4 tales and 5 things



Bloody Kitchen Sink Tales, nothing for weeks, and then four of them come along at once, Cabbage, Chestnuts, Lemons, and Potatoes. Some of recipes will not be new for longtime readers here, especially Pasta e patate which I have written about several times, a reflection of how often I make it. Also in The Guardian this week was a piece from Bee Wilson’s New book, First Bite. I generally run a mile from the words diet and detox, even if they have the word No before them. My cautious self though, was glad to have read this wise, scholarly but human piece. Another piece I enjoyed very much was The smell of Loss by Julie Myerson.

I am sorry that I am not writing here more. I could (happily) try to blame The Guardian, but really it is because I am accomplished at procrastinating and then write very slowly. I am also working on my next book, the working title of which is Two Kitchens, one being here in Rome, the other the one we have partly inherited in Sicily. I will be back here soon though, I have things to tell you about.

Meanwhile, I am happy to announce that Luisa, Fabrizia and I are running the second edition of The Language of Food in June at The Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking school in Sicily. You can also look at the time-table here. You might like to read what I wrote last year, and the post Luisa wrote after our first edition, a most glorious week.  It is a big commitment I know, but I hope that some of you may be able to consider it. Please feel free to write me an email if you want to know more.

Lastly and most importantly, Happy New Year, I hope 2016 is as good as can be for you all. Thank you so much for your support this year, for reading and commenting here and over at The Guardian, for buying the book  – the US edition of which is out in less than a month – for reading it and then splattering it with tomato sauce, hot fat or pasta cooking water. I mean it when I say I feel very fortunate.


And the fifth thing, may I suggest boiling a whole orange for Claudia Roden’s Orange and almond cake. Quite aside from the cake it plays a part in, the smell as it simmers is stupendous, the truest sort of aromatherapy, just the thing for these long January days, maybe.

More soon –  Rachel



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31 responses to “4 tales and 5 things

  1. Rosemarie

    Just preordered the US book, very excited to get it in my hands!
    Happy New Year!

  2. Sicily! I love that place. Can’t wait to read more about it.

  3. I love your guardian column, but miss hearing your voice here. The more the merrier, I say. My CSA box here in California contained four glorious oranges, so I suppose I HAVE to make the Claudia Roden cake now!

  4. Taking a break to go boil an orange! Who knew? Love the idea.

  5. laura

    Buon anno and “buon tutto”, dear Rachel. We will love you whenever and wherever we can read you. May your 2016 be filled with good friends, good times and good news.

  6. Suzie

    Hello Rachel,
    Thanks for the little slice of Italian scrumptiousness your blog brings to my email inbox, I so look forward to it.
    I made Claudia’s cake on New Year’s eve and my family clamoured over how fab-u-lous it was – and unusually for a cake, it improved rather than dried out over the next couple of days (well covered in the ‘fridge). It’s easy to feel saintly when you mention the no-flour content (if you ignore the sugar, obvs).
    One of my favourite recipies of 2015 which you pointed me towards was the butternut squash dish from ‘Coming home to Sicily’ now one of my burgeoning collection of cookery books.
    I’m enjoying also dipping into South African Malay cooking, as an antidote to the long grey winters of the Northern Hemisphere. But this is not the place to wax lyrical about Bobotie.
    Happy New Year everyone!

    • rachel

      A pleasure, thanks to you for reading along and making this feel like a two way conversation – which it is. Yes to the sweet and sour butternut, and yes to that book in general, I am making the ricotta gnocchi today form it. happy new year to you, thanks again, all best Rach x

  7. pblevitt

    Looking forward to the release of your book stateside.

  8. Leissa

    I’m looking forward to receiving the US version of your book! I’m disappointed that it doesn’t have your sink on the cover, though. I really like that picture.

  9. Happy New Year to you too. Oranges are in season here in Florida…I must look into the cake recipe.

  10. Carlotta

    Dear Rachel, happy new year to you too.
    I’m really excited to hear about your new book, it will certainly be very, very good.
    May I be too bold to give you a little tip?
    When making Claudia Roden’s “Orange and almond” cake I cook the oranges with the pressure cooker, 10 minutes max.
    And I’ve been known also to make it either with lemons or clementines.
    Try it.

    • rachel

      I love that tip, thank you , another reason to get a pressure cooker?

      • Ena

        Cooking beans! That’s the way people usually cook beans in the Balkans as it’s the quickest way. Also, my mom makes chicken/beef stews, (baby) beef chops, cabbage/Savoy cabbage stews etc. Presure cooker has for decades been the most used kitchen appliance in my mom’s and my grandmother’s kitchen.

  11. I am very attracted to that orange cake – esp the boiling of the orange and filling the house with scents! I love your tiny sink – it reminds me of my teensy kitchen! c

    • rachel

      Hello Wonderful C, happy new year, yes the smell os absolutely glorious, the cake too. Ah the sink, hardworking sink, that is now a bit blocked, again, tired i think. I hope you are well? Rx

  12. becky albrecht

    I rarely leave comments – anywhere – but feel compelled to as I received your book two days ago. Everything about it is just gorgeous!! I have already made 3 recipes (the cabbage and sausage cake, gnocchi, and peperonata), all of which were heavenly – well, okay, the gnocchi needed a bit of work – they tasted great but were a little soft, however not bad for my first try. As a Californian now living (permanently) in Northern Germany, I understand both the exhilaration and frustration of being a non-native, and am enjoying your descriptions of discovering a new way of life. Despite what most people think, the food scene here has a lot to offer, and I’ve been having fun getting acquainted with the local markets, learning the language, customs, and traditions, and all about those ‘other’ seasons – cabbage (winter), asparagus (spring), strawberries (summer), pumpkin (fall). Anyway, thanks to the Guardian you have a new fan!! (PS: I was so excited when I saw that I have the same three Moka pots in my kitchen, and use those same mustard jars for holding utensils – I feel right ‘at home’ when I’m flipping through the pictures!)

  13. Neala

    Finally tried your pasta and potatoes recipe. I can’t believe I have lived this long without it. Simple perfection in a bowl. Thank you!

  14. Karen Shaw

    Hi Rachel, congratulations on your Andre Simon award, so very well deserved. Would like to email you about writing course in Sicily but can’t find an email address?

  15. kate

    Your book (the US version) arrived last night and it’s lovely. Thank you!!!

  16. karolina

    Dear Rachel, I have just started following your Instagram account (I have been reading your Guardian Tales for some time) and am completely hooked: ordered the book, read the blog when I should be working, looking at tickets to Rome…:) Obviously I enjoy your writing, photographs and recipes very much. Greetings from cold-but-sunny Oslo.

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