Plum and apricot jams

Life has been pretty difficult since catching COVID-19 after travelling to the UK for the first time in nearly a year. One of the worst things was completely losing my sense of taste and smell for nearly a month which meant I also lost my appetite and desire to cook. Fortunately the return of my…

Warm potato salad with feta and fava beans

I grew up in a tiny farmhouse in the Welsh hills and one of my strongest memories as a child is sitting at the wooden table in the kitchen with my mum and dad popping broad beans out of their soft white furry pods. But I really didn’t like the taste of broad beans –…

Torta rustica ai luvertin

The weather has been very changeable here in Italy over the past few months. After a long hard winter with seemingly endless snow we had a few very warm weeks and now the weather veers between sunshine and heavy rain – which may sound very familiar to those of you living in the UK but…

The power of food to connect us

I’ve taken a couple of online cooking classes since the COVID-19 lockdown started, making ravioli with zucchini and garlic sauce and tiramisu with Cinzia and Lebanese mezza with Tania. I’ve also led an online cooking lesson of my own making lentil and mushroom cannelloni with a couple of friends and regularly cook via Zoom with…

Soft choc chip cookies

It’s more than 6 months since I saw my grandson Rex and his mum Jaz, who also happens to be one of my very best friends. In fact I have only seen them half a dozen times in the last 18 months due to my busy travel schedule before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the…

Torta Pasqualina

Torta Pasqualina – or Easter Cake – dates back to the 1500s and originates from Liguria which lies just to the South of us here in Piemonte. It’s not actually a cake but a savoury pie made with layers of thinly rolled pasta brisee, a shortcrust pastry made with olive oil instead of butter, and…

Baked beetroot falafel with homemade pitta bread

This recipe, adapted from We Are So Vegan (but only slightly), was exactly what was needed as a lunchtime snack whilst gardening at the end of exceptionally challenging work week. A delicious combination of so many of my favourite things…falafel in soft pitta bread with crunchy salad smoothered in creamy lemon yoghurt dressing and hot…

Baccalà, chickpea and tomato stew

Since living in Italy I’ve often see piles of dry salted cod (known here as baccalà) piled high in wooden crates but until now I had never actually eaten it and rarely seen it on the menu in our local restaurants. The history of baccalà goes back a long way, most likely to the Vikings,…

Cottage pie

Anyone who had spent a winter in the UK will be familiar with cottage pie which is the ultimate comfort food. The history of cottage pie – also known as shepherd’s pie when made with minced lamb rather than beef – goes back to the 18th century and is thought to originate in the North…

Lentil and mushroom cannelloni

So this weekend I held my first ese ne tekrema cooking experience via Zoom. Despite a few technical hitches it was great to cook with two friends in Portugal and the UK, both of whom were making fresh pasta for first time. I’m calling it an ’experience’ rather than a ‘lesson’ because for me cooking…