A touch of Mexican flavour: Chiquito Restaurant


chicken fajitas














Nicely surprised by this restaurant which resembles an American diner with a Mexican theme. Good food and above all attentive service. The waitress really deserved her tip. I had a succulent chicken fajita along with fries, it was mouth-watering!

Well done Chiquito. I also loved the Christmas festive decoration. I look forward to going back. I thought it would be a tourist spot, being located in Leicester square and therefore I was ready to find bad and overpriced food. On the contrary, it was a delightful experience! Gracias Chiquito!

For more info and full menu click here www.chiquito.co.uk


Gnocchi: a tradition that evolved with time

Gnocchi is one of the most popular preparations around the world as they constitute a very simple and filling dish that is suitable for any kind of seasoning.We can define gnocchi as small pieces of dough, usually round in shape, which are boiled in water or broth and then served with various sauces.Dish of ancient origins, gnocchi can be prepared with different flours: wheat flour, rice, semola and they can be made with potatoes, bread or vegetables. The word gnocchi may derive from the Italian word nocchio, meaning a knot in wood or from nocca (meaning knuckle). It has been a traditional Italian pasta type of probably Middle Eastern origin since Roman times. It was introduced by the Roman legions during the enormous expansion of the empire into the countries of the European continent. In the past 2,000 years, each country developed its own specific type of small dumplings, with the ancient gnocchi as their common ancestor. In Roman times, gnocchi were made from a semolina porridge-like dough mixed with eggs, and are still found in similar forms today, particularly the oven-baked gnocchi alla romana and Sardinia‘s malloreddus (although these do not contain eggs).In ancient times there were already some varieties of gnocchi that could be found especially in Lombardia (North of Italy, regional capital Milan). These gnocchi were mixed with bread crumbs, milk and almonds. They were called Zanzarelli. In the seventeenth century, however, the original recipe underwent changes in both the composition of ingredients and in its name. It took the name of malfatti and it was added flour, water and eggs instead of almonds and bread.The origins of potato gnocchi are to be found in the period in which the potatoes were imported from the Americas to Europe. Of course, today it is the most common and appreciated variety. Potato gnocchi are particularly popular in AbruzzoFriuli-Venezia GiuliaVenetoCiociaria and other provinces of Latium. As for other mashed potato dishes they are best prepared with floury potatoes to keep a light texture. However, for each variety of dumplings existed different colors given by using particular ingredients. For example, if kneaded with beetroots and spinach, gnocchi took a characteristic green color, while, with the addition of pumpkin, the color became yellow. From 1880, the potato gnocchi began to spread like wildfire and slowly all the other varieties disappeared.While gnocchi is most commonly referred to as an Italian dish with mainly Italian origins, it is important to know the importance of the dish in other countries, namely in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. These countries had a high percentage of Italian immigrants at the start of the 20th century who brought gnocchi dishes along with them. Gnocchi became so popular here that a sort of holiday was created in its honor. This is a monthly “holiday” that occurs on the 29th day of each month, and it is called “Noquis del 29” or “Gnocchi of the 29th.” In Rome, gnocchi is a traditional dish traditionally eaten on Thursdays; following the dictum “gnocchi on Thursday, fish on Friday (or” chickpeas and salt cod “) and tripe on Saturdays.” There are still ancient hostarie and trattorie where the tradition is followed.  Well known is the Roman saying “Laugh, laugh, that mum made gnocchi” (using the “i” as an article, and not “Gli” how the Italian grammar dictates. The proverb emphasizes the importance of Thursday as an almost festive day, which requires a tasty and filling dish that anticipates the lean eating on the next day). The tradition of gnocchi varies across Italian cities. In fact, in the Campania region the traditional day for gnocchi is Sunday. In Verona, a plate of gnocchi with tomato sauce is traditionally consumed “Venàrdi Gnocolàr” which is the day of the Carnival parade. Gnoco’s Dad is the name of the main carnival mask.

* some info were taken from wikipedia uk and giallo zafferano it

Fettuccine workshop a sneak peek!

As already mentioned in one of my posts, the new Languages Alive’s workshops will be teaching how to make gnocchi and fettuccine in London. Fettuccine are widely used in Italy with funghi (mushrooms), ragu’ (sauce with meat – called Bolognese sauce in Anglo-Saxon countries) and more. Here you will see how easy is to make fettuccine, however Chef Max has given me some really useful tips to reach a perfect texture. If you want the full recipe please leave your comments and I will reply as soon as possible. The same recipe applies for pappardelle too whose picture you will find below. Now enjoy the pics and do not forget when in Italy ask for pasta con ragu’ not pasta con salsa bolognese!

Japafantastic event @ Satricvm

Another fantastic event took place @ Satricvm last August when I was working and relaxing in Italy. A fantastic buffet; a mix of the most delicious Japanese delicacies with extra portions o sashimi and sushi rolls. Just an amazing food and cultural feast to reveal the ancient flavours of Japan. Refreshing cocktails such as Mai thai included in the celebration. The Japanese night is part of the Movidando event. Every Tuesday a foreign world comes alive @ Satricvm. It runs all summer long and includes Japanese, Spanish, Greek, Indian, Moroccan, Lebanese, Mexican nights. Shall we ask the Chef to fit in a few of these fabulous events in winter too? Which would be the cuisine you would like to experiment? Please leave the British one out lol!

These are only a few pics taken, as during the day I helped in the kitchen and at night I  enjoyed the great, fresh food.



Yesterday the children Notting hill Carnival took place. It was a fusion of colours, music, dances and ethnic food. Above all, there was a global wish for peace across cultures. Thanks London for this awesome experience, I will be back today for some more. Enjoy the pics folks! This is Londonnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!

It could be you making Gnocchi in Italy!

In my latest visit to Nettuno, my hometown, I practiced making gnocchi with signature Chef Max. I used to make gnocchi before of course, but with him I learned many professional tricks. I teamed up with Max and Sonia owners of the stunning Satricvm restaurant to offer a unique Italian experience where the art of cooking blends together with language learning. So the “LIVE THE DREAM PROGRAM” was born. As I am already offering conversational Italian lessons while cooking traditional Italian food in London, I thought about offering an intense real Italian experience in Italy itself. Nettuno is only 60 km from Rome and it’s on the coast. It boasts with a beautiful medieval centre and it’s well linked to Rome (always considering Italian public transports standards lol). The program is 7 days all inclusive except the flight. It distinguishes itself from other cooking courses as it is  an authentic language and cultural experience too. In summer, our guests can also enjoy going to the beach besides our excursion to Rome and wine tasting sessions. Anyway if you think it is worth reading you can check more info here http://www.languagesalive.com/index.php/live-the-dream in the mean time enjoy  a sneak peek!

Puglia a real gem in Italy

I am sorry It has been quite a while since the last post. However, today you will discover a real gem situated in the South of ItalyPuglia so called Apulia. My stay was over a week and I was so impressed I want to go back asap! The sea and the beach have nothing to envy to the Caribbean with beautiful caves and crystal clear water. Certainly, the cuisine in Puglia is superb orecchiette with cime di rapa, maritati in sauce, meat and fresh raw seafood are a bliss for the palate! I would recommend the places I visited, Otranto, surroundings and Lecce. I have discovered a friend of mine native from Apulia is now guiding in his region, I cannot wait to go back and experience a private tour with him! Have a look yourself, let me know what you think, here are some pics. Below left my new addiction I had never tried before: Cold coffee shook with almonds’ milk, it’s a must when you go to Puglia, I wish they made it in Lazio where I am from.