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Melanzane alla parmigiana – Aubergine, tomato and parmesan bake

Melanzane alla parmigiana – Aubergine, tomato and parmesan bake

Melanzane alla parmigiana This is such a sumptuous dish and a perfect vegetarian dish to serve to anyone who says they do not like vegetarian food. We first had it in a hotel in the Dolomites in Northern Italy. In winter, a mountain ski lodge, […]

Veal Forestiere with Pasta

Veal Forestiere with Pasta

On a wet winter’s day it is good to remember some of our summer cooking which has inspired one of the upcoming recipes.  The summer dish was based on veal, earlier in the week we had cooked two delightful “Veal Minute Steaks” – (see here) – […]

Luxurious Turkey – for any time of the year!

Luxurious Turkey – for any time of the year!

Turkey gets such a bad press, and yet it is the “go to” meat in the UK for Christmas in particular but also and other holiday periods too.  This year we delayed our ‘Christmas season’ Turkey cooking until New Year’s Day, and I have to […]

Cooking turkey to a lower internal temperature

Cooking turkey to a lower internal temperature

This piece was first published in the Guardian on Saturday 11 Dec 2004 – see here.   by Heston Blumenthal.   According to talk in the media recently, up to 70% of our Christmas turkeys will carry salmonella and/or campylobacter, so there’ll be a lot of upset […]

Braised pigs’ cheeks

Braised pigs’ cheeks

This is a title that will polarise people – some will rush to what is actually a lovely winter recipe, and I can already see others “screwing up their faces”!  If you like ‘pulled pork’ and you like slow cooked winter casseroles you will love […]

Classic Pulled Pork

Classic Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is a BBQ classic with its origins in the US.  There is lots of “folklore” attached but in essence it is a very simple dish to cook.  It needs to be cooked slowly, ideally over charcoal with a little dry wood to add […]

Magret de Canard aux figues – Duck Breast with Figs

Magret de Canard aux figues – Duck Breast with Figs

I am always staggered when we journey through France and Italy at the variety and quality of the meat the local supermarkets carry in contrast to the picture I find in my part of the UK.  We were driving along the Rhone on the way […]

Pork Loin with Tuna and Caper Sauce – Lonza di maiale Tonnato

Pork Loin with Tuna and Caper Sauce – Lonza di maiale Tonnato

We had really enjoyed our “Vitello Tonnato” when we were in Italy and wanted to try something similar now we were in France, but on this occasion we couldn’t find any veal.  So ‘necessity being the mother of invention’

Italian Sausages in France

Italian Sausages in France

After a lovely break in Tuscany we had driven into France, to the Rhône-Alpes to meet part of our “French family”.  

Veal Minute Steak

Veal Minute Steak

Well one thing is certain, Italians like veal!  It is so much easier to buy veal in Italy than we have found at home.  This is a real shame as the UK Rose Veal probably has the highest welfare standards 

Update on Octopus

Update on Octopus

Having said that we had only come across grilled octopus once in Tuscany, the very next time we went out to eat – there it was on the menu.

Acciughe alla griglia – grilled anchovy

Acciughe alla griglia – grilled anchovy

When is a sardine not a sardine………..? Out shopping I saw what I thought were some lovely looking fresh sardines – only later when I checked the spelling of Acciughe (also often called Alici) did I realise that the sardines were in fact anchovy!!   I […]

Italian Smoked Turkey Breast

Italian Smoked Turkey Breast

On our wanderings we came across a butcher selling ‘home reared’ turkey and turkey breasts.  Well for 2 of us even a 1kg turkey breast seemed quite a lot of meat and even that was going to be a bit of a ‘tight squeeze’ on […]

Grilled Octopus – Polpo alla griglia

Grilled Octopus – Polpo alla griglia

Grilled Octopus is not something commonly found in the restaurants of Northumberland!  As yet I have only come across it on one occasion in restaurants in Tuscany but perhaps we need to get out more!!  Anyway, octopus has the reputation of being tough and chewy […]

Focaccia and Fougasse on the Mini BGE

Focaccia and Fougasse on the Mini BGE

Although I don’t do a great deal, I do like bread cooked in the Big Green Egg – and bread cooking in the Large BGE is a real pleasure (more of that in future posts).  I had always been told that bread cooking in the […]

Bistecca alla Fiorentina – the remake!

Bistecca alla Fiorentina – the remake!

  Having tried our hand with the local beef (click to see previous post) we thought it time to be a little more authentic and go for a larger piece for this Bistecca alla Fiorentina.  As there were going to be 4 of us a 1.4KG steak did […]

Big Green Egg – Does fish!

Big Green Egg – Does fish!

Wandering around the village on Friday we found that Friday here too was fish day – at the end of the car park there was a man selling fresh fish from his van.  Well this was too good to miss!  So amongst other things we […]

More experiments with Italian veal  – Vitello Tonnato

More experiments with Italian veal – Vitello Tonnato

So our first experiment with the Italian Veal had worked well and so on to the  Vitello Tonnato – As this dish is served cold it can easily be produced 24-48 hours in advance and I think will have some real “mileage” not just here […]

Big Green Egg – experiments with Italian veal

Big Green Egg – experiments with Italian veal

One thing we wanted to experiment with was Vitello Tonnato – a classic Italian dish served cold – this has the advantage that you can prepare in advance and is ready just when you want it.  Our version was going to have a little twist […]

Pork 2 Ways – Tuscan style

Pork 2 Ways – Tuscan style

When is a sausage not a sausage? When it is a Salsiccia! Tuscan sausage looks a little like a shorter and fatter British banger – it too is made primarily of pork but the flavouring is a little different, garlic, coriander and cayenne pepper rather […]

Bruschetta al pomodoro

Bruschetta al pomodoro

What could be more amazingly simple than Bruschetta al pomodoro – and it both tastes and sounds so much better than tomatoes on toast too.  Perfect as a lunch or as a starter to get the tastebuds tingling for whatever you plan to serve up […]

Simply Porcini

Simply Porcini

One of the great pleasures of Europe is chancing on simple ingredients that you would need to search specialist shops for in the UK.  And so it was in the local tiny supermarket… Porcini! At €18 per kg, around the same price per kilo as […]

Spatchcock in the Beechwood

Spatchcock in the Beechwood

Wandering around the local market here in Tuscany we spied a Spatchcocked chicken…  and so our plans for today’s food was sorted! The term spatchcock refers to poultry prepared for roasting or grilling by removing the backbone and sometimes the sternum and flattening it out […]

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Steak is perhaps not the first thing you think of when you consider Italian cooking but if you are in Tuscany then think again! Bistecca alla Fiorentina, the Florentine Steak is famous throughout the world.   Traditionally it is cut from the loin near the leg […]