In­dulge in the sweet life with these gor­geous Ital­ian cakes!

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Food To Love -



1 tbsp in­stant cof­fee

2 tbsp boil­ing wa­ter

1 cup wa­ter

½ cup marsala

60g white choco­late, melted

250g mas­car­pone

300ml thick­ened cream

12 sponge fin­ger bis­cuits

250g straw­ber­ries, hulled, sliced, quar­tered ic­ing sugar, to serve

1 Line a deep 18cm spring­form cake pan with plas­tic wrap.

2 In a jug, dis­solve cof­fee in boil­ing wa­ter. Blend in wa­ter and marsala. Trans­fer to a shal­low plate and al­low to cool.

3 In a bowl, whisk warm choco­late and ¼ cup mas­car­pone to­gether un­til smooth. Grad­u­ally blend in re­main­ing mas­car­pone. In a bowl, beat cream un­til soft peaks form. Gen­tly fold through mas­car­pone mix­ture.

4 Dip sponge fin­gers into cof­fee mix­ture to coat. Use to line base of pre­pared pan, cut­ting to fit.

5 Spread half the mas­car­pone mix­ture over base, smooth­ing the top. Cover with a sin­gle layer of straw­ber­ries. Re­peat lay­ers, fin­ish­ing with mas­car­pone mix­ture. Chill 1 hour.

6 When ready to serve, re­lease from pan and re­move plas­tic wrap. Serve topped with re­main­ing straw­ber­ries and dust­ing of ic­ing sugar.

You might recog­nise Gen­naro Con­taldo from Jamie Oliver’s cook­ing shows – this colour­ful char­ac­ter taught a then 19-year-old Jamie every­thing he knows about Ital­ian food, back when he was fresh from cater­ing col­lege. Now Gen­naro – in his own right an ac­claimed TV chef, au­thor and restau­ra­teur – has re­leased a new cook­book, Fast Cook Ital­ian, which aims to teach home cooks how to make his best-loved del­i­ca­cies in 40 min­utes or less.

The 69-year-old Amalfi na­tive and fa­ther-of-five sat down with Woman’s Day to share his kitchen se­crets, as well as the in­gre­di­ents he sim­ply can’t live with­out…

Who in­spired your love of cook­ing?

I grew up with food all around me. My par­ents, aunts, sis­ters, and friends talked about food and cook­ing all the time.

What's your kitchen like?

In my home in Lon­don I have two kitchens. One is a mod­ern, functional one cho­sen by my wife. The sec­ond econd – my favourite – is the one e out­side, which I had built t spe­cially with a wood-fired oven, wood stove and bar­be­cue, which I love ve to fire up for spe­cial oc­ca­sions or when n mak­ing bread.

What kitchen tool can't you live with­out?

A good knife.

What Ital­ian meals do you love to cook?

Pasta or risotto is al­ways a win­ner, with most peo­ple, and it’s easy to feed a crowd. I love mak­ing an­tipasto-type dishes too, which you can eas­ily make in no time. And they’re ideal for shar­ing.

What is your favourite meal to eat?

I love fish and seafood, es­pe­cially when I’m back home in Italy where the pro­duce is so fresh. Not only light and nu­tri­tious, but fish is quick to cook and can be en­joyed on its own with lots of lemon, or in pasta and risotto dishes.

What ad­vice would you give some­one who wants to cook more Ital­ian at home?

Go for it! Ital­ian food is all about sim­plic­ity and a few good in­gre­di­ents. Make sure you stock up with some ba­sics and the rest is easy – just fol­low my quick and easy recipes in my Fast Cook Ital­ian book.

Gen­naro and one of his five chil­dren. He says Jamie is the sixth!

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