Monday, 14 December 2009


Oh yes, it is that time of the year. Like it or not, it’s Christmas and it would be nice to spend it at home with your beloved persons and with homemade Christmas deli.
Leave the crowds wonder around in the packed city centres and super uber malls and indulge yourself in slow cooking and a glass of red wine. Instead of the usual gifts, why not opt for winter treats like fair-trade honey or homemade fairy cakes dressed up in a lovely box.
Make everything ready, check the cupboard, do the food shopping and enjoy yourself.
The following one is my suggestion for the Christmas dessert. It is not a traditional English pudding, but it has many pros: it is very quick, it is creamy tasty, you can make it the night before and it never lets you down. It has just a con: it is outrageously fattening.
But after all summer is still far away…

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Although the current Italian situation and the depressing grey English weather, I am proud to present this late Autumn special: an Italian classic, LASAGNE. It is the proper time to make lasagne, it is getting cold, we need confort food and it is an occasion to live your kitchen with your beloved persons. And, lasagne are so good that even help to digest the worst TV news (you know what I am talking about).
Now, it is necessary to make it clear that it doesn’t exist one recipe for lasagne, as every family keeps its own special variation. Mine is just a version, probably one of the easiest and lighter ones, but you can add whatever ingredients you prefer. The good thing about cooking is that dogmatism is banned, in favour of fantasy.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


A for Ape, that we saw at the fair; B for Blockhead, who ne’er shall go there; C for cauliflower, white as a curd…I remember when I believed babies were found under cauliflowers by their parents. It was a world full by fantasy and fairies, cheerfulness and joy. Now I know that my parents had lied to me: it is not a wonderful world, but still I can play with it and use fantasy to make it fantastic. And it is how a cauliflower can become a sheep or a cloud before becoming a divine meal.
This recipes is very easy to make and relatively cheap. It won’t look out of place even as a side dish in a romantic dinner. Happy cooking!

A medium size cauliflower
Crème fraiche
Two different types of cheese

Place the cauliflower florets and a few of the inner leaves in a steamer and still them until tender.
Pour a little (75ml circa) of the steaming water into a saucepan, add the crème fraiche and simmer, whisk well until it has thickened, then add the cheeses. Heat this gently for about one minute, until cheeses have melted, then add a bit of nutmeg and season the sauce to taste. Pour the sauce over the cauliflowers and place the dish under a hot grill until the cauliflower has browned.
Some examples of the cheese you can use are: Parmesan cheese, French Brie, Blue cheese if you prefer a stronger taste.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


This dish has the merits to be easy to make, cheap to buy and it makes quite an impression. Not to mention that is low in calories but at the same time very filling and tasty. I see it as an autumn classic for a quick dinner, after a long working day. If you are lucky enough to live in the countryside you can pick up your own mushrooms (make sure from an expert that are the edible ones) otherwise look for the next Tesco. I know, it does not sound right, but hey, where can I find mushrooms at this time of the night! Anyway, the better the mushrooms the better the final result.

250 g. Mushrooms
250 g. Green (spinach) Tagliatelle
Olive oil
Concentrated tomato puree
White wine

Stir fry the mushrooms with a clove of garlic. When they are almost ready add some parsley, the tomato sauce and a bit of white wine. Leave it dry for few more minutes but do not let dry too much. Bring to the boil a large pot of water, salt it with coarse salt, wait for few minutes and then add the tagliatelle. When ready drain it, add to the mushrooms and add some olive oil. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
If you want you can add some pine nuts. They add more calories, but they are healthy and strengthen the taste.

Monday, 19 October 2009


Whatever you do, it is passion that makes the difference. This is the birthday cake for my sweetheart and hey, for a special person a special cake! I could not just buy one, love is priceless and (this is an old grandma advice) to hold a man tight be a good lover in bed and a great cooker in the kitchen. If she says that, after 40 years of happy marriage, well I believe it.

3 medium eggs
100g of sugar
80g of butter
150g of plain flour
Half a glass of milk
Half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
Crashed pinenuts
2 teaspoons of baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180C. Beat the yolks with sugar, mix with flour, baking powder, vanilla and milk. In a separate bowl beat the egg white until fluffy and gently incorporate to the rest. At the end add the baking powder. Bake at 180C for about 30 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Autumn Apple Pie

Back to big city life. Summer holidays are already a sweet memory of juicy fruits and fresh red tomatoes ripen in the Mediterranean sun in my grandpa’s garden. Winter is approaching, I can feel the nipping breeze blowing from the northern lands. An apple pie is the ideal treat for these gloomy days in between summer and cold season. Apple pie is easy to make and cheap but it is great in taste. It is necessary just some apples and half an hour to spare. Add some spices, honey and pine nuts to give it an original twist…just like in love affairs, the special ingredient in the kitchen is fantasy. The scent of hot apple baking in the oven warms up also the coldest day.

3 juicy apples
200 gr. plain flour
150 gr. sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon of baking powder
100 gr. of butter
200 ml. milk
A pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of honey
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Some crushed pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 180 C.Mix eggs and sugar together, making a soft yellow cream.
Sift the flour and all the other ingredients together until obtaining a soft mixture. Finally incorporate the crumbled apples. Spoon the mixture into a cake tin and bake for 35 minutes

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Chocolate and banana muffins

Monday afternoon. It is pouring out there and the sky seems like a concrete wall, grey and impenetrable. I do feel so down when the weather is bad but wondering around still with slippers and pyjama doesn’t help. I call on Eleni, she lives not far from me somewhere in North London. This recipe comes from our girlish afternoon, spent making banana muffins and listening to Calypso music. A bit of sugar and Harry Belafonte are the ingredients not to die of boredom in a miserable autumn day in London.
So tasty and easy to make that it is not necessary to be a pastry chef to do it. Eat them warm with a cup of tea. Delicious! Day-oh, day-oh!

250 g plain flour
75 g porridge oats
3 eggs
175 g caster sugar
250 ml oil
A pinch of salt
2 bananas
Dark chocolate buttons

Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Sift the flour, oats and baking powder together. In a separate bowl beat the eggs, sugar, oil and salt together until pale and fluffy.
Fold this mixture, bananas and chocolate buttons into the flour
Spoon the mixture into muffin tins and bake for 15/20 minutes