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SISTERS COOK UP A STORM.

HEY'VE been whipping up a storm in the kitchen since they could reach the family dining table.

And now the Chiappa sisters, a stunning Welsh-Italian trio whose culinary skills earned them their own TV show, are hoping to conquer the cook book charts too.

It was a case of now or never for Merthyr Tydfil-born siblings Michela, Emanuela and Romina when a chance meeting with a member of Jamie Oliver's production team two years ago saw them plucked from obscurity and asked to front a Channel 4 cookery series devoted to their one true passion - Italian home-cooking.

But while the filming of Simply Italian - and its spin-off Made In Italy Top 10 for More 4 - happened in a two-month whirlwind of filming, day jobs and double weddings, the sisters' latest venture, a bible of their grandma's traditional recipes, has proved to be a real labour of love all three are rightly proud of.

Sharing the name of the popular TV show, Simply Italian was published by Penguin this week and features more than 200 pages of mouthwatering recipes belonging to their beloved Nonne, the grandmother who taught them everything they know.

And while Nigella won over an army of fans with her looks and seductive innuendo, and Gordon Ramsay's foul-mouthed rants made him a household name, the Chiappas say anything beyond each having a precious copy of all their Nonne's recipes in one place will be a huge bonus for them.

"It's all been so bizarre," said eldest sister Michela at the book's launch and signing at her family-run cafe in Cardiff yesterday. "It's not like we were ever looking to get on TV.

"We've always wanted to write down all our family's recipes, to collate them in one place and be able to keep them safe and pass them on to our own families.

"So when the chance of releasing a book came about, we knew we wanted to make sure it was really well tested and exactly like our grandmother's recipes, and that takes time."

"Her recipes would all be written on scraps of paper and in ways only she could remember or understand," added youngest sibling and self-confessed party girl Romina, 25.

"She would write 'a dose', but we'd have to work out a dose of what exactly, and when there were ingredients, there would never be measurements."

"We just tested and tested," added Emi, 29. "We grew up with these recipes so we know exactly what it should taste like, so we had to keep trying till we got it just right.

Aptly, family is at the heart of all their recipes, but while Emi proudly states she'd love nothing more than to stay at home raising children and cooking for a brood, the sistereach juggle their passiowith busy careers, and sathe no-nonsense, fresh and simple recipes should prove a hit with likeminded women.

"I think every woman, regardless of whether she is career-driven, also wants to be a good housewife, or a good mother who wants cook well for the famy," said Emi. "We wantd to make a book that hows you can do it all."

" And if ever there werehree women who could make busy women buy nto that very idea, it's his trio.

They slaved over the book from three different countries - nanny Emi is based in America with husband Oscar; Romina juggles her work at a London fashion house with hosting frequent, large and lavish dinner parties; and Michela was busy raising one-yearold daughter Fiamma with husband Dan, while running their North Road coffee shop and working in marketing.

"People often ask us who's the best cook, but we all offer something dif-f ferent and that's what's great about it," said Michela. "Even though we've all moved we're all still very close. Emi speaks to mum more than I do. We call her the floating head, because she's forever on Skype, sitting down to dinner with them or chatting while they each cook away."

Simply Italian, published by Penguin, is on sale now. To find out more about the sisters, visit thechiappas.com or their You Tube channel, www.youtube.com/user/ THECHIAPPASISTERs ULMA CALLED Crostata, this is a classic Italian jam tart guaranteed to be found on every bakery counter in northern Italy.

Serves: 10-15 Prep time: 15 minutes Chilling time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes Ingredients: 225g chilled unsalted butter, with extra to grease; 450g plain flour, plus extra to dust; five medium egg yolks; 170g caster sugar; zest of one lemon; one teaspoon of vanilla extract; one teaspoon of baking powder; splash of rum, Amaretto or milk; 370g of your choice of jam.

Method: Preheat oven to 180degC/ gas mark 4. Grease a 28cm round shallow baking tin with a little butter.

Mix butter and flour in large bowl or free-standing electric mixer, until it resembles fine sand.

Add egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract and baking powder. Keep mixing until well combined and mixture starts to form a dough.

Add splash of rum, Amaretto or milk if a little dry. Cover dough with cling film and rest in fridge for 30 minutes.

Cut off one quarter of the dough and set aside. On a floured work surface, roll out remaining pastry until it's 0.5cm thick and large enough to line the prepared tin, ensuring base and sides are completely covered.

Spoon the jam in to the pastry case and spread to form an even surface. Fold over any excess pastry around the sides to create a 2cm border.

On a floured surface roll out the remaining quarter of dough and cut in to long strips about 2.5cm wide. Use strips to create a lattice effect over the top of the jam.

Cook in the over for 30-45 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Leave to cool in its tin before serving.

Watch the Chiappa sisters at their book launch yesterday
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 27, 2014
Words:986
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