Lactose free, gluten free gnocchi with pistachio pesto

agosto 24, 2014

Gluten free gnocchi with pistachio pesto

Everything began with a nasty tiredness. I desperately wanted to understand which was the reason, I blamed the lack of sleep, then the heat, then the long shifts to finish my cookbook. I also secretly thought I was getting too lazy, or too old. Eventually I did a food intolerance test. I’ve learnt to listen to my body, so when I got my results they were not at all unexpected.

Due to my reckless way of life, my body is intoxicated. For some time I will have to avoid from my diet any dairy product, gluten – with the exception of rye – and chocolate. It has been almost three weeks now, though I already feel better: I am less tired, my skin is glowing and I’m slightly thinner.

Well, I’ve just got back from my holidays in Puglia, when I basically slept for the whole day, except for when I was reading at the beach. I could not follow the diet strictly, as I was trying to get as much as I could from my two week immersion in the country of such an amazing food as orecchiette, burrata and bread with olives… but I’ve behaved quite well.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tacchino tonnato. Turkey breast with tuna and mayonnaise sauce

agosto 7, 2014

Tacchino tonnato - Turkey breast with tuna mayonnaise

A friend is someone you share fun, laughter, interests and passions with, someone who naturally pushes you do to better. Emiko is a friend, she has taught me so much. She explained me how to make pretty lanterns with old jars, wire and cheese cloth. She made me discover for the first time the Florence of those who live there, and I grew fond of it, she showed me where to have a dreamy afternoon tea and stay on a budget, she invited me in Cecina for a weekend with our friends, to a molecular aperitif, in San Miniato and Fucecchio for the first time. We’ve been to Venice together.

The pavlova was the first recipe we made together, from there a stream of recipes dots our friendship with tasty memories. She made gracious lemon curd tartlets for my 30th birthday party, sinful fried zucchini flowers stuffed with buffalo ricotta and fig honey when she organized an Apulian lunch, she catered a Japanese home lunch at me and she made with such an incredible skillfulness chirashi sushi and miso eggplants. Even if we three continents and a certain number of Oceans divide us, we managed to bake together an Easter schiacciata and we developed the Italian Table talk project with Valeria and Jasmine.

When she came back to Italy a few months ago, although it was difficult to juggle commitments, deadlines and travels, we were able to carve out some days to spend together in the kitchen, and in one of these, along with Regula, she taught us a new recipe which won a special place in my new book. She made tacchino tonnato, turkey breast with tuna and mayonnaise sauce, and now I’m going to tell you why it is so special.

Read the rest of this entry »

Carrot and almond cake. Browsing through sweet memories…

luglio 25, 2014

Carrot and almond cakeThere are three carrot cakes in my memories.

I ordered the first carrot cake with a broken English more than ten years ago. It was Summer 2002, it was my first holiday abroad with friends, a quiet August carved out from my University exams of July and September. We were four adventurers with backpackers and Ireland was our America. We found ourselves in a remote village on the Dingle Peninsula, I can not remember the name but I clearly remember as it was yesterday a downhill road that sloped down towards the sea, with a double row of colorful houses on both sides. Before taking the bus to reach out hostel we sat in a local cafe, with wooden walls painted in white and a second-hand bookshelf in a corner. I ordered a slice of carrot cake, generous and dense, with a thick layer of lemon cheese frosting. Of that cake I can still taste the warmth of spices, so different from the cakes I was used to, comforting and entrancing.

The second cake was one of my creations. Autumn 2003, a few weeks before my graduation. My best friend Laura and I were going to graduate in a few days. We went to Florence to search for a suitable dress for the great occasion, the last thing to do before the big day. In a crowded city bus I took out a plastic tupperware from my bag with a few squares of walnut and carrot cake, which I had prepared the day before. That cake had the taste of  achieved goals and friendship, it was thick and moist, it made me travel through time and space back to put Ireland holiday.

Read the rest of this entry »