“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 Versilia, Italy!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Easter in Tuscany. Pasqua in Toscana!

Why not make easter different this year?
Come and explore coastal Tuscany and stay in an elegant villa, with your own personal chef on site to make for a dolce vita break full of authentic gastronomic moments.
All inclusive accommodation and cuisine package with return transfer from Pisa airport for six guests from 110 euro per day/per person. 
Package includes; Welcome aperitivo, fresh baked Italian goodies for breakfast served daily, three lunch and three dinners of authentic Italian cuisine excluding wines.  
Plus a fun cooking class with me, Kara! 
Villa rental and linens. Return taxi transfer from Pisa Airport. Price quoted per head is for a group of six guests for 4 nights/ 5 days in the private villa shown here. 
For more details please contact Tuscany in Style  or karam1220@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

La Befana

Just when you think the Christmas festive season is all over in Italy, and you could not possibly eat another morsel. Along comes the celebration of La Befana. Just like children across the world look forward to the arrival of Father Christmas, the children in Italy look forward to the arrival of the Befana who comes to visit on the eve of the 6th of January. To me it seems odd and scary that children eagerly await the arrival of a witch who delivers candy to those who have been good and coal to those who have been naughty. Nowadays sugared candy made in the form of coal is usually given. Normally a member of the family dresses up as the witch and makes a spooky appearence. The story is that the Befana flies around the world and comes down chimneys to deliver the goods. 
The Befana has been an Italian tradition since the X111 century and comes from Christian legend rather than popular culture. Making Father Christmas look like a new kid on the block.
The arrival of the Befana is celebrated in Italian homes by a big celebratory feast. 
So I`m off to eat my ragu and pasta and take my homemade carbon candy to give to those who have been naughty!!! 
What you will need:
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar divided, plus a little extra might be needed for thickening purposes
1 1/2-2 tsp. black gel food coloring such as Wilton brand
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

How to make:
Step 1:
  1. Whisk together 1 cup of the powdered sugar along with the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.  
  2. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar. The mixture should be very stiff as you whisk.  Pick up some of the batter with the whisk, and allow it to fall back into the bowl.  It should cling to the whisk when you pick up the batter, and fall in thick heavy pieces back into the bowl.  If it does not, add a little more powdered sugar until this consistency is achieved.
  3. Set aside while you cook the sugar (next step).
Step 2:
3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
  1. Line an 8x8 (or similar size) heat-proof pan with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Combine water and sugar in a large non-stick saucepan.  Mix sugar and water together by stirring and mashing them together with a heat-proof spatula until it is the consistency of wet sand.  
  3. Insert a candy thermometer and let the mixture cook until it reaches 258-260 degrees.  The mixture will stay grainy and look weird and you might think you've done something wrong but you haven't.  When it's close to the 250 degree mark, the mixture may begin to lightly brown from cooking.  It should still be grainy and not in a liquid state.
  4. When 258-260 degrees is achieved, add the black egg white/powdered sugar mixture to the pot and stir (don't whisk) with a heat-proof spoon.  The mixture may foam, so be careful!  
  5. When thoroughly mixed, pour into the prepared pan and allow to stand until hardened.   When hardened, break into pieces with a chisel 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Rosticciana/ Roasted pork ribs

So now I am going to share with you my simple go to recipe when my mind gets block and I need to prepare something effortless yet delicious. This dish always gets guests asking for more and nagging for the recipe. The great things about this is that all of the preparation can be done well in advance and almost forgotten about, making it the perfect plate to serve at casual dinner parties. I can't even tell you the amount of times I have made this as it frequently presented on my table at home and at work. I don't like to say that I have a signature dish as I really do love cooking so many, but if I had to name one, then la rosticciana would have to be one of them. 
In fact I recently resorted to serving this ole faithful for Alessandro`s brothers 40th birthday party I hosted for fifteen guests at home. I was able to marinate the meat in the morning and concentrate on other preparations. The long and slow cooking period  and quality of the meat guarantees that your meat will be falling of the bone and melting in your mouth.
Rosticciana is a typical Tuscan dish and is traditionally cooked in wood fired oven or with coals. If you are like me and have a regular modest oven at home follow these simple steps for an earth shattering result! For a `Tuscan touch` serve in small terracotta bowls! I always serve this with `contorni` side dishes of roast fennel, roast potatoes, and sautéed spinach.
What you will need: This recipe will serve 4/5 people allowing for 2/3 pork ribs per person!
700 grams of Pork Ribs. It is much cheaper to buy the full rib and cut it at home, it is really simple to do. Or ask your butcher to cut the ribs for you into 2/3 cm pieces
1/2 litre of dry white wine 
A good drizzle of olive oil
A few cloves of garlic squashed 
A good handful of dried fennel seeds
Lots of cracked pepper and Sicilian salt 
A few sprigs of rosemary from the garden 
1.5 kilos of uncut pork ribs.
How to make:
1: Place the pre cut pork ribs flesh side down in a large oven proof dish
2: Liberally pour over the white wine which should come up half way but not totally covering the meat
3: Drizzle over the olive oil and evenly sprinkle the fennel seeds, salt and cracked pepper. Making sure it is well seasoned. Randomly place in the smashed garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. Cover with foil and place in the fridge until ready to cook 
4: Place in a 180 degree oven for 30 minutes, then lower the oven to 140 degrees and cook for a further 1 1/2 hours. Every half and hour use a spoon to douse the meat with the wine juices 
5: The meat is ready when the meat has shrunk and the bones become exposed 
6: Serve immediately with your chosen side dishes and make sure you drizzle over the wine juices using like a gravy 
#rosticciana #pork #porkribs #roast 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

vellutata di funghi/ mushroom soup

During this Christmas period of ridiculous extravagance to the point non posso piu” (I can`t anymore), I decided to revet to one of my favourite ever things to make, soup! Not that this soup is exactly a light dish. It is rich, creamy and quite indulgent. Non the less, it is liquid and relatively light in comparison the wild boar, lentils, polenta, boiled sausage and 10 kilos of prosciutto I have witnessed in these days. Soup is always a comfort food and is exactly the fix I needed to warm my bones from the cold weather we are experiences here in Tuscany. This soup is super easy to make, as it calls for only a few ingredients and one big pot. It is also extremely delicious and a perfect luxurious soup to serve to guests.
What you need:
One kilo of mushrooms, what ever variety you can find in season 
400 grams of homemade beef stock/stock
One large white onion
A few garlic cloves depending on the your taste 
Fresh thyme leaves, the perfect partner for mushrooms
Olive oil
1/2 cup of fresh full cream
Sicilian salt and fresh cracked black pepper 

How to make:
1: In a large pan sauté the roughly chopped onions, garlic,thyme,  generous amount of olive oil and salt. Saute the onions for roughly five minutes or until soft and translucent 
2: Wash and pat dry the mushrooms and roughly chop. Add to the pan. Add the beef broth/stock. Stir well and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil and then lower the flame to simmer for roughly 20 minutes 
3: Remove the thyme sticks. Add the cream and then use a hand blender to mix well until smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper
4: Serve with crusty bread croutons and drizzle with good quality olive oil
#funghi #mushroom #zuppa #vellutata #soup