Carnivale Cenci for the Food Carnivale

It all began with the intention of making Crostoli, an absolute favourite of mine made by my Nonna, super thin, crispy pastry dusted in sugar.

crostoli IMG_4438
(Source: Merci Mama)                                                         My Cenci

There was one problem, as a uni student living in an apartment 2 hours away from my family home, I had no access to my Italian mothers wedding present / pasta machine thus knew I would not get the lightness of the pastry with a rolling pin, so I found a similar yet different version of this Crostoli called CENCI, a biscuit version eaten during Carnivale time also a recipe included in Pellegrino Artusi’s ‘La Scienza in Cucina e L’arte di Mangiar Bene’.
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La Tortilleria

Driving to work nearly everyday, I noticed this bold, colourful restaurant hidden amongst many commercial buildings. The words ‘La Tortilleria’ written in what look like a hand painted sign across the front of the small building.


This time I went with on a Wednesday night, it was bustling with people, we had to wait out the front for a table due to the limited space and clear popularity of the place, we watched 4 other groups arrive just after us and have to wait at the front as well, we could of have a fiesta at the front of the restaurant.
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Crazy Sicilian Caponata

I picked a recipe from the South because that’s where my Italian heritage lies, so I went about as South as you can go, to Sicily.

(Source: Geographic US)

Caponata is fundamentally Sicilian using many traditional ingredients. Sicily is pretty much a melting pot of diverse cultural influences shown obviously in the main ingredient, Eggplant, originally from India. Many other ingredients are from various cultures that once influenced this island.
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It’s all in the name, Baba au Rhum… with Rum

These little cakes are ubiquitous to the Paris patisserie but with an interesting history. Made from pantry staples and a trip to your liquor cabinet.You need dry yeast, plain flour, sugar, salt, egg, butter, the zest of a lemon.

For the  syrup, rum (duh), sugar, lemon zest and water.

The babas are soaked in a liquor syrup (rum or an alcoholic spirit), halved and filled with cream or more formally cooked in a delicate mould, covered in jam and fruit.

They seemed to be eaten as a street food from a patisserie but also plated up as a formal dessert.

Source: Paris Pâtisseries)
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From the crops to the sophisticated kitchen…

What’s the first ingredient you associate with Spain?
For me it’s tomatoes, it may have something to do with a small festival I attended in 2012 by the name of La Tomatina. The point of this whole tomato business is it’s quintessentially Spanish, the base of SO many regional Spanish dishes.

In particular, Gazpacho, what some fancy restaurants use to describe their ‘cold soups’, uses fresh tomatoes as a base, along with pantry staples vinegar, olive oil, bread usually stale, garlic, onion and fresh cucumber, green peppers and icy cold water.
Serious Eats)

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