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…

Pesto alla Genovese

It’s early on Tuesday morning at Genoa’s Mercato Orientale and a light summer rain still lingers in the air. Softly fragrant and warm. Dozens of men and women are quietly and efficiently focused on the business of setting up their stalls stopping only occasionally to bid someone buongiorno. Fragrant bouquets of basil line the stalls their uniquely…

Quartieri Spagnoli Aubergine Parmigiana, Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Deep in the heart of of the Quartieri Spagnoli – the Spanish Quarter – in the centre of Naples sits a tiny family-run restaurant called Hosteria Toledo. It’s one of our favourites and our go-to place when we arrive in this glorious chaotic city. The family are justifiably proud of their long-held faith in the generous…

Sicilian Peperonata with Lemon-infused Labneh

A lovingly nurtured peperonata – a classic Italian stew of red and yellow peppers, onions and plum tomatoes – is not only a thing of beauty, it’s incredibly versatile. I use it as a salad in the summer, a warming stew in the winter, as a topping to a crispy pizza or bruschetta, stirred into…

Messicane with New Potatoes, Rocket and a Wild Garlic Pesto

This is my interpretation of the classic Italian dish ‘trofie al pesto’ – the lockdown issue. I had half a pack of absolutely delightful messicane pasta in my – now meticulously reorganised – pantry. I also had a jar of foraged wild garlic pesto in my fridge, some leftover boiled new potatoes, some limp wild…

A Vibrant Mediterranean Tart with a Wild Garlic Salsa Verde

Yesterday’s rainy afternoon came over all productive with some contemplative baking alongside a backdrop of traditional Greek music. The result was this caramelised onion, roasted plum tomato and mozzarella tart garnished with rocket leaves, fresh basil and toasted pine kernels. When it came to supper time, we turned down the lights, turned up the music…

Turkish Carrot and Garlic Yoghurt Salad

The stories that I tell are inspired by a lifetime spent travelling around the countries that kiss the coasts of the Mediterranean sea, by every restaurant and cafe I’ve had the pleasure of kicking back in; by the bustling markets, glittering delicatessens and traditional food stores that have sparked new idea; by the forgotten recipes I…

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…

Umbrian Rocket and Walnut Pesto

‘When we first started cooking, dishes like lasagne and cannelloni were treated with suspicion. Few people knew what to expect. Thirty years ago these dishes were virtually unknown to the British population; only a few who had travelled to Italy had tried them. These dishes always had to be described in great detail before people…