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…

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…

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…

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…

JUST A QUICKIE: PINK ASPARAGUS – & MUSIC

PINK ASPARAGUS – & MUSIC Has anyone seen Pink Asparagus? I thought they were so beautiful I’d be happy to be ‘bunched’ with them! I spotted them yesterday in the new ‘Eat Italy’ in Milano. Farinetti has done a wonderful conversion of the historic Teatro Smeraldo replacing music once played by greats such as Josephine Baker, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan,…

FANCY A QUICKIE? “ITALY IN A GLASS”

TOMATO & BASIL LASSI Here’s a quick blast of Italy – so refreshing you can almost taste the sun! For 1 small glass: 1 large tomato – or 100g fresh tomatoes 100ml plain yoghurt 2 leaves fresh basil Pinch salt Blitz in a blender until smooth and frothy.

ORANGE CREPES WITH ASPARAGUS, BITTER HERBS & HORSERADISH

Forget cats and dogs…or even men…it was ‘raining’ oranges the day we joined the famous “Battaglia delle Arance” or “Battle of Oranges” that marks the end of carnival time in Ivrea, Piemonte. Along the lines of Siena’s “Palio” or the “Sagra del Torde” of Montalcino every ‘quartiere’ of the city competes to be crowned the…