Pauline’s Blog

mushroom sauce
26 10, 2017

Mushroom Sauce


1 x onion finely chopped

2 x cloves garlic finely chopped

150g unsalted butter

4 tblspn olive oil

500g mushrooms, sliced

1 tblspn flat leaf parsley chopped

½ cup dry white wine

2 x tins crushed Italian tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

300ml cream (or stock)



  • Heat the butter and olive oil in a fry pan and saute the onion and garlic until softened.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until they begin to give off their liquid.
  • Turn up the flame and pour over the dry white wine and tomatoes and boil for 3 minutes or until the sauce has reduced a little.
  • Mix in cream (or stock) salt, pepper and parsley.
Le Logge Siena
22 10, 2012

Italy’s Love Affair with Porcini

And it’s back down to earth with a bump – I’m just back from three indulgent weeks with Taste Cook Travel in my beloved Italy and it’s Day 2 at home and already I’m missing so much of their food-centric lifestyle.   We plan our food tours to be there in Autumn because harvest is such a busy, fascinating time.  And of course it means we’re there for the eagerly anticipated arrival of the prized porcini mushrooms.

We lunched at my favourite trattoria in Siena, just off the main square, Osteria La Logge.  They are so proud of their porcini here, they display them like art, in a beautiful basket for all to admire on their front counter.  Large, plump, earthy mushrooms, with that pungent aroma that wakes your taste buds, with a jolt.

I asked the waiter how the porcini were to be cooked, and he fetched the basket with pride, bringing it to the table for me to choose one.   It was then taken directly to the kitchen, sliced and immediately tossed into a hot pan of melted butter, plated and returned to me, steaming and aromatic – a plate of pure joy.

tuscany cooking tours
30 06, 2012

Another gourmet foodie tour of Tuscany comes to a close – I’ll drink to that!

I can’t believe it’s been six years since we started running our 10 day gourmet tours to Tuscany.  Each time we finish a tour, we love reminiscing: about new friendships made, our cooking classes in ancient castle kitchens, dining in local osteria and trattoria, olive oil tastings in those olive groves overlooking the Tuscan hills, the medieval hilltop villages we explored, not to mention shopping in Florence and Siena, and overall the sheer enjoyment of utterly immersing ourselves into the Italian way of life.  We marvel at how similar our tours are to fine wine; they keep on getting better with each year.

Gourmet tours Tuscany

We run tours in April as well as October, both of which are beautiful times of the year to be in Tuscany.  I love October because the hoards of tourists are gone, the weather is kind (we averaged 22 degrees while we were here this time) and as we did our tour of Florence with Alessandra our local tour guide, she brought alive the significance of Florence’s history all around us as we enjoying sampling the local Tuscan wines.

Explore markets, taste great food, drink fine wine

The food at Panzano market, one of Chianti’s boutique artisan local markets, was a particular highlight this trip too – it must have been a particularly good harvest – and we ate like kings as a result.  Or was cheesemaking at the farm my favourite highlight?  Each day brings its own highlights, and I have to say, waking in our gorgeous villa accommodation now feels like home from home and we’re greeted like family each time we return.  One of our guests said she had to pinch herself to remind herself she was really staying in a villa in Italy within the walls of a fortified hamlet that dates back to the 11th century!  Castello di Volpaia has a very special place in all our hearts and I’m sad to leave.

But I’m looking forward to catching up in Melbourne with some of the lovely people we had on tour with us.  We’ll have a get together to share stories and relive our foodie tour of Tuscany – like we need an excuse to open some more Prosecco!