Italian recipe developer Ambra Torelli talks to us about the inspiration behind her new book…
Born and raised in Cremona, Italy, Ambra Torelli, a regular contributor to Gluten-Free Heaven, believes that eating and cooking good food, even on a restricted diet, is one of the greatest pleasures of life.
She’s a recipe developer, allergy-free blogger and the founder of www.littlebitesofbeauty.com, a blog with a growing international audience dedicated to helping women on special diets live an awesome life.
Suffering from several food intolerances herself, she likes to share tricks and tips on how to thrive on a restrictive diet while still enjoying tasty food. She develops recipes in the effort to rewrite all of her favorite dishes in a healthy and allergy free version. She has now produced an EBook – The AIP Italian Cookbook – to share her favourite and most popular recipes.
Q Ambra, what was your inspiration for writing The AIP Italian Cookbook?
Well, being born and raised in Italy, Italian food is all I know! All of my best memories are connected to food in some form, and when I had to start changing my diet, I really didn’t want to to give up my family’s recipes and traditions. I’m a passionate foodie, and committed to not letting my restrictions affect my creativity in the kitchen and love for good food.
At the same time, I wanted to share all of the replacements and new recipes I was discovering with fellow foodies that were going through the same restrictions. I am convinced that having access to great food and knowing that you can still enjoy amazing cannoli and tiramisu can make people feel less overwhelmed about embarking on a challenging (but rewarding) journey like the Autoimmune Protocol.
Q What is your favourite recipe from the book and why?
I am absolutely in love with my gnocchi! It’s always been one of my favorite dishes, but to make it without regular potatoes, eggs and gluten has been quite challenging, as the dough simply won’t stick together.
In the last couple years, together with my mom and dad, we tried various options: yucca based gnocchi were too gooey, yam gnocchi were too sweet and watery, kabocha squash and cassava had a good texture but the flavor was too far from the original…
You can imagine how happy I was when, after all of these attempts, I nailed the perfect combination of ingredients to make AIP gnocchi taste like actual gnocchi!!
Q What is your number one tip to people starting their autoimmune protocol journey?
Spend time in the kitchen!
I know that many people are used to eating out most of the time, have very little time to cook or they simply aren’t in love with handling pots and pans.I don’t think I would have lasted more than a month on the AIP if I only had salads and plates of protein and veggies.
I need to feel excited about what I eat, to look forward to going home and enjoying that dish that has been buzzing in my mind the whole day. And, knowing that I can do that, makes me feel ‘normal’.
I know I am a special case, but I find it more relaxing to bake something delicious instead of watching TV. It’s a matter of habit; once cooking becomes part of your routine, you won’t want to have it any other way, because nothing tastes better than a home-cooked meal!
Q If you could only eat one Italian dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I could definitely live off gelato, even though that wouldn’t be very healthy. I even attended the Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna because I am so fond of it, and I do have a recipe for ‘Gelato al Caffé’ (coffee) and ‘Gelato alla Liquirizia’ (licorice) in my EBook. Sweets aside, I could definitely have pasta every
For more information on Ambra’s book, visit www.littlebitesofbeauty.com