A classic cake – Mantovana

The Mantovana cake is a classic! Very good for breakfast, it is also a lovely dessert that goes very well with Tuscan Vin Santo. Either way I am sure you’ll love it.

Stella chef at Misenplace has kindly shared this recipe with me last year and I’ve tried immediately. As i really don’t like almonds, I’ve tried to use pine-nuts instead and the result was very good. Decide according to your taste or use both almonds and pine-nuts.


  • 200g sugar (I always use the brown sugar)
  • 150g flour “00”
  • 50g potato flour
  • 100g melted butter
  • 50g of pine-nuts or chopped almonds
  • 5 eggs
  • 16g baking powder
  • grated lemon rind (half lemon)

Preheat the oven at 180°. Grease/flour a cake tin 25 cm.

Set the yolks and whites apart. Melt the butter in a saucepan

Beat the yolks well with sugar, add flour and potato flour, then add the melted butter, the baking powder and the lemon rind. Continue to stir and mix well.

In another bowl, beat the eggs whites until firm peaks form. Add the whites slowly to the mixture.

Slowly pour in the mixture into the cake tin, add the pine-nuts or chopped almonds on the surface and cook for approximately 40 minutes at 180°.

Buon appetito!

Mantovana di Misenplace


A very easy recipe

loinThis recipe is very easy and it is possible to prepare everything in advance and serve it as a starter or main course. The mayonnaise can be refrigerated and use within a month.
Loin Carpaccio with homemade mayonnaise
Buy some Tuscan Loin carpaccio, we use the one from Il Granaio di Gabriello (they delivery worldwide), buy some fresh green salad, cut and season with olive oil and salt, then get ready for the homemade mayonnaise. I always thought that mayonnaise was very difficult to prepare but you’ll be surprised how easy it is and how good it is.For the Mayonnaise

  • 250 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil (if you prefer a delicate mayonnaise use another vegetable oil)
  • 2 yolks (at room temperature)
  • 1 pinch of white pepper
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of filtered lemon juice

Put the yolks in a bowl (I use the measuring cup that comes with the electric mixer, which is tall and not too large) add the salt and white pepper and start to mix with an electric mixer.

Slowly add the oil while mixing, always in the same direction.

When the oil is finished add the lemon juice.

When the mayonnaise is firm decorate the Loin and serve it together with a fresh green salad.

Buon Appetito!


Apple and yogurt cake

This is a delicious cake ideal for breakfast or “merenda”.

It is very easy to prepare and it’s soft and creamy inside and crispy outside. I also serve this cake as a dessert with some vanilla ice cream.

Every moment is a good one for this cake and kids love it!

Ingredients: (Baking pan 24 to 28 cm)

  • 200 gr of flour “00”
  • 200 gr of sugar (I use brown sugar)
  • 3 Spoons of brown sugar
  • 8 gr vanillin
  • 16 gr of raising powder
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 100 gr melted butter
  • 200 ml of yogurt (I use the Muller vanilla yogurt)
  • 3 apples (as my kids love raisins sometimes I add 3 spoons of raisins to the sliced apples)
  • 1 lemon (only the juice)
  • a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven at 180° C (356°F)

Peel the apples and slice them in a bowl, add some lemon juice.

In a different bowl beat the eggs with the sugar (200 gr) until they are frothy. Add the melted butter, the yogurt and a pinch of salt. Mix well then add the raising powder, the vanillin, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Drain the apples and add them to the mixture. Mix carefully with a spoon.

At the end add the flour and mix well.

Grease and flour a baking pan and pour in the mixture. Then cover with a mix of 3 spoons of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Bake in preheated oven for about an hour (do the “toothpick test” for the cooking).

Make sure that apples don’t burn and if after 30/40 minutes they start to burn cover the cake with an aluminum foil. Don’t open the oven during the first 30 minutes or the raising f the cake will be compromised.

Buon Appetito! 



Restaurants in Florence

Today I would like to share with you my favorite restaurants in Florence.

Il Ristoro Dei Perditempo

DSCN0001_3This is the perfect place to stop for a quick lunch while sightseeing the city. From Signoria walk trough the Ponte Vecchio, turn right and walk for 140 meters, on your right you’ll see a small window with a red sign. The bar has a deli case with classic Florentine bar foods such as Pappa al Pomodoro, Ribollita, ravioli, and salads. A wide assortment of Pecorino cheeses from across the Tuscany region are also made available. Step in and seat by the window overlooking the Arno.

Borgo San Jacopo 48r. Tel.: 055 26 45 569

Il Parione


Located in the heart of city centre in a XIV century building. Two small dining rooms on the main floor and a more rustic dining area in the cellar downstairs. Book in advance. Ideal for dinner.

Our suggestion is a romantic walk by the river after dinner.

Via del Parione, 74 / 76 R. Tel 055 21 40 05


ristorante-cibreo-firenzeCibreo is one of Florence’s best restaurants, serving food, and particularly good fresh fish, cooked with real flair. Menus change daily, and include a lengthy selection of appetisers, first courses (soups and polenta) and main dishes (fish, meat). Desserts are delectable: chocolate cake, cheesecake, and Bavarian cream feature. For half the price, eat at the less formal Cibreo Trattoria, right next door, which serves a limited version of the same menu at communal dining tables, what’s more, you don’t have to book.

Via A. Del Verrocchio. Tel.:  055 2341100.


vinandroThis tiny place is a must if you stay in Florence longer than one day. On the main square of Fiesole just a few seats to enjoy genuine and typical Tuscan food. Book in advance.

Piazza Mino da Fiesole 33 – Fiesole. Tel.: 055 59 121

A step back in centuries: Siena

Art is certainly what has most influenced Siena, making it one of the most visited tourist city: Piazza del Campo, the Duomo, Palazzo Comunale and the Torre del Mangia attract visitors from around the world.  A simple walk through its narrow streets is a step back in centuries. Siena is also famous for wine and food, the Italian Wine Cellar, located in the Medici Fortress, has a selection of typical food and the ancient Sienese sweets, like ricciarelli, gingerbread, the copate and cavallucci.

Piazza del Campo.

Piazza del Campo

The square has always been the place where Sienese meet, the spot they have always considered to be the “showplace” of the city. Here is the centre of city life and government. One of the most important civic buildings in the Gothic style, the Palazzo Pubblico has always been the seat of government. Inside the Palace is the Civic Museum, that houses masterpieces like Simone Martini’s Maestà and his Guidoriccio da Fogliano, and The Effects of Good and Bad Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. An equally spectacular surprise awaits those who climb the 400 steps of the Torre del Mangia. From up there, your eye sweeps over the entire city, its towers, gates, narrow streets, and red brick houses

Piazza del Duomo

The Romanesque-Gothic cathedral of Siena dominates Piazza del Duomo. lf you are up to climbing 130 steps, you will be rewarded by the view from the Facciatone, or “big façade,” which would have been the front of the New Cathedral of Siena. Here is one of the highest points of the city, and all of Siena unfolds before your eyes. Another artistic jewel in this square is Santa Maria della Scala, one of the oldest hospitals in the world, and today an internationally famous cultural centre.

Il Mercato nel Campo

mercato in piazzaMore than 700 years ago the weekly market was held in the Piazza del Campo. A couple of years ago the Comune decided to evoke the ancient tradition organising a typical market in the suggestive Piazza. Every year in December the event take place. Visitors can taste and buy Pecorino, honey, Cinta Senese cold cuts and meats, saffron, vegetables and fruits. Leather, ceramic, antique furniture are also showed int he stalls. The market lasts for two days usually first week-end of December.

Il Palio – 2nd July and 16th August

palioDefinitely the best-known and most exciting traditional Italian festival and the only one to have taken place, without interruption, from the 14th century until today. Initially the Palio took place only on July 2nd, in honour of the Madonna di Provenzano, and was run through the city streets without any particular rules. In the 18th century, the race began to be held on August 16th as well, in honour of the Madonna of the Assumption, and rules were established which still apply today. The 17 quarters “Contrade” which Siena is divided into can enter for the Palio, but horses from only ten quarters, drawn by lot, actually race. There’s a magnificent procession in costume before the race featuring the famous flag-throwers from each contrada.

To book your villa near Siena contact Tuscan Views. 

Grilled Pecorino with red chicory and lard

Chef Angela OlmiToday I would like to share with you the last recipe from the  “Pecorino che Passione” cooking class held by Angela Olmi chef at Osteria da Gagliano in collaboration with Stella Severini of Misenplace.

This is a very easy and quick recipe, it can be served as a starter or as a main course.

Now that you have all the recipes try to prepare the whole meal  of “Pecorino che Passione”, your family and friends will be amazed!

Grilled Pecorino with red chicory and lard


Ingredients: (4 servings)

  • 4 slices of Semi-seasoned Pecorino cheese (2 cm thick with the skin on). We used the Red from Pienza bought at Il Granaio di Gabriello.
  • 1 red chicory (radicchio rosso)
  • 8 slices of Lard (Lardo di Colonnata o Cinta are our favorites)
  • a pinch of salt
  • black pepper
  • Extra virgin Olive Oil

Cut the red chicory and season with salt and extra virgin olive oil, place some chicory on each plate.

Meanwhile, oil a non-stick pan or grill and heat it over high heat. Place the Pecorino in the grill and cook until browned and crunchy on both sides. Place the Pecorino over the red chicory and then add two slices of lard on the pecorino, season with black pepper and serve.

Buon Appetito!

Pecorino grigliato