Author Archives: Luca Marchiori

Food blogger, writer, editor teacher. Find out more at

Braised beef with gin and juniper

Sunday is lunch day  and so quite likely you’ll have guests. It’s the last day you’ll be wanting to spend in the kitchen while your guests help themselves to another aperitif. It’s in this spirit that I am sharing this recipe for braised beef with gin and juniper: a one pot meal that you’ll be finished with way before your guests arrive so you can enjoy the company, and perhaps a well earned cocktail before dishing it up.

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Pasta e fagioli: Italian winter warmer soup

People often refer to Italy as ‘a hot country’ and it is—in summer. In winter, it can be extremely cold which is not surprising since approximately 40% of country is covered in mountains. During most Italian winters, snow is much more common than in, for example, the United Kingdom. It’s because of this, that Italian cuisine has quite a few carb-filled dishes that can only be described as winter warmers.



















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Lasagne al forno

I recently read Gino D’Acampo’s family recipe for lasagne al forno, and was impressed by the similarity to my grandmother’s recipe which she passed down to me. This is hardly surprising when you consider the lack of variation in traditional recipes in Italy where the correct method is handed down from generation to generation as in the case of the D’Acampo or Marchiori families.

There are a couple of minor differences, mostly based on the fact that his family come from the south of Italy whereas mine come from the North. Northern Italy is sometimes referred to as l’Italia del burro (butter Italy) and the south as l’Italia dell’olio (olive oil Italy) because these ingredients were traditionally used as the fat in recipes. Nowadays, people use olive oil all over Italy for everyday cooking, because of the health benefits. But for special occasions, I use butter as my grandmother did for the ragù alla bolognese, (bolognese sauce) which forms the basis of lasagne al forno. Try it some time and I think you will agree the taste is completely different from when you use olive oil.





















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Guest Post: Sabayon Cake

This week we are very excited to have a guest post here on Oh La Vache! It comes from Andrew Lo, who is an incredibly talented young man from the UK who blogs at The School Cook. When you read on you will discover why the blog is called that and you will be even more in awe of Andrew. We met via social media and I was so impressed with his recipes and writing that I invited him to supply a French-themed recipe for this blog. So, without further ado, here’s Andrew and his Sabayon Cake.

Sabayon Cake Open (1)

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Mercotte gave us a right royal treat this week, le gateau de Compiègne, non other than the Emperor Napoleon’s wedding cake, invented by the first great pâtissier, Marie-Antoine Carême. In Carême’s day, cakes were really extravagant as the picture later in the post shows, so I wanted to really pay homage to him with the decoration and also make something fit for an Emperor’s wedding.























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