I don't know about you, but being in lockdown has completely made me lose track of time. This year has definitely been a rollercoaster of emotions, and it seems crazy that we are already half way through 2020! The fact that time is flying by didn't really hit me until about three weeks ago when I received a notification on my phone: '3 months until uni.' How is that possible? It feels like I left sixth form yesterday! When I saw that notification, I'll admit that I did start to panic. Way back in March, I had elaborate plans to use lockdown as an opportunity to prepare myself for uni, and I wanted to start by learning some staple and simple recipes. But, along came Tiger King and Tiktok and now we're in July! So, for the last few weeks, I've taken it upon myself to get some recipes under my belt and, thanks to one Instagram account, this process has been so much fun. Introducing The Tiny Italian...
The Tiny Italian is an instagram account and food blog run by Paola Maggiulli. Paola's appreciation for Italian cuisine is deep rooted within her family, and she uses her online platforms to share this love with the wider world. From online cooking experiences to quick Instagram videos, she is making authentic Italian dishes accessible and doing it all whilst encouraging her followers to 'believe in their own sauce!'
When I was travelling in Australia, I basically lived off of pasta. Whipping up a bowl in the hostel kitchen was so quick and convenient, so I know that my university diet will feature pasta quite often. This is why I'm so happy to have stumbled across Paola's account. Her videos have taught me how to cook pasta properly, rather than just shoving it in some boiling water and coming back to it when my alarm goes off. Thanks to The Tiny Italian, I have also come to realise the beauty of homemade sauce; I mean it when I say that I will never be buying pesto from the shops again! But, one of the best things I've learnt from Paola is how to be confident in the kitchen.
The first video of Paola's that I saw was all about pesto. She talks her viewers through making three pesto sauces, and she makes it look so easy. After seeing this post, I had an urge to freshen up my pasta dishes and felt inspired to make my own sauce. I purchased the ingredients and decided to invest in a food processor, and it was the best decision I've made! Before discovering Paola, if I had come across a recipe that involved a food processor, I just wouldn't have bothered to even continue reading. I always thought that recipes like this would be too complex for someone like me, and the involvement of this kind of equipment scared me. However, after watching her pesto recipe, I soon realised how silly I was being! I made the basil pesto and it was unlike anything you can buy in the shops: it's fresh, flavoursome and a complete game changer! Since then I've been working my way through the rest of her recipes and I recently purchased her zine, which will be invaluable when I do start university.
Not only does The Tiny Italian make her dishes look easy, she also brings an infectious energy to the kitchen that makes you want to join in and get cooking! Her mantra 'believe in your own sauce' forces you to have a positive mindset and manages to make the whole experience (which I used to find very stressful) really enjoyable. Since following her on instagram, I've definitely seen my confidence in the kitchen grow. I'm starting to attempt recipes that I previously wouldn't have looked twice at, and I'm so happy that this is the case.
If you do one thing tonight, follow The Tiny Italian. Your taste buds will thank you!