The morning after the launch party for my cookbook, back in June, I woke up early with a racing heart, a slight sicky feeling and butterflies in my stomach. Given the gallons of prosecco that were consumed the night before, this shouldn’t have been surprising. Except that I hadn’t been drinking. Twenty one weeks later and it’s about time I shared some important news with you. I think you might guess where I’m going with this . . . Continue reading
What’s your favourite type of Italian bread?
Ask this question of almost anyone and you’re on pretty safe ground. Italian breads are an established part of our everyday vocabulary (even if not always part of our diet in an increasingly carb-phobic society), pizza being one of the most popular foods in the world and cafes, shops and delis all over the place serving up ciabatta, focaccia, grissini and panini (the singular of which, panino, means none other than ‘little loaf’).
Slightly less familiar, perhaps, is schiacciata, a flattened bread which takes its name from the Italian ‘schiacciare’, to flatten or to crush. In Sicily they stuff their schiacciata with potatoes, spinach, meat or cheese while in Tuscany it’s an altogether more basic affair, not unlike a focaccia. The topping can be as simple as a sprinkling of salt or scattering of tomatoes, although they also make an unusual, and utterly delicious, version with seeded black wine grapes, rosemary and a little scattering of sugar to celebrate the Tuscan grape harvest. Continue reading