Author: Rachel Priestley

Rachel Priestley, a cook and wine and food consultant, has opened Italian restaurants and wine bars in Italy and in Vienna. Passionate about Italian food, she has spent 10 years living and working in Italy, including six years in Tuscany. She exports a line of gourmet artisan-produced Italian products and fine Italian wines into New Zealand, where she produces a range of products. She divides her time between Tuscany and New Zealand. You can contact her at [email protected] and follow her on twitter: @ProdigaDaughter.
October 10, 2013

Fresh from the vine

I love this time of the year: the autumnal colours intensify as the evenings begin their shorter fall into dusk. The shades become stronger just before nightfall, and we see more of that amazingly intense hue of the sky, il cielo azzurro, that powerful blue the heavens offer around sunset,
July 11, 2013

Prawn with lardo di Colonnata and mint recipe

Colonnata, a very small town high up in the white marble mountains of Carrara, near the Tuscan coast, is known for its lardo, the cured back fat of the pig, a high-energy food developed out of necessity: to keep workers sustained during their several-day shifts working in the
June 6, 2013

Baccalà alla livornese

As spring turns into summer, walking along the Arno—fresh in the morning, with beautiful sunsets in the evening—gets me thinking of the sea, for it is not far away, and the late spring breeze wafts its aroma inland. I love eating seafood at this time of
May 9, 2013

Mushrooming in the kitchen

One of my favourite things to do at this time of the year is to go to the Sant’Ambrogio market to see what the beginning of spring mushroom season has to offer. My first experience of mushrooming in Italy occurred when I lived in the mountain town of
March 28, 2013

A Tuscan feast for pasqua

My memories of Easter as a little girl growing up in New Zealand involve camping, trout fishing and Easter egg hunts. To me, Easter meant a short break from school and an active home life, usually a long weekend road trip with family, and hot cross buns, chocolate and marshmallow
February 28, 2013

Makin’ bacon

When I moved from New Zealand to Italy in 2001, I missed many things from home. Not only was the spoken language different, but the difference was deeper than vocabulary: the sentence structure of Italian was so unlike that of English; Italian has both formal and informal address, expressed in
January 31, 2013

Fritto misto alla fiorentina

I took a foreign friend to a local trattoria on my side of the river, diladdarno, to sample a favourite local dish, fritto misto alla fiorentina. When he heard my order, he wondered why on earth anyone would want to deep-fry a beautiful fiorentina steak and, even more perplexing,
December 13, 2012

Get in the game

In English, we categorise game into two distinct categories: furred game and feathered game. In Italian, the feathered game is called volatili (fliers). Christmas Day calls for a flier. Or maybe two!   My morning walks take me past the restaurant Fuori Porta and into the back of the areas
November 8, 2012

A recipe for Tuscan meatballs

A wonderfully memorable food-filled weekend with friends in the countryside near Siena has confirmed for me, once again, that Italians are the most food-passionate people in the world. Some of the guests brought their own wines and olive oils for me to taste, and we talked about the
October 11, 2012

Rachel’s Ribollita

With autumn truly upon us and the colours in the fields and markets changing, so are the flavours of our table. Now that the wine harvest is done and while the olive groves await harvest, it's time to store some of our autumn harvest-as well as eat some. &