Midsummer: wild fennel and volcanic varietals

,
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…

life in a small town 2: gifted fruit, zucchini and tents

,
I remember long summer breaks at Jamieson that involved endless swims in the river, shorts with gumboots and lots of stamping through long grass in the aforementioned boots to ward off snakes.   There were cubbies and fetes, blackberry…

life in a small town 1: flowers and rustic tarts

,
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…

trains and sandy feet: santa marinella & and a pot of mussels

,
Summer is here and the aroma of spaghetti alle vongole and big bowls of sautéed mussels is in the air.  When I wrote my Marinara article for Great Ocean Quarterly I researched the sustainability of mussels and mussel eating habits around…

when in Venice

,
What is there not to say about Venice?  After meandering a few hours away amongst the tight streets and crooked bridges, following the famous arrows that lead - or to the train station, or to Rialto - it dawned upon me.  The silence.…

fresh air and unsalted bread: Lubriano

,
I first came to look at a house here in Lubriano on the basis of an entry in the Slow Food Guide Osteria d'Italia.  My reasoning being that it is always good to have one really good restaurant a town, especially for when special people like…

mini city guide: Milan

,
When I lived in Sydney I used to think that her architecture reflected the desire to look out: to gaze upon the drunken beauty of the harbour.  While Melbourne, being more geographically staid, was more inward looking, turning back towards…

a big pot of fish: Sicilian seafood soup

,
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…

through the mountains and down to the sea: an Australian road trip

, ,
A road trip has to have a destination, even though by its very nature it's a journey where getting there is what it is all about.  Motels and cabins, ice-cream cones drippy in the hot wind on a sleepy afternoon main street, the mandatory fish…

festive baking: gingerbread

, ,
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

, ,
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,…

autumn gold: pumpkin risotto

, ,
The best Italian pumpkin is to be found in the Mantova in the North of the country, about halfway between Milan and Venice and just above the super food cities of Parma and Modena.  This is where the Alps tumble down onto the wide Padana…