my blog


caterpillars + home sweet home

School has finished and we are finally home in Tuscany. I say home because the farm really is home, especially for the kids. Old friends, olive trees, fresh raspberries, veggies from the garden patch, evening swims in the pool, hay bales in the fields.... and no more long-distance phone calls from Gardeners or Housekeepers heralding an impending, Apocalyptic disaster. A couple of weeks ago, I was...

avocado + basil ice-cream

700 g avocado pulp 180g sugar 150g yogurt 30g basil leaves 200 ml cream Serves 6 1. Chill your ice-cream maker. 2. Warm the cream on the stove and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Do not let the mixture boil. 3. Let the mixture cool. 4. Finely chop the basil leaves. 5. Add the yogurt to the cooled mixture and stir. 6. In an electric mixer, whizz together the avocado...

flap-jacks

85g Golden Syrup 140g butter 55g dark brown sugar 225g rolled oats Serves – hungry children! 1. Heat the oven to 150°C. 2. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan. 3. Add the oats and mix well. 4. Turn into a well-greased 20cm square tin. 5. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15 mins.  Don't let it burn! 6. When cool, cut them into slices. To be more sophisticated,...

crab cakes with avocado + mango salsa

Crab cakes: 50g mayonnaise 1 egg 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce juice 1½ lemons 500g white crabmeat 50g breadcrumbs  5 tbsp olive oil Avocado and mango salsa: 1 avocado 1 mango juice of 1/2 lemon Serves 4 - 6 1. Chop the avocado and mango into small squares and squeeze with half a lemon. Set aside until you are ready to serve the crab cakes. 2....

zucchini (courgette) + onion spaghetti

4 small zucchini (courgettes), sliced 2 medium onions, finely chopped ½ stock cube dissolved in a cup of water Parmesan, freshly grated to taste Freshly ground black pepper Spaghetti (not too thick err on the side of thin!)  Serves 4 1. Cover the base of a frying pan in a thin film of olive oil. Heat gently over a low medium heat. 2. Add the onion and saute for a couple of minutes. 3....

rome + my complicated life

 I need to tell you something... Last year, I had a parent/teacher conference in the local Italian school. When I asked my daughter's teacher how my little girl was doing, she replied, “Well, Signora, she's never going to be a writer.” The words hit me like a freight train. I swallowed and kept listening. She got 6 our of 10 for her Italian, a grade I was reassuringly told...