Giulia Scarpaleggia is a food writer and photographer, as well as teacher of Tuscan cooking classes in her family house in the countryside. She was born and bred in Tuscany and started this blog in 2009 to collect family recipes and stories. If you like traditional, seasonal food, the Tuscan countryside and a genuine approach to life, you’ll love her recipes.
I am pretty sure the first recipe I learn to cook was the Italian crema pasticciera, our thick pudding-like custard. The family version of this recipe has an easy ratio to remember: one egg, one tablespoon of flour, two tablespoons of sugar, a quarter of milk. There were many superstitions related to making a good crema, as always use a wooden spoon, always stir clockwise, or anticlockwise, cook the crema on the smallest flame and never watch tv while stirring!
On top of Duomo of Florence, exploring the roofs and the breathtaking view. There, surrounded by all that impressive art and the beautiful roof tiles made by the artisans in Impruneta, I felt the urge to prepare a peposo, a black peppercorn beef stew.
It is said to have been Brunelleschi’s favourite. If it inspired the Florence dome, it is definitely worth the 3 hour simmering on low heat.
It is usually the seasonality that inspires me a new recipe, so it is a mix of scent and taste, a pairing of seasonal ingredients. Many recipes come to my mind when I’m walking in the countryside, this is when I can let my thoughts run free, and they come back with ideas for something to cook.
I often listen to music while I write or cook. If I’m writing, it is usually a soft, non-intrusive music, often soundtracks as Amelie or The last of the Mohicans. If I’m cooking, it is usually a bolder kind of
Yes, I always think about a recipe that can be shared, appreciated by other people, cooked for someone you love… that’s why I aim to simple food, to feed and nurture, not to impress. I write for people with different cooking skills, so I try to be precise with instructions, trying not to give something for granted. Also, I always say buy the best ingredients you can afford, and make the most out of them.
I tend to shop at the market, especially for fruit and vegetables, or directly from the producers for cheese. Even when I go to the supermarket, I search for local ingredients and smaller producers. I search for human stories, I want to know the people behind the food.
I think new generations are inspired by stories. Searching for those stories in ingredients and producers naturally pushes you towards a more meaningful approach to cooking. Then, it is all a matter of organisation, of planning a few simple meals during the week made with seasonal ingredients. Even those recipes that require a long cooking can often be made while doing something else, like watching an episode of your favourite series on Netflix!