London calling

My book "As The Romans Do" is a wrap

I missed you, too. After much food-writing, food-styling, food-testing back and forth between the stove, my computer, my publisher's HQ in London, David Loftus photography studio, and my beloved Rome, it's  finally a wrap. Some amongst you could follow the much hectic process through my Instagram. My debut cookbook, "As The Romans Do" has gone into production now and will be released on June, 2nd 2016. How could I know just a year ago that so many pieces needed to fall into place in order to make this happen? Well, I simply had no idea.

There has been the book proposal, followed by the content brainstorming - a plethora of things to say and just so much space (blame the author's irrepressible ego).

Recipe testing: three to four times in order to perfect each recipe to satisfaction, thanks to a wide range of very hungry and incredibly patient friends and my clients, both corporate and private through La Belle Assiette (more to come in the book's Acknowledgements).

Then the very reserved moment of actually filling up those blank pages, often with elaborate anecdotes to transmit the very cinematic context in which my recipes were created - I mean, we're talking seriously Dolce Vita Rome, guys. And the recurring questions: "Did I express everything I needed to say, was it clear enough for the audience to grasp?"

A little later, the most exciting time arrived: the photography for the book. We've been in Rome for the outdoors and in London for the studio photography, shooting up to 10 recipes a day with the help of an incredibly brilliant team. There was a food stylist making sure the cherry was always on the cake, Emily Ezekiel, a prop-stylist delivering the atmosphere of a Roman home into the studio, Linda Berlin along with an amazing in-house art director, Juliette Norsworthy. And numerous helpers that have proved valuable in cooperating especially during those quite inevitable yet crucial: "We're missing a piece of Parmigiano" moments.

Copy-editing was next, followed by the layout decisions. This entire experience has shaped my artistic voice into exactly who I want to be, right at this stage in my career, and I couldn't be more honoured for being able to send my message across so vividly to such a wide audience.

And that I owe to my brilliant online community, YOU.

It's good to be back to blogging, a dimension that leads my creativity to explore unknown places hence providing me with an always wider sense of what's possible.

My book is now available for pre-order on Amazon, just click on the link here to have it at your door right upon launching date.

I hope you'll forgive my temporary absence, but it was for the good cause and I'm now back in track with loads of new adventures to share in the near future.

And I cannot wait to experience it with you.

Baci & abbracci,


A morning with a chef

The train that took me from the city of light to the city of utter delight was perfectly on time, well of course, just like the inhabitants of my final destination: forward thinkers, dream-makers, fast consumers, but with a discerning approach. Every time I set foot to London my head starts spinning around with the infinite stimulations arising from such a diverse community which makes the heart of this town beating at an incredible fast rate, and everything, suddenly, seems to be possible. The astonished eyes of that little girl from the south of Italy here get food for thought, in the literal sense.

In the middle of a restaurant room that would otherwise be considered as formal, there's a bar. The entire staff is very gracious and caring but none of them wears a tie. I feel like I can be myself, relax and mischievously look at the other customers (following the same pattern, I always look inside home windows when erring on the streets, exceptionally fascinated by the lives of others) while I wait for my + 1. Addicted to the dreamy horizon of being a chasseur de vue.

Hameed Farook guides the magic at 1901 restaurant and wine bar. The space is reminiscent of the Great Eastern, the former hotel institution that was in place before Andaz took over in 2006, with stucco and stone ground floor and dressings in a mildly classical style.

Beyond service, there's a more human element at stake, it's called care. For Farook, a restaurant  is all about breaking bareers: with its food, with its clientele, with appearences. His idea of giving the best in his work is fuelled by the wish that those who enjoy his dishes are going to be at their best, too. Positive thinking additions? I remarkably love.

london1Things are heating up as our pan roasted scallops from Cornwall get in the scene. They are flavoured with smoked haddock, shrimp tortellini and a mild bisque (shellfish based) emulsion. The duck terrine was truffle aromatized, with the accompaniment of pickled vegetables, a crunchy brioche and port wine jelly.

Food that heals. Yes, for this Indian born chef a good meal is a combination of chemistry and seasonal products. Farook's mother used to have a pot of 12 spices, the secret solution - she called it - that would cure any pathology: cinnamon and tea tree are antiseptic, while ginger is a natural energy elevator. No wonder why I can climb to the clouds after lunch.

Wanna do the same? You too can enjoy a shortcut way to the most somptuous views of the world. Inscription is this way.

With love at first sight,


My tasty week... crumble with pears and berries

It's a wild wild autumn time. Last week I participated to an event which gathered together over 80 people. The whole idea was to conceive a thematic meal turning around the historical background of the major regional dishes in Italy. It goes without saying, I was all up for it, if it weren't for those 60 kilos of food shopping I had to carry all on my own to the venue. Yes I know what you're thinking, and yes I do get carried away when it comes to nourishing bodies and souls, #foodhappiness to me. It was so nice getting out of the house at 6 am, with the crisp air of the morning caressing my cheek and nothing but good resolutions for the evening to come. As I visited my beloved maraichers that, in my neighbourhood local market, treat their fruits and vegetables like human dear creatures (or most adored pets), I couldn't help but wonder how lucky I am to get to transfer this sense of belonging, this togetherness, through my job. Life has its ups and down in a matter of hours. I wasn't as thankful at the end of the evening, when I waited helplessly in the middle of the street for my taxi to take me back home. At 3 am and the first very chilli wintery night, my back devastated and my eyes soar, I told myself tomorrow would be a whole different story. And indeed it was. In the kitchen, that is. Waiting for my lovely art historian turned reflexology therapist to do miracles on my system, I indulged in this scrumptious crumble. An homage to my upcoming trip to London, which I talked about early this year. A few thin layers cover the essence of winter healthy food: red fruits and pears. Crumble with pears and berries

Serves 6 people

  • 6 filo pastry sheets
  • 250 gr. blueberries
  • 3 ripe but firm pears
  • 80 g. fresh dairy butter
  • 6 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven at 180°. Melt the butter over low heat and use half of it to brush the oven pan. Distruibute the blueberries on the bottom, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Peel the pears, cut them into cubes, place them over the blueberries by way of covering them with 2 tablespoons of sugar and the remaining 1/2 cinnamon teaspoon.

Brush with the remaining butter the sheets of filo pastry, sprinkle with the remaining sugar, wrinkle them with your hands and place over the fruits, covering them completely. Bake at 180 ° for 30 minutes. Serve the crumble warm.

With love and crumble,


London tasty discoveries

When leaving London on a freezing low-cost flight that left me with an unbearable cold which I'm still trying to recover from, I couldn't help but wondering: who on earth is André Balazs? Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

For my own interest, he is the man behind the best meal I ever had in this European capital I love so much. For the more general public, Mr. Balazs is the creative mind behind dreamy U.S. escapes such as The Mercer Hotel in New York City and Chateau Marmont in Hollywood.

His newest and trendiest creature is the Chiltern Firehouse,  certainly THE hotel to be in London for the Who's Who up and coming generation. Located in the heart of old school Marylebone neighbourhood and lavishly decorated (at least from what I could spy from the window, since the hotel is undergoing a soft opening at the moment), the accessible section nowadays is its restaurant, if you call accessible being put on a waiting list of at least a couple of months.

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Unless, like me, you wish to enter casually and sit at the bar, observing the expert hands of Nuno Mendes doing the dirty job, which is handling the best food I've tried in a long time.

With love and cornbread fingers,