Ray’s Kanafe

In honour of my best cooking buddy Ray Chaiban’s mum’s 89th birthday, I give you Ray’s Kanefe (also known as Jerusalem streetfood), my favourite dessert in the world, which his mum taught him. 


160 gm unsalted butter
500 gm crushed corn flakes
5 cups of milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup semolina
600 ml thickened cream
1 tbsp corn flour
1tsb Rose Water
500 gm mozzarella cheese

1. Melt butter and mix with crushed corn flakes.
2. Place 1/2 on bottom of tray. Reserve the rest for the top.
3. Heat milk and sugar, semolina, cream and cornflour and cook until thick. Pour onto tray and add rest of crumbs on top. Cook 180 until set.
4. Make a sugar syrup with 1 cup water 1 cup water and rose water.

This dessert needs to be served warm to hot serve syrup on top of individual pieces.

Spahetti with clams, garlic, chilli and wine

It’s barely a recipe: Spaghetti with clams, garlic, chilli, wine and olive oil 






olive oil

garlic, chopped

1 cup Moscato wine

parsley, to garnish


1.Heat a 1/4 cup of olive oil in a saucepan.

2. Put spaghetti on to cook.

3. Add garlic to oil and sauté, do not let brown. Add chilli and fresh clams, then add a cup of sweet Moscato wine.

4. Place a lid on and steam until clams open .

5. Drain the spaghetti pour in the clams and their sauce add lots of black pepper and fresh basil and parsley.

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

My cousin Linda joyously attended the Italian Food Safari of Haberfield, Sydney run by Maeve O’Mara’s Gourmet Safaris and was inspired by the beautiful, fresh, seasonal produce found at Frank’s Fruit Market this time of year, particularly the stunning zucchini flowers (pictured). She asked me for the recipe for stuffed zucchini flowers. Apparently I said:  “There’s no recipe, you just….” and what she made of that is the recipe below. 


zucchini flowers

1 kg ricotta cheese

1 cup Parmesan cheese



Soda water batter

Self raising flour

Soda water, chilled



  1. Mix ricotta with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  2. Peel back the leaves, remove yellow stamen and stuff with ricotta mixture. Close leaves.
  3. Make a soda water batter (Self raising flour, soda water, salt), dip them and shallow fry in vegetable oil.
 Sylvia Christofis

Italian Hazelnut Torte

Recipe for Italian Hazelnut Torte from Sylvia Christofis.


150 gms unsalted butter cubed
160 gms dark chocolate (70%)
Pinch of salt flakes (I use pink Murray River)
1 shot glass of Italian Espresso Coffee
2 Tbs Cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 Tbs Frangelico or rum
5 eggs
250 gms brown sugar
150 gms Hazelnut meal
1 handful roasted chopped hazelnuts
Fresh or frozen Raspberries to serve

Preheat oven 180 or 160 (fan forced).
Line a 24cm springform tin with baking paper , spray edges
1. Melt butter, chocolate and salt over heatproof bowl over simmering water, remove from heat when melted.
2. Whisk together hot espresso coffee and cocoa powder until lump free. I use a hand whisk. Stir in vanilla paste and Frangelico then add to melted chocolate and mix together.
3. Crack eggs into bowl, add brown sugar, and beat by hand until creamy. Pour into the chocolate mixture, then stir in chopped hazelnuts and hazel meal, stir together.
4. Pour into tin and bake 45-55 min until edges are firm but feels soft in the middle. Allow to cool in tin, remove after 1 hour or when ready to use, dust with extra cocoa and Raspberries. Enjoy !

Sylvia Christofis

Pea, Pancetta and Philadelphia Cream Pasta with Parmesan Cheese

A quick dinner. Onion, garlic, peas, pancetta and Philly cream cheese for cooking and lots of Parmesan cheese.


Olive oil

1/2 red onion

crushed garlic


1 cup frozen peas

250g  tub Philadelphia cream cheese


Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat some olive oil. Add half a diced red onion, crushed garlic, bacon and a cup of frozen peas.
  2. Cook the pasta.
  3. Add a ladle of pasta water and a tub of Philly cream for cooking.
  4. Add pasta, a sprinkle of dill and Parmesan cheese.

Sylvia Christofis

Handmade Pici Pasta

Recipe for handmade Pici pasta. Pici [ˈpiːtʃi] are thick, hand-rolled pasta, like fat spaghettiIt originates in the province of Siena in Tuscany; in the Montalcino area it is also referred to as pinci.


300 gm of fresh spinach

300 gm of 00 flour.

Tip: I usually make 3 batches to serve 8 people as a main.

  1. Place spinach and flour into a food processor. This will not work in a mix master, it needs blades to mix this.  Mix until a dough forms
  2. Knead the dough one minute into a ball and wrap in cling film (glad wrap) and rest in fridge.
  3. Once rested, cut dough into pieces.  Roll pieces out with a rolling pin.  Cut slices off.
  4. With floury hands roll those pieces in your hand forming the pici.
  5. Place separately on a floured tray and not on top or they will stick.
  6. When ready to cook, place the pici in a pot of salted water, they will take time to cook as the spinach makes the pasta quite dense.

Serve with a ragu sauce.

Sylvia Christofis