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Irish Beef Stew with Guinness

Cèad mìle fàilte!* My love for Ireland was so strong that I even wanted to learn Gaelic. Looking back, I’ve realized that I’m a person who constantly needs to have a visceral passion for something that takes you to read, study, dream, commit… during my University years my deepest passion was Ireland.

I used to listen to U2, the Corrs, the Chieftains. I even listened to unknown Irish folk bands, as long as the music had that special verve that made you get up from the chair and start dancing! I used to read W. B. Yeats’ poems and many Irish writers such as Roddy Doyle, Nouala O’ Faolain, Joseph O’Connor, Frank McCourt, Cecilia Ahern… I still have a soft spot for Cecilia Ahern’s novels and right now I feel a urgency to read again Pete McCarthy’s McCarthy’s Bar. If you haven’t read it yet, go searching for it and be ready to laugh to tears!

* It means a hundred thousand welcomes, and this is the only expression I have ever learnt in Gaelic!

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Chicken and spinach patties

There is a moment of my working day that I particularly like. I realized it in these days when I traveled to Rimini, when this moment expanded itself from a few minutes to several hours: I’m talking about the road trip – whether to or back – I’m doing almost every day with my colleague and friend, Romina. We meet at the usual place at the usual time, then we do the transfer from one car to the other in a state of trance, choosing on day mine and one day her car. Car sharing is the new black!

Romina gets off the car with a smooth, continuous movement, grabs her bags, locks her car and with the same agility she sits next to me. Time required: 5 seconds. I’m clumsy even in getting off the car: usually I stumble in my scarf (I like long scarves which you wrap a thousand times around your neck, not my fault…), I open and close the door several times before I have taken everything – from my bag to my lunch box. I check the radio, the keys and finally sit beside her, buried under more bags than those ladies sitting on the bus with only their nose peeping out from their shopping bags. Time required: one minute…

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Butternut squash soup and chicken meatballs

Last week of work before Christmas, here we start to deal with dinners to exchange greetings with colleagues, friends from elementary school, high school and college, family friends, close and less close relatives, new acquaintances and happy hours under the Christmas tree. This is the reason I'm presenting you a recipe to face this social life alarm: the idea is to have a light meal…

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Pork sirloin with milk and white truffle

Last week, looking for a meat recipe to enrich with truffles, I went back in memories to a typical Sunday morning of a few years ago… one of the many wintry Sunday mornings spent in San Gimignano, at my grandfather’s house. While my aunt and mom were cooking, I would pick up pine nuts with my cousin Margherita and my grandfather in the local park, or, growing up, we would have our first strolls in town, looked up with caring eyes by all the inhabitants of San Gimignano, leaning out the doors of shops and bars. We were the daughters of the little twins, and therefore recognized by everyone! Pork sirloin cooked in milk was one of the dishes we used to welcome with more joy coming back home. Its softness, its creamy and velvety gravy and the richness that made it a perfect second course to enjoy on cold winter mornings… these are cozy memories I cannot forget!

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