Roasted Rosemary Pears

An unusual use of Pears, but delightful for Autumn and Winter, especially good for a Winter BBQ.

Holidaying at home is a little luxury for me. I can look at the yellow of the silver birch leaves across the road. Get the freshest of flowers each morning. Gaze at the clouds enveloping the hills. Listen to music. Read. Oh, it is so good to be home.

So, after glazing apples and draining yoghurt, both for a tomorrow’s menu, the weather is perfect for baking some pears with a little rosemary powder – ground by hand with a little chilli and dried capsicum and a minor pinch of salt. If you have not have this at hand :-), use fresh rosemary, some sea salt and add chilli if you dare. I have made this dish with pears and plums, so it is quite versatile.

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Pomodori Gratinati | Tomatoes Gratineed with Cheese

In Autumn, tomatoes are at their best, especially for cooking.

In Autumn tomatoes come into their own. Not only are the tomatoes a little juicer, a little sweeter away from that hot sun, but the weather is a little cooler and so cooking tomatoes becomes an option again – baked, grilled, fried, sauteed, sauced, pureed – you name the cooking method and tomatoes will have it covered.

Gratineed tomatoes are filled with cheese, herbs and breadcrumbs and oven baked for slightly retro but awesome lunches or as a side dish to a main meal. They can be cooked in covered BBQs as well.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Creamy Potato Cheese Gratin, Oven Baked Tomatoes, and Baked Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice.

Or if you are after other Gratin dishes, try Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, Potato and Cheddar Gratin, and Caramelised Witlof with a Cheesey Topping.

You might like to browse other Baked Tomatoes here. All of our Tomato recipes are here and here, or Italian recipes here. and here. Or find inspiration in our easy Autumn recipes here and here.

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Bruschetta al Pomodoro | Tomato Bruschetta

Bread, tomato and olive oil, a classic combination.

Just as I finished saying to a friend that I did not like raw tomatoes, I realise that I love raw tomatoes. What I do not like are those limp wedges of tomatoes that sit on top of limp greens in a salad that has been left too long in the heat. Or soggy tomato sandwiches. People! Will you ever learn to look after your food!

So, I confess. I L O V E raw tomatoes. But you can keep the wilted greens with wilted tomato salad.

There is a thing about Autumn and tomatoes, I am now realising. Sometimes these things are in your consciousness, but far far down below, and it takes something to prod us to dredge the depths of the fourth dimension of consciousness and bring to the surface something we have always known.

I L O V E Autumn tomatoes. I love them cooked and I love them raw, maybe with a little sugar because they are past their sweetness peak. But they are still high in taste and delicious in eating.

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No Knead Focaccia | Bread in an Hour

Sensational Bread in an Hour

I am a great fan of the slow rise, no-knead bread that takes all day or more to prepare and cook. Not that there is much to do to the bread dough during that time, but sometimes, just sometimes, all that fore planning, well, you know…. you just want bread NOW. Fresh. Hot. Just out of the oven.

Well, it is possible.

This is another of the recipes I have made for many many years. It makes a great central piece to a Sunday lunch with friends or a Sunday dinner in front of the TV. We mostly make it flat, stretching the dough out to fit our pan, but it can be cooked as a small loaf, as you see from the pics.

Similar recipes include Schiacciata with Cheese Topping, Cooking Focaccia on the BBQ, and Rosemary Focaccia.

You might like to browse our Bread recipes, and perhaps our Italian recipes. Find some inspiration in our Early Winter collection of dishes

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Pasta all’ Aglio e Olio | The Simplest of Spaghetti Dishes

It must be the simplest dish in the world.

Sometimes the simplest is just the best way of cooking and eating a dish. Elizabeth David, for example, was a great proponent of that style. And it is in the simplest of dishes that we train our palate, noticing slight nuanced differences in taste between, say, this olive oil with that pasta, or a different pasta. Or a different olive oil. I read about a cooking school once where they spend 3 weeks just on potatoes, so that the subtleties of the tastes variations became familiar to the students.

This recipe is the simplest of pasta recipes, and one that you will want to make often. There are no quantities given, you can alter them until you find the ratios that work best for your pasta and your olive oil.

Different versions of this can be found all over Italy – it is a dish that most families enjoy at least once a week – often it is a Monday night supper. We make it with spaghetti.

Are you looking for Pasta recipes? Try making our Home Made Eggless Pasta, and our Home Made Zeffirino Pesto.

Similar recipes include Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes, Capunti Pasta with Basil and Tomatoes, Penne with Broad Beans and Ricotta, Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper, and Orzo Pasta Salad with Spinach and Pine Nuts.

You might also like to read Why we Cook Pasta al dente.

Or browse all of our pasta recipes, and our Italian recipes. Or find inspiration as you explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Rosemary Focaccia

A beautiful focaccia from the experts.

The act of eating focaccia is traditional and almost primal – tearing pieces from a large focaccia slab, dipping it into oil or gravy, and relishing the flavours both baked into the focaccia and those which adorn it at the table. For years our special family dinners included a large focaccia that sat in the centre of the large table, with family helping themselves during the meal. It is also great to take on picnics.

Similar recipes include Schiacciata with Cheese Topping.

You might like to browse our Bread recipes, and perhaps our Italian recipes. Find inspiration in our Late Summer dishes.

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Caramelised Roast Pumpkin Risotto

A beautiful partnership

When caramelised pumpkin and risotto come together it is a beautiful partnership. The deep intense and slightly sweet flavours of butternut pumpkin with the creaminess of the risotto rice create a dish that will feature in your kitchen again and again.

Risotto is made by meditatively stiring risotto rice as it cooks, which brings out its creaminess. Read more about the Risotto Basics, and how to caramelise pumpkin.

You might also want to try Asparagus Risotto, Tomato Risotto, Eggplant Risotto and Beetroot Risotto.

Browse all of the Risotto recipes, our Italian recipes and our Pumpkin recipes. All of our Rice recipes are here. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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How to Cook Basic Risotto

A great Italian classic.

Risotto is a wonderfully versatile Italian rice dish whose creaminess depends on the selection of the rice. The basics of cooking risotto are very very easy. Take rice. Add stock gradually. Stir for 20 minutes. Serve. Enjoy! Of course, there is slightly more to it than that.

Similar recipes include Beetroot Risotto, Parsnip Risotto with RosemaryCaramelised Roast Pumpkin Risotto, Asparagus Risotto, Eggplant Risotto and Tomato Risotto.

All of the Risotto recipes are here and our Italian recipes here. And check out our easy Mid Spring recipes too.

This is a vegetarian recipe from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can browse other recipes from this blog in our Retro Recipes series.

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Fagioli Stufati | Tuscan Beans Baked with Sage and Lemon

An Italian baked beans dish full of goodness and taste.

I love beans. Give me Italian or Indian bean dishes and I am in heaven. Without much ado today, this is a baked dish full of goodness and taste. Italian in origin, it is something we have been cooking for years. Fagioli Stufati means Stewed or Baked Beans.

Although this dish is traditionally made with the traditional white beans – cannellini, haricot or lima (butter) beans, I have also made the dish with black-eyed beans, and it was just as delicious.

It is a dish with extraordinary flavours for very little effort, apart from the soaking time and cooking time. For less than 10 minutes (closer to 5 minutes), you can have this dish on the table for lunch or dinner if you think ahead. Quite the opposite to Ottolenghi’s dishes, hey? Maximum flavour with Maximum Effort and Maximum Time.

Similar recipes include Fagioli a la FlorentinaRustic Spicy Lima Beans, Baked Lima Beans with Celery, Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas with Burrata, and White Bean Salad.

Or browse all Italian recipes. Our Baked Bean recipes are here and our Cannellini Beans recipes are here. Or check out our Mid Winter recipes.

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Broad Bean and Butter Bean Puree with Horseradish | A Mash, Spread or Dip

The secret to great tasting broad beans is double peeling

It is easy to develop an aversion to Broad Beans. Prolific bearers and easy to grow, they are an easy choice for home gardeners and country kitchen gardens. Yet the poor bean is often misunderstood. Instead of being treated tenderly, cooks mistakenly overcooked them to a green-grey mush with a strong taste only masked by other strong tasting ingredients. Unaware that each individual bean has its own skin that needs to be peeled, they were being boiled until that outer skin reached a level of tenderness – and that mean that the inner bean was overcooked.

Yes, the secret to broad beans is that they need to be double peeled. First the fury pod is removed, and then, after blanching, the skin of each bean can be easily slipped off. Young beans are preferable to their older counterparts as their flavour is gentler.

What a difference a peel makes! You might like to read more about broad beans.

Are you perhaps after Broad Bean recipes? Try Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Broad Beans with Fresh PecorinoTawa Broad Beans, and 13 Treasure Happiness Soup.

Or are you looking for Dips and Spreads? Try Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, Spicy Moroccan Carrot Dip, Thick Yoghurt Tahina Dip, Avocado Mash, and a Quicky Hummus.

You might like to browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and our recipes for Dips. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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