While many polls have stated that curry is Britain's favourite dish, I have always favoured Italian cuisine over the spicy dishes of the Asian subcontinent.
Pizzas, pastas and puddings of Italian cooking are my ideal foods, but given my inexperience in the kitchen, I was always afraid to try creating my own Italian dishes at home.
[Related recipe: Aldo Zilli's bacon tagliatelle carbonara]
However thanks to the increasing popularity of food blogs - many of which boast thousands of recipes with step-by-step instructions and often videos to follow - I realise I no longer have an excuse not to attempt to create some Italian dishes at home.
I now make my own Italian dishes several times a week, and have been pleasantly surprised by the results. So here is my guide to seven of the absolute best Italian cooking blogs out there, all of which can be heartily recommended.
This is the blog of Simona, who moved from Italy to northern California nearly two decades ago, but still specialises in authentic Italian dishes. She also blogs on the culture of Italian food production, language and history. I particularly recommend this blog for beginners, as she produces superb, easy to follow recipes, that any newbie should be able to follow without difficulty. But the results are delicious.
Italian Foodies dubs itself as "a blog about an Irish-Italian family living in Limerick!" The webmaster Lorraine is married to an Italian, and owns and runs an Italian food shop. Her blog has a really personal feel, and features particularly distinctive photographs of her delicious recipes. I particularly like the focus on light pasta dishes here, which mean that you don't need to pile on the pounds to experience an authentic taste of Italy.
Emiko is based in Florence, and not only posts huge amounts of recipes onto her site, but also takes you on a food tour of Florence. I love the emphasis on luxurious desserts in this blog; perfect for people like me who have a sweet tooth.
Deborah Mele runs Italian Food Forever as a labour of love, having spent forty years surrounded by Italian people after marrying into an Italian family. Mele describes her approach as "simple Italian county cuisine". I really like blog as it contains some really simple recipes to get started with to build your confidence, and Deborah really creates a friendly and unthreatening feel to her blog that makes you think you can imitate her best efforts.
Silvia's Cucina, or Kitchen, is one of the most popular Italian food blogs in the world. Silvia Colloca is an Italian-born cook now living in Melbourne who presents simply magnificent Italian dishes of every variety on her blog. I particularly commend this blog for being supremely well organise, with neat category menus at the top of the page making it easy to navigate. I also really like the commitment to healthy eating in this blog, which shows that Italian cooking can be both nutritious and delicious.
The webmaster of this site, Judy, once ran a culinary school called Divina Cucina in Florence, and now uses her great expertise to bring the secrets of Tuscan food to a wide and appreciative audience. I think the best thing about this site is its authenticity; if you follow her recipes and advice then you know you're getting a true taste of Tuscany.
Another ex-Italian resident, Rowena, who now resides in Hawaii, blogs entertainingly, with passion and flair, about her travels from the north of Italy, and the places, people, food and restaurants that she comes into contact with. I think this is possibly one of the most entertaining and informative blogs with regards to the origian and background of Italian food, and Rowena imbues her blog with a very distinct sense of place.
So that's seven of the best Italian food blogs on the worldwide web; a veritable treasure trove of recipes, ideas, information and, above all else, delicious food.