About Dani

Hello fellow Expats! (and any others that may just be passing by)

First of all I’d like to dedicate this to all my friends that have motivated me to finally open this blog to pass on my love and passion for cooking.

Thanks guys! :)

Moving on…..a little about me:

I’m Daniela, Dani… 丹妮, 27 30, and I was born in the beautiful country of ITALY! :)

I grew up in a picturesque town called Lecce nestled on the “heel of the boot”, Italy’s southern tip, between the Adriatic and Ionian seas. Like many traditional families in this sun soaked Mediterranean region, I spent much of my youth under the love and care of my grandmother. Throughout my formative years my grandmother taught me many things but most of all she gave me a passion for cooking. She shared traditional recipes and family culinary secrets passed down through the generations. It is the greatest gift anyone could have bestowed upon me and now I want to share that gift with you.

So how did I end up thousands of miles away from this sundrenched Mediterranean paradise?

It all started at the age of 18 when I started studying Chinese in college. I’ve always been interested in languages and thus began a long journey that eventually led me to move to China. After completing my Masters, I moved to Beijing, the cultural epicenter of the mainland, short after I got a job in Shanghai, which is how I ended up in the mainland’s business capital.

I have lived here for more than 2 5 years now and, like many of you, I’ve had a hard time preparing a proper western meal and finding proper ingredients, without breaking the bank.

Grocery shopping in Shanghai can be somewhat of an “adventure”. Places like City Shop or Pines that generally cater to expat needs, often have high prices and are often lacking in selection.

I’ve spent a lot of time tracking down the ingredients you’ll need to cook my delicious recipes at affordable prices.

At the end of the day, I just want to build a site where I can share my family’s culinary traditions with you and hopefully have you share whatever delicious treats you may have in store for me.

Ciao e a presto :)

- Dani

You can email me! Write to  [email protected]

Those who eat well, eat Italian!

(chi mangia bene mangia italiano)

  • Maggie

    Hi Dani,

    I’ve been looking at your blogs and recipes for a while. And I tried making some of them myself, sometimes successful but sometimes not…

    Nowadays, i’m trying to make cookies and breads myself. I really like Italian style bread very much (actually,there are many different types as served in Italian restaurants in Shanghai), but have hardly any idea of the name and recipe of them…

    Do you have any linkage to those bread recipes? Or, can you introduce some typical types of Italian bread, so that i can find recipes from the Internet?


    • http://expatcucina.com Daniela

      Hi Maggie, thanks for your message. Italy has a lot of different breads. I will email you a list so that you can give them a try :)

  • http://risingwolfeats.blogspot.com/ Melinda

    Found my way over here after you visited my food site – I like and look forward to trying some of the dishes – I’m very fond of Italian food. Enjoy your adventures!

  • Lori Jones

    heard about the earthquake and tsunami Praying you and your bf are ok!!!!!

    • http://expatcucina.com Daniela

      Thanks Lori. We are all ok here :)

  • Brenda

    Hi Dani,
    It is amezing to know this website, acutally I drop to you website by baidu when I was looking for the receipt of Maccheroni&cheese…now I can’t stop reading your page here….I like Italian cucina, and ragu is my best one…;) Hope you receive your email and reply…bacio…

    • http://expatcucina.com Daniela

      Hi Brenda! Im glad you enjoy reading my blog. Let me know of you have any questions regarding the recipes. :)

  • Giusy

    Hi Dany,
    hope your mother get well soon.

    PS: Le tue ricette sono come sempre fantastiche!! Goditi la mamma!

    • http://expatcucina.com Daniela

      Grazie mille Giusy :)

  • Giusy

    Figurati…noi expat abbiamo un rapporto particolare con le nostre famiglie, ti capisco e ti sono vicina…
    Grazie per la ricetta delle polpette al tonno, l’avevo messa nel dimenticatoio…vado a fare la spesa cosí mi metto all’opera in cucina ;-)

  • Lolo

    Hi Daniela, you look amazing in the photo above. :)
    Love all your recipes in this blog and really impressed by your passion for cooking^^
    Hope you’ll post more new and easy dishes

    • http://expatcucina.com Daniela

      Thanks LOLO. I will post more and more recipes. In fact tomorrow and Sunday I’m going to make 2 fantastic Easter dish. Hope you’ll enjoy them :)
      Thanks for the comment.

      Do you live in China?

      • Lolo

        No I don’t live in China…..

  • Lolo

    Hello Daniela, Can I ask you a favor?
    I want you post “Panettone” Recipe if you have the time to do it and I’ll appreciate it a lot.


    • http://expatcucina.com Daniela

      Hi Lolo, I would love to post that recipe but I dont have a mold for it here in Shanghai. But I’ll promise I’ll make it first thing when I go back to italy next time.
      Meanwhile if you want, I can email you the recipe and you can try yourself. What do you think?

  • Lolo

    Hi Daniela,
    It sounds great, I’ll wait for your email and try making it :D
    Hope I got success in Panettone
    Thank you very much. You are very kind

    LoLo ^__^

  • Lolo

    baba ghannouj
    It is an Arab dish of eggplant mashed and mixed with various seasonings.
    ■3 whole Medium Eggplants
    ■4 Tablespoons Tahini
    ■4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
    ■¼ cups Lemon Juice
    ■3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (good Quality)
    ■⅓ cups Fresh Parsley, Minced
    Preparation Instructions
    IMPORTANT: Prick the surface of each eggplant several times with the tines of a fork.
    On the grill or under the broiler (set to high) blacken/char the eggplant for 25 minutes or so. You want the skin to be completely shriveled and dark, and the eggplant almost fall-apart tender. Just when you think it’s shriveled, let it go another five minutes.
    Set them aside to cool slightly.
    When cool, peel off skin enough to get a spoon into each eggplant and scrape out the flesh into a bowl. Try to get as much as you can, even the stuff that’s stuck to the inside of the skin. (This process is a total mess, so don’t worry.)
    Mash eggplant with a fork. A few large chunks are fine, but try to get it to a relatively smooth texture without being totally pureed.
    Add in all other ingredients, stirring and tasting before adjusting seasonings or other ingredients. Don’t undersalt!
    Serve with pita triangles, baguette slices, chips, crusty French bread, arabic bread…or with a spoon.
    Hope you try it and enjoy it :)

    • http://expatcucina.com Daniela

      Im going to try this for sure. Thanks a lot Lolo for sharing it with us

  • Lolo

    Hi, how are you?
    I wanna ask you which kind of camera do you use cause the photos are just perfect……..

    • http://expatcucina.com Daniela

      HI Lolo, thank you! I use a NIkon D60 with a NIkon 70 micro lense.

  • http://www.francescav.com FrancescaV

    ciao Daniela, ti scopro per caso e mi fa piacere lasciarti un saluto. Anche io expat, ma in Francia.

    • http://expatcucina.com Daniela

      Ciao Francesca. Piacere di conoscerti :)

  • Diana

    Ciao amica!
    Trovo la tua cucina meravigliosa!
    Mi posso rubare qualche ricetta??

  • Gonzalo

    Ciao Daniela,

    Soy un argentino que sigue tu blog desde Arabia Saudita. Como casi todo argentino tengo raíces italianas y adoro la pasta!
    Hoy estoy haciendo tu receta de brioche y espero que salga delicioso.
    Commento dopo il risultato! :-)

  • katya

    Straordinarie le tue ricette. complimenti!

    • http://expatcucina.com Daniela

      Grazie Mille! :)

  • Elizabeth

    Congratulations. I lived in Tokyo for five years and simply forgot how to cook in that time. I am now making a comeback.

  • Elke Zieb

    hello, searching for caramelized lemon recipe i ended up knowing your blogg, fantastic congratulations . and i also know what you mean by shopping for ingretients, i live in Abu Dhabi since February this year, coming from Germany where i lived the last 10 years and before i grew up in Venezuela and about ingredients i have a long crusade jeje; all the best for you. ahhh by the way my husband is fan of italian cuisine, so i will follow your recipes. Bye for now

  • Joyce

    Hello Dani, what a suprise, I do find the website via Weibo, it is a lovely, and today is Friday that I can see so much beautiful and delicous food and such pretty Host-Dani. I just left message to the common email address, which I need your help to learn how to make Tiramisu and my favorite and first successful dessert( from my family and my frineds comments) I followed website guidance. Now I find you and want to learn from you to make a prefect Tramisu, let me know when you will give this kind lesson and hope to see you to learn more Italian Cuisine.

    • http://www.expatcucina.com Dani

      Hi, nice to meet you here Joyce! Do you live in China?

  • http://www.sportphysiotherapist.com/ Shane Hayes – Physio

    So your bored in China that you cook and post photos of it so the rest of us eating our rice and “meat” feel jealous? :/……