Italian

Risotto ai Funghi (Mushroom Risotto)

In my experience, when it comes to risotto most people’s frame of reference seems to be the omnipresent mushroom risotto. In fact, I would wager that precious few have ever tired any other sort of risotto and who could blame them – mushroom risotto is utterly delicious! Given its popularity, it is tempting to dismiss mushroom risotto as de rigueur but don’t. It is for good reason that this risotto remains an enduring classic and, as a bonafide fungi-fiend, I would rate it as perhaps my all time favorite mushroom dish.

Should you like to read more on my thoughts on risotto, please click here

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Limoncello

The saying goes “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”  but when I discovered my new house came with its very own lemon tree, all I could think of was to make limoncello!

I have to admit I first heard of limoncello from an insufferable TV chef (who shall remain nameless) but like most things that he prattles on about, I simply dismissed it as yet another “pucker” marketing fad. It wasn’t until I visited Rome that I realised how wrong I was (about limoncello, not the TV chef). At our local pizzeria (in a slightly dodgy back alley off Via Cavour) I spied the liquor on the menu and I just knew I had to try it. Chilled to perfection, it was sweet, refreshing and satisfyingly potent, proving to be an excellent aperitif and the prefect foil to our cheesy pizza dinner. And so yet another culinary obsession was forged. Naturally we loaded our suitcases with bottles of this lemony delight but as my stash diminished locally, I began to look upon my laiden lemon tree with fresh eyes. Where once I simply saw the potential for lemonade, I now saw limoncello!

I won’t lie, my method for making limoncello is arduous and frankly should you have an insatiable craving for it, you would be better off just buying some from your local bottle-store. If, however, you find yourself with a glut of lemons and the patience to wait 3 months, then this is the recipe for you. Sometimes sweet perfection is worth waiting for.

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Prosciutto, Figs, Rocket & Walnut Salad with Pecorino & Balsamic Crème

In Cape Town our fresh produce is almost entirely seasonal and when figs come into season you’ve got to make the most of their short-lived availability.

For me, this is the ultimate fig dish; this gorgeous salad is culinary alchemy on a plate and best of all it doesn’t require any cooking (unless you consider toasting some bruschetta cooking!).

Some times the most amazing food doesn’t require any effort at all and this little gem of a salad is about as perfect and easy as they come.

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Veal Masala with Mushrooms

Much to my carnivorous delight veal has become increasingly easy to source in Cape Town and when I do chance upon it, I enviably buy some to make escalope milanaise (basically an Italian weiner schnitzel) for my partner’s dinner. I usually always make sure that there’s enough meat left over so that I can make myself one of my favourite Italian dishes – veal masala with mushrooms.

This sweet and satisfying meal is surprisingly easy to make and is just the right side of retro-dining chic without being a culinary cliché.

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