Paula’s Sausage and Fennel Pasta

Screen shot 2012-12-09 at 19.21.13

for 3 people

2 small onions
3 italiian sausages
tablespoon of fennel seeds
250ml of cream (uht cooking cream works well)
330g large pasta such as rigatoni or mezze maniche

Put your pasta on to boil.

Chop up the onions into 1cm pieces and fry gently in a little olive oil until they start to soften. take the sausages out of their skins and break up into rough pieces about 2cm diameter. Add the sausage meat to the onions and fry on low heat until sausages brown up and onions start to colour up. The pasta is nearly done so turn off the heat but leave it in the cooking water. Add the fennel seeds to the sausages and stir on medium heat for a couple of minutes till you smell the lovely fennely aromas. Add the cream, mix through on low heat and add the drained pasta, heating through. Add pepper to taste; the sausages here are so salty you really won’t need any more salt. transfer to heated serving dish and serve with crisp green salad.

Tina’s pasta with caramelized fennel & onions and chopped pumpkin seeds

Screen shot 2012-12-09 at 19.15.13

Slice two fennel bulbs and one onion into thin slice and caramelize for about half an hour or so (to caramelize, I like to use butter and a touch of oil, some salt and maybe a bit of sugar to help the caramelization).
Optional: while this is going on, chop a handful of raw pumpkin seeds very small set them aside. (Use any nut or seed you’d like, really!)

Cook up some penne and after draining, toss into the pan with the carmelized fennel.
Add the chopped pumpkin seeds, just enough olive oil (based on what you like I suppose) and black pepper.
Serve! I wound up adding a bit more olive oil to my dish, but I think it’s a personal preference thing


ERBAZZONE O SCARPAZZONE REGGIANO – dough: flour O, mineral sparkling water, oilve oil and milk in about the same quantities, salt. The filling: bietoline da taglio (chards), parmigiano reggiano, garlic, parsley, rice or ricotta, salt. – Make the dough and let in rest in a bowl while you cook the cards, then squeeze all the water out of them. Slightly fry the garlic ( at least three cloves for this quantity) and the parsley, add the chopped up cards, rice (or ricotta) and the parmigiano and mix them all together. Stretch the dough, put thevcompound on it – cook in pre-heated oven for about 20 min. It could be covered with dough or not. If you don’t cover it with dough sprinkle some parmigiano reggiano on top.

Giselle’s Gorgonzola & Pear Risotto

You need to give yourselves TIME for this – you really shouldn’t leave this dish to do itself. 

You need to be there stirring, stirring, stirring! Allow about 40 mins. 

What you’ll need…

A heavy flat-bottomed pan with fairly low sides – ie not a saucepan.
A saucepan.
Wooden spoon
small ladle

Ingredients for a couple of generous portions ….

Glug of olive oil and lump of butter

1 small white onion – finely chopped

6oz Risotto rice – my fav is Carnaroli – seems to make the risotto extra creamy somehow – Arborio is absolutely fine too. I used a 1/2 cup to measure and then used the cup as my ladle.

Glass white wine (optional, but hey! you get to drink the rest, right?)

Pear of your choice – whatever looks nice to you! Chopped up into little cubes. You can keep the peel on, it softens nicely and gives the dish a little colour. (I didn’t this time, but usually do!)

Gorgonzola – either the creamy mild one or the more crumbly stronger one – I used a mix of the 2. Cut up into little cubes.

Handful of parsley. (Again, for colour.)

Seasoning to taste – freshly ground pepper and fresh ground rock salt.

Stock – I use chicken stock, although if you want to keep it strictly veggie, vegetable stock will be very good too. Now, I do not bother with making my own stock very often. I like the cubes and the new stock jelly cubes from Knorr. I use a mix of the 2 (one of each) in about a litre and half of water. If you like making your own stock, knock yourselves out, it’ll be undoubtedly delicious! My reasoning behind not doing it is that I usually make my mind up to do risotto pretty much last minute – I don’t give myself enough time to make my own stock!

Putting it all together ….

First get your stock on the boil in the saucepan and then turn it down to a bare simmer. Keeping it very hot is, as far as I’m concerned, essential to a good risotto.

In your pan generously glug in your oil and melt the butter gently over a medium heat. 

When the butter has melted, add the onion and break up with the wooden spoon. 

Cook the onion without allowing it to brown until it’s softened and a little translucent.

Add the rice and stir until all the grains are coated in the oil/butter. Keep stirring gently to prevent the rice from sticking or browning. After a few minutes, the rice will look a little bit see-through on the edges.

Turn the heat up very slightly until you can hear the rice and onion cooking. Add the glass of wine (or a ladle of stock if you’re not using wine) – you should hear a very satisfying sizzling sound!

Keep stirring until the wine has been absorbed. Add a ladleful of stock and stir through. Keep gently stirring! Stirring keeps the risotto from sticking and breaks down the starches in the rice – the starch is what makes the risotto lovely and creamy.

After the 3rd ladleful of stock, before you start your stirring, add your apple cubes, then start your stirring again.

Stir in a gentle figure of 8 with a circuit of the pan after the ‘8’ to bring the risotto together again. Sort of a ‘8’ followed by ‘0’ …

Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, one at a time until the risotto is creamy, thick and the grains of rice still have a little ‘bite’ to the centre of them. (Al dente). Turn off the heat and stir through the cheese and the parsley. Check and season to taste. Let it sit for a minute or so before serving. It shouldn’t be dry nor soupy – but something between the 2. If it’s too dry, add a little of the stock and stir that through. 

(NB . Don’t forget to turn the heat off the stock at the end of making the risotto too!)

Serve in warmed bowls. Have the white wine used for this dish (if there’s any left!).

Kim’s Roasted Squash Risotto with Shallots

  • Squash (roasted until tender in the oven with a little olive oil)
  • Shallots chopped
  • Rice (risotto kind (Arborio and Carnaroli are the good kinds for risotto)
  • Vegetable broth
  • white wine
  • olive oil
  • thyme
  • nutmeg
  • parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • brown sugar
  • Parmesan cheese

Add some oil to the pan and saute the shallots, add in the squash and smash down with a potato masher.  Add the white wine and cook down until absorbed. Add the rice and stir around, at this point I add the thyme if dry (fresh is later on with the parsley).  Start adding the broth about a cup at a time and stirring each time until absorbed.  When half the broth is used up add the parsley, fresh thyme, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and brown sugar (just a tsp).  Continue stirring and continue adding the rest of the broth.  Eventually you will have a creamy mixture. Taste test to make sure the rice is ”Al dente“.  Add the Parmesan cheese stir again and serve.

Francesco’s Pastry recipe for breakfast pastries.


12 gr Salt

150 gr Sugar
80 gr Butter
3 Eggs
250 ml Milk
800 gr Flour ( Half “0” and half “00”)
30 gr Fresh yeast
500 gr Butter
1 Lemon zest, 1 orange peel.
1 Vanilla pod

Warm the milk (50 degrees max) and melt the yeast in it. Leave it for 15 minutes.
Mix well all the ingredients except the 500 gr butter until a nice dough is achieved .

Now place in the fridge and leave over night.

Roll out the dough and create a square. Place the 500 gr butter (butter should be between room temp. and fridge temp.) in the middle and fold the corners into it. With a rolling pin bang down the top so the butter spreads out then roll it into a rectangle of about 2 cm. Fold in the two ends so they overlap . Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove from fridge and roll it out the opposite way to previous . Over lap again like before a place in the fridge again for 30 minutes. Its very similar to puff pastry methods.

Roll the pastry out to about 1 cm thick and create whatever you prefer, like croissants, pain au chocolat, pain au raisin and so on.

this type of pastry is very similar to the french style . Your croissants will be buttery, flaky and crispy on the outside and soft inside .

Sarah’s Naan Breads

  • 150ml hand-hot Milk
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp dried active Yeast
  • 450g plain flour plus extra for rolling out
  • 2 tsp Salt,  1 tbsp Nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra
  • 150ml natural Yogurt
  • 25g butter
  • 1 large Egg, lightly beaten

1. Dissolve yeast in warmed milk and let sit 5 – 10 minutes until frothy and doubled in size.

2. Add sugar, salt, nigella seeds and baking soda to the sieved flour and stir to incorporate well.

3. Add oil and yogurt to flour mixture.

3. Add yeast/milk mixture and knead gently for around 10 minutes to form a soft dough (note – dough will be quite sticky)

4. Place the dough in a large bowl which has been lightly greased with the olive oil. Cover the dough and leave to rest in warm place for 3-4 hours. The dough should double in volume.

5. Place a griddle pan over a hot heat and heat up.

6. Knead dough for a couple of minutes and divide into 12 equal parts or fewer or more, depending on the size of naan you wold like.

7. Roll each piece into classic oval shape (approx 1/4 inch thick). Dough is sticky, so use flour generously when rolling.

8. Wet your hands, pat the rolled out naan gently between both hands before placing on the stone. Cook for about 2 minutes to cook, turning once.

9. Add a dot of butter or ghee to Naan when it is still hot.

10. Keep in a towel lined basket, so they stay soft and warm.


Why not try adding chopped garlic for garlic naan or sultanas and almonds for Peshawari naan for a change?


This is a great way to use up leftover roast potatoes! Ingredients: Roast potatoes (if you don’t have them leftover, cook them up fresh, preferably new potatoes with skins on) Smoked bacon Fontina Valdostana Olive oil Pizza dough Preparation: Prepare your favourite pizza dough or use commercial Roast potatoes, unpeeled if possible, in olive oil, salt and pepper until done Fry up bacon bits and set aside Roughly grate the cheese Assemble the pizza with the above ingredients, drizzle with olive oil and cook as pizza

Mary’s Potstickers Italian Style with Condimento Balsamico and Crisp Fried Sage

Filling –
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh porcini
1/3 cup finely minced pancetta affumicata

1/4 cup grated barilotto di bufala or ricotta salata
1 cup finely chopped radicchio
1 med carrot grated
1 large shallot minced
1 large clove garlic minced
1 Tbsp Italian parsley finely chopped
1 tsp minced fresh sage
Whole sage leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Mix all of the ingredients together except for the oil and sage leaves and set aside. Crisp fry the sage leaves in olive oil and butter and lightly salt.

Potsticker dough
2 cups 0 or all purpose flour
3/4 cup boiling water

Very slowly pour the boiling water into the flour and mix thoroughly with a dough hook or spoon until you have a soft dough. Add water or flour to the mixture to get a dough that is tacky but not sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead lightly for about 30 seconds. Again, add flour or water to get the correct consistency. Set the dough aside covered in plastic wrap at room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Remove the dough from the plastic and cut in half leaving half in the plastic wrap. Roll the other half into a log and cut into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. If you have a tortilla press, press each ball into a round using light pressure. Remove from the press and thin out the edges only. If using a rolling pin, roll the dough into rounds with the inner round thicker than the outer part.

Fill each dough round with a scant tablespoon of filling and press the edges together with the bottom flattened and the sealed edges on top.

When all of the potstickers have been assembled, heat a non-stick 10 or 12 inch frying pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to the heated pan and add the potsticker one at a time in a round. Cook lightly until the bottoms are golden. Take a pan lid to protect you from spatter, and pour enough water into the bottom of the pan to a level of about 1/4″. Cook covered over medium low heat for about 6-7 minutes. Remove the lid and allow the potstickers to continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes until the water is completely evaporated.

Serve while hot with a splash of Condimento Balsamico and crisp fried sage leaves.

Amber’s Tagliatelle with Porcini and Sausage

500 grams of fresh porcini
1-2 sausage links
½ to 1 glass of dry white wine (1-2 spins around the pan, really)
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic

Handful of fresh chopped parsley
peperoncino to taste
2 sprigs of Nepitella (optional)
2 handfuls of grated parmigiano
Olive Oil Q.B.
Water/Brodo Q.B.
Fresh Tagliatelle (to feed 5 people, I did 400 grams of flour/four eggs)
Clean mushrooms. Chop to desired size. I usually chop the stems finer than the caps. Set aside.
Add olive oil to pan deep enough to add cooked pasta to. Add garlic and let it go for a minute over medium heat, but don’t let it get too brown! Add mushrooms. Let them cook over medium for a minute or two. Add wine. Turn heat up until alcohol burns off. Turn down heat, add salt and pepper, cover and let mushrooms cook through. If pan starts to dry out, add water. (You can do this with brodo/broth too.) These mushrooms aren’t as water logged as champignon, so watch carefully. Take the sausage out of its casing and cook in a separate pan. When cooked through, drain fat. Set aside (You can do this in the same pan before you add garlic, if you’d like, but we don’t like the extra grease.) When mushrooms are cooked through add sausage and handfuls of parsley. Combine and set aside.
N.B. If you’re using the nepitella, you can add it towards the end. It’s really strong, don’t add too much.
Cook pasta according to directions or taste in salted water.
After you’ve boiled the pasta, add the pasta directly to the pan of mushrooms. Set aside some of the pasta cooking liquid. Mix mushrooms and pasta together to fully coat the pasta over a low heat adding only enough water as necessary. As soon as the pasta is completely coated, turn off heat and add parmigiano. Mix through. EAT!