febbraio 6, 2014
I like thick soups. I want to spread my bean soup onto thin toasted slices of bread and then drizzle them with a more than generous amount of my best extra virgin olive oil. I can’t help, before attacking the soup with a spoon, I have the physical urge to make me a crostone. It’s the quintessential Tuscan pleasure: a flavourful soup made with poor ingredients, a few slices of bread without salt and the fruity extra virgin olive oil. Bliss.
Soups are wonderful one-pot meal, though I began to truly appreciate them when I started working from home. I would put all the ingredients in my huge cast iron pot in the morning, stir a few times during the following hours as I check the water or the broth, then I would finish the dish with fresh herbs or extra virgin olive oil just before serving it, the final touch of the chef, they call it!
You actually don’t need barely time, but organization. It’s not like making a three layer chocolate cake – well, definitely the time you spend making this kind of cakes it’s worth of the results – you can put the pot on the stove and clean the house, answer e-mails, play with your children, wash your hair and paint your nails, talk with your partner or read a book. You could even watch the whole Titanic and sob on your couch, the soup will keep on cooking, getting thicker, tasty, creamy, perfect for dinner or for tomorrow’s lunch. Because soups are just like lasagne, the day after are even better.
So back to the basic with this month Italian Table Talk, we decided to do soups! Jasmine will explain you how to make a brodo di pollo by the book, Valeria will bring you back to her Venice and will show you how to make risi e suca, a pumpkin rice soup, while Emiko is presenting a Tuscan soup with fish, zuppa di moscardini, one of my favourite, by the way. I made a typical soup of the Northern part of Tuscany, Garfagnana, a soup with farro and beans, and it is as thick as it can be! Read the rest of this entry »
febbraio 1, 2014
Five years ago I wrote the first post. Five years ago I still lived at home with my parents, in the attic at the top of the kitchen stairs, there was still Kira around, proudly guarding the garden from the balcony, I had an office job that probably I still used to appreciate, even thought it was already was a bit tight. I used to cook in his spare time, stealing space, spices and pots from mum in the kitchen, I had bought only three cookbooks, two written by Tessa Kiros and one by Jamie Oliver. I had a few trusted friends, the ones that are still here every day, and an endless list of dreams.
Five years ago my life changed, I’m not exaggerating. Now I feel like I am fully living my days, often with shortness of breath, running behind my schedule, but firmly believing in an ideal life which I try to turn every day into reality. Have I succeeded? Not always, I admit it, but it’s fun to try and set yourself a goal, higher every time. I am not able yet to get up early every morning, bake home-made sourdough bread, pick up vegetables from my well organized garden and cook them, write inspired looking out of the window on my Tuscan hills.
I get up late every day, emerging from my blankets as after a hundred year sleep, because every day I work till late in the evening on the computer or maybe I go out (well, I’ve conquered a social life again in these five years, let’s celebrate), I have breakfast while I check my inbox, though I am regularly late in answering your lovely emails and I feel guilty for all the emails I’ve still here, waiting for an answer.
I cook often in my pajamas, I take pictures badly balanced on a chair, I play with Noa and I try to keep her away from the food, sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t… The sourdough bread is often rather thick, not to say hard, the large bubbles in the crumb are still my wildest dream and I am still able, during the most important dinners, those with him, to burn the potatoes or make an inedible pizza. Thankfully a good chocolate dessert always comes to save the situation. Routine.
In these five years I have learnt that we should not be ashamed of the desire to be happy. It might be a banal word, happy, something pronounced by a little girl with pigtails, and yet it is still a word that scares people to death. People will work against you if you believe in a world where happiness is a choice and a possibility, and they don’t. It won’t be happy every day, every minute, but you can try to be so unashamedly happy. And that’s what I’ve been doing for five years, believing in myself and in what I do.
Would I make it all again? Yes, undoubtedly yes, choice after choice, sleepless night after sleepless night, pound after pound, despite the disappointments, the missteps, the falls and the mending diets. Since I decided to give voice, colour and flavour to my projects I have finally become myself. This is one of the most amazing gifts that my blog gave me, along with new friends, exciting travels, a new job built day after day, two books, a prize as best foodblogger 2013 and a special person.
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gennaio 29, 2014
I’m sitting at a table at the Arnold Coffee in Florence, one of those bars inspired by the American Starbucks with a continual coming and going of people, a huge stack of paper cups next to the counter, enormous blackboards with an endless choice of American coffee, lattes, shakes and smoothies. It’s not my first choice in terms of quality coffee, of course. An artisan coffee shop with in house roasted coffee, lost in a back alley, a place that only you and three other people know, well, this is definitely better, or at least, it is certainly more useful in terms of image and romantic allure of foodie up-to-date with the latest trends.
But it’s raining here in Florence, I have an hour of spare time between the first official engagement as a teacher at the Florence University of the Arts and a dinner with him, I feel like writing and I need something warm to hug me from the inside. Arnold coffee is the best solution, I took an hazelnut American coffee, a triple chocolate cookies (yes, I know, I’m on a diet, my Super Ego just reminded me of this insignificant detail) and I sat down at a table.
If I turn my back to the road I feel like I am elsewhere. That young couple sitting a few tables from me is definitely elsewhere. They are lost in each other’s eyes, hands wrapped around a cup of coffee as if it were the last bottle of water in the desert, regardless of the chatter around them. That girl sitting alone in a leather chair is elsewhere, a wool hat to hide her face partially, though not enough to cover a delighted smile in front of a coffee with whipped cream and a slice of decadent cheesecake with raspberries. Yes, it could be me if I were not here to tell you what I am seeing around me!
Then, if I had managed not to get soaked in hazelnut coffee, finding myself, my hands, my skirt, my iPad and my pullover completely sticky, well, the picture would have been perfect. But without a spontaneous act of clumsiness it would not be me. Better to get into today’s recipe!
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