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Sweet and fruity couscous salad

I saw her. She was running after a lonely firefly, wandering in a field of wheat in the point of turning from green to golden-yellow. She was smelling the wet earth after a sudden thundery shower. She was lying on the white table, back in the garden from now till October. She was playing hide and seek in the silent hedgerows along my country road.

I saw her, Summer has arrived a month ahead of schedule! As soon as summer arrives, I give new birth to all the rituals I’ve kept dormant for many months in a drawer. At the first sunny days that drawer begins to quiver, my summer habits push to gain life and freedom, to stretch their legs and enjoy the season, as lazy lizards on a stone wall.

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Robert’s Absolute Best Brownies: a life-changing minute

Recipes are wily beings. Sometimes they capture you with an alluring photo, sometimes they flourish in front of your eyes an ingredient you are really nuts about and that you would use anywhere, even in your cappuccino. Other recipes are more reserved, and win you with just one right word, giving you the sensation that this is what you were unconsciously looking for. The first time I leafed through David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert looking for a chocolate recipe, I was caught by just one sentence: you must stir the mixture energetically for one full minute, not less, because that will be a life-changing minute.

From that moment on, that life-changing minute crept into me: I wanted to understand how these 60 seconds could be crucial in the balance of a recipe, I wanted to savour the brownies elaborated by Robert Steinberg, the man who changed the world of American chocolate. If even David Lebovitz agreed on defining them as the absolute best brownies, there should have been a reason.

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Born to impress: pasta with zucchini and bacon in an unusual shell!

Every now and then, during a train or bus trip, when I am listening to the music with half-open eyes and the landscape looses its contours, I let my thoughts go and begin to dream. I do love dreaming, I’ve always done it since I can remember, dramatizing stories and plots, depicting daily life scenes in bright colours.

Dreams are sometimes an escape route from a reality that doesn’t suit you, sometimes an incentive to transform that very reality in a life you’d rather live. In my daydreams I love to surprise: in everyday life I am the one that can be described as the girl next door. Never too much over the top, never colours too flashy. I do not wear high heels, because I’d stumble and fall disastrously to the ground after two meters.

I can not speak out or impose myself into a group, I often find myself nodding to point out my ideas. In my mind I build impressive speeches that sometimes leave me speechless, but then in my daily life I can never be so incisive and direct.

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Ravioli filled with tomato bread soup

The tomato-bread soup (known also as pappa al pomodoro) is one of the most famous dishes of the Tuscan culinary tradition, with a large number of variations, I’d say every family has its own recipe. In Tuscany you can have pappa al pomodoro as a first course or even as a main dish. It is a hearty and simple dish, made according to the Tuscan golden rule: high quality ingredients, a simple cooking process and that’s all. You don’t need long cooking, dressings and many ingredients to make the most out of the freshest produce or the best quality ingredients you can find. This is a valuable example, in fact you basically need just stale bread, tomato purée and extra-virgin olive oil.

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Riz rouge de Camargue with fennel confit

I love colourful and distinguishing bridal bouquets, especially if they have unusual flowers and intricate interwoven green leaves. There’s a bouquet that beats them all. If ever a destiny will resolve me to leave my single status to get married, my bouquet will look like a bouquet garni! How I would love my father to walk me down the aisle, me holding tight in my hands a bouquet of fresh herbs, maybe some chili and certainly a lot of mint. After the ceremony, no way I’d throw the bouquet to the bridesmaids, it would end up directly into the pot to make us a risotto or a roast meat!

Last summer I visited Provence and Camargue: the stalls along the road were selling Provençal tablecloths, pottery, wrought iron souvenirs and bunches of fragrant lavender along with these small intense bouquets garnis, made with some of the most scented herbs of Provence. Again and again I was tempted to buy a whole bag of them, even though this would have meant finishing the trip in a car overfilled with thyme and laurel smell. Then I realized that it is much easier and cheaper to make them, instead of buying a bouquet garni as a common turist.

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Matcha Creme Brulé

This is just a quick post to let you know that our G2Kitchen Spring Issue is on line! Unfortunately we won’t translate it into English this time, even though you can enjoy the freshest pictures we have gathered! I wrote about fresh and quick lunch boxes to enlight your lunch break at work or at University and presented my home town, Colle di Val d’Elsa. We had also a mutual task: choose the colour that most represents spring for us and describe it with emotions, images, suggestions and a recipe. Guess which colour I chose!

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Pavlova day

We met by chance, as it usually happens in the most beautiful friendships. We met on line, as it is happening often lately, thanks to a mutual passion. We met for the first time live in Florence, of course sitting at a table, being two foodbloggers greedy for food and life: we were surrounded by bowls of chickpeas purée, lampredotto and strawberry tiramisu, yet we could talk and dream about more food and recipes still to come. In our long list of things to do, food to try, places to see and books to read, at the very first place, before the hight tea at the Four Season Hotel and a trip to London, there was the pavlova.

Yes, because Emiko is half Australian. Once discovered this, I couldn’t help. I wanted to learn from the expert how to bake the real pavlova, the one you could easily eat in a Sydney family at Christmas! Emiko came on a spring Sunday morning with a box of coconut macaroons and a little black book with all their family secrets for the ultimate pavlova.

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Buckwheat flour and bacon pancakes

Winter has been long and gloomy. I love the light rain, but just in London, not in my Tuscan countryside, it doesn’t fit at all! This is the reason I really strive for spring every year, as billions of people around the world! Just as the most longed for birthday gift, spring as arrived, and along with spring, sweet scents telling stories of woods, hedges and flowers and bees and new life!

I really love cooking in every season, but during the winter all I desire is a long and slow cooking, a simmering pot and a tale next to the fireplace. Now it is spring, and I still want to cook when I get home from work, but I look for simple things, something you can make as long as the light lasts, so that you can enjoy a scrumptious dinner and a drink with your friends. Chats with your girlfriends in front of a delicious dinner with a sparkling cocktail and contagious laughs as background music are definitely the best conclusion of the day!

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