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rustic Italian baking: with brisée pastry

The meeting spot is Villa Pamphilli, behind the swings and umbrella pines where the the ground slopes down towards the wild bit. It is a picnic, so everyone will bring something to eat and at least one rug.  The children will take their shoes off and run in the green damp springtime grass.  Someone will […]


festive baking: la Crostata Stellata

I developed this recipe for what I am calling a Crostata Stellata, for a Ci Piace Cucinare Christmas menu. It all started after our summer trip to Abruzzo, when I started researching traditional sweets for a Lunch in Abruzzo story. I stumbled across a recipe for Sfogliatelle Abruzzese, a kind of cousin of Neopolitan sfogliatelle, […]


rustic Italian baking: with shortcrust pastry

Originally I had lumped all my Torte Rustiche collection together in one post, but I have since broken them down according to pastry type. For brisée pastry click here: For olive oil pastry click here: For puff (and rough puff) click here. Shortcrust pastry, in both sweet and savoury forms, is perhaps the easiest of […]

, ancient grains: farro with roasted pumpkin

Plump, nutty, almost sweet, the most ancient of all grains is grown in Umbria, Abruzzo and in the Garfagnano area of Tuscany.  There are three types of Farro; farro piccolo; rarely used,  farro media; the most common form, best bought as semi perlato (semi pearled) so that it cooks easily but retains its goodness, and farro grande […]


ancient grains for every season

Farro is one of those ingredients that magic a meal out of a few vegetables.  It is wonderful in summer; with punchy tomatoes and fresh herbs or alongside the nicoise family of tuna, capers and olives, but also great in winter with pumpkins and brassicas. We eat it a lot.  Long faces are occasionally pulled […]


when in Rome: tips for travelers

Since I started writing here back in 2014, I have noticed that readers like information.  So here I am at the start of a new year, and a new decade, with some practical pointers for Rome (and some free opinion). This year I will turn fifty.  Surprisingly I woke up on the first of January […]