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Showing posts from June, 2017

Cucina Conversations: Semifreddo al Vin cotto

Shiraz grapes are used by papa` to make his vino every wine season and chosen for its high sugar content and flavour with touches of berry, coffee, chocolate, black pepper and violets.  He claims it makes the best home-made red wine and we tend to agree with that point of view. It has been his passion for over 40 years and winemaking in our family goes back a few generations; my recount of this can be found here.  So when the Cucina Conversations ladies decided that this month’s topic was going to evolve around drinks or creating a dish using a drink of some sort, my thoughts automatically went to papa`’s wine and of course the vin cotto mamma cooks down from the grape must every wine season.  I have cooked and shared many family sweet recipes using vin cotto on the blog, and while researching I continue to find many more wonderful recipes incorporating this amazing syrup that I call 'liquid gold'. This recipe for semifreddo will surely please and if you haven't cooked wit…


At the end of every wine making season, there are two bi-products I make sure I have in my pantry; one is a few bunches of dried shiraz grapes (a variety papa` uses for his wine making) for my cheese board and biscuits, and the other is our vin cotto.  The drying of the fruit has only recently become a passion as I love this small variety of grapes used that contains all those typical flavours found in shiraz wine – touches of berry, coffee, chocolate, black pepper and violets.  The making of vin cotto however has been a family practice passed down from generations.  It is known by regional names such as vinocotto,saba or mosto cotto.  Essentially vin cotto means 'cooked wine' though made from un-fermented grape juice or must and contains no alcohol. I will share our family vin cotto making recipe along with a moreish semifreddo desert as part of my Cucina Conversationsedition later this month.

This light agrodolce (sweet & sour) syrup is the perfect balance for sweet and s…

Chestnut & Mushroom Ravioli inspired by an Autumn outing in Daylesford, Victoria

The changing of seasons to the much cooler weather of autumn and now winter can be a bit of a blow, but softened knowing that seasonal produce such as chestnuts will be in abundance.  For me it's the season that calls for a drive to the country to take in all its visual beauty. Daylesford, situated north-west of Melbourne is only an hour and a half driving distance away from our home, and has become one of my favourite little escape destination that can be factored in as a day trip. This quaint township and its neighbouring Hepburn Springs, is lined with deciduous trees that erupt into a blaze of colour during the autumn season and with its beautiful mountain scenery, forests, gardens and lakes, has definitely a magnetic pull. This setting became the perfect day trip and an excuse to stop by at a local orchard to purchase some chestnuts on our way back home. 

Although chestnuts are not native to Australia, their introduction to the gold mining areas of Daylesford, Beechworth and th…