Oat and honey biscotti with walnuts and raisins. I choose baking and I choose cookies.

ottobre 2, 2014

Oat and honey biscotti with walnuts and raisins

I was just missing cooking by instinct, in my kitchen, in a quiet afternoon. I was standing at one end of the kitchen marble table, busy among jars of flour, nuts and honey. My sister was sitting at the opposite side, studying for an exam at the university, but following every movement and nodding at every ingredients I was adding into the cookie dough. A steaming cup of green tea framed an old-fashioned afternoon, one of those cozy days we have spent together growing up.

I’ve always had a tendency to identify scenes of Little Women in my life. It is a book which influenced my imagination for years. Poised between Meg and Jo, I have grown into a little woman of which I am proud, a woman who finds the centre of her world in cooking, in the loved ones and in written words.

When the kitchen spells its charm so convincingly, all you can do is surrender. In these moments, among my pots and jars, I always end up baking something.

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Links to love – Summer crushes

settembre 30, 2014


A new season has just begun. Autumn smells like squash and cinnamon, but also newly printed books and sharp pencils. It’s the perfect moment to introduce the first news here at Juls’ Kitchen. Have you recognized the Link Love? Once in a while I add a bunch of links at the end of a post, significant information, fun facts and interesting recipes found on the internet. This will the monthly version. Every month I will list in a short post my current crushes. There will be recipes, either tested and approved or just read and added to my to-do-list, books I am reading, books I loved, movies, restaurants, cafés, interesting articles or inspirational videos.

As befits any first edition, it is slightly special. I tried to sum up my summer months, with memories from London and Salento and the first working weeks of September, still vibrant with the last summer colours. Are you ready? Let’s go!

One of the best coffees I have ever had, made by The Black Cab Coffee in Brick Lane, London.

“Good cooking is honest, sincere and simple and by this I do not mean to imply that you will find in this, or indeed in any other book the secret of turning out first class food in a few minutes with no trouble. Good food is always a trouble and it’s preparation should be regarded as a labour of love” Elizabeth David

This video on body language.

In Defense of Food: an Eater’s Manifesto, by Michael Pollan. I just read a few chapters, but this book is already so mind-opening.

Home cooking, the first recipe book by Laurie Colwin, I am almost at the end. She’s my food icon, I’ll talk about this very soon.

rustici  ricci di mare

Puglia, Salento, sea urchins and coffee on ice with almond milk.

Bormioli jars to keep my flour neatly organized on the shelves.

This article about Marcella Hazan. I found myself ordering yet another book, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, on Amazon.

Steller,  the new App for iPhone where I spend hours looking for fresh inspiration.

A cool infographic which will help you discover the music you should listen to on jour job.

An intense black tea, St. Petersburg, by Kusmi.

Regula’s white loaf. It will make you proud.

This funny video. It makes me laugh to tears every time.

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of The Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Handbook, a comprehensive manual for the olive oil producers and passionate lovers, which explains in detail every aspect, from the different olive tree cultivars to the olive harvesting and process of olive milling, with one last interesting chapter about the culinary uses of extra virgin olive oil.

Gluten-free occhio di bue cookies by Emiko.

13 ways to make hummus, here.

Mark Bittman on the New York Times, When Cooking, Invest Time. Or Work. Not Both. Truth.

These are my favourite links on the web, the books I loved and my latest crushes. Share in the comments your favorite links, the newly discovered products and recipes, the books which were with you during these summer months, the movies you enjoyed during slow afternoons or evening. Do not forget your latest crushes. 

Blog Hop. Behind the scenes at Juls’ Kitchen

settembre 28, 2014

Cantucci di avena con noci e miele - Oat biscotti with walnuts and honey

Let’s have a break from the usual stream of recipes. Yes, I promise I will share the recipe of these oat cantuccini with walnuts and honey in my next post, but today we’re going to do something slightly different. Today’s post will be about my projects and writing style. Tiana, from Tiana Kai in Florence invited me to join in on this Blog Hop. I am therefore supposed to share some of my darkest secrets with you. This is meant to be a little behind the scene or, better, into the kitchen of Juls’ Kitchen.

This Blog Hop is a series of four questions. You can check out Tiana’s answers and then come back here and read mine. I was supposed to nominate three other bloggers, but I will just keep the invitation open, so if you’d like to share some of your writing secrets with us, just grab the opportunity. And now, let’s start.

1. What am I working on/writing?

Thousands of recipes. Well, actually, just two – three recipes per time, but my mind in these days is spinning so fast I can barely keep the rhythm. I’ve been recently diagnosed with an intolerance to gluten and diary products, which I hope will be just temporary. This led me to a new perspective and a new curiosity. Now I am working on classical Tuscan recipes, but I try also to remake them following my dietary restrictions. Sometimes they work, and this makes me happy beyond words, sometimes they don’t, and believe me, it is more convenient to skip the description of the results.

I am working for magazines and companies to develop recipes, I take pictures, I am just at the end of the cooking classes season, so I am ready to step into a season which will hopefully be more focused on food writing, food photography and research. I need some good readings and this is the right moment to do it. My third book just came out, only in Italian for the moment, so I am also ready to promote it.

2. How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?

I am deeply fascinated by words. I love food and I love English, too. These beginning features brought me to my ultimate goal, which is to depict my region, Tuscany, with vivid words and authentic recipes, with a perspective from inside, as I am a native Tuscan country girl. If you listen to my grandma, she even believes she has Etruscan ancestors, so I can assert I am truly local.

But English is not my mother tongue, I speak Italian with a sheer Tuscan accent, which you could easily recognize in any video recipe. This characterizes my written English, as well as my spoken English. I try to be ac correct as possible, I read English books and magazines, I listen to English tv programs, but my English is still extremely Italian. At the beginning I was scared and ashamed, then I realized this could be my uniqueness and my strength. Now I am quite proud of this strange mix of English words and Italian structures which I call my writing style.

3. Why do I write what I do?

One single world: passion. I’ve always loved cooking, growing up in a family where the good food was always given for granted. I discovered lately, though, how I deeply love talking about food, especially my heritage food and recipes, with a curious and light perspective.

Memories, imagination, traditions, words, images, colours, hues, accents work together to convey a unique story. Being a storyteller today is rewarding, especially when you can build such incredible relationships with your readers and fellow bloggers. Food is my natural habitat, as water is for a swimmer. I could not imagine my life differently now.

4. How does my writing/working process work?

Usually I’m pretty chaotic, but now I’m struggling with my schedule trying to be a tad more organized. I begin with an idea for a recipe and a story, or a mood. I cook the recipe and sometimes I take pictures of ingredients and different steps. In the meantime if I am in one of the better days, when I feel systematic, I scribble down ingredients and procedure.

Then it’s time to take the last shots, with the well styled recipe. I try to use visual elements which can convey my ideas and the general mood of the story. The very same day or even days later I collect all the details, pictures, notes… and I write my story, which in most of the cases is a blog post that will be published here on the blog.

So this was my Blog Hop! Feel free to grab the invitation and answer these few questions to give us an insight into your work and daily routine. Have a great Sunday everyone!