I took the good decision to live this summer on my own terms. No make up, loose linen clothes which might not be flattering for my thick hourglass figure, but help me stay fresh and pretend I’m constantly on holidays, even though I am sweating in the kitchen while roasting a chicken for an Autumn assignment.
I had also the brilliant idea to embark on a diet. If I were wise, I would have chosen the winter months to begin a diet, to surprise Summer with a beach body. Since a beach body is simply a body, I opted for summer, as this is when I mostly need a guidance to juggle in between my gelato cravings and all the leftovers from cooking classes. Almost a year ago I was diagnosed with an insulin resistance, too, and it felt right to start doing something in this season of change.
In the busiest season of classes I also decided it was about time to dedicate part of my days to my education, investing in new books and e-courses. Long hours of daylight make me feel like I am wonder woman, but then I fall asleep with a book in my hands or I simply miss my self imposed deadlines for a new blog post.
We are already planning exciting workshops and events for the next season, as we will head to Rome, Milan and England. In October we will host Hélène and Tami’s food styling and photography workshop and the third edition of the Creative Gathering, which was impressively sold out in just a few weeks!
On the one hand, I am already looking forward to the cooler season, to grilled mushrooms with calamint and butternut squash risotto, to my mustard yellow jacket which I hope will suit me again after a few months of diet and to the warm hug of a mug of deliciously toasted coffee in the morning. I miss the rustling of dry leaves underneath my feet when I walk with Noa along our favourite country lane, the tingling of the new olive oil on the back of my tongue and the slower Sunday afternoons with a book and a plaid on my feet. I miss having the complete control of my time, spending a whole day writing in my pajamas with mugs of tea piling up on the table as the morning goes by.
On the other hand, I am holding on to Summer, to July, my month, as it concentrates within a few days my birthday (36 this year!) and our anniversary (4 years together, could you believe it?). I intend to use every single day of this season of change to make progresses in my cleansing project and in mental clarity. I aim to a new approach to Social Media, work, writing, photography, relationships, private and professional goals and expectations.
I kicked off my good intentions with a practical project which led me to clean my pantry. The consequence was a restyling of my menus, both for cooking classes and private gatherings with family and friends. The constraints brought new ideas and creativity in my cuisine.
This is when I introduced grilled stone fruit as a dessert.
It is essential, timeless, versatile. It speaks of balmy summer nights and sun ripened fruit in a local orchard. It is quick and fuss-free, a crowd-pleaser and a recipe which is impossible to mess up. You’ll find yourself cramming your paper bags with peaches and apricots at the market, secretly hoping that your friends will show up unexpectedly just to say: please, stay, I will whip up an impromptu dinner, and then play your ace card and bring the grilled stone fruit on the table as dessert among oohhs and aahhs.
Choose ripe seasonal stone fruit and aim for variety, as this will provide different colours, textures and tastes. White peaches and nectarines, apricots, yellow and red plums… they all serve the purpose, with yellow peaches being my first choice as they char to perfection after a few minutes on a scorching hot griddle pan, acquiring a jammy texture.
Serve the grilled stone fruit drizzled with a honey syrup flavored with rosemary and vanilla. You can also add a scoop of your favourite gelato or a tablespoon of milky ricotta, simply dusted with cinnamon.
- 1 yellow peach
- 1 white peach
- 1 nectarine
- 2 apricots
- 2 plums
- 2 tablespoons of mild flavoured honey
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1 drop of vanilla essence
- Gelato or fresh ricotta to serve
Rinse the stone fruits and cut them open. Remove the pit. Slice some of the stone fruits into wedges.
Grill the fruit on a hot griddle pan until charred in a few spots.
When you have grilled your fruit, the fun comes. You can either serve them straight from the pan with a drizzle of honey or spice them up a bit.
Make a honey syrup. Collect a few tablespoons of a mild flavoured honey in a saucepan and add a drop of vanilla essence and a sprig of rosemary. Bring to a simmer until thick and syrupy.
Drizzle over the fruit and serve on its own or with a scoop of gelato or fresh ricotta.
La Cucina dei Mercati in Toscana goes to Rome
On the 20th of September Tommaso and I will be in Rome at Latteria Studio, a place I’ve been dreaming to visit for ages, for a cooking class completely dedicated to La Cucina dei Mercati in Toscana, our last cookbook which explores the best Tuscan food markets and their most typical recipes.
We chose a menu which perfectly represents the area we are from, with recipes from Chianti, Val d’Orcia and Siena. We will cook a quick and versatile appetizer made of stale bread and pecorino, with an unexpected ingredient, white wine. We will hand roll pici, thick home-made spaghetti from the Val d’Orcia, and dress them with a rich sausage sauce. We will cook vegetables as the Italian do, until they surrender in a delicious green bean stew. Latte alla portoghese, with a hint of saffron, will close the meal with a sweet ending. Wines from a local farm will accompany our meal and our chats over a table of shared honest food.
This is a hands on all day class with a maximum of 8 participants. If you want to book your spot send me an email to info[@]julskitchen.com.
Capture, Eat, Visit! Food Styling, Photography & Cooking Workshop, October 7th-11th 2017
Join photographer Hélène Dujardin, food stylist Tami Hardeman and cookbook author Giulia Scarpaleggia, for a workshop in Tuscany October 7th- 11th. The 3 day workshop will be hosted at the gorgeous agriturismo Tenuta di Mensanello and will be geared toward exploring the food and culture of Tuscany, food photography, food styling, prop styling, and lots of hands on practice.
Helene and Tami will share with the attendees their composition & styling processes, how to choose the best lens, set up, ingredients, composition for your capture. Each day will be filled with lots of practice, demos and guidance. We will also have the chance to explore the best of the area with dinner in Siena, visit of a cheese farm, and a trip to the local market. Giulia will also host the group at her studio kitchen for a fun cooking lesson using fresh local ingredients.