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Recipes my Nonna taught m by FrancenThis article has been inspired by a Christmas present I received from the States - Recipes My Nonna Taught Me by Francena

So many of you have wonderful recipes you have collected over the years. You should consider following Fran's example and creating your own cookbook so that the recipes will never be lost to the family. They are a family heirloom.

At the bottom of the page I will give you details of how you can obtain a copy of the book in the meantime, reprinted for your enjoyment, here is the Introduction from the book.


When I was a little girl I would visit my Sicilian grandmother (Nonna). Her house gave me a warm feeling because she was always cooking. She never followed a recipe so I would watch her cook and write down all the ingredients. She used a pinch of this and a handful of that and was a delight to watch. Everything she made was delicious. She would always say "mangiare, mangiare" which means eat, eat. My grandmother is the reason that I love to cook. Some of my recipes are over fifty years old, a few are variations of others I have gathered throughout the years, and several are original. My daughters, Kris and Jill, are excellent cooks. Our house is so food oriented that whenever anyone comes to visit they are always hungry as soon as they walk in the door even if they have just eaten. Can you imagine how hard it is to diet in a house like this?

I have never though of myself as a great cook, but quite a few of my friends would disagree. Cooking is not difficult, but there is more to cooking than just preparing the food. Cooking is a combination of various tastes, colours and textures. No matter how delicious the food, if it does not look appetising it will not taste good. Appearance is as important as taste. Food has to be pleasing to the eye. Some of my recipes are really simple and require almost no preparation but others are more time consuming. Most of my recipes can be made without adding salt and by using very little fat. Ingredients can vary to personal taste. For example, some olive oils are stronger than others and some cheeses are sharper. I use a recipe as a guide but never follow it exactly.

Olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, onions and pasta are staple ingredients I always have on hand. With just these five ingredients you can create an entire meal. Pasta can easily be served several nights a week in a variety of ways. Sometimes I work with what I have on hand trying out various combinations. When I have guests for diner for the first time I serve onion sandwiches, manicotti, salad, Italian bread, red wine, cream puffs and cappucino. This is an ideal meal because everything is finished before the guests arrive. The only thing I have to do is toss the salad and serve the manicotti. I also try to eat about one hour after the guests arrive. I serve myself first because no one will start eating until I sit down and this will assure that their food will be hot.

The main reason I wrote this cookbook is to preserve my heritage and have something for my children and their children. I have tried to create a cookbook that is fun, easy to follow, simple to prepare and delicious. This cookbook is not fancy but it is practical and a useful addition to your kitchen. Try experimenting with my recipes to create your own individual coking personality - that's what cooking is all about.

Buon Appetito!


If you would like to purchase a copy of Recipes my Nonna taught me by Francena go to her website at

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