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I did a random survey on my foodie friends, acquaintances, chefs even some italians, “What does Porchetta mean to you?”

Some said a pork loin rolled up and roasted with some salt, pepper and garlic. Others didn’t have a clue or said the restaurant chain with the same name!

If visiting a market day in any little village or city in Italy you would find a porchetta stall, serving freshly roasted pork with stuffing. But it is how it is cooked and what it is stuffed with that actually makes it a porchetta. Just because it is pork it can be the only food called porchetta – WRONG. Porchetta actually refers to anything roasted over a WOOD fire with WILD FENNEL. You can make any piece of meat that is porchetta along as you have roasted it in a wood fire oven and stuffed or even marinated or cooked with fennel (preferably wild). So you can actually find rabbit porchetta, duck porchetta etc, etc.

Now in Australia we are in fennel season, and also getting a bit colder, I think it is time to make Coniglio in Porchetta – Rabbit Porchetta or a Porchetta of your choice.

Ciao, ciao. Alla prossima.

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“Coffee or Dirty Water” – it seems that is what we get sometimes when we go out to Cafes for our cup of coffee. When you really feel like a nice coffee, particularly an espresso you just want that nice coffee taste with the crema of the coffee on top. Not too much bitterness and coffee is a bitter product, a nice smooth finish to digest that big meal you have just eaten. Just when you start to dream of the taste you take one sip and almost spit it out. The nice enjoyment of the lunch has just gone out the window. Did they just bring a cup of dirty water to me? How much did I have to pay for it?  If you are in QLD or WA $4. And of course we won’t go into which state actually should make the best coffee (Victoria), however I’m stumped as to why QLD and WA have to charge so much, there are a few good baristas in QLD but I don’t think that can extend to every establishment. But the problem really lies with the general public as they are the ones who should speak up and tell the Cafes what they really think of the dirty water that they are paying for. In Italy not only would you get abused if you served such a thing to the customers but you’d close up shop in a few months. Why are we here so more accepting of things that really lets face it, are “crap” and pay for it???

Next time, are you drinking a Caffe’ o Acqua Sporca?

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What about roast capsicums, well one thing I’ve learnt from my in-laws and Italians in general that what is in season you use, what isn’t you wait. However if you are lucky enough to have a garden that is very abundant in its vegetable or fruit, you probably know how to store a lot of it when it is out of season.

Capsicums is one of the  many vegetables I’ve learnt to keep during their non growing season. A Signora Le Mura taught me this, who learnt from another Signora Le Mura (her mother-in-law). When capsicums are in season you roast a whole lot of them, pull the skin off, deseed and chop them and then store them in containers or plastic freezer bags and keep them in the freezer. You do not need to add anything to them. Pull out a container or bag when you need and defrost it. You will be very surprised at how they taste, I’ve not come across anyone who knew they have been frozen.

"Frozen roasted capsicum"

Next time when you think about buying or growing capsicums, why not roast a whole lot at the same time, that way you will always have some on hand. So the day you are time poor or could not be bothered to roast “a” capsicum, just pull it out of the freezer. ciao for now.

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Some people might not know how to keep their herbs fresh for longer, a lot of people I know keep them in a jar with some water in the fridge, only to find that they start drooping straight away, or they shrivel up and dry out. Or rolled up in a wet paper towel. Even if you do keep them out of the fridge they don’t seem to last that much longer. Well I’ve taken a few photos of some coriander that I’ve had for almost 2 weeks now and they look and taste just like I just brought them.

So how come they still look so fresh? This is what I find keeps most of my herbs fresh the longest.

After washing them and letting them dry, I store them into an airtight container with no water or anything.

I hope now that you can all enjoy your herbs for a bit longer. Ciao

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Mascarpone or Tiramisu

So you are probably wondering what I’m talking about.  In Le Marche, it is very common for people to call the dessert that most of us know as Tiramisu as Mascarpone. So what is the difference? In my opinion it is very similar however the Marscarpone version may have more mascarpone filling and less sponge fingers or only 1 layer of sponge fingers. Either way both are very yummy and “very light on the hips”…… not. Once a friend of ours brought over to our place a very large dish of Mascarpone and was very kind of him to leave the rest with us. We called this dish the “Monster” as just looking at it we could only see how fattening it was, but it was beckoning us to eat it.

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