Category Archives: recipes

Green Figs

figThis recipe uses up all of those unripe green figs that are still clinging on to your tree as autumn approaches.

Across most cooler climates is wise to remove any unripened  figs larger than a pea from your tree. This is because when larger fruit are left to overwinter not only will they seldom (if ever) ripen but they are also liable to deter new fruits from forming for the following season.

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Loose Women and Feta Cheese – by Barry Lillie

I arrived home from a morning in the office where I was split between my Italian colleagues and my English clients. Three and a half hours of swapping business style and language can really be quit…

Source: Loose Women and Feta Cheese

Gluten Free Sticky Ginger Cake


  • 120 gms treacle  (you can use 140 gms of golden syrup instead of  the treacle and honey mix – but this will make a paler and in my opinion far less flavoursome cake).
  • 20 gms honey (you can go the whole hog with treacle but this is my lip service to healthy!)
  • 115 gms unsalted butter (or substitute olive or other spread – but butter works best)
  • 115 gms dark brown sugar (you can use moist light brown but as with the treacle it does affected colour and to some extent flavour).
  • 250 gms gf flour (you can substitute 40 gms with coconut flour for nuttier flavour)
  • 2/3 tsp ground ginger (or to taste)
  • 1 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or to taste. Use mixed spice if prefered)
  • 1.5 tsp gf baking powder
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 1 tsp gf bicarb
  • 3 chunks of stem ginger finely chopped (you can use crystalised ginger, or better still the Buderim ‘naked’ preserved ginger, in which case and half dozen or so chunks (or more according to your preference)
  • 2 tbsp stem ginger syrup (if crystalised ginger is used substitute with maple or similar ‘light’ syrup)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 fl oz milk



  1. Heat over to 180c (350f or gas4)
  2. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin or 2 X 1 lb tins or deep tray-bake pan.
  3. Put syrups, butter and sugar in pan and gently melt together
  4. Sift all other dry ingredients into large bowl
  5. Add cooled butter/syrup and mix well
  6. Add chopped ginger, eggs and milk and mix well with wooden spoon. (Should be a loose mixture (but not runny) for best results. Add a little more milk if required)
  7. Pour into greased tin and bake for 50-55 mins – sponge should spring back when lightly touched. If making as tray-bakes adjust the baking time.
  8. Leave to cool for 10 mins before removing from tin. (Some people may like to add some water icing before storing but I prefer not as I think the ‘sticky’ top that forms after 12 to 24 hours is rather the point)
  9. Will keep in airtight tin for up to 7 days


I found quite by accident (I ran out of ground ginger) that blitzing some crystalised ginger to a paste is a great (if expensive) substitute for the powdered form but needs slightly more cinnamon or mixed spice



No gluten free cakes in our local Morrisons today  to offer guests (apart from the almond slices which from the taste are apparently made from 80% sugar bleugh!!!) Continue reading

Quick Pork and Asparagus Lunch

More flavours of Italy from ‘The Britalian’

Being Britalian

One of the things that I like most about being in middle Italy is seasonal eating. Italy is much better than the UK for eating what is in season rather than importing from far afield: Now this is only an observation based upon my experience here in Abruzzo. Possibly up in the affluent North there’s supermarkets filled with out-of-season produce meaning the discerning Milanese can have asparagus all year round.

What a coincidence…

It’s asparagus that I’m talking about today – Okay I admit it, that was a tenuous link.

Italian asparagus season starts in March with the local population combing every lane and slice of rough land for the wild variety, which is bitter to the palate and spindly; but good in an omelette with lashings of black pepper and a knob of salted butter. At the moment cultivated asparagus is in abundance; In fact down at our local…

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Green Pies from Italy

A taste of Italy from Barry Lillie

Being Britalian

Before moving to Italy a pie for me had either steak and kidney or chicken and mushrooms inside. I was never a fan of the British meat and potato pie, it just seemed odd to have a vegetable like the humble potato inside a pastry case and to be honest it felt like a reason to use less meat. But here in Italy they make pies filled with no meat at all and so far I’ve been lucky to have sampled some delicious ones. One of my favourites is artichoke pie (torta carciofo) and the best one I have ever tasted was made by Bruna and served during family lunch with friends in Lanciano.

Before moving from the UK I used to host what I called al fresco day, and I’d invite around thirty friends over and cook for them. During one of these days I did once make Antonio…

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Ghost of Family Xmases Past

Reading  posts across various blogs about Christmases-past-and-present has set me thinking about the family traditions of my own childhood, and at the risk of sounding terribly boring ours were nothing out of the ordinary.

My family did the usual things familiar to all the length and breadth of these islands. We ate too much foimages (1)od, watched too much tv, played board games and ate even more food. As my father had just one sister, and Sussex was too far from Mother’s Welsh clans, Christmas was always celebrated among we five; my parents, my two elder brothers and me.

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