MORE AUTUMN PRODUCE… lemons and quinces, wild mushrooms and homemade pasta

The old autumn favourites are back.

I have bought Cime di rapa, sautéed them with Italian pork sausages (chilli flavoured) and ate them with orecchiette and grated, strong, pecorino cheese.


There were artichokes, fennel and even chicory for sale, and because of the colder weather the heads of red Radicchio seemed firmer than two weeks ago.


This week one friend dropped off a bag of  fresh lemons from her father’s tree. A generous amount. and a welcome gesture.


I had a couple of quinces left over from last week and I added  slices of four large lemons when I baked them.  Yet again, I baked the quinces with different flavours. Honey as the sweetener and Tuaca from Livorno –  this is a sweetish, golden brown liqueur, and the ingredients include brandy, citrus essences, vanilla, and other secret spices – probably ordinary simple cinnamon and nutmeg .


I included quite a few black peppercorns, cinnamon quills and star anise in the mix.


The lemons turn out like marmalade, only crispy at the edges…I like the texture and intense taste.


I also added a dash of Vanilla and some water. It is not necessary to use ample amounts of alcohol unless you want to, but probably if you did, the taste would be superb.


Another surprise, another gift from different friends who live in Red Hill. On their morning walk they collected some saffron coloured, pine mushrooms (Lactarius deliciosus), also called  saffron milk caps and red pine mushrooms. He who works in the city on occasions let me know that he had some for me. The small mushrooms look fabulous left whole and perfect for showing off and the bigger ones get sliced… they are very meaty.


Holly,  the Cocker Spaniel loves  any opportunity to have her photo taken. She is like Photographer William Wegman’s photographic,  Weimaraner dogs.


I cooked the mushrooms with garlic, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary and nepitella and a dash of white wine.

The mushrooms made a flavourful pasta sauce and went well with the home made egg tagliatelle.

Making pasta is easy – 100g of flour per egg. I use hard flour (durum wheat, high protein, the same as I use for making bread).

I used 300g of flour and 3 eggs and this fed two of us with a small bit left over for a snack the next day.

Place the flour in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, crack the eggs into it, add a bit of salt and stir the eggs with a fork.

Use your fingers to mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined.

Knead to make one smooth lump of dough.

You can also make your dough in a food processor –  put everything in, mix with the paddle attachment until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs, then remove the attachment and use your hands and bring the dough together into one lump.

I then divide the large ball into 3 smaller lumps, wrap them in film and put it in the fridge to rest for about 1 hour or so. The approx. 100g quantities balls makes it easier when you roll out the pasta or feed the pasta through the rolling machine. Flattern the ball before you feed it through, do this several times before you use the tagliatelle cutting section of the pasta machine.


During the week I also made some pasta made with rye flour and with a rolling pin flattened each ball between two pieces of  baking paper. Cut into strips.

Very simple.

Mushrooms and home made Pasta:

WILD MUSHROOMS, I have been foraging again

PASTA WITH MUSHROOMS – Pasta ai funghi

WILD MUSHROOMS – Saffron Coloured, Pine Mushrooms and Slippery Jacks

QUADRUCCI IN BRODO, Squares of home-made Pasta in Broth

GNUCCHITEDDI (Making small gnocchi shapes using my great grandmother’s device)

Pasta with cime di rapa (rape is plural):



CIME DI RAPE (A winter green)

About Nepitella:



AUTUMN FRUIT and baked quinces

A Tale about QUINCES




PASTA CON CARCIOFI (Pasta with artichoke sauce)

Shoppers seem to be more familiar and discerning when selecting what used to be referred to as a ‘challenging vegetable’, and this could be contributing to the good quality of artichokes on sale.

As we are heading into spring (in Australia), artichokes are becoming more plentiful. Lately I have seen and purchased some very good artichokes at the Queen Victoria Market. I do like whole, stuffed, braised artichokes, however sliced artichokes can be sautéed and used to make a frittata, risotto or a pasta sauce.


The following is a standard pasta sauce made in most parts of Italy. Most regions use a few tomatoes (tinned at this time of year). I actually prefer the sauce without them and use extra wine for the extra moisture which may be required to soften the artichokes. Butter is added at the end to sweeten and bring together the flavours, but is generally not used in some regions of Italy (mainly in the south).


fettuccine all’uovo, 500 g (egg pasta)
tomatoes, 300g peeled and sliced (canned are OK at this time of year)
butter, 3 tablespoons
extra virgin olive oil, ½- ¾ cup
artichokes, 3-4, young and fresh
garlic, to taste
salt and coarsely-ground black pepper, to taste
white wine, 1 cup
fresh parsley, ½ cup
grated parmesan cheese, to taste


Prepare artichokes: strip off outer leaves until you have leaves that are lighter in colour and less fibrous.
Cut the artichokes into quarters and then into slices. Trim the stalk of their fibrous outer cover and slice. Keep the artichokes in acidulated water (lemon juice) to prevent from discolouring.
Heat the olive oil in a large shallow pan, add the well drained artichokes and sauté for approximately 3-4 minutes.
Add white wine and evaporate for a few minutes.
Add tomatoes, garlic, seasoning and parsley; taste the artichokes and decide if they need more cooking, cover and simmer till cooked (if the artichokes are tender it may only be 5-10 minutes). Add extra wine or stock if necessary.
Dress the pasta with the sauce. Add butter at this stage.
Place parmesan cheese on the table (or use pecorino if you wish it to be a southern Italian) .
For other artichokes recipes and how to clean them, hit this link.