Tag Archives: rosemary

Squash Cannellini Rosemary Soup

In these quiet days after Christmas and New Year, after the excitement of the holidays has subdued, after the feasts and the family, the chatter and the clinking of chalices, I revert to soup – my safe harbour, my antidote against excess. Soup seems like a good metaphor for these first days of 2017: unshouty, unshowy, soothing. The same could be said for my kitchen windows, which, like my thoughts, have often been fogged, steamy, and heavy with condensation. Perhaps because of this, soup is all I want to eat. And, consequently, it’s all I want to talk about. So there, let’s talk about it.

‘There should be soup all the time, but especially in the winter.’

So writes the wonderful Molly O’Neill in one of her most touching pieces of prose. It’s almost as if she was spying on me; as if she’d drawn a circle on that fogged up window to peek inside my kitchen, and inside my head. Because, you see, I happen to be of Molly’s advice. In January, especially in January, when days are still so dreadfully short, soup should be set on the table often, if not daily, to soothe and comfort. It should preferably be very hot, with vapours coming up in swirls, steaming your face, unplugging your nose and fizzing up your hair. It should, therefore, demand patience. Yes, patience is key: it makes the first spoonful all the more enjoyable.

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No-Knead Ciabatta with Hazelnuts

This no knead ciabatta belongs to the famous no-knead bread family, and it’s as simple to make following similar steps. The result is rustic, savoury bread is excellent for making Italian style crostini (small, open-faced sandwiches), bruschette (larger than crostini), and cicchetti (small bites, Venetian style) with cured meats like prosciutto di Parma or San Daniele, sopressapancettalardo di Colonnata, or even fresh cheeses like casatella or stracchino, topped with seasonal vegetables such as radicchio or carciofi (artichokes). Sliced, it makes a great carrier for baccalà mantecato or brandade (creamed cod). It also produces some excellent panini imbottiti (stuffed sandwiches). For a sweet take, try it with ricotta and honey for breakfast.

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