Italian Cuisine

Dinner for Two – Roasted Butternut Risotto with Prosciutto and Sage

It was only a few months ago that my fellow bloggers were posting winter warmer recipes while my own blog was alive with fresh berries and all things summer. Now the seasons have shifted and it’s been turned upside down – winter in the south and summer in the north. But there must be balance in all things.

I have no problem with the change in season. As much as I love summer I look forward to winter – for two reasons. One is boots – laugh if you will but there is something very special about the first outing of winter boots once the weather cools.

The second, of course, is winter food. By the time autumn creeps in I’ve had my fill of salads and sprightly summer food. Time for a bit of comfort – dishes cooked long and slow in the oven, hot puddings, hearty porridge for breakfast and, of course, those fabulous autumn and winter vegetables.

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Mascarpone Cream with Morello Cherries and Amaretti

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of quick and easy desserts. I’d guess that my sweet tooth is at about medium strength. That is to say I tend towards savoury in general. For instance, I’m more inclined to order a starter than a dessert when I eat out (unless it’s a long and lazy evening of eating and I can fit in three courses).

But that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally indulge in something sweet and sinful. For all that healthy eating is an important part of our lives, there are times when eating has to be about pleasure only.

When it comes to choosing dessert for a dinner party I more often than not go for something quick and easy but that doesn’t necessarily appear so. When a pudding looks spectacular and tastes even better there’s no need for your guests to know it took twenty minutes for you to put it together. You can simply smile and accept the incoming praise gracefully while secretly thrilled that you were able to produce so much gorgeousness with such little effort.

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Basil Pesto – and the “king of herbs”

I don’t know how I’d cook without herbs. Whether they are being used as a star ingredient, a last minute scattering for freshness or simply as a garnish, these colourful and fragrant wonders of the culinary world have the ability to bring food to life.

If asked which was my favourite herb I’d be pushed to choose one above all others. But at the top of my list are: basil, Italian parsley, thyme, rosemary, mint, tarragon.

I’ll leave it there otherwise I’ll add every herb to the list.

Basil is at the top of the list simply because for me it conjures memories of food I’ve eaten in Italy – scattered over tomatoes, tossed through hot pasta, stirred through a rich meat ragù or simply garnishing a crisp bruschetta.

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Favourite posts of 2016 – and my love affair with Italy

I first posted on this blog back in February 2016, almost a year ago. I had no idea at the time that I would come to love it so much or how big a part of my life it would become.

Nor could I have imagined how much I would enjoy being a part of such a fantastic blogging community. I’m constantly surprised and inspired by the talent and creativity shared by my fellow bloggers.

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Italy’s Amalfi Coast – Spectacular Positano (and a recipe for classic Aubergine Parmigiana)

Last week I talked about my trip to the Campania region in 2015 and some fantastic places to visit – Ravello, Pompeii and Capri. All well worth seeing and easy to reach if you’re basing yourself in Sorrento.

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Italy’s Campania region – Pompeii and Capri (and a delicious recipe for spaghetti with Italian sausage)

Last week I talked about Sorrento, the popular town that is the gateway to Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Both Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast sit on the coastline of the Campania region, which is situated in southwestern Italy. In my next couple of posts I’d like to share with you some of the places worth travelling to from this gateway.

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Sorrento, the gateway to Italy’s Amalfi Coast (and how to make delicious risotto)

The first time I visited Italy was with my husband in 2000, some sixteen years ago. We started in Venice, where we spent a magical couple of days. We then picked up a car and drove down to Tuscany. After a week spent driving around Tuscany we caught the train to Rome – a city we fell in love with. Well, we fell in love with Italy.

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ROME, the Eternal City – and how to make a classic Spaghetti Carbonara!

Rome, the Eternal City – so named because the ancient Romans believed that the city would go on forever regardless of what happened in the world surrounding it.

I have been to Rome twice in my lifetime and on both occasions I was captivated by the city. We all know of its impressive history – empires and armies and gladiatorial conquests. The fact that any remnant of this ancient civilisation still remains today is something to marvel at.

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