crostata, crostata

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There is often a huddle of people waiting outside the nondescript bakery on a corner of the Jewish ghetto, the one so small there is only room for 3.5 customers at a time, the rest obliged to wait outside gazing into the windows filled with…

rustic Italian baking: with olive oil pastry

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Finally have an olive oil pastry recipe to call my own.  Well, not my own, I found it in a recipe book produced by Allegra Pomilio and her friends from ristorante La Bilancia in Pescara.  You can buy and download their neat recipe book here,…

ten.7 something old something new

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What I have learnt from the Italians on baking and tradition Everyone is baking. In Lewes Dan is baking Rachel's pangiallo while up in London Rachel is drowning strands of saffron to colour the same recipe, which she learnt in Rome…

ten.5 harvest, or cooking with what’s just off the trees

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The late summer harvest season has been wonderfully satisfying in its very humble way on our little patch of volcanic soil at Lubriano.  Apart from the tomatoes and (Lebanese) cucumbers, we have had blooming amethyst like plums and our own…

ten.3 ciambelline al vino

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What I've learnt from the Italians. You can bake without butter. I grew up in a fairly butter heavy culinary environment.  In the sense that at my parent's house there is always a butter dish on the kitchen bench, with salted butter…

life in a small town 1: flowers and rustic tarts

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When I look out from my bedroom window in Rome I am greeted in a confronting sort of way by the flowers of my neighbors. Perfectly lovely as they are; thick abundant tubs of geraniums - in bold pinks and peachy tones - great rich heads of flowers…

festive baking: gingerbread

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Photo Marie Sjoberg Gingerbread.  Ginger powder and cinnamon, with a sprinkle of ground cloves and everything smells like Christmas. Basic gingerbread recipe 60 g butter 60 g dark brown sugar 2 tablespoons golden syrup 1 egg 175…

festive baking: super mince pie pastry

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When I'm in Australia I feel nostalgic for Italy and want to make a batch of Cavallucci di Siena at Christmas time or a Pastiera Napoletana at Easter.  And every single Easter I have spent in Italy I have faithfully made hot cross buns,…

nostalgic baking: candied peel and walnuts

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Much as I don't want to to admit it, my mum Alison is getting older.  She is in fabulous shape for an 82 year old, but going down a gear as each year passes.  The proof is in her kitchen, and in the gradual slowing of festive production.…