This week, we were thrilled to interview From My Dining Table’s writer and food blogger Skye McAlpine. Skye shares with us her love for food and the beautiful city of Venice, where she lives with her husband in a house on a quiet corner on the edge of a canal. We ask Skye who she’s following on Instagram, as well as finding out all about her most guilty food pleasure…
Where are your favourite places to go in Venice for a bit of a) fun, b) culture and c) great food?
There are so many hidden gems in Venice. The Aman Hotel and the terrace at the Gritti Hotel are both bliss for a drink in the early evening – full of old world glamour and perfect for a special treat. When it comes to art, we are completely spoiled for choice in Venice: the Scuola Grande di San Rocco with its frescoed ceilings never ceases to take my breath away; and the Scuola di San Giorgio deli Schivaoni, a tiny little church with the most spectacular collection of Carpaccio paintings that is just round the corner from our house is a favourite of mine – sometimes I just wander in for a few minutes to enjoy the space. For modern and contemporary art, I love the Guggenheim Museum and Punta Della Dogana. To eat: I love All’Arco for cicheti, Rosa Salva for breakfast and Birreria San Polo for pizza.
What’s your favourite thing about Venice, and how does it compare to life in London?
I love the slow, dreamy pace of life in Venice – for me, it is ‘la dolce vita’. The city is magically peaceful and quiet by contrast to bustling London. It is also a wonderful city for children – without cars or crowds to worry about, they can run free through the streets – I remember still, from when I was a child, the magic of exploring the maze of tiny alleys.
Share with us your favourite family recipe.
This is a recipe for the flourless chocolate cake my mother used to make for me every year for my birthday when I was a child. I have still to find another cake that quite compares to this one.
Everybody’s clean eating, how important is this concept to the food that you make and eat?
It’s not something I think about too much – though of course, like everyone, I appreciate the importance of health and good nutrition. Food for me is about taste, pleasure and nourishment of the soul as much as the body. It’s nostalgia, and the making of memories. I tend to cook largely with local and seasonal ingredients, because I find that makes food taste better that way, and because I love the novelty of the seasons in the kitchen. For the rest, the Italian diet is a largely healthy diet: lots of fish and vegetables with lunch and dinner. I can’t help that as long as you cook fresh, your diet is largely homemade and you take all things in moderation – all is good.
What we really want to know is – what’s your one guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
TiramisÃº: I can never say no to tiramisÃº.
What are your top recommendations for a summer garden party / BBQ menu?
I love spatchcock poussin roasted on the bbq. And chargrilled garden peas, roasted still in their pots and then strewn over creamy burrata or ricotta cheese with a little drizzle of olive oil and salt. At the moment, I am eating a lot of white peaches, poached in amaretto syrup and then served chilled with a dollop of salted honey gelato.
Share with us your top three foodie Instagram accounts – the ones that inspired you, and the ones you just love to follow.
@marte_marie_forsberg for idyllic scenes of the English countryside, beautiful fresh produce and pictures of food that look more like Dutch Masters paintings than camera snaps; @violetcakeslondon for decadent baked goods and opulent cakes; and @cecilemoli for stunningly rustic French creations.
Do you have any advice for aspiring food bloggers?
Cook and write from the heart. The blogs I enjoy reading the most are those which tell a really personal and evocative story, be it with their imagery, the recipes or the narrative – I love it when you find something that feels unique. For the rest, invest in a good camera as visuals play such an important part in telling the story of food. And don’t be shy: engage with the community, comment on the blogs that you enjoy reading, and email bloggers you admire to tell them that and to say hello – I have made so many wonderful friends through blogging.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
I am friendly and outgoing, and happiest sitting when down around the dining table with those that I love.