently first used in Japan in the 12th century and called, rather eloquently, “cloud art” or “ebru”. But now this Easter I find myself marbling in a completely different way…with eggs. Marbled eggs are an oriental speciality involving gently cracking…… Continue reading MARBLED EGGS, EDIBLE FLOWERS & RUCOLA with AN EASTER EGG-CRACKING GAME