Monday, 5 December 2022

Pastures new...

We completed on the purchase last week...


There's debate about how long the work will take. The more optimistic amongst us think we'll be in within a year...and the less optimistic think it will be twice that.

Tonight's dinner:

Portobello Mushrooms, roast with balsamic and herbed breadcrumbs, served with gorgonzola sauce

Fennel-seed hamburgers, with salsify

Pear Tarts

Sunday, 13 November 2022

Galette of Sweetcorn and Peas


Just off the plane from London yesterday: dinner was required, the fridge was glaringly empty, and I had neither time nor inclination for anything that wasn't quick and simple.  Sweetcorn galettes as a first course was a perfect solution - with half an hour to let the batter rest, the actual cooking time is little more than five minutes, and the ingredients are all store cupboard staples. The recipe is a simplified version of a Roux Bros tried-and-trusted.

For two galettes.

40g flour; 1 egg; 85 ml milk; salt; 1 tbs oil; 40g canned sweetcorn 2 tbs peas (defrosted frozen is perfect).


1. Whisk together flour, egg, oil, salt (to taste) and milk, and then stir into this the sweetcorn and peas. Leave the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.

2. Heat to a high temperature a small (approx 8" diameter) heavy frying pan, and then film the base with oil. Place a 6" metal ring into the pan (heavy enough that the batter doesn't leach out once filled), and into this ladle half of the batter.

3. Let the batter set over a high heat - perhaps three minutes - then run a knife round the interior of the ring to free the galette from the ring, and (using tongs) remove the ring from the pan. With a large metal spatula, turn the galette over, and finish cooking on the other side for a further minute.

4. Remove the galette to a heated plate and keep warm, while you repeat the process using the rest of the batter to make the second galette.


Thursday, 3 November 2022

Baked Chocolate Cheesecake


This presents as a lot more decadent than it really long as you substitute sucralose for sugar, at any rate, and since sucralose works just as well, then why wouldn't you?

This is from the pages of a book rather unimaginatively called 'Chocolate Bible' by Christines McFadden and France, which has been languishing un-regarded on the bookshelves in London for the past few years - I must have bought it on a whim, at some time, and then forgotten that I had. Anyway, it got included earlier in the year in a shipment that was being sent from London - more as ballast than anything else - and it was only after it had got to Italy that I settled into it properly, for the first time. And it is treasure trove! 

This particular recipe was tried, and got a massive thumbs-up, early on - of the 'this alone justifies the purchase of the book' type of accolade - and it was then repeated as dessert for the TD's birthday dinner.

Rich and dense in texture, the addition of cinnamon in the base and sour cream in the cheesecake itself both give it a beguiling edge. And served with a simple raspberry coulis, it is heaven! 

Serves 8 (ish, depending on greed)


275g plain chocolate; 1.2 kg cream cheese; 1 cup sugar (or sucralose); 2 tsp vanilla essence; 4 eggs; 3/4 cup sour cream; 1 tbs cocoa powder; 200g chocolate biscuits (i.e baked with chocolate in them, rather than chocolate-dipped); 6 tbs butter, melted; 1.2 tsp ground cinnamon.


1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line the base of a springform tin which is 9 in x 3 in with greaseproof paper, and grease the sides of the tin.

2. Process together biscuits, butter and cinnamon, and press into the tin to make the base of the cheesecake. 

3. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

4. Beat the cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla, and then beat into this the eggs, one by one. 

5. Mix the sour cream with the cocoa powder, and then add this to the cream cheese mixture, before folding in the melted chocolate. Once the chocolate is properly incorporated, pour the mixture into the tin and bake for an hour.

6. Leave to cool in the tin, and then remove to a serving plate. (Best to run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the cheesecake before relaxing the spring, in case part of the cheesecake adheres to the tin.)

For maximum indulgence, serve with raspberry coulis.

Sunday, 9 October 2022

And after her birthday dinner...


A dog has to stretch out on the window-seat, and contemplate life...

Saturday, 8 October 2022

Official Birthday Photographs...

 The birthday girl, celebrating Year One...

On the road quite frequently travelled

I'm ready - are you?

What is that camera-thing, anyway, that you're aiming at me?

What IS that thing, over there?

Getting down and dirty...

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

New Balls!

And finally, a birthday toy!

Tonight's dinner:

For four-footed: munchy-crunchies (Chicken flavour) with cold, sliced liver

For two-footeds:

Vitello Tonnato

Timballo di Gattapardo; Buttered Spinach

Raspberry bavarese, with Mandarin  glaze, served in chocolate cups

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

It's that Day, again...!


As ever, Amazon made a pig's ear out of delivering them all on-time
(three still to come, and one of the ones that has arrived is with Italian text!)
Oh, well...

Tonight's Dinner:

Salad of Peas and Fave, with Feta and Mint

Lamb Provencal (Potatoes, in celebration!)

Lemon Cheesecake

Sunday, 17 July 2022

Heatwave dinner


Dinner, in the courtyard. Where it's marginally cooler - or we persuade ourselves that it is, at least.

Stuffed aubergines.

Boned Chicken, stuffed with herb butter, served cold with tarragon sauce; fennel gratin.

Semifreddo of Bergamot and Amaretti, with a raspberry sauce.