LEARNING from the hands of her grandmother in Italy, it was perhaps always going to be Giovanna Eusebi's destiny that she would go on to create culinary masterpieces of her own one day.

Enjoying a simpler time making fresh ricotta cheese with her Nonna is one of the childhood memories that has stayed with Giovanna, who runs Glasgow family deli and restaurant Eusebi's.

And as lockdown during the coronavirus outbreak has seen many of us slow our hectic lives down, Giovanna has taken the chance to take her cooking back to basics in the hope of inspiring others to have a go.

Read more: Coronavirus in Scotland: Giovanna Eusebi's lockdown family feast recipes for you to try

She has shared family feast ideas and Eusebi's tiramisu recipes with and now in the final week of the series, she has come up with a challenge - cheesemaking.

"Ricotta made with the season’s first sweet milk would herald the beginning of spring in my grandmother's kitchen in Italy," said Giovanna.

"I can remember her making the ricotta and I would be shelling broad beans. They were only in season for a few weeks, but I would eat so many of them. In the summer time it was strawberries we would tuck into. With my grandmother cooking was very seasonal. I think that might be a positive we see out of this situation. We might not be able to fly in the same things we have before, so we might end up having to be more sustainable with what we have here."

Giovanna has been baking her own bread at home and thinks people might want to be a bit more relaxed in trying to make things from scratch.

"Scotland has got amazing cheeses and it is a massive craft, but it can be simply from our own kitchen.

"With life slowing down for some of us, I wanted to share a simple recipe which is a great starting point to cheesemaking. It is easy to do and it’s flavour is unbeatable."

Now six weeks into lockdown Giovanna says she is missing the buzz of the busy restaurant and the joy of bringing people together. While the deli had to close its doors at the end of March, she has still been busy cooking and has been supplying around 100 meals a week to the Glasgow Kindness project which has been helping to feed the city's homeless community.

Read more: Coronvavirus in Scotland: How you can get learn a new skill in lockdown while supporting Starchild cause

"We work in an industry very much focused on people. You open the door of the place and there it is in all its glorious technicolour, the Cappuccino machine is on the go and there is all the noise with people coming in and out," added Giovanna. "I really miss all of that and the social interaction. As a staff team, we have been trying to keep connected and held a Zoom quiz night on Friday.

"I am looking forward to a time when we can perhaps open the deli side of the business and focus on the takeaway and delivery side for a while. It would all be done behind closed doors and I think we will have to be able to change how we do things, but it would be great to be able to be cooking up our homemade pastas again for customers."

Homemade Ricotta – Makes approx 200g drained cheese.

Photo credit: Gerardo Jaconelli

2 litre of full fat milk

200ml of single cream

60 ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoon of salt

Small cheesebaskets or Muslin/tea towel lined colander

1 Put the milk and cream in a heavy based pan. Heat very slowly.

2 Bring to a temperature of 80C do not exceed 90C, basically until it is just simmering.

3 Add the salt and lemon juice

4 Remove the pan from the heat and leave for 10 minutes.

5 You will start to see the soft curds forming. If you notice it doesn’t curdle very much put it back gently on the heat and add a little more lemon juice a teaspoon at a time. The ricotta is now ready to drain.

6 Carefully scoop out the curds using a slotted spoon into baskets or Muslin/tea towel lined colander or drain into cheese baskets for a further 15 minutes. If using a cloth, wrap around the curds and squeeze gently to remove more liquid until you reach the desired consistency.

7 The cheese can be eaten straight away or stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Use within three days. For a firmer ricotta used in the recipes here, it’s ideal to store it in the fridge overnight.

8 Don’t throw away the whey. The reserved liquid can be used in a risotto, to cook pasta in, or making pizza/bread dough.

9 Enjoy your cheese on its own, with honey, or in a pasta.

Serving suggestion

Serve with a drizzle of organic honey, finely chopped rosemary and warm bread .

Malfatti – Serves 2

Malfatti literally means “misshapen". These dumplings are easy to make and great for slipping in greens to your family’s diet. Once you have made your ricotta you can try it in this recipe or alternatively use bought ricotta. The fresh spinach can be substituted for tinned or frozen. Remember the cooked spinach amount yields half (250g) .


For the Malfatti

250g of ricotta, drained overnight in a sieve lined with muslin cloth

500g of fresh spinach

1 egg

50g of flour

70g of freshly grated Parmesan

1 pinch of nutmeg


For the Sage Butter

50g butter

6 sage leaves

1 Prepare the spinach. Wilt the spinach down with a splash of water and a pinch of salt. Transfer to a sieve and allow to cool

2 Once cool, squeeze out as much water as you can from the spinach, then finely chop

3 Place the ricotta in a mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix well until everything is evenly incorporated

4 Roll the mixture into 2cm balls using your hands. Place on a tray dusted with flour until ready to use

5 To Cook the Malfatti. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Drop the dumplings in. When they rise to the surface they are ready. Drain.

6 To finish the dish. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over high heat until it starts to foam (30 seconds). Add sage and cook until crisp and butter just starts to turn golden (1-2 minutes).

7 To Serve. Divide malfatti among warm bowls. Top with burnt butter, sage and Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.

Ricotta and Spinach Rolls – Makes 4 large


300g Ricotta

200g cooked, drained, chopped spinach

100g of grated Parmesan

1 egg

Zest of 1/2lemon


1 Sheet of frozen puff pastry just thawed.

1 Tablespoon sesame seeds ( optional )

1 Preheat oven to 200C and line 2 trays with baking paper.

2 Squeeze as much liquid out of the spinach as you can, then place in a large bowl with the remainder of the Ingredients. Stir to combine, and season.

3 Cut each pastry sheet into approx 12x12cm square. Place 1/4 of the spinach mixture down the long side of each sheet. Brush the opposite side with egg, and roll to enclose.

4 Place each roll onto the lined baking trays. Refrigerate for 15min. Brush the tops with a little more egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you have them .

5 Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.