The simple life

I couldn’t very well leave Italy without banging on about pasta first. I love pasta. It’s simple and inexpensive, and comes into its own only when few ingredients are used – Italy’s answer to eating frugally. Italians have an innate ability to do it well. They know the rules and stick by them. When I was

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Soil and soul

Soil. I’ve never seen, talked about and moved so much of the stuff as I have in the past couple of weeks. My second workaway has brought me and Ben to the Prosecco hillsides of Veneto in north-east Italy. It’s a beautiful background for what became a fortnight of adequately hard labour. We dug holes, planted

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Stalks and all

Fresh herbs are great. When all you have are a few back-of-fridge ingredients, herbs are the stuff to reach for. Finely chop and sprinkle them on a hot bowl of yesterday’s rice, chop them up with oil and drizzle over fried eggs or bash them into a pesto and spread over hot toast. These are delicious meals at little

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Piemonte, Italy

I’ve been working and staying in Piemonte, a region in the north-west of Italy, for just over two weeks now. It’s a place of extreme beauty. Sheer forested mountains, rolling vineyards, clear lakes, running rivers, immense waterfalls, trickling streams, hot sunshine and tremendous thunderstorms. Every morning, I wake up to the sound of cows being

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A very French preserve

My uncle Yves, or tonton Yves as we all call him, lives in the house my great grandparents once owned, and where my grandad was born. It’s a residential townhouse on a busy road in a smallish Northern French town. Nothing much to look at from the front, but walk through to the back and

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Hainanese chicken

Chicken worth its stock

Cooking a whole bird in a pot of water will supply you with a whole week’s worth of meals. It’s one of the most affordable ways of eating quality, well-reared meat, and a method that although sounds weird, pops up in traditional peasant cooking everywhere, from France to China. My mum tells me that this

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Risotto & other things

For someone who doesn’t particularly like risotto, I do love making it. This is a recent discovery, and a good one, too. After a pretty stressful few weeks, making risotto feels like a meditative release. There’s something about the ritual of it; taking time to slowly feed a pot of rice until they swell into little

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greens at market

Seasons greens

I bloody love leafy greens. Mainly because they are never in short supply, even in winter. And secondly because they’re impossible to waste; so willing they are to adapt to whatever’s on the stove. Chard, kale and beet tops have pretty much formed the mainstay of my meals over the last few months of winter;

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chickpeas in broth

A broth worth keeping

Soaking and cooking beans from their dried form can make you feel like you’ve achieved something. There’s little effort that goes into it really, but still, I’m pleased with myself whenever I get round to it. I’m trying though, to make it a regular thing, soaking beans whenever I think of it, then taking a

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Food is for sharing

The Real Junk Food Project is undoubtedly one of my favourite anti-food waste initiatives of the past couple of years. You might have heard of it. It started as a single café in Leeds, but went on to inspire another 40 odd to open across the UK. They all operate on a pay-as-you-feel basis, all from food

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