Thursday, 19 March 2015

Southern Italian Family Cooking by Carmela Sophia Sereno

‘Southern Italian Family Cooking’ is not just a cook book, it’s a journey, a journey through the gastronomic memories that Carmela Sophia Sereno (Hayes) holds so dear to her heart of cooking with her mother Solidea and with her grandmother Nonna Carmela. Now those memories and recipes have been being recorded to be enjoyed forever, inspiring the next generation of cooks who love good honest Italian food.

‘Southern Italian Family Cooking’ brings together over 120 inspiring and rustic recipes from the south of Italy that Carmela grew up with and now teaches to her own children today, in the true style of an Italian mamma passing on her recipes to sons and daughters. Sadly, this is a practice that is under threat in modern Italy today.

‘Southern Italian Family Cooking’ is full of ‘Cucina Povera’ recipes, which literally translates as ‘poor kitchen’, the food of the Italian south. This collection of honest and original recipes (many of which are never not seen outside of the family kitchen) uses fresh, seasonal and inexpensive ingredients, creating tempting and delicious dishes the whole family can enjoy time and time again.

From the novice to the more accomplished of cooks, the recipes in ‘Southern Italian Family Cooking’ range from simple antipasti dishes to slightly more complex fish and meat dishes. This book has no glossy photos, offering you the chance to use your own imagination adding a twist to the recipe to make it your own.

Carmela was born in Bedford to Italian parents from Puglia and Molise, who settled in the UK in the late 1950’s.  Today half of Carmela’s family have made their way back to Italy, carrying on their own traditions and cooking styles, which remains as a constant point of reference for Carmela.

Carmela is married to James and has four young children Rocco, Natalia, Santino and Chiara. She holds her Italian heritage very close to her heart and teaches her Cucina Povera cooking style at regular classes in the local area. Carmela continues to travel Italy looking for inspiration and new recipes for a new book on ‘Pasta & Sauces’ currently underway that looks like being as exciting as ‘Southern Italian Family Cooking’.

For those looking for traditional Italian recipes from the heart, ‘Southern Italian Family Cooking’ is a must have for any cook. Buon appetito!         

For further information please contact:
Carmela Sophia Sereno (Hayes) on
Carmela Sophia Sereno: Southern Italian Family Cooking £8.99
ISBN: 9780716023746

Monday, 9 February 2015

Deep fried calamari..

If you are looking for something quick, simple and incredibly tasty, then you've just found it, 'Bingo. The only problem you will have is, eating deep fried calamari is like sitting in the back row of the cinema with a tub of pop corn and your date! You forget about your date and just keep launching the tender calamari into your mouth. Its moreish and so satisfying with a generous squeeze of lemon and large pinch of salt. Apologies for the pictures, I had eaten most of it and forgot to take a quick snap. I'm a greedy guts but tell me something I don't know!! Go and get yourself some calamari, subito and have a go at this super fast recipe.

400g cleaned squid plus tentacles
100ml milk
5 tbsp cornflour
5 tbsp 00 flour
1 tsp Maldon salt and a grind of black pepper
Sunflower or vegetable oil

Lemon wedges to spritz

1.      Clean and prepare the calamari.
2.      Cut the body into 1cm rings, use the tenticles too. They are my favourite as they crisp up.
3.      Leave the calamari rings and tenticles to sit in the milk for 2 hours if time allows, if not 20 minutes will be fine.
4.      Bring the oil up to temperature. Test the temp by tossing in a small cube of bread, if it sizzle then the oil is ready.
5.      Drain the calamari from the milk and pat dry.
6.      Coat the calamari in flour and fry in small batches.

Delicious with lemon wedges and a sprinkle of salt.