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….

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’…

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…

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…

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…

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…

PRESERVED LEMON, BASIL & POMEGRANATE SEED LINGUINE

“Do you know the land where lemons bloom and grow…..” asked Goethe…..and sadly I would have to reply “not yet”…or only through enthusiastic hearsay and ‘Inspector Montalbano’ TV episodes. Sicily, Goethe’s land of lemons, still remains shrouded in expectancy for me so that now – in lemon-blossom time – I can only dream of the…