Poor man’s courgettes – Salento style

Zucchine alla poverella, versione salentina. From Salento, Puglia.

  • 1 kilogram courgettes, washed and cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
  • olive oil
  • parsley, chopped
  • salt

  1. Sprinkle the courgettes with salt and drain in a colander for a while to remove some of their liquid.
  2. Fry the cloves of garlic in plenty of olive oil until golden. Remove the garlic and discard.
  3. Add the courgettes to the pan and fry until done. Note: Shake the pan rather than stirring to avoid the courgettes becoming mushy.
  4. Adjust the salt, sprinkle with parsley and serve as an antipasto or a side dish (it is also good cold)

Artichokes with anchovies

Carciofi alle acciughe. We are well into artichoke season now and I seem to be eating them three times a week. Not a problem :-)Serves 4

artichokes with anchovies ingredients

4 Artichokes
3 salted anchovies (or 6 tinned fillets)
    olive oil
1 clove garlic

  • Trim and quarter the artichokes
  • Fry the whole, peeled garlic clove in a little olive oil until browned, remove and discard.
  • Add the artichokes and about 1cm of water. Cover and steam until the artichokes are tender.
  • If using salted anchovies, fillet, soak for 10 minutes in cold water and drain
  • Remove the artichoke from the pan and add the anchovies. Reduce the cooking liquid, stirring all the time, until the anchovies have disolved.
  • Return the artichokes to the pan, mix well and cook for a few minutes to allow them to take up the sauce.
  • Serve as a side dish

artichokes with anchovies finished dish

Fennel ‘alla diavola’


Finocchi alla diavola.  Alla diavola  translates as ‘the devil’s way’ which usually means a little spicy. In this case it means that the dish includes hot mustard. The recipe comes from the Silver Spoon, so I haven’t actually seen it in Italy. It is good for people who don’t normally like fennel, as the mustard and vinegar remove the strong aniseed taste that many people find distasteful. Serves 4.

Fennel alla diavola ingredients

Fennel alla diavola ingredients


  • 4 salted anchovies (or 8 tinned fillets) — cleaned, filleted and soaked, then chopped
  • 50 ml  olive oil
  • 4 fennel bulbs — trimmed and cut into wedges
  • 1 tsp dijon or English mustard
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • juice of a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the anchovies and cook, mashing with a wooden spoon, until they have almost disintegrated, then add the fennel.
  2. Mix together the mustard and vinegar, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the mixture over the fennel.
  3. Cover and cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, until the fennel is tender. Add a little water from time to time if necessary.
  4. Remove the fennel from the pan and place on a warmed serving dish. Turn up the heat, add the lemon juice to the cooking liquid and stir until it starts to thicken
  5. Pour the sauce over the fennel and serve.
Fennel alla diavola finished dish

Fennel alla diavola finished dish



Mushroom ‘arraganati’

This is a great way to cook mushrooms. I used a mixture of cardoncelli and pioppini but it would go well with any kind. Serve it as a side dish with anything you fancy.  It would go great with game.

Serves 4

Mushrooms ingredients

Mushrooms ingredients

  •   480 g  mushrooms — cleaned and halved
  •   60 g  bread crumbs
  •   40 g  pecorino Romano — grated
  •   4 cloves  garlic — chopped
  •   200 g  tomato — chopped
  •   40 ml  olive oil
  •   4 sprigs  parsley — chopped
  1. Mix together the bread crumbs, pecorino, parsley, garlic and oil. Season
  2. Mix with your hands until it comes together.
  3. Put the mushrooms and tomatoes into an oven proof dish and top with the bread crumb mixture
  4. Bake at 180 °C for about half an hour.
Baked mushrooms finished dish

Baked mushrooms finished dish

Potatoes with garlic and rosemary

A great side dish. Goes great with a roast. If you don’t have to meet anyone within the following 24 hours, peel and eat the garlic, it’s delicious. Otherwise fish it out and throw it away. The potatoes will still retain a distinct but not overpowering garlic kick. Serves 4

Potatoes with garlic and rosemary finished dish

Potatoes with garlic and rosemary finished dish

  •   4  medium  potatoes — diced
  •   1  head  garlic — separated into cloves, but not peeled
  •   2  sprigs  rosemary — removed from the stalk and roughly chopped
  •   olive oil
  •   coarse sea salt
  1. Fry the potatoes and garlic in a little olive oil over a medium heat
  2. When nicely brown and cooked through (about 25 mins) , throw in the rosemary
  3. Season with sea salt and serve immediately.