Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

cake, cookery books, cooking, desserts, new book, party, recipes, tiramisu, treat, writing


I am so happy to announce that my new book, Tiramisu Recipes from Italian Friends and Family, has been published. This is my fourth book, but in a sense it’s my first book in a new genre, the non-fiction one, so it feels like a new experience all together.

In my previous blog I mentioned some of the challenges I faced writing a cookery book, but there have been more, of which I will talk about in future blogs. But for now, I want to focus on all the people that have helped to make it happen.

The first ones I need to acknowledge are the people who have actually contributed the recipes for these lovely desserts. There are twenty-five delicious tiramisus that feature in my book, and you can take a look at the photos here.

Below are the names of my friends and family who have shared their tiramisu recipes, and without them, the book would not exist. I have of course, included myself in the list 🙂

Giulia Beyman, Anna Maria Serra, Monica Loi, Cristina Garau, Dalia Portas, Laura Puddu, Rita Puddu, Claudia Peduzzi, Manuela Paric’, Ferruccio Munzittu, Mariangela Panu, Rita Dessì, Martina Munzittu, Maria Grazia Munzittu, Maria Antonietta Munzittu, Tiziana Munzittu, Sofia Rossiter, Severa Soddu, Brunella Formentini.

Having written fiction before, I had never handled images and text together, so I needed some help with that. And there I found Janet Tallon, a very talented designer who was able to create a great looking cookery book, a fantastic book cover and an enticing tiramisu party invitation. She deserves a big thank you.

One of the biggest challenges for me, when I was writing the quantities of the ingredients, was the measurement conversion. As if it weren’t bad enough to convert from metric to imperial, I discovered the American cups. This deserves a blog post in itself. Suffice it to say, for now, that I was lucky enough to find a very nice and knowledgeable food blogger, Jean, who was extremely helpful and gave me some great advice on converting my metric measurements to US cups. So a massive thank you goes to Jean.

The index at the end of the book was done by my lovely friend and brilliant author Joanne Phillips, she’s a professional indexer, so I couldn’t get any luckier than that!

The final challenge was the creation of the ebook. I had formatted my own fiction ebooks before, but doing one for a book with photos was a different matter. I wanted an ebook that looked as professional as the printed version, and unless I spent hours on a course learning how to do it, it wasn’t going to happen. I discovered that one of my Facebook friends, Serena Zonca, did just this sort of thing professionally, so I asked her to take care of the digital edition of Tiramisu Recipes, and she did a fantastic job.

There have also been friends behind the scenes that have tried and tested some of the tiramisu recipes. And this is a massive contribution for me, because I wanted to see how easy they were to ‘execute’, and if they tasted as good to them as they tasted to me!

What can I say? I feel really lucky to have had such a supportive team around me. I think you should all raise a virtual glass with me, or in this case, with a tiramisu, a cup of espresso coffee is definitely more suited.

cookery books, cooking, recipes


It’s been a little quiet on my blog lately. The reason for this is that I have been busy trying to write some cookery books. Cookery books? you might ask. Yes.

If you have read A Deal with a Stranger or The Broken Heart Refuge 1, you might have noticed that the protagonists of these stories are slightly obsessed with cooking and eating. That is no big deal, they’re Italian, and it’s quite natural for Italians to have a passion for food.

I had been thinking for a long time about writing a cookery book. But I wanted to write it as a collection of recipes from friends and family from Italy, rather than my own recipes. First of all because I don’t have that many recipes myself, I am no chef. And second because I have a huge family and many, many friends who CAN cook.

So I started this huge project which involved asking members of my family and friends in Italy for their recipes and collecting them. Not only that, I also asked them to take photos of their dish while they prepared it. At the moment I’m writing three books, one on tiramisu, one on risotto and one on pasta sauce recipes. The first book, the one on tiramisu recipes, should be published in July.

Now you know why I haven’t been so active on my blog lately.

The writing of these books has presented some challenges, which I thought I could share with you in my next articles. The first one been a purely organizational one.

My husband is an IT Project Manager and when I discussed with him what I was doing, that is, coordinating about 50 Italian people, to give me recipes and photos for three cookery books, he just looked at me with an expression that said “bonkers”. And bonkers it’s been.

The following hiccups have been experienced during the collection of recipes.

  1. Not reading the instructions on how to submit a recipe, hence recipes that come in various formats, or with dosages done by ‘eye’.
  2. People sending just photos and not recipes, saying “I’ll tell you the recipe on Skype.”
  3.  People sending just the recipe without the photos.
  4. People sending photos in such low resolution that you can barely see what’s in it.
  5. People saying they will do two recipes for you and then telling you, past the deadline, they don’t have the time.
  6. Deadline. What is such a word? People send the recipe only after you remind them several times. If they send it at all.

Anyway, the reality is, I can’t be too harsh with my friends and family, after all they’re all doing me a favour in sharing their recipes, and let’s face it, I’m not a model of great time-keeping myself. I was the last one to type my own recipes and take my photos!

Still, despite all the above, the books are proceeding well and I’m hoping to have all three books published by the end of 2014.

My mum is quite disappointed that she’ll have to wait a little longer to read The Broken Heart Refuge 2. Occasionally, when I’m on the phone to her in Italy and we talk about these books I can hear a note of sadness in her voice. Lately she asked “Was there a need to write these books? Surely everybody knows how to cook pasta?”


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