“A tavola non si invecchia”. - Italian proverb (At the table with good friends and family you do not become old).

Sharing authentic Italian recipes entrusted upon me through the privilege of being invited into many Italian homes and kitchen’s abroad. I travel, cook, eat, share, learn and photograph my experiences, a truly soul enriching journey. There are now over 100 recipes on this blog to search from. I am a Melbourne born girl who now resides in Pietrasanta, Italy. Sharing my love for food and all things Italian with you. I am not a professionally trained chef, just a person that really loves cooking and has made my passion my reality! Through talent and drive I now work as a private chef in some of the most prestigious private villa`s here in Tuscany, Italy!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Paccheri al tonno- paccheri with tuna

If only I could turn back time and send myself back to beautiful Tropea, an ancient Roman seaside town on the Tyrrhenian sea in Calabria. This is the place I first tried this tasty tube-like  pasta. Although I cook many pasta dishes with tuna I had never used paccheri before (however this type of pasta is typically from Naples). My friend Silvana and I enjoyed a long lunch together in Tropea and during our lengthy stay we made friends with the owners, a married couple (their names unfortunately lapse my memory). It was such a cosy restaurant, the owners two young daughters sat at the table next to us as they enjoyed their lunch break from school. Any-way the husband who is the chef kindly entrusted me with the recipe for this simple dish. So if I just close my eyes during the freezing winter months in Viareggio I might be transported back to sunny Tropea! 
As you may know I recently found myself a job cooking for some local builders. They requested to have seafood, hence I served this as the first course (yes, pasta is a first course in Italy).  The plates came back to the kitchen spotlessly clean...phew!

La Pentola d'Oro 
Via Pelliccia sns, Tropea Italia
PH: 0963 607 073

What you need (serves four people):
500g paccheri pasta
160g canned tuna in olive oil (roughly)
one red onion diced 
two cloves of garlic
two ripe small cherry tomatoes (optional)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
parsley for garnish
the workers enjoying their 3 course lunch break
How to make:
1:  Place the paccheri in a large pot of generously salted boiling water. Boil for the amount of time listed on the packet- roughly 16 minuets
2: In a separate pan and the smashed garlic, olive oil and diced onion with a pinch of salt. Lightly saute until the onions become transparent, however be sure not to brown
3: Add the tuna and warm through
4: Just before serving add the fresh tomatoes and toss through the sauce
5: Add the cooked pasta to the sauce making sure the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce, heat over a low flame for one minute. Serve with fresh parsley (and a squeeze of lemon juice if desired- I like it)
#buonadomenica #viareggio #cibo #italia #italy #tourism #turista #versilia #toscana #tuscany #kara #bellavita #pasta #paccheri tonno #tuna #easyfood

Friday, February 22, 2013

tiramisu con il panettone

FINALLY....I found a reason to use one of the many left over Christmas sentiments...panettone. As mentioned in one of my previous posts it seems customary to arrive at a hosts house during the Christmas season with a panettone in hand. My house became almost comical with the amount I started collecting and stacking in my dining room (I can not believe I never took a photo). Any-way after the Christmas period I decided to retire the many boxes of panettone to a nearby closest and since then they have been forgotten about.
They had been forgotten about until just the other night, when I had to think of a economical menu to feed fourteen hungry Italian mouths at a dinner party I was hosting. The dinner party was in honour of one of my best friends birthdays, Serena! Any-way, after a little research and some thinking a little bulb finally went off...."AHHHH PANETTONE". My friends particularly like my tiramisu, and this recipe is similar however replaces the savoiardi biscuits with panettone. This recipe is fairly easy to make, it is perfect for making a day in advance, it serves many and is pretty economical- many positive ticks!!! To top it all off, it tastes pretty good too. In fact, after a continuous stream of multiple courses at my house some guests went for sweet seconds...mamma mia!
What you need:
One panettone
400g mascarpone (roughly)
five eggs
five tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup espresso coffee (roughly)
1/2 cup of marsala liquor (roughly)
cacao powder for dusting
how to make:
1: Separate the egg whites from the yolks. In a clean ceramic bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, set aside
2: In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar until combined, whisk in the mascarpone
3: Using a metal spoon gently fold in the eggs whites to the mascarpone mix
4: Slice the panettone into roughly 2cm slices. In a large bowl place a single layer of panettone
5: Combine the espresso coffee and Marsala together in a bowl, use a brush to wet the panettone 
6: Add a generous layer of the cream mix, covering the panettone
7: Repeat a layer of panettone, coffee mix, then cream mix a further two times
8: Top with cocoa powder, cover well and place in the fridge over night (this will ensure all the flavour meld)
#buonadomenica #viareggio #cibo #italia #italy #tourism #turista #versilia #toscana #tuscany #kara #bellavita #tirasmisu #dolce #desert #panettone #christmasfood #easyfood #gelosa

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Penne con pomodori fresco- Pasta with fresh tomatoes

I feel almost embarrassed to write this recipe as it is so easy, and to me common practice. However as I am a true believer in that good things don't need to be complicated, I thought I would share with you. This was actually whipped up for my housemates packed lunch as there was left over pasta from dinner. Any-way a few good quality key ingredients here and you will have a mouth watering bowl of delicious pasta. Red, juicy, ripe tomatoes are essential. 
What you need:
6-8 small juicy tomatoes (or use whatever quality tomatoes you can find- not from the supermarket)
one smashed garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon dried red chillies (mine are from Calabria...HOT HOT HOT)
a pinch of dried oregano
a pinch of salt
250g penne pasta
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
How to make:
1: Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then add a handful of salt and the pasta. Follow the direction on the packet of pasta- it should be ready within 10-12 minuets 
2: In a frying pan add the oil, smashed garlic and chillies- lightly saute
3: Chop the tomatoes roughly in half and add to the pan, salt and add the oregano to the tomatoes. Lightly cook until the tomatoes become morbid and the juices run into the oil. The pasta and the sauce should be ready at the same time
4: Drain the pasta and add to the saucepan with the tomatoes and toss thoroughly 
5: Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, oh and pieces of crusty bread to soak up the tasty juices 
#buonadomenica #viareggio #cibo #italia #italy #tourism #turista #versilia #toscana #tuscany #kara #bellavita #pasta #tomato #pomodori #easyfood #facile

Thursday, February 14, 2013

corsi di cucina privati- private cooking lessons

Pizza, pasta, bread are all Italian stables. Ever wondered how to make them?? Willing to roll your sleeves up and get get your hands working?? Then this is the cooking course for you.
Spend four hours with a well renowned cook, the best way to learn is with private lessons. The class is designed for a maximum of four people, perfect for a small group of friends, a couple or if you simply want to learn one on one!!
You will learn how to make home made pizza dough, schiacciata (a Tuscan bread), and how to make homemade pasta.

The fruits of your labour will be rewarded by sitting down to an elegant table, and dining with the food you have just prepared. This course also includes wine, desert and coffee.....of course, we are in Italy!!!! 
To start the day off, there will be a welcome drink and some finger food.

The course is taught by an Australian woman, Kara Mallia that has been living in Viareggio for over 2 1/2 years. Kara is an enthusiastic, bright character that is passionate about Italian food and will make your experience memorable. She has had many years of experience with Italian cuisine and is a professional photographer and food blogger.

Viareggio is a lovely seaside town, set on the Tyrrhenian Sea, in the provence of Lucca. It is an easy 1.40 hour minute train ride from Florence, and 25 minuets from Pisa. There are many local attractions to see, including the famous sunset!

The cost is 79 euro per person (2 or more people, maximum 4 people)
100 euro for a private class (one on one)
As the course if taught at home (with a view of the sea, only 20 metres away), the course times are flexible.
Please write to karam1220@gmail.com for further information

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Biscotti di San Valentino- Saint Valentine's Day biscuits

This recipe is for all you romantics out there. I personally have never been one to celebrate Valentine's Day (San Valentino), and I am not just saying that because I find myself loveless today (in the sense that there is no man). Trust me I have had my fair share of "ti voglio bene", "ti amo", "sto innamorato" (all different forms of saying I love you)- all superficial and nothing worth mentioning here. So I find myself sharing my day with my one true love, the kitchen! These biscuits will be shared with my friends probably over a coffee! Whether you choose to cook these for your Husband, boyfriend, Wife, girlfriend, lover, mistress, family or friends- I am sure they will be impressed. Also, you will be impressed with how simple they are to make- I whipped them up within half and hour. Not only are they simple but they are crispy good with a zesty zing! Wrapped them in a cute box with some ribbon as the perfect sweet gift for your someone special. Happy Saint Valentine's Day!!
What you need:
400g flour 
250g butter
150g sugar
four egg yolks
zest of one lemon
How to make:
1: Sift the flour into a large bowl. Use your finger tips to rub in the room-temperature butter into the flour to resemble breadcrumbs.
2: Add the remaining ingredients and combine all together. Once combined, transfer to a lightly floured bench and knead lightly to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1/2 hour.
3: Remove sections of the dough and roll on a well floured surface. Use a love-heart cutter (or desired shape), then place shapes on a oven tray lined with baking paper.
4: Place in a pre-heated oven and bake at 180 degrees for roughly 10 minuets.
#buonadomenica #viareggio #cibo #italia #italy #tourism #turista #versilia #toscana #tuscany #kara #bellavita #biscuit #biscotti #amoremio #cuore #sanvalentino #valentinesday #tiamo #iloveyou #chepalle 

Zampone con lenticchie - Pig's trotter with lentils

Ok admittedly I am a little late on uploading this recipe- let's just say things have been a little 'festive'. However I can assure you that this was eaten during my 'festive' season, what better way to celebrate than with a pigs trotter! Or at least that's how they reign in the New Year in here in Italy. Zampone is a primary dish across Italy during the Holiday period, typically served on a bed of lentils. Most households across Italy will be eating lentils at home on New Years eve to bring good fortune. Each lentil represents a coin, the significance being that the more lentils eaten the more fortune you will receive in the New Year. The casing  of the pig's trotter represents the money sack in which to collect the coins. However in reality the trotter is stuffed with various delicacies such as pork, prosciutto and sausage- I actually prefer this to coins! Zampone has been a favourite dish in Italian homes at this time of year dating back to the 1500th century.
Zampone is easily accessible to buy at every supermarket in Italy, just as Christmas hams are in Australia. However for a more gourmet and less processed zampone the local butcher also sells them- or you can make them at home. This year my local butcher forgot my name so he simply wrote bimba bella on my parcel meaning beautiful baby, typical Italian! 
I found this web-site where you can order a zampone on-line in Australia:
What you need for lentils:
One cup dried brown lentils
Two cups of water
One small finely diced carrot
One small finely diced celery stick
One bay leaf
One smashed garlic clove
One sprig of fresh rosemary
A few sage leaves
Salt for taste
How to make:
1: Wash the lentils thoroughly under cold running water. Remove any blemished lentils
2: Place all of the ingredients listed above in a medium sized pot (I used a terracotta pot). DO NOT ADD THE SALT
3: Bring to a boil, then continue to simmer for 20-30 minuets until the lentils are cooked
4: Add the salt for taste
5: Serve on a large serving plate with sliced pieces of zampone
                              step 1: start        step 2: after 10 minuets                            
          step 3: after 20 minuets   step 4: ready after 30 minuets
everything is beautifully wrapped- even a pigs trotter
 #buonadomenica #cibo #italia #italy #turista #tourism #kara #versilia #toscana #tuscany #zampone #lenticchie #pigstrotter #lentils #bellabimba #bellavita #traditonalfood