Stuffed Focaccia

Here’s an easy focaccia you can mostly knead in your food mixer (with a dough hook). I like to fill it with herbs and cheese or vegetables and cheese to make half of a meal with soup or salad. (more…)


November 18, 2012. Tags: , , . Baked Goods, Brunch, Dinners, Italian, Mains. Leave a comment.

Acappello Sings To Your Tastebuds

(First published on Baristanet 11.11.11)

First cousins Dardan Mati, Ben Husenaj and Naz Husenaj were singing a familiar business reprise when they opened Acappello on Bloomfield Ave a month ago. The restaurant, named with a nod to the Wellmont Theater next door, is their fifth restaurant in New Jersey, following Cara Mia in Millburn, La Campagna in Morristown, La Catena in Bridgewater and La Catena 22 in Roselle Park. (more…)

March 24, 2012. Tags: , , . American, Italian, Restaurants, Reviews. Leave a comment.

Planning for Passover: 20 Lunch and Lunchbox Ideas

As promised, here are some suggestions for lunches and kiddy lunchboxes through Passover week. Feel free to share your favorites, and those of your kids, in comments 🙂

  • Tuna or salmon salad, with matzah on the side
  • Fish balls and veg sticks or salad
  • Soup, with matzah crackers
  • Matzah pizza (click on link)


March 22, 2010. Tags: . Cocktails, Cookies, Italian, Japanese, Lunch, Lunchbox, Passover. 6 comments.

Mint and Lime Panna Cotta with Balsamic Berries

Panna Cotta is an Italian milk pudding, made of milk, cream or a combination of both, with gelatin as the solidifying agent. No eggs are used, differentiating it from custards and creme brulee.  A well-made panna cotta is a silky smooth, quivering mound of creamy beauty. It’s delicious plain, or flavored with vanilla. I came up with this zesty, minty version as a post-dinner palate cleanser, and since I love fruit with mint, added the berries.


November 20, 2009. Tags: . Desserts, Italian, Uncategorized. 4 comments.


This one is strictly for lovers of lusciousness and anti-dieters. My plonk of choice was Bailey’s, but the usual applicable liqueur is rum or perhaps marsala wine. Feel free to deconstruct it by serving in individual cocktail glasses or to experiment with flavours.

Hardcore tiramisu lovers might be horrified at the thought of experimentation but this is a pudding that lends itself happily to variation. Obviously it then ceases to be a tiramisu but you’d get to call it what you like.

Tiramisu, like many desserts, has a disputed origin. The one thing people seem to agree upon, apart from their wanting to devour it outrageously, is that it is a fairly recent invention.

I like to take my time making tiramisu because, from start to end, it’s a sensual feast. I lazily observe the yolks double in volume and lighten in colour, the marscapone transforming into a creamy dream … oh, and the sponge fingers disintegrating in the coffee due to the distracted chef aaargh!

  • 250g marscapone
  • 150ml cream
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • vanilla bean or essence
  • Bailey’s Irish cream, 2-4 oz
  • strong coffee, 1 cup of, with 2 tsp sugar
  • rum, optional
  • savoiardi biscuits, 1 packet or as needed
  1. In one bowl, cream egg yolks and sugar till pale and fluffy
  2. Add cream and blend, then add marscapone gradually
  3. Add Bailey’s and vanilla bean or essence. Keep aside
  4. In second bowl, with a clean whisk, whisk the egg whites till stiff
  5. Sieve the marscapone mixture to remove lumps
  6. Fold the egg whites into the marscapone mixture
  7. Dip savoiardi biscuits into the coffee (spike latter with rum if need be)
  8. Layer them immediately in a clear bowl
  9. Add a layer of marscapone cream, then savoiardi, and so on till done
  10. The final layer on top should be marscapone
  11. Shave some dark chocolate on top and/or dust with cocoa powder
  12. Keep others at arms’ length whilst you consume the lot. With a shovel.

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April 2, 2009. Tags: , . Baked Goods, Desserts, Festive, Italian. Leave a comment.