Books, roast chicken and a farewell

settembre 9, 2014

Pollo Arrosto al vinsanto

When I was a child bookshelves at home were overfilled with home magazines, cars magazines, books and an old cooking encyclopedia my mum bought before getting married: a few issues from the complete edition you could purchase at newsstands weekly. No trace of cookbooks or food magazines. Mum never loved cooking, even though now she’s really good and at ease in the kitchen.

But I loved cooking so much. As a child I would climb onto the kitchen stool and make a cake every Sunday morning with mum. I don’t know if it was because I could already feel the magic or because I was allowed to lick the whisk, but boy how I loved those Sunday mornings! When I was a teenager I used to collect recipes from magazines in a notebook. I probably never tried out those recipes, but they were something precious, something to keep safe in a kitchen drawer, underneath tablecloths and tea towels.

My passion for cooking and food has been growing constantly since then, as my collection of cookbooks. The first cookbook I bought in my twenties, saving money from my first grown-up salary, is Tessa Kiros’ Apples for Jam, followed after just a few days by two more books of the same author, Falling Cloudberries and Twelve, my first Tuscan cookbook. All the recipes were truly honest, and the stories and Tessa’s gentle and simple approach to food made me discover a new dimension in cookbooks.

It might sound weird, but I found myself intrigued by Tuscan cooking just in the last ten years, falling in love again with the food that nurtured me for all my life and made me who I am now. Grandma has always been my reference point, my landmark when it comes to cook something according to our Tuscan traditions. She’s not studied cooking, she’s not a trained chef. She fed a family for all her life, she has lived her life in a Tuscan kitchen, foraging Tuscan herbs, she has always being crazy about mushroom picking in Tuscan woods, she has reared Tuscan hens and chickens, rabbits and children! She knows all the things I am writing here because she lived those experiences.

I have grandma, and I have cookbooks. I began collecting books which could me teach something about Italian and Tuscan food traditions. This will be our theme today. The Italian Table Talk girls are saying goodbye, this will be our last post, due to life which is playing hard with us. Life is giving us emotions, lots of work, changing of habits, of countries, of life, many working hours and passions. And life is demanding attention, so we decided that for our last post for the Italian Table talk round-up we would have talked about all those books that inspired our posts in the last two years, which will keep guiding us discovering the food we love, which hopefully will become a guide for you, too.

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Chilled peaches in wine from Delancey. A review.

agosto 27, 2014

Chilled peaches in wine

I chose Delancy as my beach book for the past summer holidays. I spent most of my afternoons sleeping in a dark room with a huge fan on the ceiling or watching episode after episode of the four seasons of Game of Thrones (yes, winter is coming). When I was laying on the beach, in between a swim and some daydreaming activity on a sun bed, I would take out Delancey, move my bookmark a few pages behind, dust off some sand and immerse myself into Molly’s and Brandon’s adventures with their restaurant.

I was there, with my body covered in a sweet coconut lotion, my feet firmly ducked under the sand and my hair tangled with salt and sultry air, then all of a sudden I would feel the urge to cook a braised pork shoulder, or a family-size bowl of eggnog, and I would say to my half asleep boyfriend laying in the sun next to me: I’m going to make this recipe for you, pork shoulder, doesn’t it sound delicious? Oh and fried rice. I want to cook more for you this winter, salads, desserts, pizzas…

I would come out with a new recipe to try next winter at least twice a day, and he would just nod back in response. He might have thought that my secret aim was to make him fat to be roasted in a wood fired oven but, oh, you know, winter is coming. Read the rest of this entry »

Lactose free, gluten free gnocchi with pistachio pesto

agosto 24, 2014

Gluten free gnocchi with pistachio pesto

Everything began with a nasty tiredness. I desperately wanted to understand which was the reason, I blamed the lack of sleep, then the heat, then the long shifts to finish my cookbook. I also secretly thought I was getting too lazy, or too old. Eventually I did a food intolerance test. I’ve learnt to listen to my body, so when I got my results they were not at all unexpected.

Due to my reckless way of life, my body is intoxicated. For some time I will have to avoid from my diet any dairy product, gluten – with the exception of rye – and chocolate. It has been almost three weeks now, though I already feel better: I am less tired, my skin is glowing and I’m slightly thinner.

Well, I’ve just got back from my holidays in Puglia, when I basically slept for the whole day, except for when I was reading at the beach. I could not follow the diet strictly, as I was trying to get as much as I could from my two week immersion in the country of such an amazing food as orecchiette, burrata and bread with olives… but I’ve behaved quite well.

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