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Fishballs with milk mayonnaise

Every time I tell myself I need to do things slowly, one after another. You just need a bit of organization, don’t you? I bought a black Moleskine on purpose, to scribble down projects, deadlines and ideas (yes, this is the official excuse, the truth is that I like to show it out at every opportunity, I’d love to be called the girl with the black Moleskine*!). Yet every time I find myself flooded with things to do, overlapping deadlines, four windows open on my desktop with a half written post, pictures in post production (what a resounding word, it seems that we are here working on a Vogue photocall!), e-mails to far-away friends and another brilliant blog post that I’d want to comment on.

It happens the same when I’m in the kitchen: I often have only the weekend to try the dozens of recipes going on through my mind during the week, so usually on Saturday mornings I put fire to the kitchen, there’s a pot boiling on the stove, the oven timer rings , the blender is on and there’s a knife dangerously poised on the cutting board. I desperately want to try everything and I invariably find myself in a battlefield.

* Yeah, I’ve read I love shopping, and you?

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Hawaiian rice noodles with bacon and crab meat

I’m not very much into dancing and sometimes I prefer staying at home to cook or write, rather than going to a club… Yet, the harsh life of a single woman would require an attendance, if not constant at least assiduous, of socializing sites to get this label off. Despite this behaviour, I am good company and I like parties, those parties crammed with friends, where you have the chance to talk, to laugh to tears and, obviously, to eat. If at the disco my eyes start to close at the stroke of midnight (what an anachronistic person I am… will it be the influence of Cinderella’s tale?), at a party with friends I can stay up till late chatting over a set table, losing track of time and enjoying the atmosphere.

I’ve always had the dream of throwing large parties, like in the movies, with music, colours and set tables in my garden. I live in the countryside, this is one of the many benefits I have: no time constraints, no grumpy neighbours, open spaces to fill with joyful hands, feet and smiles. But until a few years ago there was a problem, to fill that garden, until…

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An eco-friendly picnic

My friends and I love picnics: genuine food, open air lunches and the sun playing among the tree branches, that’s our perfect day. Every time we organize a picnic, we try to be as much eco-friendly as possible, that is, we try to reduce the impact on the environment. No plastic dishes or cups, each one of us carries his own dishes, glass and cutlery and we share the food from our lunch boxes. At the end of the day everyone just collects his own dishes to leave completely clean the lawn or the shrubbery. As I said, zero impact.

Then a few weeks ago I saw this article posted on Facebook by Alex, a volcano of interesting ideas: I immediately saw those little jars with chalkboard paint lids as perfect lunch boxes for a picnic. Just imagine: a red checkered blanket, a large straw bag, your favorite book, the play of light through the trees branches and many small glass jars with coloured chalk writings on the black lids. A scene that is a cross between Le déjeuner sur l’herbe by Manet and the Mad Hatter tea time banquet in Alice in Wonderland. More or less playful writings and explanations, each one free to choose the jar he fancies the most. At the end of the day, just wash the jars and clean the lids with a damp cloth and they are ready for the next picnic. Zero impact, greatest fun.

Simple and easy to carry recipes. Practical glass jars that can be customized every time with colourful chalk and ribbons to match. A picnic in the shade of the trees on a lazy Sunday afternoon. That’s our theme, today!

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Mafalde with roasted tomatoes. Food bloggers pasta party.

Pasta

When Domenica asked me to take part to the Food bloggers pasta party to celebrate the launch of her brand new book, The Glorious Pasta of Italy, I was deeply honoured and excited. Why? Just have a look at Domenica’s blog, at her light-hearted yet professional recipes, at her enjoyable and sensitive writing, at her positive look at life and you’ll easily understand why I was so happy.

Domenica, as her name foretells, grew up in an Italian family: her mother was born on the hills around Chieti, on the Adriatic coast. She spent her summer holidays in Italy with her mother’s three sisters, all great cooks. She has a true passion for simple, honest food. You can almost touch this great respect for ingredients and traditions in her recipes and through her words. I was captured by her work, by this genuine love for food.

Pasta

As Italian pasta lover, I couldn’t help but leafing through her new book for hours, lingering on beautifully photographed and well described recipes. A special mention to the fresh pasta chapter, enriched by step-by-step instructions and plenty of variations on the classic egg pasta. Thank you Domenica for being such a brilliant Ambassador for the authentic Italian food abroad!

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Lemon & White chocolate cake

It’s tea-time, a few minutes of quiet in the mid-afternoon since I can remember, a break from my homework to be spent with mum, grandma and Claudia. Often an elbow was leaning on my books, the Greek translation or the marketing manual, while the other was struggling to have space on a colourful place-mat between a cup of tea and some biscuits. Those minutes have always been precious, to spend some time together and talk and comment on our day so far. But the tea-time has a meaningful sense even when I’m alone, just my cup of tea and me, following the drawings of the sun on the kitchen floor, to clear up my mind and recharge myself with new energy, dreaming about what would have happened if…

…what would have happened if she had pursued her dream and had turned the tea-time, the moment that she preferred in the day, into her life, to live a never ending tea-time, to stop the clock at that moment when the kettle whistles, your eyes go through the many teas on the shelf to find a suitable flavour for your mood and the cake looks inviting on the table.

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