Some snaps from Rome & the addict’s recipe …

Rome was exactly what I had expected. Full of life and sunshine, it is a city of hustle and bustle, of espresso shots and scooters and of incredible ancient ruins scattered across the entire city. Rome is a city for exploration, of religious devotion and most importantly for food.

When backpacking  across Europe I was savvy with my money and often I bought food at shops and markets or binged on complimentary continental breakfasts supplied by the many hostels I visited – For Italy however my frugalness left me and I ate out all day everyday during my stay at this vibrant and gastronomic country!

Italian food is my absolute favorite. Where taste and comfort is at the heart of it, Italian food does away with any fuss or pretension and when made with love and fresh ingredients packed with flavour – Italian food is eccezionale!

Below are a few snaps from my trip to Rome and below that is this week’s scrap on an Italian favorite – Gnocchi. It’s surprisingly easy to make and the recipe below is fool proof, perfect for a lazy sunday afternoon whatever the weather. Admittedly I tried my first ever Gnocchi in Rome and let me tell ‘ya – I wasn’t disappointed!

I ate at a small restaurant that was a short walk away from my hostel. Tempio di Mecenate is a cosy spot where they serve good wholesome homey food. It’s good value too and is close to the enchanting Porta Magica – a magic portal in a garden which is a quiet and special find rarely surrounded by tourists.  Before traveling to another dimension, I recommend having lunch at the restaurant and although it will cost you extra, sit outside in the sun – it will be worth it.

Old school Roman dining beside a garden of magic – bellissima! (…yes I’m unashamedly throwing Italian words into my post)

House of Augustus
House of Augustus

House of Augustus Tower

Virgin Pillar

Pantheon, Rome.

Pantheon, Pillars


Pantheon, Entrance


Although in Rome, I had Gnocchi with a rich ragu sauce. The recipe below is perfect for beginners and although it does take some time, it is incredibly simple and can be made into larger batches and stored in the freezer for future use.

This recipe ensures the Gnocchi is the centre of attention. The sauce is very light which I think compliments this starchy and substantial pasta

Ingredients (Serves two) 

2 large potatoes

2 cups of flour

2 eggs





pine nuts


Lemon juice

salt and pepper

olive oil

  1. Peel the potatoes and boil them in a pot for about 20mins (or until tender). Do not overcook them. You want the potatoes to be tender and fluffy – not too soft and mushy.
  2. Drain the potatoes well. You want to get rid of all excess water and have the potatoes dry before mashing.
  3. Give your potatoes a good mashing (or push them through a potato ricer – if you’re more fortunate than I & have one)
  4. Place mashed potato on a clear work surface and top with the flour.
  5. Grate a generous amount of the cheese and add it to the potato and flour mixture.
  6. Sprinkle some salt on the mound and roughly give it a mix with your hands.
  7. Create a well in the centre of the mound and add the beaten eggs.
  8. Mix the flour, potato, cheese and egg together until it forms a dough.
  9. Knead it only until it becomes well formed. It should be a little sticky but not too much. NOTE: If a little flour is needed add some but be careful – too much flour will make the pasta hard.
  10. Shape the dough into one large rectangular shape making sure it is even in height, about 2cm thick.
  11. Cut dough into rectangular strips about 10cm long.
  12. Roll each strip into a sausage shape making sure it is even.
  13. Cut the sausage shape into 2cm pieces and use a fork to indent the gnocchi pieces with ridges.
  14. FOR THE SAUCE: As the fresh gnocchi takes only 4mins to cook. Leave the pasta aside and dice an onion and some garlic.
  15. In a hot pan saute the onion and garlic with some butter and in a separate pan toast the pine nuts until golden.
  16. In a pot of boiling salted water add the gnocchi and cook for 4mins ( you will know when the pasta is done as the gnocchi will float to the top)
  17. Drain the gnocchi and toss it into the pan. Mix the gnocchi in the buttery sauce gently and tear some basil leaves adding the herb & a little more butter to the pan. Add the toasted pine nuts to the pan with the squeezed juice of about half a lemon also. Stir gently. Season with salt if needed (bare in mind the cheese & butter is salty) & a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
  18. Serve in warm bowls with grated Parmesan on top, a sprig of basil & a final sprinkling of nuts. A drizzle of olive oil wouldn’t go amiss either!

Dig in!

NOTE: Gnocchi can be kept in the freezer for future use. Just pack the pieces in a zip bag with a little dusting of flour (to prevent them sticking) and defrost them the night before you need them

This is comfort food in a bowl and although it uses simple ingredients -it doesn’t skimp on flavour. It may take some time and attention but gnocchi isn’t as daunting  as you’d think – give it ago.


Expect more posts on my Italian adventures. I have tonnes of photos, tips and recipes I want to share. This was only a little taste of Rome, there’s plenty more to come – so look out for more on the scrapbook

Spaghetti alla sanguinaccio

This is my own creation and thanks to google translate I know what blood sausage in Italian is! It was a fluke really but this dish turned out so well I thought I’d post it here. I was trying to use up some leftovers in the fridge one evening and the idea of using black and white pudding (or blood sausage) in a pasta dish seemed like a good idea – and it was.

the scrap is a nice short one and like usual it’s a quick meal. The recipe is very similar to spaghetti puttanesca which is one of my all time Italian favourites as it uses no fresh ingredients – even the parsley I used as a garnish is dried. All the ingredients can be found in the pantry and as far as I’m know – the infamous pasta dish got its name for that very reason. Apparently, Spaghetti puttanesca  is so-called  as it was a dish ‘ladies of night’ could cook & eat between clients. As it used a series of condiments and items found in a pantry it also meant no sleep was sacrificed in getting up early in the morning after a hard night’s work to gather fresh ingredients  – if i’m mistaken let me know but it’s a great explanation nonetheless.

So whether or not you have gentlemen or ladies calling during the night – this scrap has a nice kick to it!



Can of chopped tomatoes

dried garlic

white & black pudding (or blood sausage)

dried parsley 

salt & black pepper

spring onion

jar of red pepper relish 

red chili flakes


olive oil


  1. Place the pasta in a pot of salted water and bring to the boil.
  2. chop the spring onion and the pudding/sausage into bite sized pieces
  3. In a pan heat some olive oil and add the pudding.
  4. Stir the pan and let the pudding brown on all sides, so that it has a crunchy coating and bite to it.
  5. Add the onion and saute, stirring the pan.
  6. add the can of tomatoes and add a tablespoon of the red pepper relish and stir.
  7. Add the dried herbs and the chili flakes. Stir.
  8. When the pasta is al-dente, strain it and add it to the pan. Stir the pasta and sauce together.
  9. Serve in a warm bowl with one final garnish of dried parsley accompanied with buttery slices of thick crusty bread.


The recipe couldn’t be easier and of course feel free to add black olives, if I had them at the time I would’ve surely used them. Similarly to the Spaghetti puttanesca, the dish’s inspiration – capers would work brilliantly as well but the scrap above is tasty too without!