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…

Roasted sprouts with chestnuts and maple syrup

Lots of people think they don’t like sprouts but it’s simply not true…what they don’t like is the way sprouts are typically cooked! You should never, ever boil sprouts. The trick is to roast them in butter adding chestnuts and maple syrup or honey for extra sweetness. Perfect for Christmas lunch but also at any…

Roast stuffed pumpkin

Lockdown in Italy has been tough but this weekend Piemonte turned yellow which means we are now allowed to travel outside our commune for both essential and non-essential reasons and the shops are fully open, albeit with a 6pm curfew. I don’t enjoy shopping in general but I do enjoy a trip to our local…

Italian lemon and ricotta cake

I’m finding the second lockdown in Italy much tougher than the first. Maybe it’s because winter is upon us and we know this is how things will be at least until the Spring, maybe it’s the relentless online Zoom meetings, a novelty when they started back in March, now anything but. I’m also acutely aware…

Leek and aduki bean stew with cheesy dumplings

It might sound unlikely, but when my children were teenagers this was one of their favourite dishes – or at least that’s what they used to tell me! I think it was the combination of firm beans and soft vegetables in a rich, smoky tomato sauce with deep flavours of paprika and soy. Oh, and…

Roasted chestnut and squash soup

There is something very special about the chestnut (castagne) season in Northern Italy. It starts at the end of September when the first spiky green shells fall from the trees and within a few weeks the floors of the woods that surround our house are strewn, the shells bursting open to reveal the burnished brown…

Pickled peppers

Whilst the alliterative tongue twister ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers’ was a childhood favourite, I’ve never actually eaten a pickled pepper let alone a peck, which is around two gallons in the British imperial system (roughly 7.5 litres). But my vegetable garden currently has an abundance of beautiful cherry peppers so I…

Pickled cucumbers

When I first started my vegetable garden back in May I planted some cucumber seeds. For several months nothing happened. And then they started to grow, and grow, producing an endless supply of cucumbers which I’ve mainly been eating in salads. Unlike many vegetables, cucumbers really can’t be frozen so I’ve gone down the pickling…

Foraged fig chutney

One of the wonderful things about living in Italy is that the foraging opportunities are very different from those I’m used to in the UK. Over the last few months I’ve been keeping my eye on a large fig tree at the top of a field near our house. This week there were enough ripe…

Tray-baked sea bream with lentils and salsa verde

Our garden has gone crazy over recent weeks so I’m looking for new ways to use the growing supply of vegetables that are ready to be eaten each day. This one brings in the green stuff…spinach wilted into lentils and a salsa verde made from fresh basil and parsley. There’s nothing like drizzling homemade salsa…