Posts filed under venice

Seafood Linguine

Small Razor Shell and Cockle

I become quite nostalgic when I think of seafood in Italy.  I think that seafood is one of those typical foods you crave when you go somewhere exotic.    

In Venice, the best way to get around is by boat (this would seem logical as the island is made up of 150 canals.)  For this reason, many Venetians own boats and on sunny days go out fishing or go out to get fresh seafood.  

An increasingly common hunt is the 'cappelunghe' which are called 'razor shells' in English.  These bastards live below the sand and leave a tiny hole behind them which helps you to catch them.  The way to catch them is by sprinkling some salt onto the hole in the sand and waiting until you see the creature appear.  Once it has, you pinch it's shell until the sea insect lets go.  

The 'cockle' on the right hand side is the name given for these salt water clams which are very pricey and extremely delicious.  'Spaghetti alle Vongole' is a common pasta dish made out of clams and cockle are it's smaller brother (or sister.)  Similarly to razor shells, they live in the sand and leave a mark whereby you can dig in the sand with your fingers and pull them out.  They are commonly collected by raking them from the sands at low tide when you buy them from the fishmonger but it is a  lot funner to catch them yourself.

Uncleaned mussels at the back of the boat

This recipe is extremely versatile.  

We actually had mussels as well that we caught and cooked separately.  If you would like to use mussels, I suggest cooking them separately first because a lot of water comes out.

  You need to wash them and remove any 'beards' they have (these are small and thread like dangling from the mussels- just pull them off.)  

Heat 2 chopped cloves of garlic in a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and add the prepared mussels.  Add a large splash of wine, allow to heat and then cover for 5 -10 minutes until the mussels have all opened up.  

Seafood Linguin

2 Tablespoons:  Olive Oil 

3 Garlic Cloves

1 Small Fresh Chilli Chopped (Optional)

OR a tsp. paprika (Optional) 

1 Glass of Wine (175ml- think a small glass in a pub) 

Large Handful of Parsley, Roughly Chopped

250g Cherry Tomatoes


2 cans chopped tomatoes

600g Clams

600g Small Razor Shells


Other Seafood: such as King Prawns or squid

Salt and Pep.

In a large pot, put your water on to boil for your pasta and add a large pinch of salt to your pasta water.  Once the water has started boiling, add the linguine.  

Separately in a large pan, fry your garlic and chilli, then add your seafood.

Add the chopped parley

Add the white wine and allow to cook for a short while.

 Once you notice that you clams start to open up add the tomatoes and allow to cook for a further 5 minutes.  Season to taste.  Lots of salt and pepper.

Add the pasta to the seafood deliciousness.  And also add a small splash of olive oil if feeling generous.

Feel happy to devour one of the most beautiful pasta dishes...

Posted on March 26, 2013 and filed under venice, italy.

Baked scallops with béchamel

                                       The Sun Sets in the Venetian lagoon

Traduction: Coquilles saint-jacques gratinées

Traduzione: Gratin di capesante

I've been meaning to write about this recipe which came to me when I thought of my grandmother and how she serves us scallops with an ever so delicate béchamel.  We are extremely spoilt because these scallops are so delicious that is completely understandable that she buys them from her favourite supermarket 'Picard', a luxurious frozen foods brand.  I had always saw them at the Rialto fish market in Venice and thought, these would make a really special dinner party.   


10 Scallops in their shell (or 2 per person, depending how many you're cooking for) 

1 Lemon

For Béchamel sauce:  3 tbs butter, 1 and a half tbs flour, 3 cups of milk, half a tsp of ground nutmeg, salt and pepper

To gratinate:  Breadcrumbs and parmesan  

To start, turn your oven on to 180 degrees C.  Place your scallops in a large oven tray and then preapre your béchamel:  in a medium sized sauce-pan, melt the butter on a low heat and once it is melted add the flour, stirring continuously to make sure no lumps form.  Little by little add the milk.  Add in the nutmeg,  yet never stop stirring the milk.  Once the béchamel has thickened, add a large pinch of salt and pepper.  Taste your sauce and see if it it to your taste.  Put some béchamel in each of the scallop shells and then sprinkle with breadcrumbs and some finely grated grana padano or parmesan.  

These make a very beautiful starter, serve on a bed of rocket and a very cold glass of white wine. 

Posted on October 23, 2012 and filed under venice, italy.

Ottolenghi's Apple and Olive Oil Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Apples and olive oil.  Fresh, light, healthy, summery but most of all, light (again).  Without the icing, this cake is a spectacular snack.  With the icing, this cake is a bundle of joy waiting to be embraced.

This cake is in fact an Ottolenghi invention.  I worked as a waitress at the Ottolenghi shop in Notting Hill for some time and I was always ready to rush to the kitchen and see if there were any broken pieces of the apple and olive oil cake to have a taste.

This cake was for my friend Claudia's on her birthday (hence the later C on the cake) as she was having a dinner party for the 'la festa del Redentore' (Redemption Party), which is one of the largest annual events in Venice. Everyone has dinner parties outdoors in the piazzas, by the canals, in their boats.  Fireworks start around midnight and parties go on all night.

I got a phone call the day after the party from an anonymous number.  A girl that had tried the cake the night before called to ask me the recipe.  I think this cake definitely calls for being not only shared, but multiplied to the masses.  It's a good'un.

Don't be afraid of all the ingredients needed for this cake.  I'm sure they're all in your pantry anyway.  (If you like to bake occasionally) 

3 Bramley apples- peeled, cored and diced into 1cm cubes 

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 egg whites

280g plain flour

160g caster sugar 

120ml olive oil 

80g sultanas

4 tbsp water

 1⁄2 vanilla pod 

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon 

1 1⁄4 tsp bicarbonate of soda 

1⁄2 tsp baking powder 

For the maple icing

220g cream cheese 

100g light muscovado sugar OR icing sugar  

100g unsalted butter, at room temperature 

85ml maple syrup (you may use honey as well)

- Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C.

- Grease and line a 20cm cake tin

- In a saucepan, simmer the sultanas in the water on a low heat until the water has been absorbed

- Sift the flour and the dry ingredients and put aside in one bowl.  

-Put the olive oil and sugar in another bowl.  Cut the vanilla pod open and scrape the seeds into the bowl.  Hand whisk or electric whisk and then add the two large eggs one by one.  Grate the lemon zest, the diced apples and the sultanas.

-Mix the dry ingredients with the mixture.

- In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.  Gradually and gently fold in to the cake mixture.

- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in a preheated oven for 1 and a half hours or until a skewer comes out clean.  

- When the cake is completely cooled, remove the cake from the tin and slice horizontally. 

-Prepare the icing.

- Cream and then beat with an electric whisk the butter and sugar and maple syrup.

- Add the cream cheese and beat until light.

-Spread half of the icing over the bottom half of the cake.  Carefully place the second half of the cake and frost the top.  Decorate with icing sugar/ walnuts or use the maple syrup or honey to decorate..

Posted on September 5, 2012 and filed under venice, italy.

Chocolate & Raspberry Cake with Mascarpone Cream and Amaretti

"Give me an idea and I'll improve it."

Said my conscience the morning of my father's birthday.  And yes, perhaps that is an overcomplicated reason to make a cake.  But I just wanted chocolate okay? And I wanted it decorated.  With raspberries.  And amaretti biscuits.  

200g -  Dark Chocolate

175g-   Unsalted Butter

175g -  200g Caster Sugar

3 Eggs

5 tablespoons- Espresso Coffee/ Instant Coffee

150g- Plain Flour 

For the Cream:

250g- Mascarpone

150g- Icing Sugar

150g - Cacao

(This can be modified for less sugar and no cacao for a sharper taste)

Amaretti Biscuits, Fresh Raspberries to decorate.

- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

- Melt the chocolate over a bowl of simmering water

- In a separate bowl, cream the butter with the sugar and then whisk with an electric whisk.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating in one after another.

- Alternate adding the flour and the coffee, mixing well.

- Put in a buttered or lined cake dish and cook for 20-30 minutes.

Separately, beat your mascarpone with the sugar and cacao.  The icing can be changed for a cream cheese icing.

Add the raspberries and amaretti biscuits!

Posted on August 22, 2012 and filed under italy, venice, sweet, desserts.

Supper Club Venice, Italy

So here we are.  A dinner party where friends, visitors and travelers alike can enjoy a freshly cooked meal in a classic Venetian home whilst sharing their experiences of the most beautiful city in the world.  Sponsors of 'slowfood', our motto is to cook using the freshest ingredients: freshly caught fish and vegetables grown from the local island of Sant'Erasmo.

Our dinner party includes a three course meal with apetizers, wine, coffee and a digestif.  The type of food is typical Venetian cuisine, with influences from around the world.  We are very child friendly, we ask for two days notice and a minimum of four guests.  At the end of supper we ask for a contribution.  If you'd like to know more or reserve please email me at:

Posted on May 27, 2012 and filed under venice.

Baba au Rhum

A week in Cannes to visit the grandparents motivated me to make this baba au rhum- a light sponge cake drizzled in a rum syrup.  My French mother and France is where I got my passion for chocolate and all things sweet from.  After 8 months in Venice I thought, right, I think it's time to visit France again.  I needed to remember the taste of a freshly baked croissant. 

One afternoon, I told my aunt that we needed to go to the patisserie for some pastries.  I chose a chocolate tart, a raspberry and cream tart, lemon meringue tart, mille feuille with a cointreau custard, a coffee eclair and a baba au rhum. 

The baba au rhum was so incredibly popular that I decided to make my own and tell you all about it. 

The cake originates from Poland, with the name of 'babka' meaning 'old woman' or 'grandmother'.  The Rum Baba we know today has been Frenchified and is often made with dried fruit and soaked in rum.  The dessert was brought by French cooks to Naples and is found in many Italian pastry shops.  Grand chef Alain Ducasse uses the Baba au Rhum as his signature dessert in his Michelin starred restaurants.  

The 'Rum Baba' or Baba au Rhum is often eaten with cream or custard and can be served with fruit such as pineapples, passionfruit, mango or berries.  

120g - Self raising Flour or Plain flour with 8g/ 1 and a half teaspoons of baking powder 

50g - Unsalted Butter and

10g for the baking dish

150g - Caster Sugar 

5 Tablespoons - Milk

- Large Eggs, yolks and whites separated

Optional: Currants/ Chopped dried Fruit

For the Rum Syrup: 

150 ml - Water 

5 Tablespoons - Dark Rum

2 Tablespoons - Honey

200g - Caster Sugar

- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

- Cream the butter and sugar together then beat using an electric whisk.  

- Beat in the yolks one at a time

- Sift the flour and stir it in to the mixture

- Stir in the milk

- With a clean electric whisk, beat the whites of egg until risen

- Mix the whites of egg with the rest of the ingredients

In a buttered and lined dish, pour the mixture in.

Cook for 30 minutes or until risen and a knife comes out clean.

Meanwhile, prepare your syrup.

- Put the sugar, honey and water in a saucepan and allow to simmer until it has reduced.  Then add the rum.  Do not boil the rum!

Take out the dish from the oven and allow to cool. Drizzle the rum syrup onto the cake and serve.  Voila'!

Posted on May 9, 2012 and filed under venice, desserts, sweet.