half tbsp, two classes, a dinner and 6 lines.



One of the good things about writing recipes here is that I can sign in at any time and change something. The virtual equivalent of being given the chance to pop back home and get something forgotten. Or add something, a line such as ‘I add a whole tbsp of black peppercorns to the beef , but you might like to start with half. Print is of course another thing entirely, it is there print (ed), fixed on a page which may have been ripped out and made, and might mean a very peppery supper. Or no supper. To anyone else that made the pepeso and found it to be too peposo – I am sorry, it is the most disappointing thing to hear a recipe didn’t work. It is a traditional recipe and not called pepeso- peppery for nothing, but clearly you do need high pepper tolerance. For anyone still to try the beef, wine and pepper stew, and I hope you do as it is delcious, start with half a tablespoon of black peppercorns, crushed, and taste, then only add the rest if you think it needs it.

The week after was pasta and potatoes with cheese, a soulful bowlful, proving yet again Neapolitans know something about comfort. Keep cooking, and keep letting me know if things go well, or not so well! I really care.


Now some practical things. I am happy to say that Market to Table, a collaboration between myself, the cook and teacher (also my teacher) Carla Tomasi, and cook, food stylist, writer and owner of the Latteria studio Alice Adams, is going to be a monthly occurrence. The idea is simple, we meet at Testaccio market at 9 30, shop for meat, fish, cheese and whatever vegetables are in season. We then walk across the river to the Latteria Studio, where along with more fresh vegetables and herbs from Carla’s garden we prepare a four course lunch, which we enjoy together with natural wines from our friend Antonio’s shop. Exactly what we cook will change from month to month depending on what’s in season. but there will almost always be something fried, sheep’s milk ricotta, fresh pasta, more often than not artichokes. We enjoyed our first four Market to Table’s immensely, they were joyful, creative occasions, so we are looking forward to this years. Market to table is usually the third Friday of each month, there are 7 spaces for each session, the cost is 100 euros pp, and you can book here.


Pause. Re-fill tea.

I am going to be teaching two days of Roman Cooking at Mark Diacono’s Otter Farm in April and then again in July. I am excited at the thought of spending time in Devon, just 30 minutes from my parents, with Mark, whose writing and work at Otter farm I admire very much. We will be cooking with produce from Mark’s extraordinary garden and the area. The plan is 6 dishes that celebrate Roman food in all its simple beauty, but also the connections with English food that exist. Depending on season and the group, we might make chickpea soup with fresh pasta, twice-cooked greens with olive oil, garlic and peperoncino, sweet and sour onions, a wild green salad, roasted pork with herbs, and panna cotta with blackcurrant sauce. For us it will be a feast. All the dishes stand alone though and are for the most part versatile – templates really – which can be adapted according to what you have and the time of year. More information here.


Last but not least, the dinner, or dinners with Giovanni Brighi at Il Cudega in East London. On the 16th and 17th of February I will be helping to cook a Roman feast, all profits from which will go to the charity Heads Together a coalition of mental health and suicide prevention charities with decades of experience in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges.. I have personal reasons to feel strongly, so strongly about the work Heads Together does, and I am proud to be involved. Please come. You can book here.

Did you read all the way to the end? You deserve a drink ! Please forgive a years worth of events and things in one post, which is all a bit exhausting. I do hope, though, that some of you will consider one of the above. I look forward to meeting you. Book – no not yet, bloody hell, but nearly, nearly.

I will finish here, and start the New Year, with 6 lines! No, not that sort, but Seamus Heaney.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.”
― Seamus Heaney

Happy New year to you all





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38 responses to “half tbsp, two classes, a dinner and 6 lines.

  1. You are one very busy woman. How do you manage it all? I am looking forward to the book very much. Wishing you the very best for 2017. x

  2. Can’t wait for your days here…and will try to make London next month too x

  3. The first time my husband and I made peposo, about 12 years ago, we added 1 TB of pepper and it was so spicy that we were laughing and crying at the same time, and I normally love pepper. Now we have 3 kids, and very little pepper goes in, but I don’t think even we adults could manage more than a 1/2 TB. You have an admirable tolerance for heat!
    It’s wonderful to see how busy you are, and that you will be down our way this summer. Happy new year!

    • rachel

      ha, yes, although people are torn, some loving a Tbsp (me), others not so much. I have learned a lesson about giving choice. happy New year Tara

  4. CountryGranny

    Just booked the July day at Otter Farm, v excited

  5. tothetoothblog

    The recipe was wonderful! I thought it worked splendidly. Both of the people I served it to said it was their new favorite meal.

    • rachel

      That is so good to know (also to know I am not the only one who thinks that,or that I am some sort of pepper freak)
      thanks R

  6. All your events sound lovely – it’s a shame that I’m so far away at the moment…. Still, I’ll be able to try some of your recipes at home, that is one consolation 🙂

  7. Jane

    Fingers crossed: Hope to join September’s Market to Table while visiting in Umbria. Thank you for the timely poem. Intend to post it on my FB page January 20, inauguration day here in the states.

  8. If only you weren’t on the other side of the world, will have to be satisfied with pictures and words for now. Look forward to the new book when it comes. 🙂

    • rachel

      On the other side of the world enjoying summer I imagine (it is freezing in Rome). best and thanks for word and picture support R

  9. These pictures are so elegant!

  10. Oooh. I definitely want to book a day on From Market to Table. It would make a perfect excuse for a trip to Rome – later in the year, when bookings open beyond what’s available already, I’ll be hoping to find a vacancy. Good luck with this, and with all your other ventures. Who ever thought that starting a blog would lead to all this? (or perhaps you did?)

    • rachel

      Dear margaret, I hope you can come, there will always be a place for you, always. It does sound rather a lot, it is all in one place, and no I had no idea that a blog would lead to all this, but I am very happy and full of thanks to you for all your support xo

  11. laura

    Ciao, dear Rachel. I finally managed to treat myself to your latest blog post … and was, as usual, richly rewarded. Talk about “Believe” (thank you, Seamus Heaney, and thank you, Rachel, for the reminder and the encouragement) … what a journey your believing and your blog have taken you on (and us with you). So pleased and gratified that you are getting the recognition you so richly deserve.
    As for recipes, if you haven’t already read David Lebovitz’s post from a few days ago with a great video clip of Jacques Pépin talking about how following a recipe can lead to disaster, try to fit it in.
    And all the best for Heads Together, most sincerely.

    • rachel

      I will go and find it now, as I am trying to write about just that again, and a bit lost. Thanks Laura, I am so grateful for your generous, happy and steady company here, truly. xo

  12. Oo what an exciting year you have lined up – I would so love to cook with you, sounds like those classes will be just divine! Have been enjoying your book ever so much since I met you at Honey & Co. Will be in Rome in the spring – planning a trip for my birthday!

  13. paola manco

    Buonasera Rachel, I wonder if next time you come to Testaccio Market during your busy food tour, you would fancy to try our freshly baked pizza at CasaManco Box 22 ! The sesame plain white pizza is soooo good ! Ciaoo

  14. QueensGirl

    Hi Rachel! Thanks for the pasta with potato recipe, just the thing for the post-holiday winter freeze here in NY. After reading all about it, I had to know how it tasted, even managed to find smoked scamorza, which added depth of flavor to the starches. I took a photo of the results, would upload if there were a way. Grazie!

  15. Catherine Whitehead

    I bought your book yesterday, it is just how I thought it would be. Looking forward to your next one, too.

  16. Helen Kearns

    Friday, Jan 27/17

    Hi Rachel, I sent you a note yesterday under “I have this kitchen” after devouring your book on same.

    It has an error in it, sorry! The wonderful B&B that I’d mentioned in my note is no longer running as a B&B. (Casa di Maio) Would you please remove my remark about it?

    I think you know my dtr, Carla Kearns, She may be contacting you to ask the same thing. Helen Kearns, Canada.

    • rachel

      Hello Helen, and I am just reading your messages, and thank you so much I am delighted to meet you – and yes I will amend that other comment Rx

  17. John Irving

    Hi Rachel, I enjoy reading your stuff and I’ve just received your very beautiful “Five Quarters” in the post. I took it out of the parcel for a quick browse and it fell open at p. 282, where there’s a recipe for ‘Pinzimonio di ceci’. I see you were inspired by one of the River Café books and took the name from Rogers and Gray. But surely there’s a mistake here (the Italian in the River Café books is full of them). Surely you (they) mean “Zimino” not “Pinzimonio”? Just thought I’d mention it. All the best.

    • rachel

      Hello John, thank you for this comment and the one in the Guardian. I am so sorry it has taken me so long to reply – I don’t write here as much as I used to, in fact barely at all, which is why I miss comments like this. It was never approved, I never cancel comments. Apologies. I am so glad you like Five Quarters. You are observant, and not the first to point out this mistake. I try as much as possible to use the correct names for things, and the River cafe name did strike me as odd, I know pinzimonio as crudite with olive oil and got myself in a bit of a muddle wondering. We did consider calling it chickpeas and chard, but I use the RC name, as a nod to them. Thank you for the name Zimino, that sounds more like it, i will enjoy researching further. Again I am sorry to take so long, no bad feelings I hope – Best rachel

  18. I love the peposo with the full amount of pepper. It is now my new favourite beef stew. Thanks!

  19. I like your style:)…Would you please check out my blog and see what you think ?

  20. Love this recipe. Made it last week and everyone said it was so super delicious!!! Going to buy your book.

  21. Pingback: Anzac Biscuits – cucina nicolina

  22. Pingback: Nourishment | theuniversalcabinet

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