Cardoncelli mushrooms: Possibly not an aphrodisiac but delicious nonetheless

cardoncelli mushrooms r

When autumn approaches, ‘one off’ stalls, selling mushrooms that people have collected, join the regular stalls in the market. Pride of place goes to the Cardoncello mushroom, which grows in the ‘Murgia’ area – the stony elevated plateau that occupies more or less the centre of Puglia. Continue reading

Zucchine alla Poverella

DSC_0569okZucchine allla poverella, has to be one of my favourite dishes from Puglia; golden discs of zucchini, with the taste of good olive oil, garlic, the summery freshness of the mint and the slight tang of vinegar. When I first came to Puglia and was staying at a Masseria I was fascinated to say tray after tray of zucchini slices laying out to dry in the sun, and delighted to taste the results later that evening. Continue reading

Cozze Gratinate – stuffed mussels

bed bed

The bizarrely named ‘Bed Bed”- local purveyor of mussels!

When I first came to Puglia I found a great restaurant with tables looking out to sea. The father of the owner sat in a corner of the terrace, cleaning mussels all day, while on nearby tables happy customers worked their way through huge plates of Spaghetti alle Cozze, Fritto Misto and antipasti including Cozze Gratinate – stuffed mussels. Continue reading

Ingredients from Puglia – vegetables

It may be the Neapolitans who were historically known as ’mangia foglie e mangia maccheroni’ – leaf and pasta eaters, but fruit and vegetables, whether cultivated or growing wild, have also always played a significant part in the cuisine of … Continue reading

Today I went to market and I bought…..

market reducedI always love going to the market in Monopoli, where I live. On one level I feel at home, the stall holders know me and call out hello and the staff in Caffe Roma on the corner of the market square (the best ice cream in Puglia) know that I want a double coffee, still water and a cornetto (pastry not ice cream!) with apricot jam. In another way  it makes me feel like I am permanently on holiday, the calls of the vendors still seem quaint, the colour and freshness of the vegetables exceptional, the setting beautiful in a way that says ‘you are in Italy’.

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Pettole – not just for Christmas (in my book!)

Pettole

Pettole are crisp, light balls of yeast dough and can be either sweet or savoury. The sweet version is dusted with icing sugar, or drizzled with honey or ‘vincotto’ before serving, the savoury version traditionally has a filling of salt cod or cauliflower, but there are other, tastier, variations such as sliced olive, sundried tomatoes and anchovies.

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