Vanilla Caramel Popcorn


Today is a red letter day! The official publication day of Recipes From Many Kitchens. It also just happens to be National Popcorn Day. So to celebrate both, we thought we’d share one of the recipes from the book; The Caramel Jar’s Vanilla Caramel Corn.


Ridiculously addictive, I’ve had to give what was left of my stash away. No matter how many times I put it to the back of the cupboard, I found myself rummaging around for just another handful of these enticingly sweet and crunchy treats.


Vanilla Caramel Popcorn by The Caramel Jar

Makes roughly 8-10 cups

1/2 cup (46g) popcorn kernels {works best with an air popper}

8 tablespoons (115g) butter

1 cup (200g) lightly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup (60ml) brown rice syrup or corn syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon fleur de sel sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Make popcorn (if you don’t have an air popper, use a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid). Set aside in large heat proof mixing bowl.

Preheat oven to 275ºF (135ºC).



Combine butter, salt, sugar, brown rice syrup, and vanilla in saucepan on medium high heat. Stir gently until it comes to a rolling boil and the bubbles/sugar mixture starts to change color and fluff up or reaches 230ºF (110ºC) on a candy thermometer. Remove sugar mixture from heat. Add baking soda and combine with popcorn. Mix gently until well coated. Spread on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, give final mix on baking tray to reincorporate caramel that has melted off. Spread out on baking tray to cool. Once cool, store in an airtight container for 4-7 days. If it lasts that long!

Ricchi e Poveri


I didn’t think it was possible for me to be more impressed by Steve Sando and all he’s done to raise awareness of heirloom beans. That was until I found out that my culinary hero, Marcella Hazan, was not only a fan and a customer but also the inspiration for Steve to bring Marcella’s favorite bean, the sorana, to America. The two food luminaries sadly never met but Steve kept her updated on the progress of his first crop and just as he was ready to send her the first bag, he got the devastating news of her death. Now the aptly named ‘Marcella’ bean is available to us all and a wonderful tribute to the woman who did for Italian food what Steve has done for the bean.


I’ve used them here in a recipe that reminds me of summer, something I’m craving right now as the temperature drops. Ricchi e Poveri (Rich and Poor), was a staple on Italian menus in the 70’s and a dish that my mother often made for me growing up. The rich being the seafood and the poor being the beans. The seafood can be anything from lobster to a mixture of shellfish from prawns to mussels. The dressing is simple; just garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt and some chopped parsley – I think Marcella would approve.


Ricchi e Poveri

Serves 4-6 as a starter


3 cups of cooked Marcella Beans (see note below), or any type of cannellini beans

1 lb. shellfish (I used a mixture of 1/2 lb. prawns and 1/2 lb. rock shrimp)

1/4 cup vermouth

1 garlic clove (smashed)

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley



1. In a large pan, bring 2″ of water to a slow simmer and add vermouth. Add the seafood and gently simmer for 2-3 minutes until just cooked through. Drain immediately and add to a bowl.

2. In a large bowl, mix the garlic, salt, olive oil and lemon juice. Remove the garlic and then add the cooked beans and seafood and stir gently.

3. Add the parsley and check for seasoning. Serve warm with crusty bread.


To cook the beans:

A good heirloom bean needs little more than water and some salt. As Steve says, even though these beans are small, you should take your time and gently allow them to fully cook. They are edible quite soon after you start but the real creaminess comes with time and low, slow and gentle heat. I threw in some carrots and celery to the water because I had them on hand but they are not necessary. Cover the beans with cold water and bring to a very gentle simmer. Taste after 45 mins to see how they’re getting on – you’ll know when they’re ready.

Tagliatelle ai Funghi


Today is National Spaghetti day. A day that should be celebrated with gusto even if I’m going to use a little poetic license to include Tagliatelle. An old favorite, I love the different textures and subtle flavors from the medley of mushrooms all rolled into the ultimate comfort food. It’s rich, it’s creamy and it takes less than 10 minutes to make. If only everything in life were that easy.


I should probably be starting off the new year with a cleansing soup but why change the habit of a lifetime? I’m too excited about 2016 and all it’s bringing to limit my pasta intake. The first Many Kitchens Cookbook will be in stores in a couple of weeks and I’m holding an advance copy in my hands! I hope you’ll order a copy and enjoy all the incredible recipes our generous producers have kindly shared.



Tagliatelle ai Funghi

Serves 4


4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large clove garlic, smashed then minced

1 lb mixed sliced mushrooms (I used cremini, portabello, shiitake and oyster mushrooms)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup of chicken stock (use vegetable stock if you want to make the recipe vegetarian)

1 lb of tagliatelle

1 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese



1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (be sure to reserve one cup of water after boiling pasta).

2. Mix butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan and add in garlic. Cook for one minute then add in mushrooms. Cook mushrooms for 5-10 minutes until they’ve released some of their liquid and softened. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Add chicken stock and increase heat to high. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to instructions.

4. Add a cup of cream to the mushroom mixture, stir then add in the lemon juice. Cook sauce for a further minute on medium heat until all the ingredients have melded.

5. Toss pasta in creamy mushroom sauce and toss with parsley and Parmesan cheese