Florentine Kitchens: Chiara and Marta Calugi

Photo credit: Chiara and Marta Calugi

Chiara and Marta Calugi are the sisters behind the blog La Cucina Spontanea (“The Spontaneous Cooking”), which has been featuring seasonal, simple recipes and beautiful photos for the past three years. They started the blog in December 2011 to document their love of photography and spontaneous cooking.

Chiara and Marta are originally from Cerreto Guidi, a charming village near Empoli, which is mostly ignored by both tourists and Florentines, who prefer to visit Leonardo’s hometown of Vinci, ten minutes away by car. Though a little off the common tourist path, Cerreto Guidi is a picturesque little town, where the Medici family had a beautiful villa. According to legend, this Medici residence is home to the ghost of Isabella de’ Medici, who was the daughter of Cosimo I and was murdered by husband Paolo Giordano Orsini.

Being from the Florentine countryside, Chiara and Marta feel a little like tourists when in Florence. They have a great time exploring the city’s hidden alleys and gardens (the Rose Garden in the Oltrarno area is one of their favorites) and never fail to grap a panino con il lampredotto (a traditional offal sandwich and the most popular street food in Florence) and a pizza slice at Pugi bakery, on Piazza San Marco.

Chiara and Marta seem to have a soft spot for street foods and today they are sharing with Foods of Florence their recipe for the “cinque e cinque” (“five and five”), a traditional sandwich consisting of crunchy bread and creamy torta di ceci (literally meaning “chickpea cake”). Torta di ceci (also known as cecina) is a savory dish made with a chickpea flour batter, which is baked in the oven until crispy outside and soft inside. On the Tuscan Riviera, it is usually found at street vendors (rarely at restaurants) and eaten warm between two slices of bread. “Cinque e cinque” originated in the Livorno area, where in the past it was common to ask for “un cinque e cinque,” a meal consisting of five cents of bread and five cents of cecina. Chiara and Marta chose this recipe because Livorno was the place their father grew up in and they have learnt to love the city through his stories and memories. They also suggest using chickpea flour in a variety of dishes, including chickpea flour battered fried vegetables, savory fritters and cookies.

Chickpea Cake Sandwich (Cinque e Cinque)

Serves 4

By Marta and Chiara Calugi


500 ml water

180 gr chickpea flour

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

4 bread rolls

In a bowl, mix the chickpea flour, a pinch of salt, and 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Then add the water, a little at a time, until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.

Let rest for three hours.

After three hours, skim the surface to remove the foam. Oil a baking tray with the remaining extra virgin olive oil, then pour the mixture into the tray (it has to be runny, so do not worry).

Bake in a 200° C oven for thirty minutes or until firm and golden.

Remove from the oven, and season with black pepper. Then slice the rolls halfway through lengthwise and stuff them with some warm torta di ceci.

Photo credit: Chiara and Marta Calugi

written by Gaia

One Comment

  1. thanks Gaia, I’ll try this curious recipe

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