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…

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…

Food, friendship and the comfort of strangers

Exactly three months ago today I was travelling to the UK for work and to see my two grown up daughters and grandson Rex. A few weeks earlier I’d returned from a work trip to The Philippines which I’d combined with an opportunity to learn about some of the delicious but entirely unfamiliar dishes of…

Elderflower cordial

Foraging is one of my new favourite things. There is something immensely satisfying about returning home from a walk with a handful of beautiful flowers or leaves and turning them into something delicious. In the last few weeks I’ve made pesto from wild garlic and sugary fritters from the flowers of the acacia tree. This…

Fritta di acacia

Whilst walking in the Italian countryside this weekend I noticed just how many beautiful, creamy acacia flowers there are hanging in bunches from the trees that line the roadsides. Maybe it was the lockdown and the slower pace of life with which its come to be associated, maybe it was the burst of Spring sunshine…

Wild garlic pesto

Last week the Italian government announced that we would be free to take our exercise in the mountains for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown began on 9th March, which meant a trip this weekend to the foothills of the Italian Alps just a few kilometres from our home. The weather wasn’t great but…