Carrot and almond cake. Browsing through sweet memories…

luglio 25, 2014

Carrot and almond cakeThere are three carrot cakes in my memories.

I ordered the first carrot cake with a broken English more than ten years ago. It was Summer 2002, it was my first holiday abroad with friends, a quiet August carved out from my University exams of July and September. We were four adventurers with backpackers and Ireland was our America. We found ourselves in a remote village on the Dingle Peninsula, I can not remember the name but I clearly remember as it was yesterday a downhill road that sloped down towards the sea, with a double row of colorful houses on both sides. Before taking the bus to reach out hostel we sat in a local cafe, with wooden walls painted in white and a second-hand bookshelf in a corner. I ordered a slice of carrot cake, generous and dense, with a thick layer of lemon cheese frosting. Of that cake I can still taste the warmth of spices, so different from the cakes I was used to, comforting and entrancing.

The second cake was one of my creations. Autumn 2003, a few weeks before my graduation. My best friend Laura and I were going to graduate in a few days. We went to Florence to search for a suitable dress for the great occasion, the last thing to do before the big day. In a crowded city bus I took out a plastic tupperware from my bag with a few squares of walnut and carrot cake, which I had prepared the day before. That cake had the taste of  achieved goals and friendship, it was thick and moist, it made me travel through time and space back to put Ireland holiday.

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Why July is my special month and a lemon polenta cake

luglio 11, 2014

Lemon polenta cakeJuly is my special month. It is bursting with sun and good weather, more intense and deeply rooted into summer than June, definitely more care-free than August, because Autumn is yet too far away to smell the musky notes of woods or the stormy winds. You can still plan your summer in July, because the sunny season has just begun, the days are still long and shiny, you can sit on the doorstep in the evening to chat, to enjoy your ice cream and the last moments of light.

I’ve always had a crush on him, July, a charming month with wheat blond hair and eyes as blue as the sky and the deep sea. I would start getting some tan, showing the marks of the tank on my shoulders, to check my progress day after day.

July is my birthday month, just for this reason I love it with a childish love, the most beautiful month of the year because right at the end comes the most exciting day of the year, where I grow, change, and get stronger.

Recently July is also the month of short trips to London, where I can finally breathe the exciting air of the city that fascinates me most. Last year I was there to take part to the Food Blogger Connect, this year I’m going to enjoy a long weekend just like a tourist. Believe me or not, next week I’m going to visit at least a bunch of museums, as – shame on me – whenever faced with the choice between Borrough Market and Tate Modern… well you know which was my choice, don’t you? I love to get lost among the stalls of one of the greatest markets in the world. I won’t go alone. My travel mate and significant other is passionate about museums, I know he will catch me if I will try to ignore the National Gallery in search of a little café where to sit down and pretend to be a Londoner.

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Buckwheat crêpes. Oh those summer nights…

luglio 4, 2014

Buckwheat crêpesLet’s make crêpes. He came out in a quiet summer Saturday afternoon, one of those typically Italian. We had a relaxing walk in Florence, a cold coffee, we chatted lightly over projects and upcoming holidays, searching for the refreshing shade of the elegant buildings. Multitudes of tourists were flowing next to us, an incredible mix of languages, gelato flavours, red cheeks and delighted smiles.

I had two options. Whip up for dinner the simplest crêpes you can think of to enjoy a few more hours in Florence, or opt for the longest and tastiest road. Guess what I chose. Every chance to cook something special must be sized, no matter what. It is just not because I find a deep pleasure in eating well, even though it’s the starting point of many an adventure in the kitchen. The reason is that every time that you can handle ingredients, flavours and smells which make you travel, you must take that flight. You can turn a cozy Saturday in a travel in space and time. If the traveling minds are two, you create dishes which can take you on holidays at the first bite.

We agreed on making buckwheat crespelle with a fried egg, roast ham and grilled vegetables. Our crespelle were close to the French crêpes au sarrasin. I have the most vivid memories of the only week I spent in France in all my live, in Provence, and those memories are all connected to food, food markets, food experiences and food shopping.

A couple of fresh eggs, ripe summer vegetable and a garden scented with flowers and basil created a magic. Read the rest of this entry »