For the foodies

Super Slutty Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Good news folks! My urge to play in the kitchen has returned, and, given the blog needs a top up of tasty coupled with a spot of scintillation, here’s the perfect combo – Spaghetti alla Puttanesca. It’s my ‘when‘ dish. When there’s a chill in the air, when time is poor, when a robust red deserves a tasty counterpart, when loved ones suddenly lob and need feeding. Been a number of ‘when’s lately. Wins too. A friend recently exclaiming ‘this recipe’s going straight to the blog’! Right said I, for who can resist a quick and tasty, easy on the waistline dish that can be knocked up in 10 minutes from mere pantry staples when one’s too lazy to trawl the supermarket?

‘Slut’s Spaghetti’, ‘Working Girl’s Pasta’, ‘Prostitute’s Pasta’ – so what’s in a name?

Puttanesca has a sauce base of capers, olives and tomatoes and is usually served with spaghetti in a dish known as ‘whore-style pasta’. Nigella calls her version ‘Slut’s Spaghetti’, Jamie’s recipe titled ‘Working Girl’s Pasta’. ‘The name ‘Prostitute’s Pasta’ originating from folk-law claiming the savvy Puttanas (prostitute in Italian) made the quick and easy pasta sauce to minimise down time between clients. Others say the robust aromas of the dish were designed to entice clients into the house of ill repute. A less audacious version indicating the sauce was created by a chef who had a volume of guests arrive at his restaurant late one night just as he was about to close and, not having enough of any one ingredient to make a meal for them all, pulled everything from the kitchen together to make this legendary Italian pasta sauce.

My favourite theory? Tongue in cheek, LV Anderson (Prostitutes have nothing to do with it) says Italians use puttana (and related words) almost the way we use shit, as an all-purpose profanity, so pasta alla puttanesca might just have originated with someone saying, “I just threw a bunch of shit from the cupboard into a pan.”

The origins of its name might be debatable but one thing’s for certain – it really does make an easy, quick, cheap and delicious pasta sauce! And seriously, who can resist a dish with such a shady title? Here’s my version. Enjoy!


  • 400 g dried spaghetti (or linguini)
  • olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced (avoid using a garlic crusher for finely crushed garlic will burn before absorbing the aromatics)
  • 3 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  • 1 small Chorizo sausage, roughly chopped (optional)
  • tablespoon tomato puree
  • a small handful of salted capers, rinsed and drained; or brine version, drained
  • 1-2 fresh red chillies, sliced (seeds in if you like it hot, hot, hot, out if you like it mild)
  • a small handful of black and/or green Sicilian olives, de-stoned
  • 2 handfuls very ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • a small bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked
  • Parmesan cheese, to serve


  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then add the spaghetti and cook according to packet instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over a medium–high heat. Add a good lug of olive oil, followed by the garlic, anchovy, chorizo, capers, chilli and tomato puree. Tear in the olives and stir for 2 minutes, or until the garlic starts to turn golden and the anchovies start melting.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes, a good splash of pasta water and cover with a lid. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cherry tomatoes start to cook down slightly.
  4. Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of the cooking water.
  5. Add the basil to the sauce along with the pasta and a splash of the reserved cooking water, to loosen.
  6. Taste and season if needed.
  7. Transfer to a serving platter and top with a good shaving of fresh Parmesan and Basil leaves.
  8. Reap accolades while smiling to self ‘prostitutes be damned’
Recipe based on Jamie Oliver’s Gennaro’s Spaghetti Alla Puttnesca

Wanna be dessert queen?

Want to be front and centre hero at your Christmas soirées this year? Here’s a perfect poser dessert that will reward your ego with grateful accolades, a champagne toast or two (or three) and requests for the formula.

My friend Jen presents this fabulous dessert at her Christmas luncheon to the delighted applause and plate licking pleasure of her guests. I picked up the baton and posted the recipe several years ago, had fun playing with the formula recently and, for the requesters, here’s an update. Plus a variety of options. Perfect for entertaining 8 to 10 of your nearest and dearest any time of year and ever so easy to knock up between those pesky household chores the day before serving.

Click here for Recipe

2 x 220g bottles chocolate Ice Magic

2 litres Cookies & Cream ice cream

1 litre Vanilla ice cream

2 packets Oreo Cookies

Oil spray

500g Strawberries for decoration

1) Spray a 22cm springform pan with oil spray then line the sides and base with a double layer of baking paper, extending 6cm above the rim of the pan

2) Squeeze one bottle of Ice Magic over the base of the pan and spread to cover surface. Tap on bench to settle then pop in freezer until set

3) Scoop 1/2 the Cookies & Cream ice cream into a bowel and stand at room temperature or until slightly softened

4) Spoon the softened Cookies & Cream ice cream over the Ice Magic layer and press into an even layer with the back of a spoon

5) Freeze for one hour or until firm

6) Gently pulse one packet of the Oreos until coarsly crumbled

7) Sprinkle Oreo crumbs evenly across the layer and return to freezer

8) Soften Vanilla ice cream in the same manner and spoon over Oreo crumb layer

9) Freeze for one hour or until firm

10) repeat steps 6 and 7

11) Spoon remaining  1/2 of the Cookies & Cream ice cream over the Oreo crumb layer

12) Cover and freeze over night, until ready to serve

13) Remove the side of the pan and carefully transfer cake to a chilled platter or cake stand

14) Top with strawberries and drizzle with the remaining Ice Magic

15) Serve immediately to the grateful hoards


PS: Have fun experimenting with different flavours! A few to get you started:

  • Substitute Cookies and Cream for Caramel or Chocolate ice cream
  • Substitute Oreo Cookies for Maltesers or crushed choc mint biscuits
  • Substitute Strawberries for tempered chocolate shards and Maltesers or mint cookies

Choices, choices!


20140111-084054Thank you Australian Woman’s Weekly for the concept.


Classy Burratas darlinks?

Drop that recipe book and listen up fellow foodies! Here’s an elegant, visually appealing dish guaranteed to scintillate your guest’s tastebuds – brought to you by a classy lady who knows how to knock ’em dead with her culinary expertise – Jane. No not this Jane, the other Jane. You know – the one who, in an effort to round up her wayward Dinner en Blanc wannabe guests, enticed us all to participate in a gentle afternoon soiree fueled with laughter, a menu to die for, a wine or six and all under the guise of a practice run for the actual event. Seven sighs of satisfaction, a joyous chorus of ‘This one’s going straight to the Blog!’  and here it is…

Burrata with Blood Orange, Coriander Seeds and Lavender Oil 


  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 11/2 tsp clear runny honey
  • 3/4 tsp dried lavender
  • 1/2 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
  • 2 blood oranges (320g) or 2 medium oranges
  • 4 burrata* balls (440g)
  • 5g basil or micro-basil leaves
  • coarse sea salt


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