pignoli breakfast biscuits

These soft nutty lemony Sicilian biscuits are served at breakfast in Italy with an espresso and are really popular at special holidays like Christmas and Easter. I like them all year round for breakfast with my coffee or after dinner when I fancy something sweet.


Ingredients

Makes about 16

  • 75g sugar
  • 200g plain flour 
  • 75g of mild olive oil or butter (or Naturli vegan spread for a dairy free version) 
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 200g pine nuts 
  • the zest of one lemon 
  • 1 tsp of baking powder 
  • a shallow baking tray lined with parchment 
  • Icing sugar to dust (optional) 

How:

Preheat the oven to 180c. 

Put the sugar, flour, lemon zest and baking powder into a food processor. Whizz up and then add the egg yolk and vanilla and pulse till you have a dough. If it’s still dry and bread crumby add a tablespoon or two of cold water. Tip onto a board and knead most of the pine nuts in, leaving some to put on top.

Roll into 1 inch balls and place on the baking tray with lots of space between for when they spread out during baking. Squish the rest of the pine nuts on top of the biscuit balls. 

Bake for about 10 minutes or until the pine nuts are golden. Don’t over bake as they become too dry.

Leave to cool on the tray. Dust with icing sugar and serve. They can be stored in an airtight container for a week in the fridge. 

I shop at:
Waitrose
Sainsbury’s
Tesco
Lidl

pasta alla norma

This is the classic delicious Sicilian aubergine Pasta Alla Norma recipe, which from everything I have read, was first created in the 1700’s in Catania in Sicily and was so delicious that it was compared to the beautiful opera Norma and thus named. Its a good store cupboard supper, and I’ve also served it up at dinner parties with a crisp green salad.


Ingredients

Serves 3-4

  • 2 small aubergines (eggplant)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced 
  • 400g of boccole, rigatoni or macaroni 
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes 
  • A big bunch of basil
  • Ricotta Salata to garnish (which is not ricotta and I couldn’t get it) or lots if grated parmesan or a vegetarian hard cheese 
  • Chilli oil (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How:

Make the tomato sauce by sautéing the minced garlic in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil for half a minute, but don’t let it colour. Add the tin of tomatoes and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until it’s slightly thicker. I add a teaspoon of optional maple syrup to mine to bring out the flavour of the tomatoes.

Slice the aubergines (eggplant) into any shape you like… I like mine in slices lengthwise but coins are fine too. Fry them in about quarter of an inch of olive oil until golden on both sides and drain on a clean tea towel or kitchen paper. 

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet in salty water. Drain and add to the tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a little chilli oil if using(I love it)then mix in the fried aubergine. 

Grate the Ricotta Salata over the top (or Parmesan) and finish with basil leaves.

I shop at:
Waitrose
Sainsbury’s
Tesco
Lidl

rhubarb cocktail

I made these cocktails last night with my homemade rhubarb syrup which I served with gin (or vodka if you prefer) and sparkling water on ice… they were deliciously perfumed with the rhubarb which is the most gorgeous colour. If you prefer you can leave the alcohol out and have a delicious mocktail instead, pour it over ice cream or you can keep it in fridge as a cordial.

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dark chocolate pannacotta

This recipe is a dairy free take on Black Forest gateau which is a favourite pudding of mine. It’s really silky smooth, rich and chocolatey and is great on its own or with whipped cream if you are not dairy free or with dairy free vanilla ice cream. The decorations are optional, or you can customise it with whatever you fancy like fresh berries.

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vanilla pannacotta

This dairy free recipe for pannacotta is really silky and creamy and it has the delicious flavours of lemon zest and bourbon vanilla. It’s easier to make than you think and you can make it the day before and store it in the fridge till you want to serve it. Perfect as a refreshing light pudding at the end of a heavy meal. You can serve it on its own with my cranberry sauce or with fresh berries or whatever you fancy.

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chocolate ricciarelli biscuit cakes

These chocolatey Italian biscuits are traditionally very crunchy on the outside and chewy and a bit marzipany in the middle. They are really easy to make and are gluten and dairy free. I serve them with coffee at the end of a meal instead of making a dessert, or after dessert. They are dense dark and rich and you only need a couple.

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pistachio amaretti

These Italian amaretti biscuits are traditionally very crunchy on the outside and chewy and a bit marzipany in the middle. They are really easy to make and are gluten and dairy free. I love adore pistachios and I serve them with coffee at the end of a meal instead of making a dessert, or after dessert. They are dense and rich and you only need a couple. Perfect at Christmas and you can give them as gifts in little bags tied with a ribbon.

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clementine amaretti

These clementine amaretti biscuits are traditionally very crunchy on the outside and chewy and a bit marzipany in the middle. They are really easy to make and are gluten and dairy free. They are perfect at Christmas for your guests or as gifts in little bags tied with a ribbon. I serve them with coffee at the end of a meal instead of making a dessert, or after dessert.

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