Category Archives: cook

From Tartufo, with love…

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I know for a fact that any words describing my incredible experience at Tartufo would not suffice.  From the fresh warm interior-crusty exterior bread served to us immediately upon entering the gorgeous Roman-esque interior to the ‘Start planning my funeral, I’m happy to die here’ mini calzones with fresh sugo – this place, my friends, is one of a kind.

The generous, hard working, passionate and super friendly Tony Percuoco is the proud owner of this establishment, and judging from my 3 hour degustation of bliss I believe he has single handidly put Tartufo as Brisbane’s number 1 must visit Italian restaurant. Tony’s passion for food and art are visible in every corner of this sophisticated establishment, I couldn’t recommend it enough.

When it comes to Italian food, both my mother and I are what you would call A-grade snobs. Rightly so, as every dish for us isn’t just a food slapped on a plate  – but a memory or a connection to our time back in Italy.

Mama and me, somewhere in southern Italy

This is where I think Tartufo differs from all the other Italian restaurants, the dishes are simple yet stylish. They are more than adequate representations of what a typical Italian family would feast around on a special occasion: like the end of a week, the day after Nonna bought 50kgs on special or your distant cousin’s 42nd birthday – you know the drill, right?

Mum and I were recommended to have the nine course degustation, and by the end of it I thought I was going to slip into a fully satisfied food coma. It was one of the best meals of my life – sorry Nonna! (I may regret saying that, if you haven’t heard from me in a while – safe to say Nonna just found out her tiramisu has been trumped!)

It’s really difficult to narrow down the highlights…especially since Tartufo prides itself on excellent customer service (the non-Italian waiters even take the time to practice the correct pronunciation of dishes! Very impressed!) a childhood favourite, the Vitello Tonnato was definitely a standout as were the gorgeous melt-in-your-mouth mini calzones with home made sugo. Incredible.

A few glasses of immaculate vinos and half a glass of Sicilian dessert wine later…I can still remember how each dish tasted, THAT my friends, is not only an achievement in itself, BUT a sure sign of an amazing experience.

To book your Italian ‘experience’ complete with hilarious jokes, lovely family-like staff and a good drop of Italian red visit  your life will never be the same!

Buon Appetito!

x Juju

Ristorante Tartufo on Urbanspoon

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Today’s breakfast – ‘Osh-nana-tella-sanga’

Brioche, banana, nutella sandwich.  A perfect Sunday brekky smash hit or a naughty snack. This sanga is what the Russian Babushkas are to Eurovision = golden gold.

If you are thinking “what can I substitute to make it less fattening?” then stop. Walk away and grow some koftas. This a breakfast TREAT! Impress your friends, eat during a self-pity binge  – that kind of treat. Capish?

1 banana
2 slices of brioche bread
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
2tsp mascarpone
Crushed pistachios to decorate


Heat butter in a heavy set saucepan, add brown sugar while butter is bubbling away. Once sugar starts to caramelize, add in sliced banana. Turn banana pieces over after one side is a lovely brown yet slightly crispy texture. Repeat on the other side. Place cooked banana on a paper towel.

Heat a grill pan to medium heat then add brioche slices, cook both sides until zebra-like lines appear on bread. Spread one side of sanga with nutella and the other with mascarpone.  Place bananas on top of nutella side and then add the other slice. Top off with a good dollop of mascarpone and decorate with a few crushed pistachios.

Wait for pop sound, that’s your artery. Whatevs. Eat up!!!

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Lend me some sugar, I am your neighbour….

” The creative options with sugar are endless. I can caramelize it, bake it, whip it, stretch it. The results are always something that make people happy.”  Gena Karpf,  Sweetness.

I recently had the honour of meeting Gena at the Noosa Food and Wine Festival. This incredible woman was so passionate about her products. Her words of wisdom, like sugar itself, made you just want to go back for more.

It’s no doubt that I’m not the only one who thinks Gena is pretty rad, in fact in 2011 her addictive Macadamia shortbread was a finalist in the Delicious Magazine Produce Awards.

This year is no different, Gena has come out guns a blazin’ with her gourmet flavoured ‘mallows, English toffee and (my personal favourite) Candied Oranges dipped in chocolate.

I was lucky enough to take home some goodies from her stall, including this ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ chocolate flavoured mallow. Yes. Chocolate! Perfect with a cup of spearmint tea or (if you are feeling creative) a killer ingredient to bake with…choc chip and choc mallow cookies anyone?

Check out all the sweetness here >

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Fresh pasta a la creamy salmon!

Remember Nonna’s recipe for fresh fettucini? Well, here’s hoping I did it justice!!! Enjoy!!!

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Nonna knows best…

Today I learnt a few things, which isn’t surprising since I spent the morning with Nonna showing me the basics.  That’s right, she showed me the Italian nectar….the homemade Fettucini.

It’s surprisingly easy, and if you have guns of steel like Nonna…then kneading shouldn’t be too bad! The great thing about this recipe is that it only has 2 ingredients!!! 3 cups of plain flour, and 3 eggs!!!



Polpette di Riso (Rice Croquettes)

Typically Italian, this recipe focuses on using leftovers to create an even tastier finger food. And seriously, take anything, deep fry it and it’s 100 times more delish. No? Si!

The beauty about making a rice based dish such as risotto is that it’s super easy to make too much of it, so Polpette di Riso is the perfect solution to stop food wastage.

It’s important to note that the number of croquettes you can get out of this recipe is completely relative to how much risotto you have left over, quantities in this recipe are a general guide…if you have any questions feel free to post a comment!


4 cups of leftover risotto or cooked rice (must refrigerated overnight)

2 cloves garlic

handful of fresh parsley

1 cup of finely chopped english spinach

100g finely grated Parmesan cheese (you can use cheddar or mozzarella if you wish)

1 egg (beaten)

2 cups breadcrumbs

1/2 cup of plain flour

salt, pepper to taste

vegetable oil (for deep fry)


Prepare your workspace into a lovely little assembly line. Line up risotto, plain flour, beaten egg and finally the breadcrumbs.
Mix risotto, garlic, spinach, parsley, cheese and salt and pepper into a large bowl and spoon mixture into tightly packed balls or mini sausage shapes (it’s important the rice is very tighly packed together in its shape).
Coat in a light layer of flour before dipping quickly into the egg mixture and finally rolling it in the bread crumbs. Set aside on a paper towel. Repeat the assembly line process until desired quantity of croquettes.
Heat enough vegetable oil to deep fry, once oil is hot (test it out by dropping a tiny bit of the beaten egg mixture, if it goes nuts – your oil is ready) place on high/mid heat.
Deep fry croquettes until a nice golden colour, drain and place on paper towel – season with a pinch of salt.
Happy frying!

Tea-cake is never a mis-take.

I will save you the apologies for not blogging enough, as it seems as though every post begins with an excuse anyway!
The last couple of weekends I have made the decision to stay at home and indulge in the simple things, partly because I have come to the realisation that I am a shop-a-holic and partly because the typical Brisbane summer is upon us –  it’s either you witness your lungs filling with air that feels like it’s just come out of a hairdryer or the electrical storms outside mean you are housebound with the air-con on so high you are wearing last season’s cardigan.

Needless to say, baking is something that you can do in either situation and it’s cheap, yummy and truly rewarding for both the baker and the eatee. Staying at home and saving your pennies does not have to be boring when you have a bunch of ingredients at hand, in your face Global Financial Crisis-what-what!

Apple tea-cake with Butterscotch sauce


  • 3 Tbsp Apple Sauce
  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 2 packets of Green’s vanilla cake mix (ingredients as per instructions on box)

Butterscotch sauce

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp sour cream
  • 50g butter (unsalted)


Preheat oven to 180 degrees or as per packet instructions.

Grease a round, spring-form cake pan with a little bit of butter.  Prepare apples by thinly slicing 2 Granny Smith apples and place sliced apples in a separate bowl – we will use them a bit later.  Peel and core the remaining two apples and cut into small little cubes – also place into a separate bowl.

In a large mixing bowl prepare the vanilla cake mix as per instructions, when at the beating stage be sure to really get air in the mix, if not the cake will come out too dense.

Once batter is ready, stir in apple sauce and cubed apples in the mixing bowl then pour mix into greased cake pan.  Place in oven for about 10 minutes or until top of the cake becomes slightly cooked.  Take cake out of the oven and placed sliced apples on top in a decorative manner. Cover cake with aluminium foil, and place in the oven for about 40-45 minutes or until a skewer placed in the middle comes out clean.  During the last five minutes of baking time, remove aluminium foil and allow the apples on top to become a slight golden colour.

Remove cake from oven for about 10 minutes before placing on cooling rack.

** Note, the reason for this method is to allow the apples on the top not to sink into the batter and also to prevent the middle of the cake from undercooking.

Butterscotch sauce

Heat butter on medium to high heat in a heavy based small saucepan, once all the butter is truly melted an a slight foam appears add brown sugar. Slowly add sour cream and cook on high heat until a syrupy texture is formed.  Allow syrup to create bubbles then turn heat to low setting and allow to simmer. Keep stirring consistently to prevent lumps and once syrup starts to coat the back of the spoon and become more of a ‘sauce’ texture, take saucepan completely off the heat. If sauce is too ‘gluggy’ place back on low-med heat and add some milk or cream until desired texture.

Pour sauce over the cake once the exterior of the cake has cooled down completely. Serve warm with ice cream and of course, your favourite tea!

Juju vs Fast food

When I was a kid, I was fortunate enough to never eat anything out of a bag, tin can or instant sachet.  In fact, back in Italy I remember not even having a microwave. Everything was fresh, locally grown, homemade and delicious!

When mamma used to ask me what I wanted to have as a dinner treat on my birthday, I would always say the same thing every year – homemade gnocchi with smoked salmon and cream. And every year, mamma would deliver the deliciousness!
It really really saddens me how these days a ‘treat’ is considered something so processed, dripping in goodness knows what and able to have the ability to survive a nuclear war.
Being a 9-5er and the only one in the marriage possessing the ultimate survival skill of cooking something longer for than 2 minutes, I understand that sometimes you just couldn’t be bothered.  But truth is, you can really have tasty quick meals with minimum effort.

So this week my challenge is to cook some fast food favourites, Juju style.

First up, we have the undeniably popular pizza. (Don’t even get me started at how much it’s been bastardized – that’s a whole other story!) Traditionally pizza should have no more than four ingredients and yes that is including the cheese! These babies only took ten minutes to make and if you are like me and are trying to get your beach body on, you can play around with toppings to make it a little bit more healthy.

Chicken, spinach and fetta pizza (healthy option!)

Tomato passata or pasta sauce** pick one without any added herbs, you can add fresh ones instead 
Fresh baby spinach
Danish fetta
Grilled chicken pieces (you can use leftover BBQ chicken breast too)
Fresh parsley
Spread about a tablespoon of passata on your tortilla, add toppings making sure to crumble some extra Danish fetta on top.  Place in the oven at 200 degrees for about 5-10minutes.  Yum!
BBQ Chicken lovers pizza (Husband’s fave)


Tomato passata or pasta sauce
Grilled chicken
BBQ sauce
Cherry tomatoes
Spread about a tablespoon of passata on your tortilla, add all toppings except for mozzarella cheese.  Par bake pizza for about 5-7 minutes on 200 degrees, then take out and spread a generous amount of mozzarella cheese.  Put back in the oven for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Another option with this is adding red Spanish onion if you have any in your fridge!
Stay tuned! x

It ain’t easy being green, when you are so damn delicious!

This weekend we shared a little food love with some of our hero friends, Becky and Aaron at the Casa de Mawande.  I wanted to make a classic roast chicken with a twist, after flicking through some recipes I came across Sir Jamie Oliver’s (he totally should be knighted by now) Salsa Verde which is Italian for Green Sauce.  I told my mamma that I was making it from Sir Oliver’s recipe and she laughed at me, I guess it would be the equivalent of looking up how to make Vegemite toast from a Donna Hay book.  But whatever…it tasted delish! The beauty of this sauce is that it goes AH-MAH-ZING with ANY roast meat, and if you have any leftovers the next day it makes for a mean gourmet breakfast for someone you want to share a bit of food lovin with. 

Salsa Verde

• 1 small handful of capers
• 1 small handful of gherkins pickled in sweet vinegar
• 1½–2 cloves of garlic, peeled
• 2 large handfuls of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
• 1 bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked
• 1 handful of fresh mint, leaves picked
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 8 tablespoons really good extra virgin olive oil
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Finely chop (or chuck in a mixer)the garlic, capers, gherkins, and herbs and put them into a bowl. Add the mustard and vinegar, then slowly stir in the olive oil until you achieve the right consistency. Balance the flavours with freshly ground black pepper, a bit of salt and maybe a little more vinegar.

Sunday Breakfast to impress
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Mushrooms
  • Salsa Verde (leftover)
  • Balsamic-roasted vine tomatoes

In an oven proof dish, place tomatoes (with vine still attached) with olive oil and a good pinch of salt in the oven at about 180 degrees, monitor them until skin bursts (that’s when you know they are cooked through). Take them out of the oven and while still hot, splash a bit of balsamic vinegar – be careful not to drown them, just a good splash will do. Cook your eggs to your liking, for poached eggs make sure you use white vinegar in your boiling water (and egg rings to keep them in a neat shape!). Drain and put to the side covering with a paper towel, cook bacon and mushrooms in same pan (if the mushrooms are looking dismal and dry add a wee bit of olive oil). Plate up with salsa verde, add cracked pepper to eggs and mushrooms and a slice of grainy toast. Good mornin’!

Strawberry lovin’

I love that this little recipe has run in our family for years, and I am very excited to share it with you…

These sweet marinated strawberries are your perfect summer friends, serve with a nice scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream and you will be wishing you were a strawberry yourself…swimming in that sweet, tangy, syrupy goodness…mmmm!

Wogalicious Marinated Strawberries 


1 punnet of strawberries
1 orange, freshly squeezed
½ cup of caster sugar
½ shot of Contreau (optional)
2 cups of boiling water


Wash and cut strawberries in quarters, add to bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix in sugar, freshly squeezed orange juice with boiling water until all the sugar is dissolved.  Add boiling water mix to strawberries, add shot of Contreau (optional). Chill in the fridge for approx 2 hours before serving.  Remember that the longer you leave in the fridge, the longer the strawberries have to suck up all that juicy goodness…this is an ideal dessert recipe to prepare the night before.  

Serve with delicious creamy vanilla ice cream and wafers! Yum!!