zuppa di fave e piselli al profumo di limone e menta – lemony, minty pea and broad bean soup

“Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May”, as one amateur meteorologist who had an admirable way with words once wrote. And it’s certainly a windy-sunny-rainy May here; definitely not winter, but not quite summery either. Just the sort of weather that leaves you wanting fresher food, but something with a bit of warmth. This soup perfectly fits the bill: quick, simple and full of the bright green freshness of spring, but comforting at Continue Reading →

agnello al forno con patate – roast shoulder of lamb with potatoes

This is an Easter favourite in my house, but is good at any time of year when locally farmed lamb is available. Cooked this way – half steamed, half roasted –, the meat stays moist but not fatty, and has been known to convert even those who don’t like lamb, or at least didn’t think they did, until they tried it this way. It even converted my nine-year old nephew, and an opinionated nine-year-old is Continue Reading →

frittata di cipolla fresca – spring onion frittata

It was election day in Italy, and it seemed, at least briefly, as if Spring had arrived. And at the market I grabbed some beautifully green cipolle fresche, “fresh onions” as they call them here. The man on the stall suggested I use the leaves to make an omelette, which is just what I did, hence today’s recipe. Looking back, and somewhat aptly, an Italian expression comes to mind: “ormai la frittata è fatta”, which Continue Reading →

patate e carciofi al forno/frittedda – potato and artichoke bake/artichoke, pea and broad bean stew

Easter marks the beginning of the end of the artichoke season, so take advantage to snap them up before it’s too late. To keep you busy we have a double helping today. First baked in the oven with potatoes, and then as part of a somewhat lighter Sicilian classic, frittedda. Potatoes play the perfect foil in the first recipe, doing a great job of soaking up the artichoke juices, olive oil and pecorino, while also Continue Reading →

scorfano alla strombolana – scorpion fish with tomatoes and capers

This is what the Italians would call my piatto del cuore, a dish with sentimental value. It brings together one of my favourite fish – the ugly but delicious scorfano – and possibly my favourite place, the island of Stromboli, where this is a local delicacy. Capers are another love, and as I have mentioned before, those on Stromboli are particularly good, large and meaty. Today’s scorfano was in fact cooked using some from my Continue Reading →

due marmellate: limoni/arance amare – two marmalades: lemon/orange

This is the point where I could get all smug and tell you about limoncello and lemon marmalade produced from my own crop of lemons. Well, I could if a) I had anything that could honestly be called a “crop”, since even in a good year, we’re talking about a single tree; and b) if this were a good year, which it is not, not by a long shot, due to over-zealous pruning by a Continue Reading →

pasta con fave, ricotta e guanciale croccante – pasta with broad beans, ricotta and crispy guanciale

The original idea was to do something light, something fitting for Lent. There was ricotta and fresh broad beans in the fridge. Add a hunk of half-stale rustic bread and I was looking at the lunch of a medieval monk. But as I investigated further, I soon came across tangy, richly-flavoured pecorino, and a large piece of guanciale made by my butcher from locally-bred pigs. All dreams of sainthood up in smoke within seconds This Continue Reading →