Food. Life. Travel.

I like to describe myself as a teacher first, chef second. My career as cookery teacher, caterer and writer spans three long, eventful decades. One day, I will write a tell all memoir!  I will name names. My great love is to invite people to my rather chaotic kitchen table and plie them with simple food, litres of wine and regale them with tales – some true, some ‘embellished.’ But now, I’ve reached the point in my life when my family and friends have heard my stories, jokes and travel tips so many times that their eyes glaze over as soon as I open my mouth. My other obsession is to travel with groups of like minded people, so my stories and recipes originate from many destinations, from home and abroad.

December 29, 2017

Dead Bread. Dante Alighieri. And the Tenth Circle of Hell.

As sometimes happens in life, several elements of my universe have collided in a most surprising way during this Festival of InBetween. We have several loaves of good bread left over from Christmas lunch which n...

December 27, 2017

 Photo credit: Italo Vardaro. At the end of the bake.

"A Year's Supply": Matto, Previn,Vardaro.

So, who invented the pizza? There is no mystery here.

Though I can’t give you a name and an address, I’m pretty sure the clever woman who invented pizza came from Phoenicia a...

December 14, 2017

It is fitting, I think, that I finish my quartet of Neapolitan stories with pizza. And particularly the kind of pizza that is made in Naples which differs from that made in other parts of Italy. Throughout Italy, from north to south, and on the islands, flatbreads are...

December 13, 2017

As Catholics, there was always a frisson of guilt and wrongdoing when we had need to resort to our auntie who had the knowledge of breaking a spell – she knew the words and the rituals, confident of her powers given to her, ironically, by God himself. So, if we had a h...

December 12, 2017


Really? Is it necessary to explore the ancient cities and visit a museum to understand the modern city of Naples?

I think it is. Firstly, Naples is not a modern city though it lives in t...

December 12, 2017

NAPLES is not easy to love. I have spent much of my adult life cajoling, if not positively bullying, fellow travellers to see behind the centuries of grime, litter, uncomfortable petty crime, large scale corruption and wild, daily chaos. See, what’s not to love?

I want...

December 11, 2017

Christmas is a very sentimental time for Italians - they make a huge effort to go home, wherever that may be. The saying is: Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi": Christmas with your loved ones, Easter with whomever. And food, as you would expect, plays a major part...

December 8, 2017

As a young girl, I would writhe with irritation whenever someone squealed, “Oh I loooove Italian food!” Sotto voce, I would mumble that they should visit our house in the days before Christmas.

There, in the laundry, they would find eels in a bucket, no doubt dreading t...

December 7, 2017

Thank you to the people who have contacted me, asking for this year’s Christmas recipes.  Of course, I have given this much thought even though, this year the pressure is off as we have been invited to add to the chaos of a crazy ‘English family’ day.  I will let you k...

December 2, 2017

I adore Salvo Montalbano but I could never live with him. Not that he’s asked. On the other hand, were Commissario Guido Brunetti ( ever to grow tired of his devoted wife, Paola, abandon his children, Raffi and Chiara, and seek a new entanglement, I w...

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