"I looooove her," is what so many people gush when asked about the magic that is either Poh Ling Yeow or Silvia Colloca. "She's just so charming!" Or fun, or warm, or relatable, or clever, or exceptionally talented at making the food we want to eat.
It's fair to say that the infectious personalities of Silvia and Poh are the magic ingredient that goes into their cooking. As you follow their recipes, it feels like they are gently guiding you through every step. A little oregano here, a shake of chilli there, an unexpected laugh or joke stirred into the lot.
Here are some favourite ways to cook alongside Poh and Silvia. Just a tiny taster - if you need even more Poh recipes (and you do!), click here. Or for more of Silvia's irresistible cooking, click right here.
If you've never made Poh's bee sting cake, get on it. Not only does she make this complicated bakery classic seem easy, but she also teaches us a few techniques that will have us cranking out other delicious pastries in no time.
Watching Silvia cook this broken pasta and lentil soup with her mum, Loredana, is one of the most delightful moments on Cook Like an Italian. This throw-together dish is as much about the communal preparation as it is about the eating, so make this warming soup with your own loved ones soonest!
“This is definitely one of my favourite soups. I love how the tomatoes and lemon keep the soup tasting beautifully bright and summery, while remaining very hearty.” Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2
This time of year is all about the oven, and Poh's adamant that her moussaka recipe, given to her by George Colombaris, is the best you'll make. Steve, her Greek fruiterer neighbour at Adelaide Central Market, completely agrees with her, conceding defeat in their moussaka bake-off (watch it on the video). In a nutshell, we can't go wrong with a tray of moussaka.
These moreish gluten-free almond biscotti take mere moments to make and use only five ingredients (or even three, at a pinch). They also keep for weeks and weeks, so you can double the recipe and double the love. They are perfect for gifting to friends - which seems extra-fitting for a Silvia recipe.
“These delicate little coconut wafers remind me of Chinese New Year because they would always be offered as a snack during the practice of ‘open house’, where friends and relatives could visit each other unannounced over the many days of this celebration. Sweet and crispy, these can also be rolled into cigar shapes.” Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2
This 'milly mess' recipe is pure Poh. She's taken a rather complex French classic dessert and turned into an achievable jar of heaven. This recipe proves once again that when you have Poh by your side, any dish is possible.
Deep-fried potato dough filled with salty anchovies for the win! Silvia shares her Calabrian friend Rose's coveted zeppole recipe and we just want to keep snacking on these fluffy gems forevermore.
"If you love crunch and you love seaweed, these are your perfect homemade chip. You can cut them into a uniform shape of your choice. Squares or strips are fine, as long as they are even, otherwise they will finish cooking at different times. They are dangerously moreish, so make sure you make plenty. Great as a beer snack!" Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2
While we're busy snacking, it's worth making a batch of Poh's pork and cabbage dumplings. Making dumplings seems fiddly until you get started. Then the whole process turns into an addictive meditation you'll find yourself doing regularly. Plus you get to make them exactly how you like them...
Stale bread dumplings mightn't sound too appetising, but these soft and cheesy balls – swimming in a rich tomato sauce – are an absolute delight. Comfort food at its finest, these dumplings would also work well in meaty braises or vegetable soup.
Silvia walks us down the handmade pasta and slow-cooked proper ragu path with her usual bright enthusiasm. Listen to her lovingly describe this "hearty pasta sauce of big chunks of meat simmered until fall-apart tender" in the video and you'll soon have a pot bubbling away on your stove for the recommended eight hours.
"This is the most brilliant tomato sauce – its versatility is limitless. Pour over pasta, braise vegies in it, use as a pizza base or between layers of a vegie lasagna or here, with gnocchi. It needs nothing else, intense with fragrant garlic and the intensity of perfectly vine-ripened tomatoes. As for the gnocchi, there seems to be common perception that it’s difficult to make. So long as you stick to a couple of hard and fast rules – to not overcook and water log the potatoes and to squeeze instead of knead the gnocchi dough, I promise all will be well." Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co.
Everyone needs a simple-but-delicious chocolate cake up their sleeve, and Poh's chocolate and brown sugar loaf is exactly that. It's the kind of recipe you can add and subtract from, but still end up with a moist, flavourful cake. Poh suggests adding spices like cardamom or cinnamon, or slicing it and filling with whipped cream or Frangelico. We are 100 percent here for that!
Silvia says this forgiving pea and prawn risotto is made by cooking with "hands and eyes", rather than measuring out precise ingredients. This kind of instinctual cooking is what Silvia teaches best. It's gentle, quiet cooking that is the perfect remedy after a rushed or hurried day.
"If you’ve ever been fearful of making risotto, I’m letting you know there’s no need! It’s been a phobia of mine until last year, when a good friend gifted me a bag of excellent risotto rice. Around the same time I had just started my own vegie patch and had silverbeet coming out my ears. My market neighbour is a mushroom grower so we always have plenty of mushies in the fridge. With all this goodness around me, I essentially got guilted into conquering a fear. Now, it’s a weekly staple." Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2
If it's an Italian nona's recipe, you know that it shall be three things: delicious; comforting and served in a quantity that far exceeds the capacity of ones stomach. This stew served atop a bed of creamy polenta very much hits that mark!
"This is possibly my favourite Great Aunty Kim dish. It’s very simple but so tasty and one of those dishes that proves you need very little to create wonderful flavour. Serve as a fabo dine-alone vegetarian dish or as part of a shared meal. A big bowl of rice with this dish is the purest form of happiness for me." Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2
"Among a myriad of Nonya specialties, my Grandma Yeow would always have this Chinese cake ready if she knew we were visiting. Instead of a standard cup measure, the size of the cake is determined by the size of the bowl you use to measure ingredients. The same rice bowl is filled to the rim with eggs, then the same amount of sugar and flour. The trick is to get the lining of the baking paper right, otherwise your cake will end up a disfigured specimen in the water bubbling beneath. The texture is interesting – a cross between marshmallow and bread, with the flavour of custard." Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co.