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Sorbetto di Cigliege e Basilico (Cherry & Basil Sorbet)

The Christmas to January holiday period sees us eating many cherries and this year we decided to include a family day out picking our own up at Red Hill Cherry Farm  in Victoria.  My intentions were to pick some morello sour cherries to cook with; however I came across an interesting cherry sorbet recipe I found in an old magazine I was clearing out and was intrigued by the combination of cherries and basil used together. Yes you may think that this sounds quite odd but on the contrary, it is quite lovely.  So my curiosity got the better of me and I focused on picking some sweet cherries instead to try this marriage of flavours.
I was pleasantly surprised by how refreshing the basil taste was, cutting through the sweetness of the cherries.You can adjust the amount of basil used depending on how pronounced you want the flavour to be.I went with the recommended amount as I was curious to experience the full flavour. The basil plants in my garden are growing happily at the moment and the…
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Crostata di Prugne (Plum Jam Tart)

Under the shade of my parents sugar plum tree I contemplate what the new year has in store and welcome her in with some freshly made apricot and plum jams and this delectable crostata. A new look for this humble blog will also be launched today, with plans for further changes along the way.  A task I have avoided for a long while due to lack of time. A fresh look for the beginning of a new year is what was needed and I hope that this format will make the site easier to navigate, but as mentioned with time there will be more noticeable changes for the better. Stay tuned! So what better way to celebrate than with a slice of this plum jam crostata made more special by the addition of some home-made sugar plum jam I made the other day.



My parent’s love of fruit trees provides us with an abundance of fruit around the summer season.  What doesn't get eaten is preserved and used later in cakes, tarts as well as on toast. I especially love a tart that uses home-made jams such as apricot, p…

Cucina Conversations: Sicilian Fig & Nut Dolcetti - Ciascuni

If you were to ask me which ingredients typify a southern Italian Christmas, it would be those that mamma would bake with around this time. The lightly sweet, caramelised flavour of vin cotto, the aromatic spices combined with chocolate and nuts, all shout loudly that Christmas is around the corner.  These ingredients are quite common in my Christmas sweets collection and you can click on their links to learn more about these recipes, such as the panzerotti that mamma has always adorned our Christmas table with; or the panforte I make each year as gifts for family and friends; and the fried balls of pastry coated in honey that my maternal grandmother made every Christmas for her daughters which she called la cicerata.
This Christmas I'm adding a new sweet to the blog, one that my mother in-law would make.  No written recipe meant I had to rely solely on memory and taste and managing to get the flavours and texture as close as what I remembered them to be.  I posted these traditiona…

Cucina Conversations: Rosette di Pane (Rosette Bread Rolls)

Rosette Soffiate, or puffed rosette rolls are probably one of the hardest bread types I have attempted to make.  It has taken me many attempts and still cannot claim that I have achieved the hollow centre being 'the' inherent characteristic of this Italian panino.  This month, our CucinaConversations topic is all about bread, and provides us with an opportunity to learn more about the many bread types found in the different regions of Italy. There are claims that there are over 350 types of bread in Italy, of which many are specific to their regions while others are more widespread and exist based around religious, utilitarian or prepared for celebrations.  

This rosetta roll is ideal and typically used for fillings due to its hollow centre. In the Friuli-Venezia region of Italy, a region which borders Austria, rosette rolls are similar to Austrian bread, and have a soft, compact crumb.  Like those in Austria, they are sprinkled with poppy seeds. Rosette rolls produced in Milan…

Sourdough Bread & Starter

This sourdough loaf made from Emilie Raffa’s newly released cookbook: Artisan Sourdough Made Simpleis my proud creation derived from the starter I made and named 'Eve'.  This live culture prepared from just whole wheat flour and water has been fermenting away and creating its magic.  And I have successfully baked with it several times now using Emilie’s recipes and guidance from her book. This loaf was the perfect place to re-start my sourdough passion, and regain my confidence. Since then, I have baked her Fruit and Nut Loaf, and Light Rye Loaf.

For those who may not know Emilie, she is the author of the blog, The Clever Carrot and debut book, The Clever Cookbook.  With her classical training at the International Culinary Centre and her ingenious time saving philosophy for food preparation, I was drawn to her wealth of knowledge in helping me do what I love in half the time needed. Emilie writes with a reassuring and guiding approach which has boosted my confidence to contin…

Cucina Conversations: Marmellata di Mandarini (Mandarin Marmalade)

A citrus fruit salad tree growing two varieties of lemons - meyer and eureka; juicy navel oranges and nova mandarins all on the one tree. It's quite a treat to own such a tree and many childhood sunny days were spent beneath its shady canopy smelling the sweet scented blossoms and enjoying its fruits. Papa` grafted this tree over 30 years ago and not only is it spectacular in full bloom, it is also lovely knowing we have an endless supply of various citruses ripening over the winter period.  But it’s the additional younger mandarin tree planted beside it that has been the last of the fruit trees for the season to bestow its harvest well into spring.  





The generous citrus yield this year has been literally hanging on, waiting patiently for my spare time to tend to its preservation.  I've made jam, marmalade as well as candied thin slices so I can use them in my upcoming Christmas sweets. Nothing goes to waste; even the thin organic skin of the mandarins have been sliced finely a…