LONDON- Last night I joined the dining table of one of the most avant garde London based jewellery designer: Maria Francesca Pepe.
The Italian born Designer Maria Francesca Pepe created the eponymous MFP in 2008, after completing her MA at the Central Saint Martins and working alongside brands such as Jens Laugesen and Vivienne Westwood. Her first collection showed at London Fashion Week FW’08 was greatly received and boosted her recognition worldwide as one of the most original and interesting talents in accessories and womenswear.
Bold but classic, MFP creations mix the past and the future with impeccable taste, representing the tradition of art craft with a postmodern approach. Overseen by Maria personally, the collection is entirely realized by Italian artisans and small factories, but the inspiration is pure London edginess.
In the past two seasons MFP has generated interest among prestigious international press and celebrities like: Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Moss, Pixie Lott, Katy Perry, Elle McPherson, Sienna Miller, Sarah Jessica Parker and many others. Her awards include: British Fashion Awards, Fashion East, New Gen, and Vogue Talents. If you want to know more about Maria Francesca Pepe and her collections check out her website www.mfpepe.com
The recipe that Maria shared with us is called “Tagliolini al forno” (Oven baked tagliolini’), she states “One of my many grandma’s recipes.I like simple things with an edge and this pasta cake is one of a kind. It’s very easy to cook, doesn’t need too many ingredients, but looks cool, funny and it’s versatile. Just like my jewellery.”
This tagliolini dish was definitely worthy of her Grandmother’s traditional rustic recipe. Between bites, Maria shared insights on her FW12/13 collection Can’t Buy me Love. “Colourful blossom flowers symbolise the nature of a young born love. Fuchsia semi-transparent varnished heart shaped pendants are mounted on rose gold chains and surrounded by amethyst Swarovski crystals and white candid pearls to enhance each other’s magenta tones whilst hitting the latest girly trend. The collection comprises of stackable rings and bangles, multi layered cuffs which have been hand hammered to a semi-matt sanded texture which resembles translucent silk against the shiny crystals.There are tribal and exotic references to the antique Berber jewellery as well as to the Sixties’ playful geometry and use of block flashy colours.”
I was curious to know if Maria Francesca’s love for cooking influenced her creative process. She laughed and said “To be very honest I don’t think of fashion while I am cooking..it would make me feel too guilty to not fit my jeans afterwards!
Although I reckon there are some similarities between designing a balanced, aesthetically pleasant object and cooking a great meal. It’s all in mix of ingredients…even colours can tell you whether one ingredient tastes good with another.
My grandma used to tell me: Add this ingredient ‘until is enough’ and would never indicate how much. It’s something you learn by doing..the same when you create a piece of jewelery. You need to learn when it’s completed. It’s all about editing the elements that you mix together to make it beautiful and unique.”
Here below are ingredients, preparations and Maria Francesca’ s recipe suggestions.
Ingredients: (can serve 4 people)
300 grams of Tagliolini
200 grams of minced beef
200 grams of peas
100 grams of ham
“Get some egg hand-made pasta ‘tagliolini’ (best would be to home-made some using egg, flour and water, but you can easily find fresh ones in commerce), and generously spread fresh salty butter over a rounded baking plate (use the one for ‘ciambelle’ with a hole in the center).
Gently throw the pasta in the boiling water. (don’t forget to add salt in the water!). In the meanwhile preheat the oven at 180 ºC. Once the pasta is half cooked -5 minutes should be enough- drain it from the water and sprinkle with lots of grated Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
Then plate it into the baking pan and put it in the oven for 20 min at 180 ºC.
In the meantime you can prepare some different ‘dressings’ for the pasta: my favourites are peas and ham, and bolognese sauce.
For the peas and ham just cook peas with a bit of water, salt, garlic and olive oil and add towards the end some cured ham hand-cut squared bits.Make sure it’s creamy.
For the bolognese sauce you need to cook some minced beef with tomato sauce, garlic, abundant olive oil and salt. Make sure you cook it for at least 30min.
Once the pasta is cooked take it out from the oven and move it upside -down onto a serving large rounded plate.
Place in the center some parmesan chunks and serve the dressings in two different pots.
Cut the pasta cake in slices and serve them with the preferred dressing aside. Buon Appetito!”