“You can tell a lot about a chef from the dishes that are close to his or her heart. In the case of Luca Ciano, the recipes that he has included in his first book reveal many things.” – Foreword by Stefano Manfredi.
Colourful cookbook, Luca’s Seasonal Journey is a first for renowned International Chef, Luca Ciano, where a collection of warm and delightful recipes guided by the seasons are deeply ingrained with the love and respect Luca has for his family.
Growing up at the apron strings of his mother and grandmother, Luca was already experimenting in the kitchen at the age of eight, and has since found success travelling worldwide to conquer cuisines from afar, though his heart remains with his Italian roots and comes as the inspiration for this charming cookbook.
Readers can immerse themselves in all-weather cooking from start to finish in chapters sectioned by seasonal changes. Luca hints that making the most of the freshest ingredients growing just around the corner is as easy as finding those who supply it; these are the passionate people at farmers markets as well as those hidden behind mountains of apples, oranges, pumpkins and potatoes at the local grocer. Just ask them a few quick questions and they are sure to spare a moment to share with you their knowledge of everything in supply, from paddock to shelves and into your open hands. Not only does this help you find produce at a cheaper price when it is in full swing of flourishing, it also gives back support to the local community, families who work and live nearby and rely on your hunger for their meals too.
Honey roasted figs and prosciutto bruschetta with burrata, p. 102.
Taking heed of the importance of seasonality, Luca guides readers towards selecting the best produce at the right time of year, when it is ripe and most flavoursome to the palate. Catching the travel bug, Luca’s adventurous spirit and thirst for more has seen him journey to twenty of Italy’s provincial regions, seeking an experience of cultural diversity within his home country. Each region of Italy projects its own character through individualised cooking styles, a variation of popular ingredients best suited to grow in the climate and the techniques with which to produce fine dishes that have the rest of the world drooling. Sharing the identity of each region, Luca provides recipes both inherited and learned from true, tried and tested methods in synchronisation with quality and taste.
A meal can both affect and reflect a mood, rolling with the changes in weather to create the desired outcome. Food can be used to cheer yourself up, cool yourself down, refresh, revive and reward. Different times of the year call for different meals, offering fresh, light vibrant dishes in spring through to heavy dense meals to get you through rough winters. Should Spring surprise with a sudden and unexpected cold snap day, deny yourself a miserable mood and dive into the hot comfort of Beetroot Tagliatelle with a mouth-watering Duck Ragu, instead - a hearty dish for the season that uses what’s fresh to the garden. Should you be lucky enough to have luscious figs growing nearby through the heat of long summer days, indulge with a delicate plate of Honey Roasted Figs and Prosciutto Bruschetta with Burrata and be sure to cool off with a pineapple sorbet and pineapple crisps.
The rustic warmth from page to page is sure to prove an inviting grab for those who flip the pages, whether picking it up for the first time and finding inspiration for tonight’s dinner, using it as a day-to-day cookbook, or simply referring back when needing a reminder of best thing to cook in that moment and season with everything that’s around you.
By Julie Johnson.
Recipes and images from Luca's Seasonal Journey by Luca Ciano, published by New Holland Publishers, RRP $49.99.