Fashion graduate Anna Marconi hasn’t been writing her fashion blog Taste Of Runway for long, but already it’s captured the imagination of the world’s press from as far away as China and has allowed her to employ a team of five people from her tiny office/ kitchen in the heart of Milan. But the popularity of her website is not down to her pipping rival bloggers to the post with big catwalk exclusives. Anna Marconi doesn’t write about the collections, she cooks them.
Each season she chooses key designers and cleverly piles on different ingredients – from prosciutto to basil-infused spaghetti, dark chocolate to strawberries - to create intricate, often gravity-defying, culinary structures that echo the silhouettes, colour and texture of runway outfits.
Here, exclusively for Grazia, Anna has reconstructed some of Spring/Summer’s key looks. Chanel’s sunny art-house rainbow stripes have been translated into delicate layers of crudité vegetables and fine goats cheese, McQueen’s feathered ruffles are paid tribute in a cherry tomato risotto topped with edible flowers, and a Dries Van Noten dramatic organza gown becomes frilled squid ink ravolli stuffed with cod.
‘Food and fashion have always been two of my greatest passions,’ Anna explains. ‘I got the idea for my blog after I saw an outfit I loved on the runway. I couldn’t afford to buy it so I cooked it instead.’ Anna grew up in Verona where her parents owned a restaurant. ‘Ever since I was a little girl I was in the kitchen, cooking with my mother. She taught me everything I know about food.’ And Anna’s work isn’t just an edible work of art, each one is an actual recipe that you can follow. ‘‘I go to all the fashion shows as I need to see how the outfits look close up and move on the runway. Then I go home, and test each recipe two or three times to check it works. My staff helps me, but put it this way, I’m also very popular with my friends!’
Follow Anna's blog Taste Of Runway here, and try the recipes below. Bon appeiti!
CRUDITE VEGETABLES WITH GOAT CHEESE
inspired by CHANEL S/S 2014
Serves 4 people
1 Yellow pepper + 1 red pepper + 2 zucchini + 1 beet (steamed) + 2 large tomatoes + mustard vinaigrette + 400g (14 oz) soft goat cheese.
Wash the vegetables, peel and cut into strips (about 5mm / 0.20 in). Place them in a dish with the aid of a pastry ring, following the order of the colors. Spread a thin layer of creamy soft cheese between one layer and another, and then pour the previously prepared mustard vinaigrette over it.
To make the mustard vinaigrette:
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar + 4 tablespoons mustard + 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + 1/2 a lemon juice + salt + pepper.
Pour the vinegar into a bowl and add a pinch of salt, stirring well with a spoon. Then add the lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and plenty of pepper. With a whisk, mix the ingredients well; add 4 tablespoons of mustard and stir until it is fully incorporated, resulting in a creamy texture.
RAVIOLLI WITH COD FISH AND GRANA CHEESE FONDUE
inspired by DRIES VAN NOTEN S/S 2014
Serves 4 people
For the raviolli:
5 eggs + 500g (1 lb 2 oz) flour type 00 + 1 packet of squid ink + salt + 1 beaten egg. For the filling: 350g (12.oz) fillet of cod fish + 1 potato + 1 leek + 1 egg + 1 tablespoon of parsley + 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil + salt + pepper.
- Place the flour on a surface, add the eggs and salt. Dissolve the squid ink in the eggs and knead vigorously until you get a firm and smooth dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- In the meantime, make the filling. Boil the potato for 30-35 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and dry the parsley, clean the leek (removing its roots and green part), and mince it. Chop the cod fillets and cook for 2 minutes in a pan with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the minced leek. Season with salt, pepper and place everything into a blender. Then place the mixture into a bowl and add the potato, after mashing it with a potato masher. Add it to the mixture of fish, together with an egg, the chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
- After the pasta dough has rested, flour the working surface. Cut the dough into small slices and roll them out with a rolling pin to form sheets with a thickness of about 5mm.
- Beat an egg, and with the help of a brush, spread it on the dough (which will be easier to knead and will not open during cooking). Using a teaspoon, make small balls with the filling and place them on the dough at a distance of about 4cm apart.
- Cut the dough with a knife and form squares (with the small ball of filling in the center). Fold them in a triangle and bring the two ends of the base together. Put the ravolli on a lightly floured surface and continue like this until you finish the dough.
- Cook them in plenty of boiling salted water. Drain it al dente and serve together with the Grana cheese fondue (below).
For the Grana cheese fondue:
125ml cooking cream + 100g grated Grana Padano cheese + 30g butter. Find Grana Padano most major supermarkets including Waitrose, Marks and Spencer, harvey Nichols, John Lewis, Sainsbury's and Tesco.
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan, cook over low heat for a few minutes and you are done!
Inspired by ALEXANDER MC QUEEN S/S 2014
Serves 4 people
For the Risotto:
400g (14 oz) rice (Carnaroli) + 400g (14 oz) cherry tomatoes + 20g (0.70 oz) butter + 1 shallot + 1 liter vegetable stock* + 1/2 cup white wine + extra-virgin olive oil + salt + 40g (1.4) grated Parmesan cheese + 4 edible flowers.
- Put the chopped shallot in a pan to brown with a little extra-virgin olive oil.
- When the shallot is golden, add the rice and toast over high heat for a minute then add the white wine and let evaporate.
- Add a ladle of stock a little at a time and when you need it (to prevent the risotto from drying out and burning). At this point, add the halved cherry tomatoes and continue to cook.
- Finally, remove the pan from heat, add the butter to thicken the sauce and the grated Parmesan cheese. Use a pastry ring to compose your dish and decorate it with an edible flower.
For the vegetable stock:
1 stalk of celery + 2 carrots + 1 onion + 1 tablespoon parsley + extra-virgin olive oil + salt.
Clean all the vegetables. Peel the carrots and the onion and cut everything in half. Put all the vegetables in a large pot full of water, salt and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Add a tablespoon of oil and cook over low heat for another 20 minutes. Strain the stock into a large clean saucepan and keep at hand.
SPICY CHOCOLATE MACAROONS
inspired by JUNYA WATANABE S/S 2014
Makes 16 macaroons.
110g (4 oz) blanched almonds + 200g (7 oz) icing sugar + 150ml (5 fl oz) fresh cream + 100g (3.5 oz) dark chocolate + 2 egg whites + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar + chili powder (the tip of a teaspoon).
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/320° F. Blend the almonds with icing sugar and cocoa powder until the mixture is finely chopped.
- Whip the egg whites, add the granulated sugar and beat well. Add the chopped almond mixture previously prepared and mix well to obtain a homogeneous mixture.
- Pour the mixture into a pastry bag and make 32 discs (about 3cm wide) on a baking sheet. Let rest for about 20 minutes and then place them in the preheated oven and bake at 160° C / 320° F for 10 minutes.
- Now make the filling. Put the cream in a saucepan, add the star anise and heat (without reaching the boiling point). Remove from heat, add the chopped dark chocolate, the tip of a teaspoon of chili powder and mix well until it dissolves completely.
- Remove the star anise from the mixture and let cool for 15 minutes. After this time, the filling will be ready to put into the discs.
- Remove discs from oven and let cool on the baking sheet. Once cooled, match the cookies together by size and fill in the middle with a generous spoonful of filling. Refrigerate for an hour and then eat!