Nina Lloyd / Photographed by Ophelia King
I met Nina some moons ago through a mutual friend, and I recently met Ophelia when I worked on two custom frames for her show 'Come, remember', with Areez Katki in July. Nina and Ophelia are two very gorgeous and creative beings, and lucky for me they took my spoons on their recent trip to Italy and made a Tiramisu.
In Italy, they stayed just out of Cefalù on the northern coast of Sicily, they were there during the Autumn months which meant less tourists and slightly cooler weather. Their elevated accomodation was thoughtfully chosen, “favouring large skies and looking over the sea rather than proximity to stuff. It was super restful and beautiful.”
When she was a kid, Nina would watch her Mum make classic 90’s meals like calzone, orzo salads, roast lamb, and lemon tart for her casual catering jobs. Although she was never assigned anything too technical in the kitchen, she was delegated the job of making sauces and dressings, which, like she says, was “genius. It teaches you about flavours, balance and technicality”. It is such a strong, and i'll admit, envious base skill to have been taught at a young age.
I love Ninas warm approach to cooking, she likes food to feel generous, nourishing, and not uptight. She cooks with instinct and necessity, creating her best meals when there is nothing in the fridge, but admittedly, she lives in fear of never having enough. A natural host, who was taught that food was about connecting, and bringing people together “We always had lost of feasting and sharing of food in my home, its the way my parents socialise and in turn how I learnt to. I love nothing more than feeding and eating with the people I love.”
Thank you so much to Nina and Ophelia for taking the time on your Italian holiday to make this gorgeous tiramisu, and to capture it all so beautifully.
The recipe, to be honest is basically Rachel Roddy's one (she's great!) I just used more eggs to make its richer.
PREP 5 min
MAKE 10 min
CHILL 4 hr or overnight
- 200ml strong coffee
- 75ml rum or brandy (or more, taste it until it's right)
- 6 eggs
- 100g caster sugar
- 500g mascarpone
- 20–25 savoiardi (sponge fingers)
- Cocoa powder
1. Make the coffee and allow to cool until just-warm, then add the rum or brandy - we didn't have either so used an Italian digestive Amaro which was a bit buzzy.
2. Separate the eggs into two bowls. Beat the yolks with the sugar until pale and creamy, then add the mascarpone and beat again.
3. In the other bowl, whisk the six whites until they form soft peaks, then fold them into the mascarpone mixture - we didn't have a whisk so this was done with two forks which was interesting...a whisk definitely gets things softer and silkier.
4. Dip half the sponge fingers into the just-warm coffee/alcohol mix and then arrange in a single layer in the bottom of a Pyrex (or similar) dish. Pour over a third of the mascarpone mixture, even it out with a spatula, and then dust the surface with cocoa.
5. Now make a second layer of sponge fingers, again dipping each one in the coffee, then arranging them on the cream. Go for a third layer if you feel like you have enough cream mixture or just pour over the remaining mascarpone cream and smooth the surface with a spatula.
6. Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least four hours – better still, overnight. Before serving, dust heavily with more cocoa.