how we shop: and lombrichelli pasta with zucchini

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I often wonder whether there is a spike in sales of real newspapers over the summer holidays.  August in Lubriano is the luxury of walking to the edicola (Lubriano still has one), buying a paper, and maybe stopping in at…

ten years: and a recipe for broccoli pasta

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It is May 7, 2015 and I am on an early morning train bound for Milan, on my way to a rather special book launch and to have a look at EXPO, the Universal Exposition running with the theme 'Feeding the Planet; Energy for Life'.  I go with a…

how to peel an artichoke and other stories

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Quick, it's artichoke season, hurry to the market.  There are bulbous deep purple Romanescos, paler green but equally plump globes, and pretty tulip shaped violette. There are baskets, piles, and crates.  Truckloads parked on street corners…

pecorino, cured pork and Solidarity: l’amatriciana

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In Italy fair trade products; most often coffee, sugars and chocolate, are marked by the words Equo e Solidale.  Equo meaning equal and fair, with solidale translating as solidarity; together with, in union.  Solidarity is a word that gets…

ten years: la carbonara

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The Italy that I love, that I inhabit, that I feel content to be bringing my children up in, is what I call everyman's Italy.  It is above all an accessible Italy, where the best things in life are free (or at least cheap); a world made up…

ten years: good starts, il sofritto & pasta & fagioli

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The preface to this series needed to go something like this: Not for a minute do I believe that Italians hold the copyright to good sense in the kitchen.   I should have started by saying that the Italians in these ramblings are like…

brutto ma buono: abbacchio alla romana

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Part 2 of my series celebrating ten years in Italy and what I've gleaned from the Italians in the kitchen.

anniversaries and artichokes

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This year, on May 1 to be precise, I will celebrate ten years in Italy.  Ten years since I lugged a large case and several other bags up the three flights of stairs in Via del Babuino only to be told by Angelica, the art student that rented…

ripe tomatoes and baby food: pappa al pomodoro

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During the first year of Alberto's life I found myself skulking around corners in my Roman apartment building to avoid a certain generation of neighbors, dreading the inevitable lecture on the brodo vegetale.  Being a first time mother,…

a jar of jam & a basket of beans: niçoise salad

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Every time I go home to Melbourne my mother has an array of boxes waiting for me in some corner of the house.  Shoe cartons filled with Sade and George Michael cd's, larger boxes bearing my carefully tissue swaddled collection of Guy…

Midsummer: wild fennel and volcanic varietals

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I read recently that in the 60's and 70's Melbourne Italians were often seen wandering the suburban railways picking bunches of wild fennel flowers amongst the sleepers.  During one of my first visits to Capodimonte on the shores of Lake Bolsena…

a big pot of fish: Sicilian seafood soup

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I've just finished reading a 1001 nights like tale* set in 11th Century Sicily where the exotic Yasmina beguiles a Norman count in order to spare her condemned brother.  As you can imagine it all resolves around the myriad of flavors that are…