Cookies, slide

Cookies with pink candied almonds and walnuts, the perfect french tea time!

22 February 2018
Cookies with pink candied almonds and walnuts

I will remember this recipe until the day that I die. Perhaps because I baked these cookies during a pleasant mid-August afternoon in the elegant kitchen of a stunning house in Burgundy, far away from my food machine, essential in my constant struggle against time, far away from the humid heat of the Po valley, far away from everything that is daily life 355 days per year.

Waking up slowly in the most absolute silence, a short walk in the garden among the quince and mirabelle plum trees to the pond, reaching then the coop where beautiful hens leave every morning their delicious eggs.
Janette, the shrillest and most affectionate, follows me to the door of the house, makes herself comfortable on the rug, and observes me, her head slightly bent on one side. Continue Reading…

Other, slide

Italian carnival chiacchere, Pastry Chef Massari’s recipe

22 February 2018
typical italian carnival chiacchere

These typical italian Carnival chiacchere are the perfection.
They’re not called chiacchere where you’re from? Nevermind, neither where I am from, but apparently this is the most popular name.

Whether you call them chiacchiere, frappe, crostoli or galani, let me tell you, without fear and with great modesty: these are of rare scrumptiousness. Perfect if you like them extremely thin, not crostini-like thick, and above all not baked in the oven (go on, what are we doing? Sacrifices during Carnival?). The scented note of lemon combined with Marsala gives it a light and elegant aroma, in my opinion preferable to the one given by rum.
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Other, slide

Le pain au chocolat, the perfect french breakfast

3 November 2017
French Pain au chocolat

The white & pink checkered tablecloth, a cup of hot, intense americano, and a little basket full of croissant or pain au chocolat.

I don’t ask for anything else, while I think that I’d like nothing more, on Saturday morning while I go downstairs on my way to the kitchen. I open the shutters and press the button of my beautiful white kettle, with its sinuous profile, and I sit on the stool of the large oak table waiting for the gurgle of the boiling water.

To me this image represents absolute peace, a place where to each simple, individual action I can allocate its natural time, without the turmoil and rushed gestures typical of the weekdays.

However the reality is that on the table there is almost everything, with the exception of the freshly baked pain au chocolat.

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Cakes, slide

Torta Barozzi of Vignola : the orginal recipe is just one.

1 October 2017
Come fare la torta Barozzi

Along narrow, bendy roads, among gentle, green hills of vineyards, nectarines, pears, plums, apricots, Morette cherries and cottages where the renowned Parmigiano Reggiano is made, Vignola appears, a small town set along the Panaro river.

I arrived there on a bright morning at the beginning of April: the mild weather, the fruit trees in blossom, the clear blue sky and…it was easy to feel even luckier than Cristopher Columbus. So much beauty, only a few hours away from home. A walk along the lanes of the town centre to the majestic medieval Castle, remnant of a past of defensive fortifications, and then turning back to reach the door of the historical Pasticceria Gollini.

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Cakes, slide

Breton shortbread and lemon cream tartlets

19 June 2017
Breton shortbread and lemon cream tartlets

I am in love with these lemon cream tartlets, a kind of love which is pure and almost childish, a love that catches you unprepared and gives you heart-shaped eyes, butterflies in your belly and a significant appetite, I should add. The truth is, behind all this there is a love for elegance and simplicity, a mixture of attraction and admiration for the perfection of simple things, round, voluptuous and once again…very French.

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Baci di dama or Piedmont lady’s kisses, the perfect recipe

25 May 2017
Baci di dama or Piedmont lady's kisses

Sometimes I get fixated, especially when it comes to food. A few years ago I entered the lady’s kisses tunnel; I used to eat plenty of them when I was a student, working part-time in a seriously elegant restaurant in my city. The chef (who had studied in Lenôtre in Paris…), at coffee time, used to prepare, on beautiful silver cake stands, the so-called Friandises, minute pastries capable of overshadowing even the deer’s antlers of St. Hubertus. There were the “bruti ma buoni” (literally, “ugly but good”), the cantucci and, of course, the little Baci di dama or Piedmont Lady’s kisses. So much minute perfection.

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Cakes, slide

Coconut cake recipe: a perfect gluten free semifreddo

22 April 2017
Coconut cake recipe, gluten free

A Coconut cake recipe …in my opinion, the one that better brings out the qualities of this fruit and its creamy notes: a perfect gluten free semifreddo.

April is almost over, flip flops are still in their storage cabinet and people get out wearing their coat and then come back home with a sweating forehead…but the desire to smell the scent of sunscreen, of iodine, of lime and barbecue is strong. So, what should I do? Wait for the first dinner in the garden to experience all this? Maybe not, considering I haven’t a clue when the garden will be ready: at the moment it’s nothing short of a lunar landscape.

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Dark chocolate and sea salt tender cookies

13 April 2017
Biscotti al cioccolato fondente e fior di sale

I discovered the dark chocolate and sea salt tender cookies (flower of salt) the first time I entered in Pierre Hermé boutique in rue Bonaparte in Paris.

I was soaking wet due to torrential rain.

It may have been because of the soft, stylish colours of the shop window, which displayed pyramids of pastel-coloured macarons, or because of the elegant environment, or due to the gracefulness of the young women, wrapping goods as if they were precious jewels…that I did not hesitate to queue along the golden barriers (something not stylish at all, but essential not to lose patience) and I expectantly waited my turn, while my fellow travellers were looking at me over the queue with commiseration. Continue Reading…

Cakes, slide

Dark chocolate tart with raspberries and fleur de sel

26 March 2017
Easy chocolate cake

The dark chocolate tart originated from a mistake and in the baking world, on average, mistakes are expensive.

No, it’s not a failed attempt to replicate the dark chocolate tart of Martha Stewart and it’s even less the personal interpretation of Knamm’s chocolate tart.
I had decided to attempt a cake with a Madeleine biscuit base and passion fruit cream, covered with chocolate Chantilly. I was going to look after the 3D pink bunnies and the golden decorative mushrooms at a later stage, duly observing the classic “business before pleasure”.
Ok, I know, maybe you’re pulling a face because at first it may look like something thrown together and not living up to expectations…but honestly, it’s not the case.

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Cakes, slide

Tarte infiniment café by Pierre Hermé

25 February 2017
Torta al caffè

What is the infinity? Please, don’t ask me, I get a headache every time I allow myself to entertain this type of thoughts. And afterwards, I get really anxious and end up weeping quietly.
I am only human – after all –  very human, and I am not worthy, I am not very profound and I am not wise.
Yes, I Think, but Descartes would say that this only means that I exist, not that I know what I am talking about.

I am pragmatic, fast and careful, which isn’t much; therefore, to shake off the discontent, I add frequent doses of obsession and precision, often unnerving for the next person. The sum is gratifying and makes me feel at peace with my conscience and…let’s say that for me this is plenty. Continue Reading…

Cakes, slide

Red Velvet cake, the apology of everyday love

30 January 2017
Red Velvet cake, the original recipe

How to dress up a cake for a party…and not any party: the festival of people in love, also known as the occasion to buy, like there’s no tomorrow, inflatable hearts, mugs littered with cupids, underpants burdened by uncomfortable and improbable laces. Oh, and apparently it’s also the opportunity to celebrate Love.

During the years in which I had filed away “The NeverEnding Story”, substituted by “The Party” as favourite movie, these types of gifts were abundant in my bedroom shelves. They weren’t necessarily gifts from the “Philippe” of the moment, but rather little somethings carefully sought just for you – only for you and only for today – from the best friend, the sister, the classmate. Continue Reading…

Cakes, slide

Redcurrants mini pies, remembering NYC

15 January 2017
Redcurrants mini-pies

They say that Christmas brings, on top of tonnes of food, a pacifying power, and this year in particular I couldn’t agree more with it. It may be that, with age, one has less energies to spend living in conflict, or perhaps there is a stronger awareness that free time should only be spent in what we find salvific, positive and satisfactory.

2016 has demanded a lot of effort and commitment, for the most part channelled into what is represented by Duty. Pleasure, limited to small cut-outs, daily or seasonal, has been sought with difficulty and great pathos, and sometimes I could not enjoy it at all. It is difficult to clarify this concept but let’s say, if I dare to compare…what use can a really expensive leather armchair be for someone who doesn’t have food or a roof over his head?

Don’t worry, I still have a few panettoni in the cupboard, and not just those. I did say I was daring to compare.
I’ll explain better.
Continue Reading…

Cookies, slide

Dream cookies: the perfect recipes

2 January 2017
Dream cookies: orange and cacao frollini, speculoos, Milano shortcrust and sablés

Perfect cookies. Too many times I’ve typed these two words into Google search bar, only to land on the usual cookies with a thousand variations, intriguing-but-heavy. I was always looking for something totally different: the crumbly cookie, the fragrant and buttery shortbread, the citrus fruity biscuit, the spicy cookie.

Dream Lucia, dream. Cookies with a capital C are a technical and artistic manifestation, not something for amateurs, and while I write this I think of Mrs Bettina, who managed to turn this art into business (Biscotteria Bettina), a gem for my city.

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Cakes, slide

Gâteau Opéra – the french dessert for special occasions

28 December 2016
A classic french dessert: Opéra

There are only a handful of days left before 2017 and this post has been on the launch pad for about 4 weeks now.
I was lingering due to lack of contents, or at least I convinced myself of this. When I was reading again the method, the recipe seemed “so much” to me, that any introduction appeared inadequate and simplistic in comparison. Therefore, in the past month I turned on the pc at least every 2 days, looking at the pictures only to turn it off again without concluding anything. Continue Reading…

Cakes, slide

Bundt cake with apple, cinnamon cream and walnuts. I do love California Bakery!

29 November 2016
Bundt cake with apple, cinnamon, cream and walnuts

I’ve been trying for a few days to finish the introduction to this recipe but the thing is, I’ve no words left. Is it the stressful time, the long hours at work, the mentally challenging tasks, the pressure of the deadlines?…Whatever it is, when the evening comes I just want to jump on the bed and pass out watching whatever it’s on the telly that has no commercials.
I allow myself to be bombarded by other people’s thoughts, beliefs, omens, assumptions on future developments, with my hands on my lap and my legs crossed (and perhaps a slightly silly expression on my face). In today’s world everyone knows what to say, except when you actually need genuine advice. Suddenly they are all politicians, plumbers, judges: they all know what to do, what’s right and what’s wrong…and in the meantime everything is going to the dogs. Is there a solution? Isn’t it true that facts matters, while everything else is just a childish way to kill time, and everyone who is listening? Continue Reading…