Ricotta lemon alternative tiramisu and the importance of taking time to feed your own creativity – or something like that


The other day, between dust, mosquitoes and the noise of the sander I was using to plane the wood of our new boat – wait, I’ll tell you more about that later -, I thought about many things.
Maybe it sounds weird, but I don’t remember the last time I had time for surfing through my thoughts. Probably sometimes we really need to let ourselves do some manual work – something purely mechanical, in order to become estranged from the world for a while, just to follow your flow of thoughts like moths toward the flame.Lately, I found myself do a lot of things that I have often struggled even to find the time to go to the bathroom, let alone to think. I could probably think in the bathroom, actually. But no, it was with the sander in my hands that I put order in my thoughts, checking off things done from my mental list, almost like do with the millions of post-it I lose everywhere.
Oh, yeah, you’re probably wondering why I was planing the boat. Well, I was really missing some extra work where I could break some more of my nails!
In short, Francesco and I had this dream for a long time. I mean, it was not about breaking nails of course, but it was about exploring the Venetian lagoon on board of our own little boat.
After all, if you don’t own a boat you’re not a true Venetian, or so that’s what my father who has piloted boats until he was fifty – the driver’s license came just later -,  always says.
Even my grandfather owned a boat, and so his father before him. Actually, there was a time in Venice where almost everyone had a boat, because fishing was one of the most ancient and widely spread activities for sustenance. Now things have changed and today owning a boat is pretty much a luxury because of the maintenance expenses that come with it.
In short, how many times do I say that the “power of the universe” in one way or another makes me always have what I’m asking for? Well, I asked for a boat and a boat I had. Literally, together with the parking space in a canal of the South Lagoon – which is the closest lagoon’s area near home –  and everything else. Piece per piece.
The boat was given to us by a man, too old to manage it… and that’s how I found myself in the garden with a sander in my hand and wood splinters in my hair, doing my best to give a new life to that old greenish wood that reeks of seaweed.


Meanwhile summer has arrived with a bang, reminding me how much I hate this season. It’s warm, but in front of the raku oven, it’s even warmer. And lately it’s always turned on. If I am not dirty with wooden dust, I am dirty with clay because #thefreakyraku production is to its all time high. Now there’s an e-shop to feed! Have you seen it?! I am so proud of it, that I am almost forgetting the embarrassing amount of hours I spent in front of my computer – drinking iced coffee through a straw and eating raspberries from my garden – to build it.
I am also particularly excited for the new section of the website I called [Journal] and that I want to use like a kind of board for sharing the visual inspirations which are part of The Freaky Raku’s world. White, soft light and bright pictures are going to be the protagonists of my Journal like a kind of antithesis of the pictures you usually find here.
Anyway, all these things – the boat’s renovation, the ceramics and the new website, would be enough to fill anyone’s day.. but no, not mine! Some other photographic projects came at me, among which one for Hugh Hamilton’s wines, that I really loved doing even if the light in this period for sure isn’t my favorite.
In this crazy whirlwind of work of which the end seemed so far away (and for some of them still is), the hot temperatures – that turn me enthusiastic about raw food –  my kitchen went totally out of business, forgotten. The maximum time for keeping the stove on is two minutes, and that is, just to make coffee.



I was thinking that for one reason or another, lately, this blog has taken an unexpected direction into a travel kind of blog, – no wonder you may say… I’m always traveling! – and so I started to feel nostalgic for all those passionate moments I  used to spend one-to-one with food.
Just when I was thinking these thoughts a wonderful invite has arrived from Olivia, the awesome girl behind the inspiring @adelasterfoodtextures feed, and with whom I started to feel a nice connection because of our common interests like collecting wild herbs and raku pottery. She asked me if I’d like to join her workshop with Krissy of Cottage Farm blog and Linda from Call Me Cupcake blog, in Gotland – Sweden.
“I am arriving” has been my first reaction, followed by “AAAAAAAAH” and then almost two weeks of inner conflict that can be summarized in “I’d like so much but don’t know if I can”.
Before deciding what to do I just waited a while, and precisely when the wood of the boat started to reveal again its wonderful grain, I felt all my psychophysics tiredness.
Sometimes it’s exhausting not being able to say no. During the last year I said yes too many times, often forgetting what I really needed to do.
To give up on the opportunities I receive it’s something that frightens me. It’s like closing the door on a piece of world that’s being offered to you.
Over the last year I fed my creativity by opening doors and doors, taking everything that came across my path as an opportunity.
My senses have been fed and filled up with so many stimuli that now I have the impression they’re locked into a large bubble soap ready to burst as soon as it touches something… and I don’t want to let it to burst because its fragility is part of its value.
I think sometimes it’s important to have time to process things before jumping into other, and expecially when you’re a creative, it is essential let the ideas have the right time to make themselves real in the form we appreciate most.



I chose not to go. I chose to give myself time to rediscover my own dimension, the one that makes me feel authentic, the one makes me explore things I have around me, the most intimate and lonely, which allows me to be magical, to play, to find pleasure in the modest things… into the lemons of the garden, into my forgotten kitchen, into the slow time of a summer evening, when the only one reasonable thing to do is shake off from your clothes the dust and say I did enough for today.
I have a tiramisu in the fridge that is waiting for me, after all.


Ricotta lemon alternative tiramisu
Recipe type: Sweet
Cuisine: Italian
(for 6 little glasses – like the ones I used in the pictures)
  • 1 organic lemon
  • 250 g fresh ricotta cheese
  • 3 medium-sized eggs
  • 2 glass of oat milk
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 50 g Pavesini* – or Savoiardi cookies – or any kind of light brittle sweet biscuits
  • 50 g dark chocolate
*Pavesini Pavesini are light sweet biscuits which melt in the mouth. They have no added fat and so they are a great idea for anyone who wants a quick low calorie snack with only 8 calories in each biscuit. They are simply made with flour, sugar, fresh eggs and nothing else. If you cannot find them, substitute savoiardi.
NOTE: I use raw eggs, as it is necessary to make Tiramisu. If you do not feel safe using raw eggs, use pasteurized ones and make sure you know the source. If you still feel unsafe, just skip making tiramisu.
  1. Start by separating egg yolks from the eggs withes. In a large bowl beat the yolks together with sugar by using a whisk (better if it's an electric one), till you get a frothy cream.
  2. Wash and dry the lemon and grate its rind, then add it to the cream.
  3. Drain off the ricotta cheese in a colander and add it to the cream, mix very well to avoid lumps.
  4. In a separate large bowl beat the white eggs till they are snow-white and frothy.
  5. Gently add the egg whites to yolk and ricotta cream and mix them together very gently using a spatula until combined, trying not to deflate the mixture.
  6. Crush the chocolate into small pieces using a knife or the half moon and add it to the cream by keeping aside a small handful to garnish.
  7. Pour oat milk into a bowl and sets out your glasses or cups on your kitchen countertop.
  8. To assemble small glasses/cups: Dip quickly first cookie in oat milk until almost fully saturated but not falling apart and place it in the bottom of your glass. Spoon a generous tablespoon of cream over it. Repeat the procedure by alternating cookies and cream to fill the glass. Repeat with remaining glasses.
  9. Garnish the top of every glass of tiramisu with chocolate chips.
  10. Leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.







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  • Avatar
    Reply Dee 30/06/2017 at 0:37

    Congratulations on the boat! The ceramics website is looking gorgeous.

    • Zaira Zarotti
      Reply Zaira Zarotti 30/06/2017 at 10:46

      <3 So happy you like it, thank you!! I really can't wait to put the boat on water again!

  • Avatar
    Reply Amandine 30/06/2017 at 1:21

    I’m so happy that once again the universe bring you what you wish for ! Exploring Venetian lagoon in your very own boat must be a dreamy experience.
    I totally share your opinion about summer, the light during that period is a constant source of trouble for me ! I’m more a fall or a winter person.
    And also (so sorry my comment is very long) the Freaky Raku website is absolutely gorgeous. The journal section is such an inspiration and your bright images are very beautiful. You inspire me to explore some new road in my work. Wish I had one of those amazing tiramisu in my fridge. xx

    • Zaira Zarotti
      Reply Zaira Zarotti 30/06/2017 at 10:57

      Oh my dear Amandine! When we’ll finish all the work on the boat you’re officially invited to come to explore the lagoon with us!
      I know you can understand me, summer light is making me nervous. I am not able to find the right place in the house where I can work during the day, so I am just starting to shoot after 21 pm, or very early in the morning… but you know, I am not a morning person!! So, what the hell!!!!
      I am so very happy you like my bright pictures, I think it’s always positive to give yourself the chance to explore new roads 🙂
      Big hug to you and I hope to meet you soon <3

      • Avatar
        Reply Amandine 30/06/2017 at 22:40

        Thank you so much for the invitation dear Zaira it would be amazing.
        I hope to meet you soon too ! xx <3

  • Avatar
    Reply Sara 26/09/2017 at 11:49

    Just found your website, your photos and recipes are all wonderful. Just have to make this lemon ricotta dessert!

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