Ahhhh Nonna’s kitchen! For me, this conjures up beautiful sites, sounds and smells of homemade, authentic, Italian food! I grew up in an Italian household where homemade meals were a priority and the kitchen was where you would often find my mother, now Nonna Palma!

Everything was homemade…bread, soup, baking, canning, wine, salami…EVERYTHING! This is just how my Southern Italian ancestors did things…my own Nonna and generations of women before her. There was a pride associated with feeding your loved ones good, wholesome food. Calabria was one of the poorer Regions of Italy so they had to be even more creative in the kitchen with limited, somewhat frugal ingredients. “La cucina povera” as it is known, or the “poor kitchen style of cooking” is one of my favourites! Simple, beautiful food prepared in a manner that the ingredients shine. Kudos to the early cooks, as this cuisine now forms part of the Mediterranean Diet, one of the healthiest in the world!

Fast forward to my own busy household today….as a wife, mother of 4, small business owner and caregiver of my elderly parents, I just don’t have the same time my mother and Nonna had for cooking. I was fortunate to be a stay at home Mom for 12 years and 3 of those were while I was living in Italy. It was during that time that I perfected the authentic flavours I grew up with and enjoyed while living in Italy. I have had to adapt some of those recipes over the years to meet our time strapped lifestyle and sometimes I just make some elements ahead so we can still enjoy them.

As I enter the sixth year of my Italian cooking school I have discovered that these tips and tricks of still getting these authentic flavours on the table when we are time strapped are more valuable than ever! I share these tips and tricks with my clients and we are now going to be bringing them to a larger audience! This past Saturday we filmed 4 instructional, cooking videos in my school. We will be bringing these and more videos to you in 2017! Some of the recipes are family recipes that are time consuming but freeze well; Nonna’s Lemon cookies. Others are a faster version of the family recipes I grew up with; Chicken soup with pastina! Classics like Chicken Parmigiana are demonstrated and fresh fettuccine…no short cut there, but can be made ahead!

I hope you will visit our Youtube channel in 2017, try one of my recipes and tell me what you think.  In the meantime, I am finishing my first cookbook which is a celebration of food, family, stories and the recipes that started my business. 2017 is going to be an exciting year, I hope you will come back to Nonna’s kitchen with me!

Ciao for now, Natalina

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