All Italian Inspired

Sicilian lamb and mushroom ragù: with a twist

Sicilian lamb and mushroom ragù: with a twist

The more we look at some of the worlds great foods the more we are finding that so many have been born out of poverty, food shortage and simply the need to survive the perils of winter, looking forward to a new spring.  So we…

Italian lambs’ kidneys with anchovy and lemon

Italian lambs’ kidneys with anchovy and lemon

The is definitely a dish that is not for everyone – but if you like lambs’ kidneys it is definitely one you should try!  There is very little to it in terms of effort and in all honesty it cooks just as well in a…

Aubergine and gnocchi puttanesca bake

Aubergine and gnocchi puttanesca bake

Having played with our Aubergine/Gnocchi and Parmigiana bake we have also played with a number of variations over the last year or so.  One of the best has moved it a little closer to a puttanesca sauce with anchovies, capers and olives, and for us…

Aubergine, ricotta and lemon involtini

Aubergine, ricotta and lemon involtini

Over the last couple of years we have been eating more and more aubergine based dishes.  Usually Italian in style, they always seems to be made with tomatoes too.  When we came across this recipe in our local supermarket’s food magazine it seemed like too…

Aubergine Parmigiana revisited – our definitive version!

Aubergine Parmigiana revisited – our definitive version!

We have written before about the glorious ‘Melanzane alla parmigiana’ We first came across it in Italy in the summer of 2017 when travelling through the Dolomites in Northern Italy.  Taste wise it was a plant based dish that absolutely took my breath away ………..…

Tuscan chicken liver salad

Tuscan chicken liver salad

The idea of eating liver seems to divide people in the same way that Marmite does – you love it or loath it!  Well both Jackie and I are in the ‘love it’ camp.  This is the quickest of quick dishes – I make no…

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,…

Porcini in the pan

Porcini in the pan

Porcini are really fabulous and I still find it very exciting to walk into a little shop here in Tuscany and see a basket of newly picked Porcini. This is something I am yet to see in the UK – but although

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…

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…

Focaccia rinascere   –   Reborn Focaccia!!

Focaccia rinascere – Reborn Focaccia!!

The bread we have found in Italy certainly goes hard quickly!  Partly the weather and partially the absence of additives in the bread.  You quickly realise why there are so many Italian recipes that include the use of “stale bread”!!   Well here is ours ……….…

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…