Jewelled tomato salad

This is one of my favourite salads and although it comes from a Persian cookery book, all of the ingredients are Italian; baby tomatoes, olives, red onions, pistachio nuts and pomegranate seeds. Even the pomegranate seeds, although not considered Italian, are from my two pomegranate trees in the garden. That sounds exotic, doesn’t it. The


Last weekend we went to Montecatini for the weekend , a spar town, on the way to Florence, where next year we will be running an Art Toscana, art course in Italy.This is a rather silly picture of me with a delicious red prawn starter, not a dish we serve at Art Toscana, painting holidays

What a Strange Spring!

What a strange Spring! It’s February. The daffodils are in bloom but the snowdrops are lingering-on in sweet splendour, while the hellebores, which decorate the garden in January, have only just decided to wake up. At Art Toscana, painting holidays in Italy, set in the unique environment of the Garfagnana, there are always strange surprises.


I took this photo on New Years Day in the square of Saint Michael in Lucca (La Piazza di San Michele), a blue projection of stars and giant snowflakes falling on the Church of San Michele. On the free day of our Art Toscana painting holidays in Italy, most of our guests go to Lucca