“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!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Saffron, almond orange cake- torta di mandorla e zafferano

If you want to feel like a Greek goddess, then you need to make this cake. I can imagine Aphrodite mulling around with her friends and enjoying this decadent cake whilst listening to a harpist. Considering she was the goddess associated with love, beauty and pleasure, it is only fitting that I visualise this cake as fitting. This cake evokes all of the above and so much more. It is believed that saffron originated and was first cultivated in Greece, therefore it was only natural that I used this high quality organic saffron from @grecianpurveyor. This is the cake that you want to make if you truly want to pamper your guests.
Ingredients 2 medium oranges, chopped (including peel) 5 eggs, separated Pinch of saffron threads 1/4 cup of unsweetened original almond milk, for soaking saffron threads 1 cup castor sugar 2 cups ground raw almonds (grind to a flour consistency in a food processor) 2 tablespoons icing sugar 2 tablespoons sliced or finely chopped/slivered almonds for cake topping
Method: - Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. - Line the base and sides of a 9-inch cake pan with baking paper. - Warm the almond milk and soak a good pinch of the saffron threads in the milk for about 30 minutes. Set aside. - Chop the oranges in quaters and place in a saucepan with one tablespoon of water. Cover and cook with a gentle simmer for 30 minutes or until the oranges are soft and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the oranges from the heat and let cool. When cool, finely blitz the oranges in a food processor. - Whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually stir in the castor sugar and continue to whisk for about one minute. - In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks together with the remaining icing sugar for 2-3 minutes. - To the egg yolk mixture, whisk in the oranges and then fold in the ground almonds, and saffron (with the soaking milk). - With a large metal spoon, fold in spoonfuls of egg whites until everything is well combined. - Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan, sprinkle with slivered or chopped almonds and bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes (or until golden brown). Check every 20 minutes while baking. - Let the cake cool in the pan before turning out and dusting with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container for 3 days

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Crostini di salsiccia e olio di tartufo- Sausage and truffle oil on crusty bread

Take your apertivo to the next level and impress your guests with this decadent pre dinner treat.  As there are only a few ingredients needed, it is really important that they are of optimal quality.  I wouldn't really call this a recipe as such, rather a few simple yet integral steps to follow.  This is the epitome of luxurious Tuscan cuisine, and perfect for Autumn months.  When truffle oil hits the warm crostini a sense of indulgence fills the air, and makes me so nostalgic about cozy Tuscan nights spent by the fireplace with a glass of vino rosso.
You will need:- 200 grams roughly of good quality Italian style sausage(I source mine from Nino and Joe's)- Good quality truffle oil(I used forest garden from grecianpurveyor.com)- A rustic baguette, about 12 slices - Drizzle of good quality olive oil- Sprigs of rosemary for presentation 
Method:- Remove innards from the sausage in a bowl and gently mash- Cut the bread into even pieces and place on an oven tray, lightly drizzle with olive oil. Toast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes at 180 degrees celsius.- Spread the sausage mince on each crostini piece and cook in the oven for a further 8-10 minutes.- Remove crostini from the oven and place on a plate, and drizzle liberally with truffle oil.  Enjoy immediately with a glass of vino!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sarde a beccafico- Sicilian sardines

Sardines a beccafico are a typical preparation of Sicilian cuisine, usually served as an appetizer or as a second course. It is a recipe of humble origins, born as an imitation of a distinguished dish where in the past it was served exclusively to aristocracy: stuffed beccafichi (garden warbler bird). These birds, which were cooked stuffed with their own entrails, were the hunting bounty of Sicilian nobles. What seemed to be a delicacy reserved for a few, was soon reproduced with poor and more easily accessible ingredients. Sardines replaced birds, while breadcrumbs and pine nuts took the place of the entrails of birds. Thus was born the recipe for sardines a beccafico; today very famous especially in Palermo and its surrounding areas.
If your longing for a taste if Sicily (who isn't), I highly recommend that you try this recipe. Sardines are from:
Ingredients: About 16-20 sardines 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs 1/3 cup of raisins 1/3 cup of pine nuts 4 tablespoons of chopped flatleaf parsley 60 ml orange juice Pinch of salt 2 tablespoons of olive oil Olive oil for drizzling Enough bayleaves to place between each sardine One orange for slicing
Method: 1: Cook/toast breadcrumbs in a hot frying pan, be careful not to burn. Will take a minute or two. 2: Add all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix together. The mixture should 'stick together'. 3: Place a sardine fillet on your palm flesh side up, and spread breadcrumb mixture on top. Pat down mixture. 4: Roll the sardine fillet and place open side down in a well oiled baking tray. This will ensure the sardine stays closed. Repeat this process until all sardines are filled and rolled. 5: Place bayleaves between each sardine, and a few orange wedges. Drizzle with olive oil. 6: Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes at 180 degrees celsius.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Torta di Riso- Tuscan rice and custard pudding

Look no further, this is a quintessential Tuscan recipe traditionally served at Easter time. There are two defining components to this dessert. The top layer is reminiscent of the texture of crème caramel, yet the bottom layer is dense from the combination of rice being bound together with the sweet custard mixture. The tradition is to cook this in a terracotta pan, in fact many Tuscan families still use the original family pan. Often you can still see the families surname scripted on the side. Before ovens could be commonly found in every household, the terracotta pans were brought to the community village wood fired oven and baked after bread. Just imagine that! Although the recipe varies from region to region, household to household, the general ingredients are the same, the notable difference is the height, ranging from two fingers high to four. This recipe is for the later and was kindly bestowed upon me from a friend’s grandmother, Nonna Carla. This is a classic example of ‘cucina casareccia’ (home cooking), as it is economical to make, super easy and in true Italian style it is made to serve many people. If there are any left overs, they are perfect for breakfast on Pasquetta, the day after Easter.
Difficult level: easy Cooking time: 2 1/2 hours including preparation Cost: low Ingredient's: - 2 litres of full cream milk - 1/2 cup icing sugar - 2 cups of regular sugar - 1 cup of mixed liquor (sambuca, brandy or rum) - 16 eggs - 1 vanilla bean - 1 cup of arborio or carnaroli rice - zest of one lemon Note: Original recipe uses 1/2 a cup of vanilla flavoured icing sugar as with most Italian cake recipes, however I prefer using a natural vanilla bean. Size: Will make one large 28cm solid-bottomed round cake pan. Method: Preheat oven to 200°C. In a large saucepan cook rice in one litre of simmering milk, together with 1/2 a cup of regular sugar. It will take about 25 minutes, pay attention that it does not stick. It is ready when the milk has absorbed and the rice is soft. Add the rest of the milk and sugar's. Allow the mixture to cool. Whisk the eggs separately and add to the milk mixture in the saucepan, then add the liquor and lemon zest. Combine well together. Gently place in a large baking tray and cook for about 2 hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to slightly cool before serving. Dust with icing sugar if desired.
TIP: To prevent the top of the cake from burning, place some aluminum foil loosely over the top after about 40 minutes of cooking or once it has nicely browned or the signature brown spots appear. I was recently asked by Georgette Jupe, a journalist for Italy magazine and Girl in Florence to share this special recipe for the Easter edition. Please find the full article here:

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Pesce all'isolana- baked whole fish


Heading to the market this weekend?
Well make sure you add a whole snapper to your shopping basket, for this VERY simple whole baked fish recipe.
I guarantee you feel like you are sitting seaside on the Mediterranean, just add a glass of vermentino and voilà! 

I just love presenting whole baked dishes to the table for a little theatrics, plus there is a certain nurturing factor when a dish comes out straight from the oven.
I used to cook this dish all the time in Italy for work but also for my ex fiancé as it was his absolute favourite. He would always be happy knowing that I had come home with orata or branzino (sea bream and European bass), two of the most common species found in the Mediterranean sea. In fact he asked for this for his birthday. It's hard not to think of him now as I write this recipe, and maybe in a way it is my final love dedication and 'addio' (good-bye) to him, right down to choosing the music that is remisant to Francesco De Gregori, one of his favourite Italian song writers.
I hope you feel the love in this video, for where there is love there is life! And this dish definitely brings joyous life to the table! 
Buon appetito xoxo

Click here to watch the video:


Orata- sea bream
Cena (dinner) for two
branzino- European bass
Instagram Repost @basile_imports
• • • • • •
With our extreme heat in Melbourne this week its only fitting we continue to celebrate our festive feast with the beautiful Pesce all’Isolana. Its so easy to prepare, light, nutritious and very tasty thanks to @kara.privatechef 
Cooking instructions 
1: Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
2: Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Line the bottom of a baking tray with a good drizzle of Colavita extra virgin olive oil, and evenly place the potatoes on top.
3: Place the fish on top of the potatoes. In this recipe we have used a snapper, but ask your fishmonger for other suggestions. Also ask your local fishmonger to de scale and gut the fish. Always rinse the fish under cold water before using. 
4: Place a sliced lemon and parsley inside the stomach cavity.
5: Add the chopped tomatoes, Zuccato caperberries and Zuccato olives. Drizzle liberally with Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and rub salt into the skin of the fish. 
6: Cook for approximately 25-35 minutes (depending on the size of fish). Make sure the flesh is cooked through and the potatoes are cooked thru. 
7: Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with chopped parsley. 
8: Add lemon juice to a jar and add the Colavita Lemon Oil. Shake to emulsify. Gently pour over fish! 
Buon Apetito. 
Chef: @kara.privatechef
Styling: @kara.privatechef
Film Director :@kara.privatechef
Videographer: @indiefilmstudios

Our dining room table was always surrounded by people

Gnocchi alla Romana- Roman style gnocchi

It's Giovedi gnocchi- gnocchi Thursday! Or should we say gnocchi Thursday for Roman's, because in Rome they traditionally are eaten on....Thursday! 
Totally different in texture and taste to the typical potato style gnocchi dumplings that we traditionally know. Roman gnocchi are flat disc like shapes made from semolina flavour, and quite honestly I prefer them much more. I also love how you can prepare them in advance, making them a prefect meal for effortless entertaining.
I first discovered this dish when working in Rome in a local trattoria, when I asked how to make it, I was told to add the semolina flour like "versate a pioaggia il semolino" (pour it like rain). I loved this romantic explanation, and ever since I have been enchanted by this recipe.

This video honestly makes me do the happy dance from start to finish.
Who's coming over for dinner and vino? Just bring your glockenspiel!! 

Click here to watch the film:
 #Instagram Re-Repost @basile_imports
• • • • • •
Short Film no 3 Gnocchi alla Romana with porcini mushrooms. These gorgeous light and fluffy gnocchi circles are perfect for Christmas day as they not only offer Italian comfort goodness but the semolina dough can be prepared a day in advance, wrapped then stored in the fridge in either its slab form or in the circles, all that is then required to do on the day is assemble and bake and devour. 
Such a divine recipe @kara.privatechef and one that brings back fabulous memories and to know that it can be recreated right here in our own homes with a few of our pantry essentials.

GNOCCHI ALLA ROMANA with porcini mushrooms
Cooking instructions:
1: Pour the milk in a large pan and heat, but do not boil. Add 50g butter and allow to melt.
2: "Versate a pioggia il semolino". Pour the Semola flour like soft rain. Slowly and consistently add the Caputo Semola flour to the warm milk, while whisking.
3: Add the egg yolks and whisk through until smooth. Add salt to taste.
4: Pour out the hot gnocchi mix onto a cool surface, on baking paper.
5: Spread out mixture and place another piece of baking paper on top. Use a rolling pin to roll out the mixture evenly. This will make sure that all of the gnocchi discs are even in height. 
6: Remove the top layer of baking paper, use a circular mold to cut out gnocchi circles. 
7: Place a little Colavita extra virgin olive oil in an oven proof tray and place the gnocchi circles evenly in the dish.
8: Drizzle the top with a little olive oil, and top with Auricchio parmigiano reggiano and Auricchio pecorino romano, a little salt and cracked black pepper.
9: Bake in a pre heated 180 degree oven for 20-25 mins or until golden brown. 

To make the porcini mushrooms:
1: Soak the porcini mushrooms in a large bowl of water for about 30 minutes to rehydrate them.
2: Add butter to a large saucepan until melted. 
3: Drain the mushrooms (you can reserve the flavoursome juice to make risotto and broth). Add the mushrooms and dried thyme to the pan and saute for a few minutes. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper.
4: Add a little of the reserved mushroom liquid and drizzle over some olive oil.
5: Transfer to a serving plate and top with sprigs of fresh thyme.

Chef: @kara.privatechef
Styling: @kara.privatechef
Film Director :@kara.privatechef
Videographer: @indiefilmstudios

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Ceci e Vongole- Chickpeas & clams

Enjoying a quick lunch break with the film crew
Ten minutes is all you need, from start to finish. Preparation is key to be able to put this dish together with impressive ease.
One of the most elegantly simple dishes I know, and perfect for our hot impending days. Nobody wants to be sweating it out in a hot kitchen, trust me I know!
Impress your guests with effortless style as you present this majestic dish.
It really is the perfect dish to add to your repertoire.
I personally love watching them dance open in the pan, and adds in-house theatrics for your quests to watch.
This is one of my favourite short films, as it truly captures the theatre that takes place in my mind when I prepare this dish! Enjoy xo

Click this link to watch the film:

Re-Repost from instagram @basile_imports
• • • • • •
Some of the most beloved Italian dishes comprise of just a few simple ingredients and ones that are readily available in our pantry just like this next short film featuring the humble canned Chick peas and Clams. Clever @kara.privatechef and super festive.
Chickpeas & Clams.
Cooking instructions:
1: Prepare all of your ingredients in advance, set aside so you are then ready to prepare the dish all in one saucepan.
- finely chop parsley - cut tomatoes in half
- smash garlic cloves
- can of Capriccio chickpeas rinse well under cold water - rinse the vongole thoroughly under cold water for a few minutes, using your hand to swirl them around.
2: Andiamo (let's go)! Add Colavita extra virgin olive oil to pan with garlic cloves, heat for a minute to release and infuse the garlic flavour.
3: Add the tomatoes to the pan, a little salt, and parsley.
4: When the tomatoes turn soft, add the vongole. Stir around coating them in the oil juices.
5: Add Valdo prosecco, squeezed lemon juice and rind.
6: Cover the saucepan with a lid, and wait for them to start opening which will only take about 5 minutes.
7: When the first vongole start opening, add the Capriccio chickpeas, stir, and cover! Wait for the remaining vongole to open.
8: Add to a serving platter and top with fresh parsley!
Buon appetito.
Chef: @kara.privatechef
Styling: @kara.privatechef
Film Director :@kara.privatechef
Videographer: @indiefilmstudios

#Capriccio #Valdo Prosecco #Colavita Extra #SOSALT #onmytable#foodinpsiration #eatfamous #italianfood #beautifulfood #inmykitchen