Summer recipes

Torta di Fichi (fig torte) Posted on 19 Feb 21:53 , 0 comments


8 figs halved
1 tabs caster sugar

200g butter
200g caster sugar
3 eggs
Vanilla essence
200g self raising flour
2 tabs milk

Line a 23cm cake tin with paper and butter.
Arrange fig halves cut side down around the edge of tin. Sprinkle 1 tabs caster sugar over figs.
Beat together butter and sugar until pale add eggs one at a time then add vanilla.
Fold in sifted flour with milk.
Pour batter over figs and bake in 180 degree oven for 35-40 mins or until cooked.
Leave to cool and serve with extra sliced figs.


Marmellata di frutta (fruit jam) Posted on 4 Feb 20:50 , 0 comments

Summer sees the abundance of plums, prunes and Italian nectarines (photo on right ) hanging from our  mums' carefully nurtured fruit trees. We love to pick and eat on the spotItalian nectarines - and the surplus is cooked  into sweet homemade jam. Today it's  lovely to see the kids picking the fruit  with their Nonna and learning where they come from.The jam can be made from a variety of fruits including plums, prunes, nectarines and cherries (remove the stone).   This recipe is a standard process you can use with all such fruits.                    I 


 photo by Simon  Griffiths

Makes 6-7 x 500g capacity jars

2 kilos of stone fruit washed, halved and stones removed

2 kilos of white sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cinnamon stick 

Place all ingredients in a large heavy-based saucepan over a  low heat and bring to a boil, stirring from time to time to ensure the fruit does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Simmer over low flame for approximately 90 minutes or until a small teaspoonful of jam sets when placed on a slice of bread. 

Place hot jam into sterilised  jars and seal.

Store in a cool, dry cupboard for up to 1 year. Once opened  keep refrigerated for up to 3 months. 


Nonna Villella's Vecchiarelle (Zucchini Fritters) Posted on 2 Feb 16:59 , 0 comments

These fritters get their name due to their wrinkly appearance: vecchiarelle means 'old people' in Italian. As children we found this amusing however Nonna did not.

The secret to this recipe is in preparing the zucchini. Nonna would finely slice them, almost paper thin, thin sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for a while. She would then squeeze out the excess water before mixing them into the batter. This technique draws out the water that dilutes the flavour.

Makes 40-50

6 Zucchini (courgettens), quartered  lengthways then  finally sliced (the thinner the better)

or shredded using a grater or food processor,  salt, 1 1/2 cups (225 g) plain flour

1/2 cup (75 g) self-raising flour, plus extra if needed, 2 eegs beaten

1/2 cup (40 g) grated parmigiano reggiano, 1/2 cup (40 g) grated pecorino

4-5 zucchini flowers, finely chopped, 1/2 cup basil, finely chopped, olive oil, for shallow frying


Place the zucchini in a bowl, then add several generous pinches of salt. Leave to stand for 15-20 minutes to allow the zucchini to soften and the salt to draw out excess liquid. 

In the meantime, prepare the batter by placing the flours into a large bowl and mixing well. Add the egg, grated cheeses, zucchini flowers, basil and 1 1/2 cups water and stir to mix well.

Squeeze out any excess liquid from the softened zucchini. Add the the zucchini to the batter and mix well.  The batter should not be too runny nor too thick. Add extra flour (self raising or water to obtain right consistency. 

Heat a large frying pan with enough oil to shallow fry. Oil must be very hot. Scoop heaped tablespoonfuls of batter into pan and cook for one minute on each side or until they are a light golden - if fired for too long the fritters with not be as moist. Remove and place on paper towel to drain.

These fritters are best served warm, or they can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days and served at room temperature. 

We also love them in a panino with extra cheese!


Buon appetito 




Chicken with green beans and tomato Posted on 2 Apr 09:04 , 0 comments

     Serves 4

This recipe uses fresh beans, tomatoes, capsicum and basil all picked from the summer garden. This perfect combination is no coincidence; a reminder that Mother Nature knows what she is doing.


Mussels with Tomato Salsa Posted on 27 Mar 12:41 , 0 comments

Serves 3 - 4

Childhood memories of collecting mussels and cooking and eating them right on the beach make this meal a ‘summer in a bowl’ experience. The addition of a light tomato sauce and served with toasted ciabatta bread makes this a memorable meal to share. You don’t have to collect the mussels yourself but this one pot meal is so easy to prepare you can actually make it on the beach.


Farfalle with Zucchini & Basil Posted on 20 Mar 17:18 , 0 comments

Serves 3 - 4
This recipe captures the sweetness of a summer zucchini which blends beautifully with the smokiness of the pancetta. The addition of fresh basil reminds you its summer.