Orecchiette with Pistachios, Hazelnuts, Parmesan and Mint

Sometimes I yearn for a pesto sauce that packs a bit more of a punch that the regular basil and pine nut version especially when the quality of shop bought basil can be patchy – who else has splashed out on a packet recently only to find that the leaves are all pretty much too…

Minestrone alla Genovese with Pesto, a Lovely Soup for Spring Days

At the end of last week I took delivery of a large bag of amazingly fresh vegetables from Goodness Growing which I wanted to use quickly before their crunchy magic started to wain. Of course it’s too warm for heavy winter soups so I decided to make this (very loose) take on a classic Genoese…

Mexican Sweetcorn and Chilli Fritters with a Chipotle and Lime Salsa

The joyful exuberance of Mexican culture has always appealed to me but it was the sound of a hundred beating drums that first drew me to downtown Austin one hot and sultry Sunday morning. It was late October and a time of celebration for the Mexican people who were gathering together to pray for, and remember,…

Spicy Tuscan Borlotti Bean, Tomato and Cavolo Nero Soup

During the summer months, when it rains in Assisi, it pours. Literally. Narrow Medieval streets turn into warm fast-moving rivers as the water gushes down from the top of the hilltop town to the very bottom. I remember very clearly once standing atop the Rocca Maggiore, the ruined castle which has dominated, for more than eight…

Provençal Haricots Blancs en Salade, a White Bean and Tomato Salad

This salad is perfect. It’s so simple to make and yet it’s capable of delivering a zing-fresh, punchy hit that is hard to resist, especially on a hot summer day served alongside a plate of light, creamy cheese, a freshly baked baguette smothered with tapenade and a glass of chilled rosé or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc….

Turkish Ezme Salad

Eager to shake off the cold of an early spring evening, we literally fell through the doorway of Asmalı Cavit, a treasured wooden-fronted traditional meyhane (tavern) in the centre of Pera in Istanbul. Here, the raki flows like the waters of the glittering Bosphorus; never ending and always a sight to behold. Our friends are known to the…

Italian Herb-marinated Bocconcini

In spring, the meadows of Parque del Monte Subasio near Spello in Umbria are smothered with a carpet of flowers and aromatic herbs; over 80 specimens of them in fact. It is here that peasants used to come after the harsh winter to forage for seasonal pops of flavour to brighten their soups, stews and rustic…

Tuscan Borlotti Bean and Vegetable Soup

Our favourite time to visit Italy is during late Spring just before the searing heat of the summer. Not that I’m averse to sitting in shady cloisters with an icy beer, it’s just that we can do so much more when we’re not overcome with the heat. Even in the summer though, the clouds above Assisi gather…