It snowed again, for the first time after five years. I was perfectly awake at 7am on a Sunday waiting for the snow, excited as a kid for Christmas. I have this romantic view of the snow: purifying, candid, refreshing. The countryside needs it. Old people would say: sotto la neve pane, sotto l’acqua fame, which means ‘under the snow bread, under the rain hunger’. I totally agree.
The whole February passed in a blink of an eye, but during the last snowy weekend finally time flowed following its proper old-fashioned rhythm, giving me time to read, to eat with the family, to cook, write and, most importantly, to play in the snow.
Forty-eight hours which were finally enough to feel myself again.
That weekend has been one of the most peaceful of the last months: I sat at my kitchen table writing, shaping up the first chapter of my next book. I would rise my eyes from my notebook, sip some hot tea and look at the snow peacefully falling on the fields. In the afternoon we had a walk outside, playing with Noa in the snow: she loves the snow as much as I do.
The snow washed away all the bad feelings, heavy thoughts and fatigue of the last months. I had a whole day of carefree happiness, choosing to do just what would make me happy. It looks like an easy thing to do, but in the frantic rhythms of the everyday routine you forget how simple it would be to feel yourself again.
This is the magic of snow.
We went to Siena in a windy day to eat the famous fritters in Piazza del Campo, something we don’t want to miss. They fry the rice fritters in a wooden hut in the square. They used to make them just for St. Joseph, on the 19th of March, but in the recent years you can find them since the end of January, in a whirlwind of confetti and Carnival parties. Read more about these fritters here.
I started baking again with my sourdough. Good wholewheat flour, time and patience make a sturdy loaf which can be sliced throughout the week and drizzled with olive oil, slathered with ricotta and jam for breakfast or covered with a hearty soup.
- Somebody feed Phil. It is a new series on Netflix, which I started watching while I was on the treadmill at the gym. I could not help but laugh, and I had this beaming smile all through the first episode, set in Bangkok. Phil Rosenthal, the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, is the star of this new food-centric travel series on Netflix. I’ve read positive reviews and negative ones. I’m enjoying it, though. Phil is an enthusiast eater, he is not pretentious, not know-it-all, not sarcastic or rude, just a common man enjoying all that amazing food. It made my hungry on that treadmill.
- Rachel Roddy’s Neapolitan beef and onions recipe. In the middle of Benedetta Gargano’s flat in Naples is a white, oval table. The table once lived three streets away in the dining room of Benedetta’s maternal grandmother, Elisa, where the extended family would sit at least three times a week when they all gathered to eat. And eat they did: Elisa was, by all accounts, a fine Neapolitan cook. This is should food, and I truly love every story written by Rachel or by Benedetta, a dear friend.
- My friend Regula‘s Digestive Biscuits. A packet of digestive biscuits is something more than a base for a cheesecake. Making them at home with good ingredients and having their smell wafting through the kitchen is a pleasure I don’t want to miss. I’ll follow Regula’s recipe and fill up a jar with these biscuits. Who’s baking with me?
- “Lemon Bread” by Judith Waller Carroll + Meyer Lemon and Rosemary Cake by Nicole Gulotta. Poems and recipes, carefully chosen words and ingredients, winter and spring, savoury and sweet. In Nicole Gulotta’s new post you can get all of this, along with a beautiful poem and a recipe for Meyer lemon, yogurt and rosemary cake.
- The reason why comfort food is no longer comforting. When did comfort food stop comforting us? When did restaurant chains and supermarkets and food manufacturers co-opt comfort to sell us food that is often high in calories but leaves us empty nutritionally and emotionally? When comfort food is associated to guilty pleasures, decadence and indulgence, it is not more a comfort food, as guilt is the opposite of comforting. An illuminating article.
- An Ancient Tuscan Village, Like Italy, Is Reshaped by Migration. A positive article on how migration reshaped a Chianti village, Castellina in Chianti, written by Gaia Pianigiani, a journalist based in Rome who was born and bred there. Please read it.
- Zoe Bakes. I discovered her on Instagram, where you can find her as @zoebakes. She has the most useful, productive, fun way to use stories, where you can actually learn a lot about how to make her beautiful recipes. I am addicted. If you love baking, this is a profile to follow.
- Rossella Di Bidino and her hashtag #scriverecolcibo, writing with food, or food writing with an Italian approach. Follow her on Instagram as @rossdibi for daily inspiration on books, cooking or writing manuals and recipes, and read her recent interviews on the blog with Laura Ottaviantonio, Dianne Jacob and Nicole Gulotta.
Ci Piace Cucinare
As every month, once a week you can find my recipes in the Italian cooking magazine Ci Piace Cucinare. It is a lot of fun to develop the recipes and capture the final result, even more enjoyable it is to eat all this fresh food, share it with friends and family or freeze it for the busy days.
February was about radicchio, whose bitter taste I truly love, from salads to bean soups with caramelised radicchio, from beef patties wrapped in radicchio leaves to rice timbals with a melting cheese heart. I had also the chance to cook and share Carnival recipes, like these chestnut flour fritters and these fried tortellini with a chestnut and chocolate filling.
Every month we contribute a recipe to Cadoro’s online magazine. February was all about Brussel sprouts. It is not one of the vegetables I would choose on a daily basis, but I learnt to appreciate it, especially when raw. In this salad Brussel sprouts are thinly sliced and dressed with chopped toasted hazelnuts, spicy provolone and a vinaigrette made with extra virgin olive oil, mustard, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. It is a bright side dish to a pork roast, but I would be happy yo have this as a main with a slice od sourdough bread and some extra cheese.
Here you can find the detailed recipe in Italian.
What did you like this past month?
Books, posts, articles you’ve read, recipes you cooked? Share the love in the comments. And if you cooked recipes from Juls’ Kitchen, share them with the hashtags #julskitchen and #myseasonaltable.