Chef Dominique Rizzo.
Chef Dominique Rizzo. Brett Wortman

In search of a recipe for love

DOMINIQUE Rizzo has cooked for people all over the world, but her dream is to one day cook for the man she loves.

The career driven woman, who has put her personal life on the back burner for the past 15 years, said she was beginning to realise she needed to make time to smell the roses.

That is after she has accomplishes everything she aspires to in the cooking world, from another cook book and tours through Sicily to having a new cooking show on TV.

She said inspiring people to cook was the most amazing thing she could imagine.

"Seeing people's eyes light up when you turn everyday cooking from a chore to an adventure - is magical," she said.

"It only takes a little bit of inspiration to change the way people see cooking.

"Through the sharing of food we share life and one is never lonely or hungry."

Ms Rizzo said her cook book My Taste of Sicily, which was launched in 2011, focused on simple, family friendly recipes with a Sicilian-Italian flavour.

The celebrity chef said there was an array of wonderful vegetable dishes, desserts and some great one pot chicken, rabbit and beef dishes to tempt the most humble of cooks and the fussiest of eaters.

"It is all about making cooking a positive part of your life, not something you have to do," she said.

Ms Rizzo decided to take Sicilian cooking to the next level and will this year start a holiday coupled with a unique food experience, her Pure Sicilian Food, Wine and Cooking Tours.

She said there were tours that opened your eyes - as well as your mind, heart and soul - to experiencing what the world had to offer, and this tour was one of them.

"You will discover an old world and its traditions, get to know people of great humanity and hospitality; enjoy eating traditional foods cooked by skilled masters - chefs and locals who love their work; and admire the vast, brilliant oceans and those uncontested masters of the territory, the volcanoes," she said.

For Ms Rizzo, getting back to this part of the world might see her meet her dream Italian man.

To find out more visit dominiquerizzo.com.

 

Date walnut and ginger tart with spiced labne and sparkling summer fruits

Serves 8-10

Makes 1 x 24cm fluted tart tin or 6-7 individual tarts depending on the size of your tins

This is a delicious, easy summer dessert, very healthy, gluten and wheat free and makes a wonderful dessert to take onto a picnic.

"Quite often I will do this as individual tarts and simply garnish them at the picnic taking the fruits and labne with me. It makes for a really fancy picnic treat with no fuss," Rizzo said.

Ingredients:

  • 200g fresh dates, pitted
  • 80g walnuts
  • 40g pecans
  • 250g crystallized ginger
  • 1kg labne or natural yoghurt, drained in a fine strainer in the fridge over two days
  • ¼ cup sweet ginger sauce
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 3-4 cups of your favorite seasonal fruits, eg sliced bananas, berries, passion fruit, strawberries, mango peaches, wedged, sliced or diced
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves, about ½ cup loose packed

For the base combine the dates, walnuts, pecans and ginger in a food processor and blend until combined and sticking together but not paste like. Press the mix into a greased base and allow to set to firm in the fridge or freezer for about 20 - 30 minutes.

With a spoon or fork bend the labne with the ginger sauce and white pepper and spread this into the tart base.

Drizzle a little more of the ginger sauce into the fruits and toss with the mint leaves then pile this on top of the labne. Slice and serve.


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