Silvestro Salento

la crostata col fichi secchi: dried fig tart  Her tiny features appear in my cameras viewfinder as I focus, her self-consciousness something new between us. ‘So, Anna, tell me what you’re doing while you’re doing it’, I say, the tiny mirror in my camera clinking up and down. ‘Hello, I am Anna, Silvestro’s house keeper and I’m making a dried fig tart’, […]Read more
buon natale da Lecce, Italia…….the Christmas lights in Lecce, Italia.          We hope you can be with us next year, in our kitchen and around our table. Buon Natala da Lecce.  Read more
li lampascioni: hyacinth bulbsIt used to be that when students booked, I’d ask them what they expected to find with regards to the food of the Salento. The initial answers back were always vague but every once in a while someone would put the foreign take on Italian food into a cozy sound bite: Cream in the north, […]Read more
la cicoria lessa: boiled chicory‘So tell me, what is the biggest surprise about your job to those that don’t work in the field’, is the question I always ask when stumped for a good question at a dinner party, whenever there is painful lull. I like the question because it comes across as geniune, and because nearly everyone has […]Read more
La Cotognata (Quince Paste, Salento-Style)  Come autumn time here in the Salento, a number of fruits and vegetables start to turn up in the markets, just like old cherished friends that have moved away but then came back again.Faces light up. There is lots of smiling, happy greetings.’We’ll have to have you around for dinner, now that you’re back […]Read more
eating the calendar: our tomato sauce, last year, this year and the next‘E mo’ si balla belle mie‘, I say to the last three remaining bottles of tomato sauce in the back recesses of the storage shelves, ‘It’s time to dance, my beauties’.  I crack the seal on one of them and the castle kitchen fills with the tangy, saline blood-smell of tomatoes. But not just ‘tomatoes’, […]Read more
lu ranu stumpatu al vincotto (wheat berries with reduced grape must)Hemingway is often credited with the phrase, Dessert is for those that don’t drink enough. Whether he said it or not, it’s something that often saunters through my head when my eyes pass over the ‘dolci’ section of a dinner menù, the same way they do when I pass a women’s shoe store or a […]Read more
la capunata (detto ‘la cialda pugliese): a barley-bread based saladTry it sometime. Next time folks ask what you do for a living, tell them that you run a cooking school in Italy. They’ll be instantly at ease and more than pleasantly surprised, eager to talk about recipes, their favourite restaurants and wines that they’ve had recently. Complete strangers will open up, the conversation as […]Read more
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