Eating pizzoccheri in Valchiavenna

It’s a lazy Sunday lunchtime on a February Sunday and I’m having lunch in a restaurant with family and friends. The restaurant is La Genzianella in the hamlet of Fraciscio above Campodolcino in Valchiavenna. It’s a small place with an adjoining bar that fits snugly into its context with a wood-panelling dining room and a […]

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casarecce with romanesco cauliflower

This is one of my favourites: pasta with Romanesco cauliflower (cavolfiore romanesco). I made today’s recipe also because I was feeling inspired by a cookery class I did with a friend who’s originally from Puglia a short while ago. We cooked orecchiette with cime di rapa or turnip greens, and she told us how her […]

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focaccine

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m making focaccine, or little focaccia as adding the diminutive ‘ino’ or in this case ‘ina’ makes it little. So these are little focaccia, although if you’re familiar with the true Ligurian focaccia, don’t expect that. These are more like mini pitta breads and taste like piadina rather than true focaccia […]

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Chicken dinners

The decorator had been in all week and we were living in that state of chaos which is slightly too much. Meals on the coffee table (or rather what serves as the coffee table which is actually my old university trunk) eventually lose their appeal. Or rather than losing their appeal, we’d got to the […]

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A tale of two lasagne

If we’re talking lasagne, then it’s a tale of two. The first is my mother’s from my childhood, when lasagne was a food of ’80s dinners, along with the stir fried chicken that came from her copy of the St Michael Cookery Library’s Chinese Cooking. It was often made using dried lasagne verdi, and generally […]

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Memories will be made of meatballs

A friend asked me for the recipe for my meatballs. “How do you make yours?” she asked. “I love to hear how other people make them.” Good question. My meatballs are generally recipe-less. They’re usually a mix of the meat I’ve bought and what I have in the fridge. The other day I made them […]

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Comfort comes in the shape of meatballs

I had this phase once where just about every Friday night I’d make chicken risotto, and every Friday night my son would curl up his nose and wail “that’s not risotto!” because where we live risotto may be very popular, just not with chicken. So I’d end up giving him pasta and ragù instead, whereas […]

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Pesto(ish) for a rainy day

So after Spring made a very brief appearance, in particular yesterday which gave us a day in which we all breathed a sigh of relief from the awful weather we seem to be having recently, today it is cold, grey, raining and utterly miserable. Burian 2 is on its way, or the beast from the […]

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Cacciucco, or chickpea soup amidst the snow

Cacciucco, a fish soup associated with Tuscan coastal towns such as Livorno, Viareggio, and in my case memories of a camping holiday in Castiglione della Pescaia where I had these rather romantic visions of the good life in a tent until the people in the tent next to us started singing Carpenters songs. I have […]

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Monday soup for the soul

After last week’s impromptu “let’s just all have a week off as everyone got ill”, everyone’s back and out of the house and so I spent the whole of my Monday morning – err, cleaning the kitchen. Yes, really, life is that glamorous, although it’s actually quite a nice feeling in a way, kind of […]

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We are what we eat (but make it Italian)

Call it a modern day version of one of those much loved and much stained notebooks that I have sitting on my bookshelves in my kitchen, the ones that belong to my grandmothers and mother. They’re the ones hidden between the other books, Italian classics such as Artusi’s The Art of Eating Well, various other books […]

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November is sausage ragù

You can’t beat a sausage ragù. You can’t beat any ragù, and I generally make mine with half beef mince and half sausage Italian sausage meat anyway. But today went pear-shaped and I was in a hurry, and so the sausage casserole with polenta I’d planned to feed my family for lunch and was feeling […]

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