A pignatta for Christmas and some lentils to inaugurate 2017

I got lots of lovely presents this Christmas. There was the gorgeous waxed canvas handbag with leather trimming that doubles as a camera bag from TP. Friends, colleagues and students gave me some handmade cards…


Cucina Conversations: Croccante di mandorle, the perfect edible gift for an Italian Christmas

No matter what I do, Christmas always seems to arrive too quickly. And this year is no exception. At least this time, however, I can say I anticipated the onslaught of additional tasks and deadlines…


Cucina conversations: too many recipes for bagna cauda

I came close to throwing in the towel with this one. I was going to contact my fellow Cucina Conversations bloggers and say, I’m sorry but I won’t be joining you with an olive oil-related…


Cucina Conversations: castagnaccio for Ognissanti

That time of year is upon us again. It’s the season Giacomo Castelvetro, Inquisition refugee and author of the 1614 manuscript The Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables of Italy, described as per la bocca (‘for tasting’)….


Cucina Conversations: Italian cuisine, a new blogging roundtable and Sicilian grape must pudding

I had quite the epiphany a couple of years ago when I first read John Dickie’s highly readable account of Italian food and culinary history, Delizia. In the book’s second chapter, after describing Palermo’s totemic…


Amatriciana for Amatrice: a recipe and how to support the earthquake relief efforts

The almost eerie perfection of the Baroque reconstruction in Sicily’s Val di Noto. The twelfth century church three metres below street level in the same island’s port city of Messina. The ghost town of Romagnano…


Snapshots from a Summer Holiday: Siena, Bolsena, Orvieto and Pitigliano

In Italy, the month of August means three things: intense, unrelenting heat; putting chiuso per ferie (‘closed for holidays’) signs on the doors of shops and small businesses because it’s impossible to work; and, escaping to a…


Rice-stuffed tomatoes and forgotten Italian foodways: an interview with Karima Moyer-Nocchi

Over the years, I’ve developed a passion for food. Few things make me happier than when I’m chopping vegetables, stirring a risotto or kneading dough in my kitchen. I’m always looking for new things to…


Gelato al fior di latte

It’s that time of year again. There’s no breeze and all that cobblestone and concrete are conspiring to retain the heat, day in, day out. With no relief from the scorching temperatures, all I want…