Tag Archives: summer

Fig, prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella salad


Recipe inspiration can be found everywhere these days. This one was inspired by a recipe I saw on an inflight magazine, and takes simple ingredients that work nicely together. Serves 6-8

250g rocket leaves
250g sliced prosciutto
250g buffalo mozzarella
8 figs cut in quarters

100ml honey
100ml white wine vinegar
150ml water
handful of thyme sprigs
100ml extra virgin olive oil

To make the dressing, place the honey, vinegar and water in a small pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 or so minutes until it has reduced by a third. Add the thyme, remove from heat and allow to steep until cool. Remove the thyme then add the olive oil and whisk.

Lay the rocket leaves on a platter and pour over dressing. Layer on prosciutto, torn buffalo mozzarella and figs. I bought my buffalo mozzarella at Salt Meats Cheese, but you can also buy it at Italian delis.

imkmar16 (7)

Today’s cake – fig jam and ricotta torta

There are lots of nice figs around, so when I saw this recipe in Gourmet Traveller I was keen to give it a try.  The recipe called for a 26cm cake tin, but once I’d made the batter I made a judgement call and went for a 23cm as I wanted a thicker, higher cake rather than a thinner, flatter one. I also think you could probably do another fig or two to get a more substantial layer of the jam.


Fig Jam
500g fresh figs, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 5 large figs)
75g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Grated rind and juice of half a lemon

300g plain flour
150g almond meal
1/2tsp baking powder
150g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
210g unsalted butter, softened and room temperature
3 eggs

300g ricotta
Icing sugar, for dusting

Making it
1. First make the fig jam. Place ingredients in a small pot over medium heat until thick (about 20 minutes). Once ready set aside for an hour or until cool
2. While jam is cooling, place ricotta in a fine meshed sieve over a bowl and allow any excess liquid to drain. Then beat with a whisk until smooth.
3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C fan forced, and line springform cake tin with baking paper. Place flour, almond meal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and process. Add eggs and process till batter comes together.
4. Place half the batter into the tin and press up the sides, about half way up. Top with ricotta, then fig jam, then cover with remaining batter.
5. Bake for about an hour – an hour and a quarter, should be a deep golden; if it becomes too dark and not cooked cover with foil. Remove from oven and leave in tin for 5 minutes before putting on a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

In My Kitchen, February 2015

I’ve said before how much I love the summer months. The warm weather, the long days, it creates the illusion of more TIME, that precious commodity. I’m more energetic at this time of year, wanting to pile more in the day before the cold months arrive. So there has been plenty going on in the Napoli kitchen of late.

In my kitchen you’ll find little fingers that want to lick the bowl. Remember that? I am one of four, and we always used to fight over who would get to lick the cake beaters. The cake is called a Bung In Chocolate Cake, by Kate Bracks from Masterchef (whatever happened to her?). It’s an easy cake made from ingredients I always have in the pantry, and the boys love it.imkfeb (4)

You’ll find a batch of my morning coffee biscuits. I usually make these every few weeks, but hadn’t for a while with other things going on around Christmas and New Years. I was getting complaints from the office (you know who you are) so it was time to whip up a batch. Since I make these so frequently, as well as other biscuits, it made more sense to get the Silpat baking mats, rather than go through reams of baking paper. They are a little big for my baking trays though; in my “next kitchen” (one day) I dream of a monster sized oven.imkfeb (3)

In my kitchen you’ll find pasta sauce. There is nothing better than sauce from home grown, ripe, summer tomatoes. I had so many and they were getting too ripe for salad, so I made a batch of sauce with some basil from the garden thrown in. I always keep some sauce in the freezer, so after work all I have to do is cook up some ravioli or pasta. Presto – a ten minute meal (take that Jamie!).imkfeb (13)

Something to hang onto for your pasta sauce – Parmesan rind. I buy my parmeggiano in big chunks from the Italian deli, and grate it as I need it. Keep the rind – when you are making sauce or stock, chop off a bit and put it in, it’s an extra little flavour dimension. Scoop it out before serving.imkfeb (14)

This is “biscotto” care of Mamma Rosa. I don’t actually know what the proper Italian name for this is, but that’s what we called it growing up. My boys call it “crunchy bread”. It’s a lightly crisped bread, ideal for bruschetta, braised eggplants, cheese, ricotta and any other antipasto. I have the recipe, Mamma Rosa wrote it out for me in my little book of recipes, and its very long! I’ve tried a few people’s versions of this, but no one else’s has this feather light consistency.imkfeb (15)

In my kitchen you’ll find baker’s flour, for my first attempt at baking bread.imkfeb (16)

Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial , who hosts these In My Kitchen sessions each month, sent me a packet of Priscilla, her sourdough starter. Priscilla has been around the world and borne many an offspring with a variety of interesting names. I decided to call mine La Figlia di Priscilla (daughter of Priscilla). Following Celia’s instructions, I bought La Figlia to life.imkfeb1

I then made a dough, shaped a loaf…..imkfeb2

And wow!! My first loaf of homemade bread! It was pretty good for a first attempt.imkfeb3

The following weekend I tried again – this time it was much better as I was much more confident about what I was doing. The first loaf disappeared in the blink of an eye. (Even Mamma Rosa gave it the thumbs up).imkfeb (10)imkfeb (11)

I’m loving my new dishrack from simplehuman. (Do I need to start getting out more when these things excite me?). It has a built in knife block, holds wine glasses, and has a little spout that runs water into the sink. Clever design!

imkfeb (9)

And finally, in my kitchen you’ll find Sydney grown mangoes! My parents have a lovely mango tree in their backyard, and it produces fruit towards the back end of the Queensland season, so we get to enjoy them a little longer. Its the Kensington Pride variety, my favourite. They don’t colour like Queensland mangoes, in fact often they will still have green skin even when completely ripe, but the flavour is amazing.


So long Summer, it’s been great, see you next time.

Zucchini Frittelle

With the bounty of Summer gardens, it was the perfect time to make zucchini frittelle (zucchini fritters). Like crostoli and tiramisu, there are a thousand different versions of these, depending which Nonna you talk to. My Mamma Rosa always uses tomato in hers, and so did my mother-in-law, but a lot of versions you see don’t. Given the season for zucchini flowers is short, you can make these just with zucchini the rest of the year.  I used a 200g zucchini and 100g of flowers; if you don’t have flowers just use 300g of zucchini instead. Or, if you have an abundance of flowers like I did in my kitchen this month, you could use entirely flowers and no grated zucchini, but you will need to add some water to the mixture. You can also use plain or self raising flour (though plain is more typical) – in the ones pictured here I used self raising because when I looked in the cupboard I was out of plain (rookie mistake), and they just come out a little thicker if you do. Replace the eggs with water if you have an egg allergy. (Have I covered every possible permutation yet?).

They are a great snack, or can be part of a selection of antipasto dishes.


Ingredientsimkjan (8)
1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated
100g zucchini flowers, stamen removed, coarsely torn
1 ripe tomato, seeds removed, finely diced
Handful of basil, chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmeggiano
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup plain flour
salt and pepper
Canola oil, for frying

Making them
1. Using a wooden spoon, gently combine the zucchini, flowers, tomato, basil and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add the egg and combine, then add the flour and gently mix until well combined

3. Heat some canola oil in a frypan, then place a heaped tablespoon in the pan, flattening slightly (or use less to make mini bite sized ones). Once golden on the bottom flip over. You should only need to turn them once. Eat warm or at room temperature (if they last long enough to get to room temperature, they never do at my place).

Caramelised Panettone with Grilled Peaches

A few years back, I received a special edition panettone from Ferrero made at Christmas time and shipped from Italy. It is probably one of the few things they made that didn’t have any chocolate or hazelnuts! And it was one of the best panettone I’ve ever eaten in my life, pity they don’t sell them in Australia anymore. Anyway this Tobie Puttock recipe came with it; if you find yourself with excess panettone and too much Summer fruit after Christmas, this recipe is great. If you don’t have Vin Santo other dessert wine will be fine. Serves 4


4 ripe peaches
80 ml Vin Santo
4 eggs
seeds from 1 vanilla pod (or teaspoon of vanilla bean paste)
pinch of each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cardamom
good pinch of brown sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar, extra
4 large thick slices of panettone
80 g butter
icing sugar, for dusting
crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream to serve

Making it
1. Preheat the grill to high. Cut the peaches in half and remove the stones. Grill the peaches until they start to colour, then flip and cook for another minute.

2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Transfer the peaches to a baking dish that will snugly fit them side by side. Pour over the vin santo and add a few tablespoons of water. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the peaches are just cooked all the way through and the skin is pulling away from the flesh. Cool for a few minutes before removing and discarding the skin. There should be a nice syrup in the bottom of the baking dish. Lay the skinned peaches flat side down in the syrup and set aside.

3. Using a fork, combine the eggs with the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and a good pinch of brown sugar. Lay the panettone slices in a baking dish and pour the egg mixture over the top and allow to sit for a few minutes.

4. Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter starts to sizzle, lift the panettone slices out of the egg mixture, holding them up to drain off any excess. Cook in the hot butter until the egg has set and the panettone is golden brown. Remove from the pan.

5. Wipe out the pan with paper towel and place it back on the heat with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 tablespoons water. As soon as the sugar starts to caramelise, return the panettone slices to the pan. When the first side of the panettone is covered in toffee and becoming crunchy, carefully flip and repeat for the other side.

6. Arrange the caramelised panettone on serving plates with the peaches. Pour over any peach juices, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately with a dollop of crème fraiche or ice cream.

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Poached Summer Stone Fruit with Vanilla Ice Cream

This is really simple and delicious.  Usually I put it in a big bowl with a ladle on the table, and everyone can help themselves, but you could serve it individually at a dinner party.  You want nice just ripe fruit so that it will keep it’s shape, if it is too ripe it will fall apart. Serves 8.


300g caster sugar
1 star anise
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Juice of 1 lime
2 yellow peaches
2 white peaches
2 yellow nectarines
2 white nectarines
2 blood plums
2 white plums
4 apricots

Making it
1. Peel all the fruit, cut in half to remove the stone, then cut each half into thirds
2. Place 1 litre of water, sugar, lime juice, star anise and vanilla bean paste in a pot and give it a good whisk. Bring it to the boil.
3. Add the fruit, allow it to boil for a minute, then remove from heat and cover the pot with a lid for an hour.
4. Put the contents in a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
5. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Mango and vanilla parfait

I love mangoes, and all things mango. This is a great dessert to prepare in advance if you’re having guests over. Serves 6.


Mango parfait
250g mango puree
2 tablespoons sugar syrup
80ml milk
3 egg yolks
170ml whipping cream

Vanilla parfait
80ml milk
1 vanilla bean
50g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
170ml whipping cream

Making it
For the mango parfait
1. Mix the mango puree with the sugar syrup
2. Whisk milk, sugar, and egg yolks together in a bowl over boiling water unil the mixture thickens. Set aside and allow to cool.
3. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the cream and mango puree into the egg yolk mixture
4. Divide among your serving glasses and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours. Once frozen, make the vanilla parfait

For the vanilla parfait
1. Cut the vanilla bean down the centre. In a small pot over low heat, place the milk and vanilla bean. Bring to a gentle simmer for 1-2 minutes then remove from heat set aside for 10 minute.
2. Whisk milk, sugar, and egg yolks together in a bowl over boiling water unil the mixture thickens. Set aside and allow to cool.
3. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the cream with the vanilla mixture.
4. Pour over the top of the frozen mango parfait, and return to freezer for at least another 2 hours.

Serve as is or garnish with some fresh chopped mango on top.

Watermelon Granita

Very refreshing on a hot summer’s day, or great as a palate cleanser between courses.


2kg seedless watermelon, rind cut off
220g caster sugar
250ml water
Mint, to garnish

Making it
1. Combine caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat and allow to cool
2. Put the watermelon in a juicer (or in a food processor if you don’t have one) then strain through a sieve
3. Combine sugar syrup and watermelon, and place in a shallow baking tray. Put the baking tray in the freezer
4. After 3-4 hours, once partially set, use a fork to break up the mixture. Return to the freezer and repeat after 2 hours, then again after another 2 hours. If needed, repeat again just before serving
5. Place in a serving glass with a spring of mint

Today’s Cake – Mango Tiramisu

A lovely summer dessert. Very easy and quick to prepare and will serve a decent crowd.


IMG_3321 - CopyIngredients

500g mascarpone
300ml thickened cream
50g pure icing sugar
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 500g packet savoiardi biscuits
2 oranges, juiced
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
4 mangos, sliced
Flaked almonds, to garnish

Making it

1. whip together mascarpone, cream, icing sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla until thick and smooth

2. combine the orange juice and Grand Marnier in a bowl big enough to dip the biscuits

3. place a 23cm springform cake tin on a serving plate (without the base). Spray the sides with olive oil spray or canola spray and line with baking paper.

4. take a biscuit, dip one side into the liquid for a few seconds, then place this side face up in the cake tin. Repeat until you have a layer of biscuits. You can cut a biscuit into smaller pieces to fill any gaps

5. cover the biscuit layer with 1/3 cream mixture, then layer with slices of mangoes

6. repeat until you have 3 layers. Garnish with flaked almonds.

7. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (you could make the day before serving if desired, but don’t add the top layer of mango until ready to serve). Remove the springform tin and then the baking paper and smooth the sides with a knife if needed.