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…

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…

Pizza Bianco with Lemony Courgette Ribbons, Dolcelatte and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Just an hour’s drive away from Assisi sits Cortona, a charming walled town in the Valdichiana Valley in southern Tuscany. After exploring its shady Medieval vicolos, inspiring artisan food stores and the beautiful duomo, we settled at the street-side table of a tiny local pizzeria. There we slowly sipped delicate glasses of an ice cold Italian rosato whilst we chatted over the…

Ligurian Basil Gnocchi with Broccoli, Spinach and Creamy Cheesy Sauce

This beautiful dish is perfect for these early autumn days because, although it’s comforting, it is ultimately still light and delicious. The recipe is a little more complicated than you’re used to from me but it all comes together quite quickly in the end. If you don’t fancy making the gnocchi, you can always replace them with large white beans or thinly sliced cooked…