Gnudi Naked Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings

During our last Florence tour, we made these gnudi (naked spinach dumplings) and shared them at Novella and Paolo’s vineyard in the Tuscan hills . These are delicate, delicious and nutritious, great for the whole family and special enough for any birthday party and if you close your eyes you may just taste a morsel of Tuscany.

  Italian Spinach dumplings  getting  made in Italy in a tuscan kitchen


For 6/8 people

500gm of fresh ricotta

800gm fresh spinach

80-100gm of Parmigiano

2 eggs

some nutmeg

pinch of salt

some flour


Put the fresh spinach in a pot and steam, then set aside in a colander to drain (the longer the better -it can be done the night before).

Put the ricotta in another colander to drain as well (the longer the better - it can be done the night before).

Chop the spinach finely with a knife, add the ricotta, parmigiano, salt and the nutmeg. Add the eggs and mix well (you can use your hands, we do!)

If it all looks too soft, add a bit of flour to hold everything together. But not too much or they'll go hard.

Put a big pot of water on to boil and once the water is boiling add salt. At this point roll the dumplings through a floured surface and put a few at a time into the boiling water. Once they surface, let them cook for 20 seconds then pull out and put aside. Keep doing this until you have cooked all of your gnudi. They can then be eaten with a bit of parmigiano or in a previously made tomato sauce.








Passionate Lemon Tart Recipe

  Passionate Lemon Tart Recipe

The past two weeks I’ve been working on private dinner party catering, a corporate event, some adult cooking classes and a craft beer event up on the central coast. It was such fun to cook so many of the things I love: onion and pumpkin comfit crostini, duck ragu’, traditional lasagnas, slow roasted lamb shoulders in lemons and wine, beef with dark onion reduction, fennel salads with fresh lemons, mini panna cotta's and more. After back to back jobs, all I wanted to do this week was hang out with the kids. Since Coco was unwell Felix decided he should take over her Monday cooking duties and make her a chocolate cake. Coco was delighted by Felix’s gesture and as soon as she started feeling better she figured we should cook a cake for Felix to thank him. . . my kids dont milk it they cake it! Anyway Felix wanted a lemon cake and apperantly Coco's pandas did as well so we made a vertion of the torta my mother used to make in Florence for me when I was little, the recipe is almost the same but Coco and I have decided to add passion fruit since we have so many of them in the house at the moment and we are crazy about them so: Passionaite Lemon Tart it is! ole'! Ciao have a lovely week, Annalisa Coco and Felix

Passionate Lemon Tart Recipe

Bottom layer
1 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg beaten 
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoon flour
2 eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice ( you can add grated rind)
1/2 passion fruits (optional)
 How to:
 mix all bottom layer ingredients in a mixer untill they come together. Take the mixture out and press it into the bottom of the cake dish you will be using to bake (I use a cute round  ceramic one so I can serve the cake directly from it without trying to get it out), put this in the fridge for half hour to an hour. Then cook in the oven for about 20 minutes at 180 or untill the crust starts to get a nice colour.
While the bottom layer is cooking, mix all the ingrdients for the filling.
Take  the cake out of the oven, add the filling and put back in the oven for about 20-25 minutes once again. 



Coco cooks Monday...with Felix: Osso Buco

 My two little chefs Felix and Coco. I love this picture by Julie Adams

My two little chefs Felix and Coco. I love this picture by Julie Adams taken for the An Affair with Italy shoot we did last month. Lately, Felix is increasingly interested in what Coco's doing in her Monday cooking class with me so when he feels like it he helps as well. This Monday we made Osso buco in tomato - a traditional Tuscan recipe with a side of green beans and some potatoes. It was late so the pictures I took are not that great but it tasted fabulous and the kids loved it. We had dinner way too late for a Monday night, it was hectic but also fun (I had some wine)& it reminded me of when I was a child and how late we used to eat dinner at home in Italy. It gave us a special family moment on an averege day and the kids took pride in what they helped cook for dinner which is always priceless. After we ate, Coco and Mike practiced the recorder and felix and I read a book. We're such the model family. . . if you dont count all the screaming and time outs we have along the way hahaah, this week I loved my monday.

    • 1 Carrot finely chopped
    • 1 Onion finely chopped
    • 1 celery stick finely chopped
    • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
    • 4 small veal or beef osso buco
    • a bit of flour to dust
    • 250ml of beef or veal broth
    • 2 cans of whole tomatoes
    • 1 cup of water 1/2 cup of white wine
    • a knob of butter
    • a splash of olive oil
    • lemon rind and chopped up parsley to serve

HOW TO: Put the carrot, celery, onion, garlic in a deep pan/pot with the butter and olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly browned, remove from pan and set aside. Flour the osso buchi and snip little cuts into the cartillage around the meat (so that when you cook them they dont curl up!). Add a bit of butter and olive oil to the same pan you used for the vegetables and brown on both sides, about 5 mins, remove from pan and set asaide on a plate. Now take your vegetables and put them back in the pan. Add the vegetables to the pan with the meat juices and splash with the wine, let it evaporate then add the tomatoes, broth and water. Add the meat to the pan/pot and cover leaving just a little bit uncovered. Cook gently for at least 2 hours. Serve and sprinkle with chopped up parsley and lemon. I like to have litle roasted potatoes to go along that can be dipped in the delicious marrow and a green vegetables, we chose green beans since they where $4.99 a kilo at harris farm (instead of the usual $9.99). When the meat is tender take the lid off and continue to cook for 30 minutes to reduce the sauce. enjoy

 This is one of the dishes from my Italian Cooking Classes

Easy Recipes to cook with kids now on: An affair with Italy

 Easy Recipes to cook with kids  from An Affair with Italy

We had so much fun cooking with An Affair With Italy recently and we came up with special, easy recipes to cook with your children in the kitchen. Have a go, have some fun! clik here to go to the article on An Affair With Italy, get the recipes and view lovely picture by photographer Julie Adamas. If you feel like experiencing a fun cooking class with your child, or on your own have a look at our cooking class schedule by cliking here I hope you have a delicious day, ciao from Annalisa and Coco (photo credit for this blog post: Julie Adams)

Ciambellone recipe for An Affair with Italy and The Grace Tales

For the next 4 weeks the Coco cooks Monday's recipes will be on the fabulous An Affair with Italy Magazine, Please click on the photo for the the full recipe. This recipe was inspired by a fabulous mother, cook and friend of mine Simona, thank you for the inspiration in life and cooking "la tua sara' sempre piu' buona!"

New articles out today!

 An Affair with Italy and The Grace Tales collaborating to write about our cooking classes for children and mothers day on their magazines.

I am thirlled about An Affair with Italy and The Grace Tales collaborating to write about our cooking classes for children and mothers day on their magazines. Enjoy! and I hope to see you soon for a cooking class at the a. ferrari kitchen! BOOK A CLASS or send me an email today if you would like to sign up to some fun! enjoy the articles in these fantastic magazines and the amazing pictures by Julie Adams bellow:

Pan di Ramerino (tuscan rosemary hot cross buns)

Pan di Ramerino (tuscan rosemary hot cross buns)

Pan di Ramerino (Tuscan Rosemary hot cross buns). On Monday Coco and Felix mixed the dough for these Panini di Ramerino a Tuscan rustic, rosemary-scented version of hot cross buns. Today we baked them for our afternoon tea. Pan di Ramerino is dense, sweet and aromatic breadPan di Ramerino (Tuscan Rosemary hot cross buns). On Monday Coco and Felix mixed the dough for these Panini di Ramerino a Tuscan rustic, rosemary-scented version of hot cross buns. Today we baked them for our afternoon tea. Pan di Ramerino is dense, sweet and aromatic bread.

Cookie Tea Party

Cookie Tea Party

Since we are feeling o so very Christmassy Coco has made cookies with her little helper Felix and they are getting ready to host a tea party for their animals. We had no shapes available so we rolled the dough into a cylinder and cut off rounds, cooked the biscuits then decorated them with white vanilla icing sugar and sparkling red and green sugar crystals. 

Coco cooks Mondays: pasta with peas, cream, broccoli and parmigiano recipe

Coco had a look at our fridge this evening and I must say there was not much in there for her to work with, but she decided on pasta and to make the meal more complete she chose peas from the freezer and to use some broccoli from our garden. I suggested a bit of cream to pull the dish together and make it a bit relish. So I boiled water for coco she put the broccoli in and we cooked them for 3-4 minutes. i then helped her get them out with a slotted spoon and move them to a fry pan. She aded a garlic clove a bit of olive oil the frozen peas and cooked them together for a 2-3 minutes. I then  dropped the rigatoni in the boiling water we used to cook the broccoli and strained them for her when al dente. Coco loved the fact we used the same water we cooked the broccoli in for the pasta, she enjoyed thinking that any nutrients released in the water would then mingle with the pasta and end up in her plate.  She then took the pasta aded it to the fry pan with the vegetables, added a bit of cream and parmigiano and Monday dinner was ready....easy, cheep, yummy and fun pouring and stirring. 


one clove of garlic

a few peas

some broccoli

1/4 cup of cream

parmigiano to taste

Cook the broccoli in boiling water 3-4 minutes and transfer to a fry pan with garlic and peas, a plash of olive oil and a dash of the cooking water from the broccoli. Simmer gently for 3-4 minutes.

Put pasta into the boiling water previously used for broccoli, cook then add pasta to the fry pan, mix add cream and parmigiano and enjoy.