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Cucina Conversations

Cucina Conversations is introduced to you as a collaborative project initiated by seven like-minded women from around the globe coming together to share our passion for Italian seasonal food, its history and related recipes.   We are: Rosemarie - of Sicilian and Calabrian descent, author of her blog Turin Mamma who also writes for Italy Magazine, originally from Sydney, Australia and now resides in Turin;  Marialuisa - who titled her blog Marmellata di Cipolle based around her notion on life - tears, sweetness, and adventures, lives in Calabria;   Francesca - an Italo/American residing in Rome shares her passion for writing and cooking  via Pancakes and Biscotti; Daniela - a food traveller shares her culinary experiences  and recipes via La Dani Gourmet, was born and raised in Milan and now lives in Tuscany;  Flavia - born in Washington, DC and now living in Texas, shares her passion for Italian recipes on her blog Flavia's Flavors;  Lisa - a New Zealander married to an Italian and lives in France. She writes about her passion for Italian cuisine and travel on her blog Italian Kiwi.   Finally there is me, Carmen an Italo/Australian, born in Piedmont and migrated to Melbourne, Australia at the age of five. I have maintained a sense of nostalgia and share simple recipes, travels and anecdotes from my Italian family heritage, mainly from the regions of Basilicata & Sicily, via The Heirloom ChroniclesTogether, we hope to impart our love for Italian cuisine through recipes and related conversations.







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Panzerotti /Tortelli di Castagne & Cioccolato (Chestnut & chocolate filled morsels)

When I think of chestnuts, I reminisce about my birth town - Domodossola, where I was first introduced to this distinctive flavoured nut.  We were fortunate to live close to Sacro Monte Calvario, a mountain lined with chestnut trees. My mother cooked many dishes which used this flavorsome nut, especially sweets such as these panzerotti di castagne & cioccolato.  Withthis sweet mamma has more recently substituted the chestnut filling with chickpeas as they are readily available all year round and knowing that my papa`enjoys this sweetmade frequently.

Chestnut season is a favourite for our whole family and we are of the belief that if you've never had a freshly roasted chestnut you haven't lived. We often visit Daylesford in country Victoria around autumn to purchase them fresh and enjoy them roasted at the farmers markets.

This recipe is a variation of panzerotti / tortelli di ceci which I have shared previously with you.  The filling is more delicate in texture and lighter t…

Cucina Conversations: Cassatelle Siciliane

Cassatelle are typical Sicilian pastries filled with lemon scented ricotta, and also known as cassateddi in Sicilian dialect.  The name derives from the word cassata, and by adding the diminutive suffix ‘ella’ you get the word cassatella, a smaller individual serving. An assortment of these pastries can be found in different regions of Sicily and are considered traditional deserts for the Carnevale and Easter period. In researching this topic, I become enthralled by the history behind the most complex of cassate from Palermo through to these more simple-to-make pastries from Siracusa, and therefore could not help but share some of its history with you.
Sicily is known as the sweets centre of Italy, and it appears that the most colourful and famous cassatasiciliana in all its glory, is one of the reasons.  It is believed to have originated in Palermo, made with sheep’s milk ricotta – at its richest and herbaceous during Spring; and containing other ingredients prevalent to the area suc…

Cucina Conversations:Pasta Mollicata (Pasta with Breadcrumbs)

We begin 2018’s Cucina Conversations calendar with the notion of ‘waste not, want not’. The subject here being stale bread or pane raffermo as it is known in Italian; and the endless uses of this staple ingredient found in every kitchen I’m sure.  Many would agree that it should never be thrown out just because it has passed its prime, in fact my nonne considered and mamma still believes that throwing out old bread is sacrilegious due to its religious significance.

One of the best things about bread second to enjoying it freshly baked, is its amazing ability to absorb other flavours and ingredients better when at least a day old. If you are not a big fan of day old bread, the simplest thing you can do with it is to turn it into bread crumbs, so don't throw it out. It has however subsequent thrifty uses and found in many Italian recipes. This month we share a few of those recipes and show you how a simple stale ingredient such as bread can be turned into a delicious meal.
I’ve ch…