Gotta love the name. This is basically scalloped potatoes with added pickled, smoked or salted fish. Normally it calls for anchovies but I used smoked herring instead. Great cold weather dish. Ingredients: 1 herring per person 1 medium potato per person 2-3 onions Breadcrumbs Whole milk Preparation: If you are using whole, unsoaked herring, follow instructions and start the day before; fillet and set aside. If using commercially packed, filleted herring (recommended), proceed. Thinly slice (use a mandolin if you have one) the potatoes and onions. Cut the fillets into bite-sized pieces. Butter a baking dish and place a layer of potatoes and onions; dot with herring pieces and pour in enough milk to barely cover. Repeat until you finish with a layer of potatoes/onions and herring, pour a bit more milk over them. Sprinkle generously with breadcrumbs and bake in a medium oven until golden brown and the milk has cooked the potatoes and onions (they should be tender to the fork). We served with buttered peas.

Kim’s Hot German Potato Salad with a splash of Lime

1000 grams potatoes, peeled and cooked to tender, and sliced big chunks (* cook them this way)
4 tbl Green onions
5 tbl apple vinegar
1 tbl mustard

10 tbl olive oil
1 med onion diced
4 long slices of Speck or Pancetta
1 tbl chopped parsley
Prepare the vinaigrette. Place the speck in a pan and cook until crispy and set aside then toss in the onions cook until slightly tender using the fat from the speck. Add the mustard, vinegar, mustard, oil, salt and pepper, and cook for about 3 minutes, Put in a big bowl and toss in the hot potatoes, green onions, speck, and parsley, Squeeze one lime or two depending on the size, Toss and serve.

Mary’s Gatto’ di Patate

This is a family favorite at my house and has a multitude of variations.

-1 kg montaggio or other mashing potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed with milk and butter, salt and white pepper. The mixture should be slightly loose but still lumpy.
-250 ml grated parmigiano reggiano
-225 g frozen peas, defrosted*
-1-2 yellow onions, diced and sauteed in olive oil until golden, salt and pepper to taste.
-100-150 grams of good salami, traditionally sopressata**, diced
-1 small mozzarella in water, thinly sliced***
-2-3 slices of country bread
-2 cloves garlic

Tear bread into pieces and whirl in a food processor with the garlic until you have a large cupful of bread crumbs. Briefly saute the crumbs in olive oil until the crumbs are slightly golden and the garlic no longer smells raw, salt and pepper lightly.

Carefully fold half the peas, the PR and the salami into the mashed potatoes. Spread half the new mixture into a deep baking dish around 8″ x 6″. Spread the onion mixture on top of the potatoes, then the remaining peas and finally the slices of mozzarella. Cover again with the remaining potato mixture and finally with the bread crumbs.

Bake in a 175c ventilated assist oven, 200c/400F oven for 30 minutes until the potatoes begin to bubble.

* You can substitute other vegetables like cooked broccoli in place of the peas although they are traditional. I have also seen sliced hard boiled eggs in place of the vegetables.
**This dish rises or falls on the quality of the salami. In the US I always used Genoa salami which does not exist in Italy. Here I would use the best quality local salami you have or your favorite. You could also use Spanish chorizo which I used tonight, or Portuguese linguica.
***You can substitute scamorza for all or part of the mozzarella.

Giselle’s Potato and Sausage Hot Pot.

All a bit rough, no measuring was done. A whatever’s-in-the-fridge recipe …

I’m going to adjust this recipe after the fact – as it was a made up one, I found the juices to be a bit too runny for me, so in the recipe, I think that if the potatoes and onions are coated in flour first before layering, that will be enough to slightly thicken the sauce …


About 8 medium sized potatoes, peeled & thickly sliced

Half a fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced

One large white onion, peeled, halved and sliced

About 1 tablespoon flour

3 leeks – sliced

3 italian pork sausages (fresh) skinned and broken up

Big handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

One ball of mozzarella, sliced

Grated hard cheese, like Parmigiano or grana padano

About 400ml chicken stock

Seasoning (I had some Cajun type seasoning – but if you want to keep it ‘traditional’, a little salt (stock is usually salty) and freshly ground pepper.)

What to do …

Heat the oven to 180°c or equivalent.

In a couple of bowls, put the onions in one and the potatoes in the other, sprinkle each bowl with flour and coat the onions & potatoes.

In a casserole dish or oven proof dish of some kind, start with a layer of the onion, then potato, then fennel, then sausage pieces. Sprinkle some parsley over. Repeat the layers, finish with a layer of potato. Pour the hot chicken stock all over. Place the mozzarella slices on top, sprinkle the grated cheese and any parsley left over. Season.

Either put the lid on the casserole or cover tightly with double tin foil. Put in the middle of the oven for about an hour or so – Mine was in for 1 hr 15 mins. Uncover and either pop back in the oven again for 5 minutes, like I did, or you could put it under the grill to finish off.

Wait for a few minutes before eating – it will be BOILING!

It was really tasty and just right for this chilly evening – proper comfort food and no other side dishes needed! A one pot meal.

Kate’s Potato & Sausage Casserole to be eaten while wearing slippers & listening to soothing music

Serves 1

2 potatoes (approx 100g), cut into bitesize chunks.
1 sausage (approx 120g), likewise
2 fat pachini tomatoes (approx 100g), quartered
1 onion (approx 100g), topped and tailed and cut into eight
1 tbsp olive oil
Dried rosemary, dried thyme, salt and pepper to taste
A slosh of white wine

Winter is coming, so it’s time to bring out the comfort foods. This is no English suet pudding – that would be overkill here in Sicily – but has enough oomph to it, with chunky potatoes and dense mouthfuls of meaty sausage, to be cheering on a cool Sicilian evening.

Put all the ingredients into a roasting tin. Add the oil, herbs and seasoning and stir so that everything is coated lightly with oil. Put the roasting tin into a 180 degree oven and give it five minutes for everything to start cooking. Add the white wine (for me, it’s usually the dregs of the large glass that I got stuck into while I was prepping the ingredients).

Leave it all to do its thing for 40 minutes or so, checking it every so often and giving it a quick stir around to prevent burning. Add more liquid as necessary (either to the pan or to your glass).

When the potatoes are cooked through, with golden caramelised edges, and the onions and tomatoes have melded down into translucent, slightly blackened goo, pull the pan out of the oven and dish up into a large bowl. Eat with a spoon, while wearing slippers and listening to soothing music.

Author bio:
Kate Bailward (aka Katja) is a cat-loving, trifle-hating, maniac driver who arrived in Italy in 2009 for a 9-month teaching contract. Three years later she has given up teaching but has no plans to give up Italy.

Her work has been published at TravelBelles.com and she blogs at Driving Like a Maniac. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and

Amy’s Spezzatino con le patate alla Toscana

Tastes better than it looks in the pic I promise!
I recently learned that there existed a food called comfort food. My good friend Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen says I already knew what it was since I have many hangover cure dishes..anyway if there is a month where I need comfort its November and here it is.
500 grams of beef(should be spalla if possible) for spezzatino cut into small chunks
8 smaller size potatoes

2 white onions
1 or 2 celery stalks
2 small carrots
a small rosemary branch
pinch of chives
250 grams peeled tomatoes (pelati)
170 ml of red wine( I used Tuscan geografica tipica)
4 tablespoons olive oil
a small amount of beef broth might be needed
salt and pepper q.b.
Chop up your carrots, celery, onions, rosemary and chives as you would for ragu.
Put them in the pot with the olive oil to brown but not burn on low heat
after put in your beef to brown for about 3 minutes
add the wine and let evaporate
When wine has evaporated add the tomatoes and salt and pepper
Cover your pot and cook on low heat about 1 hour and 20 minutes
in the meantime cut potatoes into small chunks and when your meat has been cooking for about 1 hour and 20 minutes then add potatoes
You may at this time need the broth if the potatoes don’t have enough liquid to cook in
after adding potatoes cook another 40 minutes then uncover and let the left over sauce reduce to your liking!

Sarah’s Porcini Winter Stew

My entry for the competition (sorry about the photo – it was so dark!). Porcini mushrooms mingle with fresh sage, butternut squash and beans in a warming winter stew. Serve with crusty bread!


2 to 2 1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms or even better 2 fresh porcini

3 cups very hot water (if using dried porcini)
1 tbs. olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 small chilies, seeded and minced
2 carrots finely grated
2 sticks celery finely chopped
2 tins tomatoes or 1lb fresh tomatoes
2 tsp. minced fresh sage
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 can cannellini beans
1 can Ceci or chick pea
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Chopped fresh parsley for sprinkling


1. If using dried porcini, place in a sieve and rinse briefly with cold water. Place into a bowl and add the very hot water. Let them soak until the mushrooms are softened, about 20 minutes.

2. In a large, heavy pan, over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions, chilies and sage and sauté until the onions are tender, about 8 minutes.

3. Add the squash, carrot and celery and season with salt and pepper. sauté until everything starts to soften, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the cannellini beans, the ceci, tomato paste and the broth.

5. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl. Drain the porcini in the sieve, pressing out as much liquid as possible from the mushrooms.

6. Add the liquid to the pan.

7. Chop the porcini (fresh or dried) and add to the pot.

8. Simmer until the squash is tender and the flavors blend, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

8. Ladle the stew into warmed bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with crusty bread.

Serves 6 to 8

For a heartier meal with extra protein, add sausage slices, chopped pancetta, a ham hock or diced smoked turkey. If using a ham hock, simmer it whole in the stew, then remove the meat from the bone, chop it and stir the chopped meat back into the stew. If you like, rosemary could replace the sage.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast, by Kristine Kidd

Giselle’s take on Huevos Rancheros! by Giselle Stafford

Giselle’s take on Huevos Rancheros!

I had Huevos Rancheros in Berkeley, California a few years back in a cute little hippy style cafe – they were awesome!  All I really remember was there were refried beans underneath the tomatoey sauce and black bean sauce may have been involved!

So … I hunted around in the fridge and cupboards and came up with this recipe – it really is my own, and this is definitely not traditional – but we scarfed them down for lunch yesterday and we both say YEAY!! It’s a winner in the Stafford house!



What you need 

1 red onion cut into wedges

6 large ripe tomatoes – the vine ones have great taste.

(chop 4 of them and cut 2 of them into wedges)

2 tsp black bean sauce (that’s all I had left!)

Half tsp sambal oelek (I think green chilli is more traditional, but I didn’t have any!)

1 tsp ground cumin

Handful of fresh chopped parsley (or coriander if you have it – mine is still in the seedling stage!)

Refried beans – I had a 400g tin, used half of it, but I think they come in smaller tins too.

Melty cheese, grated – I used some of our precious cheddar stash.

4 eggs

Salt (optional)

Tortillas for dipping and mopping up the sauce – as many as you feel you need!


What to do …..

Heat up the oil in a wide frying pan or wok type pan.  Add the onion and gently fry until softened and a little translucent.

Add the chopped tomatoes, reserving the tomato wedges until a little later.

Add the black bean sauce, sambal oelek, cumin and most of the chopped parsley (save a sprinkle for the finish)

Cook on a med high heat and reduce the liquid, it should start to thicken.

When the mix is thick enough for you, give it a little taste and maybe add some salt if you feel it needs it.

Add the tomato wedges and stir through.

Make 4 dents in the mix, and drop an egg in each one – so make the dents evenly spaced!

(My mix was a little too liquid, so it was difficult to make the dents, however, the result was still great!)

Turn the heat down a notch to a medium heat.

Cover the pan with a lid for a few minutes to help cook the eggs.

In the meantime, warm some refried beans spread on the bottom of a grill/oven proof dish (I used a terracotta one).

Heat the grill.

When the whites have, well, turned white, with a large spoon, carefully – CAREFULLY transfer the mix and hopefully unbroken eggs on top of the refried beans.

Sprinkle with the cheese and pop it all under a grill until it’s all bubbly and there are patches of brown on the cheese.

Sprinkle the remaining parsley on top and serve with the warmed tortillas.

You can put the pot between you and just share directly out the serving dish or serve up into warmed wide bowls!

This serves 2 hungry folk!


Chili for the Non-Chocolate Lover byMary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

Chili for the Non-Chocolate Lover

By Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen
This recipe started out as homage to Mole, but I figured that was asking too much for the Official House taster, so this is an homage to the chocolate that’s in Mole.

1 kg good stew meat cut into 1/4″ cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 dried California chilies, seeded cut into small pieces and soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes
5 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp salt
50 grams of 70% dark chocolate
1 400 gram can of crushed tomatoes
1 400 gram can of water
Sour cream
Shredded cheese
Chopped onions

In small batches, brown the meat until it is very dark in the oil. Remove meat from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, saute the onion and garlic until translucent and starting to brown. Add the chilies, chili powder, paprika, cumin and oregano and continue to saute until spices start to darken and become fragrant. Return the meat to the pan, stir thoroughly to mix then add the crushed tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, then add the chocolate. Stir thoroughly until the chocolate melts, cover, reduce the heat to low and cook at a gentle simmer until the meat is tender.

Serve hot with the sour cream, cheese and onions and cornbread on the side.