Parmesan Grissini

These ‘cheese and onion’ breadsticks are terrific for a party.  Unlike the Olive & Tomato breadsticks, these are baked for longer at a cooler temperature to get them really crisp Makes 40-50 Ingredients 250g Strong White Flour 250g Spelt Flour 10g Fast Action Yeast 6g Salt 1 tbsp Sugar 100g Softened Butter 150ml Full Fat…

Christmas Fruit Gelato

Based on a really simple Nigella recipe, this is a minimal effort ice cream with a festive twist! Serves 6 Ingredients 300ml Double Cream 150ml Full Fat Milk 1 tbsp Candied Peel, finely chopped 1 tbsp Dried Sour Cherries, finely chopped 1 tbsp Dried Cranberries, finely chopped 2 tbsp Rum 60g good Dark Chocolate, very…

Ciabatta – No need to Knead!

Having gained a degree of confidence over the last couple of weeks, I gelt it was time for something a little more challenging.  Ciabatta isn’t a difficult bread to make as such, but comes with 3 areas of consideration.  1: Be prepared.  You need to kick this off the night before, as the bread is…

Habanero Chicken Soup

Yes, another uninspiring title, but it does what t says on the tin.  Not that it’s in a tin…. This recipe uses some of the veg I’ve dehydrated from last season.  There’s not a huge following for dehydrated food in the UK, but when you grow your own, there’s no better way of preserving some…

Chocolate Zuccotto

Zuccotto is a traditional Italian chilled desert, originating in Florence.  Domed in shape, Zuccotto used a liqueur infused sponge to enclose rich chocolate creams, to which fresh fruits, nuts or alternative ingredients can be added. Left to set in the fridge overnight, slices of zuccotto can be served with fresh cream or ice cream as…

Beetroot Gnocchi

An interesting twist on the traditional Italian potato dumpling.  Adding beetroot not only provides a great colour, but brings with it that wonderful earthy sweetness.  Serve with a simple sauce, or look to float in light vegetable soups or stews.  As an alternative, how about trying this with pumpkin or butternut squash instead of beetroot…

Pasta e Patate con la Provola

That’s Pasta and Potatoes with Provolone. I know what you’re saying – Pasta and Potatoes? Carb over kill and totally tasteless! Well, not true. This is (my spin) on a traditional Neapolitan peasant dish, which is (obviously) quite filling but does bring out the best in these simple ingredients. When I tried this in Naples,…

Gnocchi alla Puttanesca

I came across this in a little cafe which was offering welcome shade and refreshments following a walk up Vesuvius.  I had the sauce with Spaghetti, but show it here with Gnocchi.  It works really well with any type if pasta, and uses the Marinara sauce as a base.  Apparently no quite as ‘traditional’ as…

Pizza Margherita

Naples – where it all began.  Pizza was originally another peasant food, and is now the most widely consumed ‘fast food’ in the world.  After being sampled by King Ferdinand IV and many years later Margherita of Savoy, this simple peasant dish was propelled into the limelight, bearing the name of the Queen Consort to…

Pizza Dough

Making your own pizza is easy, great fun for the kids and if you have your own wood burning Pizza oven or similar, a great casual entertaining dish for those warm summer evenings.  It all starts with the pizza dough you’ll need for the base, which needs to be made in advance. There’s no need…

Pizza alla Marinara

A tomato pizza without cheese?  Yes.  Another traditional Neapolitan dish.  Keep it simple and use fresh herbs to make the most of this wonderful sharing dish Ingredients 3ooml Marinara Sauce 2 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced 1 tsp fresh Oregano, finely chopped Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 batch of Pizza dough, or a pre-prepared…

Marinara Sauce

A lot of confusion seems to surround the understanding of ‘Marinara Sauces’, especially outside of Italy.  One thing’s for sure – it DOESN’T contain any fish or seafood.  One commonly held school of thought is that it was a simple sauce cooked on the boats by Neapolitan mariners.  This can be considered as the mother…

Lunaconi Stuffed with Meatballs

Lunaconi, or ‘Snail shell’ pasta is traditionally stuffed.  I picked up a pack of the ‘Lunaconi Giganti’ on my way home from Italy.  This recipe stuffs the shells with an Italian meatball and  could be adapted for any large pasta shell, or alternatively you could just use sheets of fresh pasta or lasagne to coat…

Pasta e Ceci

Another simple and quick pasta dish, similar to the Pasta e Patate, but this time using chickpeas. Very effective, but do not overcook! Serves 2 Cooking time – 30 minutes Ingredients 4 tbsp Olive Oil 1 clove Garlic 1 medium Onion, finely chopped 2 sprigs Rosemary 2 tins Chickpeas 1 ltr Vegetable Stock 2 tbsp…

Barbecue Poltena

Polenta can be really boring, but this recipe puts an interesting spin on things.  It’s a great barbecue accompaniment, and can be prepared well in advance and just finished on the BBQ or on a griddle pan Serves: 4-8 Ingredients 350g Polenta or fine/medium ground cornmeal Water 2 dried red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped…

Winter Warming Meatballs

We eat loads of meatballs in summer, with pasta and various sauces, but for some reason I’ve never seen these as a ‘winter’ dish.  This recipe adds a seasonal twist and makes for a great alternative winter warming pasta dish! Serves 2-3 Ingredients 1 medium Onion, finely chopped 25g Butter 1 clove Garlic, chopped 1…

Limoncello, with a twist! Arancello and Limettacello

I hope you tried my Limoncello recipe over the summer – it’s sooo simple, takes only a few weeks to turn around (unlike the months that many of my liqueur recipes take) and is absolutely wonderful!  What’s more, it’s a digestif, so must be good for you (I know, that’s really hard to believe when…

Ciabatta

  As far as bread goes, Ciabatta is very much the new kid on the block having only been around in it’s current form since the middle of the ;last century.  Like many artisan breads, this uses a 2 stage process by first creating a pre-ferment, sponge or ‘Biga‘, which means you need to plan…

Beetroot and Chilli Onion Lasagne

  Looking for an alternative spicy vegetarian main course?  Perhaps just finished experimenting with my Beetroot tortellini recipe and found that you’ve still got 3/4 of the filling left and don’t know what to do with it?   Try this out as an interesting, spicy & colourful lasagne alternative… Serves 4   Ingredients Beetroot stuffing,…

3 Vegetarian Tortellini Stuffings

  As part of my vegetarian Christmas extravaganza, I cooked up 3 types of tortellini in a vegetable broth.  Each recipe here would provide plenty of filling for 300g portion of pasta, which is easily enough for 3-4 people.   You don’t need very much filling at all to make tortellini.  The good news is…