Sunday, 28 September 2014

Almond Biscotti.....biscotti di mandorle

Biscotti's are delicious, especially dipped in freshly made espresso or homemade zabaglione.  Biscotti means 'biscuit' in italian. There are many different ways to bake biscotti's and many flavours but my favourite is Almond! You could even throw in a few pistachios if thats what you prefer. Happy baking, godere....

1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
Finely grated lemon rind
2 cups of plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
150g blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 170 C and line baking tray. 

Place eggs, sugar and lemon rind in mixing bowl. Beat with electric beaters until pale and thick. 

Fold in sifted flour, baking powder and almonds. Then use your hands to knead dough on a lightly floured surface. 

Divide the mixture in half. Form 2 long logs about 25cm long x 5cm wide and place on prepared baking tray, leaving space between logs. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the dough is firm to the touch and slightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 140c. Cut logs into 0.5 cm diagonal slices.

Lay slices flat on the baking tray and return to oven for 15-20 minutes, turning once, until completely dried out. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Lemon & Ricotta Tart...torta di ricotta e limone

I just love lemons, whether its a icy cold lemon granita on a warm summers day or a luscious lemon  meringue   pie after a hearty winters meal. Lemons are delizioso. which brings me to my next recipe. The famous lemon tart but with an italian twist, using ricotta & mascarpone of course. Enjoy this one! Godere... Mama G xxx

1-2 sheets of shortcrust pastry
1 cup ricotta
200g mascarpone
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
Finely grated lemon zest and juice 
of 2 lemons
300ml thickened cream

Candied Lemon

2/3 cup caster sugar
1 lemon thinly sliced

Pre heat the oven 200c. Use pastry to line a greased 26cm tart pan. Trim any excess pastry. Line the pastry with baking paper and baking weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 8 minutes. then remove paper and weights, and return to the oven for another 3 minutes. Cool slightly.

Place the ricotta, mascarpone, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a food processor and whiz until smooth. Pour mixture into tart case. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile for the candied lemon, place sugar and 2/3 cup water in a frypan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-8 minutes until sugar starts to turn golden.

 Add the lemon slices and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until well coated. Then transfer to baking paper lined tray and set aside to cool.

Top tart with cream and candied lemon.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Ricotta Open Lasagne...ricotta lasagne aperto

oh ricotta.. there are so many things i can create with you.. tonight i will be putting a modern twist on the traditional lasagne. Im leaving it open. There is no need to slave over a hot oven, this dish only requires a stovetop and lots of love..godere

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 
 plus extra to drizzle
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of white wine
3/4 cup fresh ricotta
50 ml thickened cream
1/2 cup mint leaves, thinlysliced 
1/3 cup grated parmesan, 
plus extra to serve
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon,
plus extra zest to serve
8 fresh lasagne sheets

Heat oil in a frypan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds until garlic turns brown. Add the wine, ricotta, cream, mint, parmesan, lemon zest and juice.  Seasons and cook for 2 minutes or until warmed through. 

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pan of boiling salted water for 2 minuted or until al dente. Drain well, then placed a folded lasagne sheet on each plate.   

Divide half the mixture among pasta, then top with a second folded sheet and remaining mixture. Drizzle with a little oil and scatter over extra lemon zest and parmesan to serve. 

MamaG xx

Friday, 19 September 2014

Strawberries with lemon, mint & presecco...fragole con limone, menta e prosceco

The Weekend is here!  lascia festeggiare! (Lets celebrate) With the weather getting warmer and the price of strawberries getting lower. This is a lovely little treat I like to throw together to unwind for the weekend.  Salute....

 punnets of gorgeous strawberries
1 lemon
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
fresh mint
A bottle of your favourite prosecco

Wash, and core the strawberries, put them into a couple of frozen glasses. Squeeze over a little lemon juice. Sprinkle over a tablespoon of caster sugar.  Finely grate a teaspoon of lemon zest. Finally add a few leaves of freshly torn mint.    

little hint: dip the rim of your glass into a little extra sugar, to add extra sweetness 🍸

Last but not least...pour over a good swig of prosecco.......salute 

MamaG xx

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Chicken Pasta Bake....spaghetti tetrazzini

This is another pretty semplice dish. I cooked it without the mushrooms and just added some sautéed mushrooms at the end of the dish. It completely up to you. I just love bakes, they are delicious on their own but if you just throw them in the oven for as little as 20 lets the cheese melt away and give your pasta that extra passion... godere xx

small handful of fresh mushrooms (optional)
olive oil
2 chicken breasts, diced 
seat salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
200ml white wine
455g spaghetti
500ml cream
200g parmesen cheese
freshly pocked basil leaves

Pre heat oven to 200 c. Heat a saucepan big enough to hold all the ingredients. pour in a splash of olive oil.  Season the chicken with sea salt & pepper and brown them gently. thinly slice the garlic and add to the pan.  Add the wine, a dash of water and turn the heat down.  simmer gently until the   chicken is cooked through and the wine has reduced a little.

Meanwhile cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water, follow packet instructions. Add the cream to the pan of chicken, then bring to the boil and turn the heat off. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the drained spaghetti to the creamy chicken sauce and toss well. (Add sautéed  mushrooms here if like) . Add 3/4 of the parmesan cheese, all of the basil and stir well. 

Transfer to an ovenproof baking dish, sprinkle with half the remaining cheese and bake in the oven until golden brown.  Divide your plates, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese.  Finito ....

Monday, 8 September 2014

Roasted Vegetables with Pasta...verdure alla griglia con la pasta

This is a fantastico easy pasta to whip up on a week night. Great for vegetarians and anyone that loves the full flavours of roasted vegetables...enjoy with your favourite glass of vino and maybe some lievito (sourdough) fresh from the oven...delizioso!

200 ml olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
250g pumpkin, peeled, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, roughly chopped
1 parsnip, peeled, roughly chopped
3 zucchini, roughly chopped
2 sprigs rosemary
Sea salt & pepper
1 kg rigotoni/mace ronni pasta
Finely chopped flat leaf pasta 
Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano 

Preheat oven to 180 C. Put the olive oil and garlic in a large baking tray, then add the vegetables. Roughly chop the fresh rosemary and scatter over the vegetables. Seasoned well, then toss everything gently with your hands until the vegetables are well coated with oil and herbs. Bake for 30 mins.
Cook the pasta in a pit of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain. Toss the pasta through the baked veges, add some parsley and finally the parmagiano! Delizioso... Godere 

Mama G xxx

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Gelato for my Dad...gelato per il mio papà

Its a very special day here in Australia. Today we are celebrating our beautiful papas! One of my dad's favourite desert is a good happy Father's Day dad...Giorno di padri felice papà

5 egg yolks

110 g sugar
500ml (2 cups) milk
125 ml (1/2 cup) freshly made espresso
1 tablespn Tia Maria

Whisk the egg yolks and half the zucherro (sugar) together until pale. Place the milk, espresso and rest of the sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. 

Pour over egg mixture and whisk to combine. Pour back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stir constantly until the mixture starts to thicken - do not allow the custard to boil

Strain the custard into a bowl and allow to cool. Stir in the liqueur/Tia Maria. 

Pour into a plastic freezer box, cover and freeze. Stir every 30 mins to break up the ice crystals and create a smoother gelato. 

Keep in freezer until ready to eat! Enjoy....godere

Friday, 5 September 2014

Smoked pancetta, mozzarella, chilli and tomatoes Pizza

This is one of many delizoso topping you could you use. It very simple to make and the pancetta together with a hint of chilli make this one of my favourites.   In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote 'Eat, Love, Pray', "Im having a relationship with my pizza" and yes you will be too. Discover a new topping and let it take you to Italy, don't forget to add cheese, formaggio, formaggio. Theres never enough! 

Smoked Pancetta, Mozzarella, chilli and tomatoes

Smear the tomato sauce (see basic pizza dough post) even.y over the pizza base! Tear the mozzarella into  peices or finely slice it. scatter these over the base and a sprinkle of chilli flakes. Season with salt & pepper.

Lay the pancetta over the top so it crisps up during cooking and the juices will cook into the pizza. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. cook until crisp. 


Mama G xxx

Basic Pizza Dough....La Pasta della Pizza di base

This is a very simple method for making pizza dough. It is so delizioso and making it can be quite fun.

The key ingredient apart from the essential yeast, is good quality flour. Purchase 'bread & pizza' flour, it will make that difference between a doughy pizza and a perfect one!...divertiti...have fun.

800 gm Bread & pizza flour i.e. lighthouse flour

1 level tablespn sea salt
2 x 7g sachets of yeast
1 tablespn caster sugar
Roughly 650ml lukewarm water

Pile the flour onto a clean kitchen surface and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast, sugar to the lukewarm water, mix it with a fork until well blended. Leave for a few minuto then pour into the well. Using a fork, slowly bring in the flour in from the inner edge of the well and mix into the water.  Continue to mix, bringing in all the flour. This is where you can use your hands

Bring the dough together so it forms a large ball, knead the dough using your hands bringing it forwards and backwards. You may feel like a toddler but have fun, roll it, then stretch the dough towards you with one hand then push the dough away from you with the other hand. Repeat for 10 mins until your dough is soft and spongey.

Flour the top of your dough and cover it with glad wrap and let rest for 15 mins at room temperature.

Now divide the dough into as many balls as pizza you want to make.

Dust your surface with flour and start rolling!
When you're ready to cook them, pre heat your oven to 220 C. Next step is to smear on 2 tblespns of tomato sauce (see next blog)! and your favourite toppings.

Tomato Sauce...salsa di pomodoro

extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, trimmed and sliced
bunch of fresh basil leaves
1 x 400g tin good quality tomatoes
sea salt & pepper ........

Heat a saucepan, add a dash of olive oil and then the sliced garlic. Cook until garlic turns light brown. Add half the basil, the tomatoes and a few pinches of salt & pepper.  Cook gently for about 15-20 minutes, mashing the tomatoes until smooth the. season, taste again and put to one side.


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Quick Tiramsu....tiramisu veloce

There are so many different ways to cook a  tiramisù but this is one of my favourites. tiramisù translates to "Pick Me Up", this version will certainly do that. Enjoy...godere

15 sponge fingers
285 ml freshly brewed espresso
4 tblespns caster sugar
500g mascarpone
A few drops of vanilla essence
140ml Marsala (fortified wine)
zest and juice of 1 orange
100g good quality dark chocolate

Get  a large rectangle glass dish or similar. Arrange your sponge fingers in layers on top of each other, covering the base of the dish. Add 2 tblspns of the caster sugar to your freshly brewed espresso. give it a stir to sweeten. Pour the coffee over the sponge fingers, making sure the top layer is completely covered.  The sponge fingers will completely absorb the coffee.

While that soaks in, put your mascarpone in a bowl and whisk it up with the rest of the sugar.  Slowly add a few drops of vanilla essence while whisking.  Drizzle in the marsala until the mascarpone becomes silky and a shiny consistency.

Now add a few squeezes of orange juice before smearing the mascarpone over the sponges.
Finally grate or peel the dark chocolate over the smeared mascarpone. Sprinkle lightly with a little finely grated orange zest.

Keep in the frigorifero till ready to serve.

Mama G xx

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Braised Lamb Shanks with Polenta, Brocollini & Cavolfiore (cauliflower)

This is one of my marintino's all time favourites and a great hearty winter lunch. The secret to this dish is all in the lamb. Cook it slowly in a moderate oven and make sure you check in now and then. Once done, the meat should just slowly fall off the bone....delizioso!

2 tblspn Good olive oil

4 lamb shanks 
1 large onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
1 cup of red wine/shiraz 

2 cups of beef stock
2 tblespn tomato paste
4 sprigs of thyme (the dried variety is fine too)

Instant polenta with an additional 25g butter and 1/4 cup parmesan mixed in
steamed brocooli & cauliflower

Preheat oven to 170 C Heat half the oil over medium heat in a large oven proof casserole dish. Add the shanks turning 5-6 minutes or until brown in colour! Transfer to a plate.

Add remaining oil and vegetables.  Cook stirring for 5 minutes until softened. Return shanks to dish, add wine, stock, paste and thyme. Season and cover. Cook in Oven for 2.5 hrs, until the meat starts falling off the bone.
Place lamb on top of polenta, drizzle with sauce. serve with steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

godetevi la vostra cucina.........enjoy your cooking

Mama G xxx 

A little About Me! ..un po 'di me

My  love affair with Italy started back in 1995.  I was the ripe old age of just 18, overseas on a European Adventure! Like many others before, I was on the trip of a lifetime, 17 countries in 37 days...but there was one country that simply took my breath away! Amore...

I was ready to throw down a few shots of frangelico and dismiss my passport into the Grand Canal (main canal that runs through Venice)! i did not want to leave this gorgeous country, the food, the friendly locals, the food, and not to mention the smells that waft from each cucina window you pass. My senses had never been so eccitato or  my appetite so grande!

However I was only 18 and Lire was running quickly through my fingers (shopping is up there with the food). So i decided to head back home to Sydney, save as much as I could and one day ritorno!

And one day I sit back, sip on a cappuccino or pour yourself a glass of your favourite moscato d'asti  (if its past 12o'clock) and let me take you on a culinary journey to delight even the fussiest of mama.

Enjoy your cooking.....godetevi la vostra cucina 

Mama G xxx

Benvenuto! Welcome xx


"The secret ingredient is always cheese" - Unknown 

Ciao fellow foodies, and lovers of all things Delizioso & Italiano!

My names is MamaG, and I absolutely love food. Especially cucina italiana.  I just love cooking, eating and exploring all dishes Italy has to offer. I eat with my eyes, then save the best for last... the tasting. That moment when your world stops... its just you and the incredible journey that you're about to be taken on.

This is what i want to share with you Mamas & Papas of all ages & cooking abilities.

Regulary I'm going to tantalise your senses and post a recipe, that even the most novice of cooks can produce.  Always popular with the family, simple fresh and always delizioso!

godetevi la vostra cucina....enjoy your cooking

Mama G xxx

Monday, 1 September 2014

Ricotta gnudi with rocket pesto and slow roasted cherry tomatoes

ok mamas, This is simply delicious ! Its perfect for lunch or a light dinner. Easy to prepare and will be on your kitchen table in <less than 30 minuto!

400g fresh ricotta
2/3 cup plain flour, plus extra to dust
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
1 egg, lightly beaten
pinch freshly ground nutmeg

Rocket pesto
100 g rocket leaves
1/2 clove garlic
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs silvered almonds
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan

Slow-roasted cherry tomatoes
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 thyme sprigs, leaves chopped
250g punnet cherry tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Pre heat your oven to 90 c. for the tomatoes, place garlic, thyme and tomatoes in a bowl. drizzle with oil, then season and toss to combine. Transfer to a paper lined baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or so until the tomatoes are soft and caramelised.

to make gnudi.. combine all ingredients in a bowl to form a soft dough. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and divide dough into 4 portions. Roll each into a long 1cm thick roll. It can be thicker. Depending on required taste. cut into 2cm pieces.   Make sure they are cut similar sizes.  gently roll gnudi and dust with a little extra flour to,avoid sticking. Then press each on with a fork to leave an indent. Place on a single baking tray and freeze for 15 minuto or until firm.

For the rocket, garlic, oil and almonds in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and fold through the parmesan. . season to required taste.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil. in batches, cook gnudi for 3-4 minutes until they rise to the surface. Almost done!

Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Toss gnudi with pesto and serve with your oven roasted cherry tomatoes.