My Top Ten Italian Recipes

tiramisu with vin santo

I’m sure I’ll regret writing this, but for the last few nights Nino has been sleeping better. All that restorative snoozing means he’s bright eyed and bushy tailed the wrong side of 6am most mornings but, while exhausting in its own way, this has encouraged us as a family to make the most of our extra long days. Yes, we may be ready for lunch come 11am, but we’ve also packed in an exercise video or two, a walk round the park, breakfast, snacks, stories, several rounds of coffee, four outfit changes and maybe managed to read a blog or two. On a good day I might even use the time while Nino is down for his first nap to post a recipe of my own . . .

Today, I’m afraid, isn’t one such day: we’re off to Italy on Sunday and in between some freelance recipe development and raising said little human, I haven’t had a chance to successfully re-test and photograph my latest creation. What I do have, however, is  a round up of my top ten Italian recipes from the archives. I can’t take you all to Italy with me, but this is hopefully the next best thing. We’re planning to eat pretty well while we’re away – including my birthday meal out and experimenting with a brand new pizza oven (which I’m inordinately excited about) – so do hop on over to Instagram and follow me if you’d like the latest updates. Continue reading

Raspberry, Peach & Hazelnut Eton Mess

peach eton mess

Where do you stand when it comes to freezers? Are they a baker’s best friend, a modern monstrosity or simply a necessary evil?

If you like to bake as much as I do, you’ll be familiar with the issue of leftovers. While our household has as large an appetite for sweet treats as the next (ok, possibly ever so slightly larger), sometimes there’s simply more than we can manage. And while one of the best things about baking is sharing the spoils with family and friends, if they’re not around the freezer can be a lifesaver. Continue reading

Pistachio & Lemon (Little) Loaf Cakes

little loaf cake

The dense, damp, syrupy crumb makes this cake utterly irresistible

This might just be one of the best cakes I’ve ever eaten.

Those of you who read this blog on regular basis will know that this is not a comment to be taken lightly. I love cake. I eat it a lot. I live and breathe baking.  On our recent holiday in Italy in a round of Articulate the clue ‘Kate loves this’ resulted in an immediate and resounding chorus of ‘cake’, and change one letter in my name and I’d practically be named after the stuff. Cake is very important to me.

Pretty much every year I make my own birthday cake. Before you start feeling sorry for me, it’s absolutely out of choice. I love doing it; the magic of mixing together ingredients, transforming flour, butter and sugar into something that looks and tastes delicious, experimenting in the kitchen, sharing my birthday joy with friends and family and condensing it into a single slice.

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the original garlic bread

When I was fifteen I had a Saturday job in the local chemist. Situated on a sleepy suburban high street it was pretty easy work, and allowed me to spend the whole day with one of my best friends from school who worked the same shift as me. It also happened to be opposite a well-known recording studio, meaning that our otherwise fairly mundane days were often punctuated by the excitement of seeing a celebrity come in to buy cotton buds, shampoo or other more intriguing (read embarrassing) items. Continue reading

Tiramisu with Vin Santo

tiramisu with vin santo

Rich, creamy & laced with chocolate & vin santo: the ultimate Italian pudding

If you’ve never eaten a seriously good tiramisu, you’ve not really lived.

Unfortunately if you’ve eaten a seriously bad one, you’re not alone.

Despite, or perhaps because of, its reputation for being delicious, Italian food is something that continually suffers from major misrepresentation around the world. But rather than focusing on flabby pizza or pre-shaved parmesan – don’t get me started on savoury, I could rant all day – I’m turning my attention today to all things sweet (surprise, surprise). Continue reading

White Peach Bellini (and a Proposal)

italy view

The Tuscan mountainside

I have some news.

Not this Friday gone but the one before, I wrote about our imminent trip to Italy. I posted a picture of one of my favourite views in the world. And I talked about how, while I enjoy new experiences and adventures, there’s something wonderfully comforting about the familiar, returning to somewhere you know and love and going through the tried and tested motions of experiences you’ve lived a thousand times before.

What I failed to mention, or realize at the time, is that it’s perfectly possible to combine the two. Continue reading

A Trip to Tuscany

Tuscan mountains

The view from our bedroom window in Tuscany

If you saw my previous post, you’ll know I’m off to Italy this week. First stop, the seaside in Le Marche, then up to the Tuscan hills where, when I wake each morning, I’ll be confronted with this view.

I can’t take credit for the photo above – my Dad took it early one morning last year, mist still drifting through mountains bathed in a hazy, lazy light – but I hope to capture many more, (alongside a ton of food photos), to share with you when I’m back. Continue reading

Ciabatta Bread


Crusty ciabatta loaves fresh from the oven

When was the last time you licked the plate clean?

In a previous post on sticky toffee cupcakes, I talked about dishes that look ‘too good to eat’. Today it’s the turn of another favourite food expression. While ‘finger licking good’ is a phrase that is sadly slightly tainted (for me anyway) by its association with greasy fast food and a certain white bearded colonel, the idea that something can be so delicious that it makes you want to lick the plate (as well as your fingers) clean is not. It’s appealing and enduring. And something that we all do. Continue reading

Blood Orange Sgroppino


Beautiful, bright oranges bursting with blood red juice

What’s the first thing you look at when you land on a blog post? Do you start at the beginning, slowly savouring each sentence as the author intended, do you skim read the recipe before deciding whether to bother reading the rest of the article, or you more of a pictures person, enjoying and assessing each image as it unfolds?

When I’m writing a post, I always try to keep all three types of reader (though these are pretty broad categories, I’m sure you could break them down into many more) in mind. Words are what come easily to me, but I also make sure to check my recipes, instructions and ingredient lists carefully, and, although I’m still very much a novice in this department, try to take as pretty and as representative photos of my food as possible. Continue reading

Uliassi, Senigallia – possibly my favourite restaurant in the world


Beautiful beachside simplicity – a table at Uliassi

Do you have an all-time favourite restaurant? One that consistently delivers incredible food and unbeatable atmosphere, where the staff are charming and the service next to none? How long have you been going there . . . five, ten, maybe even twenty years? Has it evolved with the times and are you still delighted and surprised by each mouthful?

I’m not normally one for definitive favourites, for top tens and number ones, but this review carries a lot of weight for me. It’s been a long time in the making. In fact, it was twenty years ago this summer that my seven year old self first trundled along the Italian seafront towards this restaurant, a much littler loaf than I am now, grumbling at my parents that I was tired and hungry, that I wanted to stop for pizza, and why did we have to walk so far when we didn’t really know where we were heading? Continue reading