Italy’s Day of the Dead

The urns of strong men stimulate strong minds To deeds of great distinction O Pindemonte And these urns make sacred for the traveller that earth which holds them – Ugo Foscolo, Of the Sepulchres, 1807…

Medieval bling

In her introduction to La Serenissima, Venice: Recipes Lost and Found, Katie Caldesi writes, ‘The more I write about food, the more I find myself writing about history. The two are inseparable and although the…

Borlotti bean soup and the cult of cucina povera

I am an incurable mangiafagioli or ‘beaneater’.  Really though, what is wrong with admitting your passion for one of healthiest, most nutritionally dense foods on the planet? Fibre, protein, folate and iron are just a…

Tiramisù

I love layering things.  Trifle, eggplant parmigiana and lasagna are some of my favourite dishes that require their ingredients to be assembled into layers. Yet, would you believe that until last month that I’d never made…

Zucchine in carpione

After moving house (twice!!) last year and having to sort through, amongst many other things, all of the books I’d accumulated over the years, I swore to myself that I would never buy another book….

Eggplants and oven-baked caponata

Summer is in full force (in every sense of the word!) now and this means that there is an abundance of eggplants in all shapes, colours and sizes at my local market. Italy is one…

Cherry-picking in the Monferrato countryside

For several years our cherry trees in the Monferrato hills would not bear any fruit. They had been planted over a hundred years ago by my husband’s great grandfather. We had therefore all assumed that…