Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Salami through the ages

Years tick over with crazy speed sometimes, and it can be hard to place a memory in its correct time slot.

Thank goodness for metadata, and a computer which tells me when a photo was taken.

("We always say thank you for metadata" - The Information Management student in me).


Even while the years flash past, it's comforting to know that the rhythms of tradition give meaning to different seasons and stages.

The heart of winter is salami time.  Nonna sends out the phone call announcement, someone old and responsible (obviously not me) organises the meat pickup from the butchers, a date is set, and various family members trickle in.

Even before the birth of the Cooking With Nonna project, I was there with my camera to capture a family tradition which has literally been carried from generation to generation, Italy to Australia.

Monday, July 27, 2015


So there have been some big changes in the Cooking With Nonna environment:

Namely the Farm, the house of my grandparents, my favourite childhood location, the best place on earth...

Has been sold.

Yeah, still getting over that one.

Change is not fun.  

But it does allow for endless possibilities, new beginnings, and the chance to create fresh memories.

Nonna now has a shiny, white, modern, spacious new kitchen waiting for her at a new house.  So I guess I'm excited to christen it with more traditional family recipes.  

The Cooking With Nonna project is still up and running, and it's wintertime which means:


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Dropping in: Zucchini & Basil Spaghetti

Summer has blown through Australia, leaving us all wondering if time just dissipates like sea spray in the wind. Or like an ice cube in the sun, or like chocolate ice cream in my bowl.

Thankfully, summer produce is still trickling out of Nonno & Nonna's garden.

When I dropped in to say hello this Saturday, it was already midday (weekend sleep-ins are precious to the newly working woman!) so of course we had another drop-in lunch.

Nonna cheerfully started frying zucchini and basil for a quick and easy spaghetti dish.

I never cease to be amazed at how the most simple, fresh ingredients can make the most tasty, healthy meals.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Vegetarian Lasagna

Hands up who likes baby tomatoes and a wedge of ricotta cheese.

An overwhelming response!  And what can we make with baby tomatoes and ricotta cheese?

I'm being inspired by these freshly rolled lasagna sheets.

Cousin Laura has arrived at Nonna's with some empty baking dishes, ready to be filled with her requested lasagna.

Lasagna is often requested and then produced at Nonna's.  For parties, farewell dinners, and pretty much anyone's birthday.

That little one on the end is mine, because I'm not really helping much by taking photos.

Dropping in: Pasta Carbonara

Dropping in on Nonna unexpectedly is always an adventure.  Especially if you've managed to arrive at lunch time (completely unplanned, I assure you).

 While most of us are used to grabbing a quick sandwich, or heating up last night's leftovers, lunch at Nonna's is The Meal Of The Day.

(The perks of being a retiree....)

Lunch times at Nonna's always include something made fresh and hot, straight from the pan or oven. 

And today is no exception.  Nonna happens to have some bacon and mushrooms on hand, combined with several things always handy in her fridge/pantry (cream, shallots and penne pasta).

I'd also like to point out the shiny new frying pan/skillet Nonna is using to fry all of this deliciousness.  This was a gift from my mother and aunty, because they've learned that a cooking utensil in Nonna's hands is the gift that keeps on giving.


At this point, words cannot describe the aroma coming from this simmering sauce.

There's nothing that makes a grandchild feel more loved than being told to 'come anytime', including lunchtime, and knowing that Nonna has the frying pan ready, the pasta on hand, and an empty place at the table just for you.

Buon appetito.   

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Hidden at the back of Nonna's freezer is a very ordinary looking plastic container which you might easily overlook when reaching for a frozen chicken or a tray of ravioli.

It holds my favourite summer treat.

Three layers of gorgeously smooth and exotic icecream, sandwiched together into a cassatta, or basically, an ice cream cake.

Now these shots are from summer 2013/14 when the Cooking With Nonna project BROUGHT BACK CASSATA. 


The biggest benefit of my cooking spree so far, has been the return of family favourites which haven't made an appearance for literally decades.
My last memory of cassata had been glace cherries and that hidden container at the back of the freezer.

Now cassata is back on the menu, and in the next couple of weeks a fresh batch will be going into the freezer, ready for Christmas '14.
Everyone approves.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Amaretti di Palma

I love looking through Nonna's recipe scrap book (and it's definitely a scrap book).  Lots of little bits of paper with cryptic recipes, written in that distinctive handwriting, some English words mixed in with dialect and 'proper' Italian.

It brings back memories of Italian school, learning about those special action words you only find in recipes. "Sbattere!"

The best part is seeing all the different names of aunties, cousins, and mysterious strangers pop up on the recipes they've shared with Nonna.

We made Zia Palma's amaretti, and I sincerely believe that crushing the almonds through the sauce/salami maker is what makes them taste so wonderfully good.