A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in Florence, sitting on the steps of the Sant’Ambrogio church waiting for Emiko Davies to meet me with daughter Mariu (above) and husband Marco so we could spend a day together shopping, cooking and eating. It was, a complete treat and joy.
I was in Italy to cook for the art class that my Mum Annie Herron had organised and hosted in the village of Lecchi in Chianti and had just finished seven days there cooking for the group, which I’ll post about here shortly too.
Emiko and I first ‘met’ thanks to Instagram some years ago now and I count her as one of the most talented, generous and creative women I know (if you haven’t yet – please seek out her books Florentine and Aquacotta – both are big favourites of mine). Earlier this year Emiko came to Orange and co-hosted a workshop with me and I was just so thrilled at the chance to catch up again this moth – and take the opportunity to interview her for the My Open Kitchen Podcast.
The bonus episode featuring our chats as we wander around the market and then sit around the table finishing lunch and drinking coffee can be found over on the show notes (which also include loads of links to Emiko’s favourite food writers and instagram-ers) or find us on i-tunes.
The Sant’Ambrogio markets are the ‘true Florentine market’ as Emiko tells me in the podcast as we wander around picking up berries, greens and tomatoes for lunch. Once the shopping was done, we met up with Marco and Mariu for a quick coffee before heading up the hill away from the crazy busy centre of town to the green, calm and very lovely town of Settignano. Actually a suburb of Florence, it feels a million miles away from the city and Emiko, Marco and Mariu live here in a shady courtyard overlooking abandoned olive groves and sprawling villas.
For lunch, we shared pasta with cherry tomato sauce, fresh mozarella, salami, foccacia and and my absolute new favourite way with zucchinis – prepared ‘alla scapece’. Links to all these recipes by Emiko can be found below.
This is exactly my perfect food – fresh, tasty, simple and easy to throw together. Emiko’s pasta with raw tomatoes is definitely one to book mark (the one difference from the pic above to the recipe linked here is that on the day we had this, Emiko used cherry tomatoes and so didn’t bother with peeling!)
Oh my gosh – this Zucchine alla Scapece was so delicious! Tangy, crunchy and singing with vinegar I am absolutely going to be making this all through next summer.
And to finish a seriously lovely meal, much of which I recorded for our podcast! Emiko pulled out this showstopper! Millefoglie is a classic Italian pudding and just SO delicious.
This is where the magic happens guys! Emiko has written two books from this little desk by the window and with such a pretty view on one side and cosy, well-appointed kitchen on the other you can see where the inspiration flows from!