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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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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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Ricotta, ham and parsley ravioli

Ravioli prosciutto prezzemolo

Every promise is a promise: after the first Juls’ Kitchen on demand I posted the spring-like recipes for buttercream cupcakes to comply with the majority, but I said as well that fresh pasta would have come soon, and here we are.

A few days after my confessions of a fresh pasta maniac I found Elena’s recipe in my mailbox, written with her usual sweetness and freshness. I met Elena just once more than one year ago when I was on a business journey, then we met again here by chance, and we got to know each other better. Usually I share with Elena food recipes, she gets back to me with life recipes, weaving the words of her e-mails with the brightness and cheerfulness of her land, the Campania.

Among the ingredients of her recipe, ravioli filled with ricotta and ham, there is parsley: I’m used to green into fresh pasta filling, just think of spinach, chard or even pesto… but the parsley! A very unusual ingredient that threw me out to comb through my potties in search of the fresh leaves of this poor herb, usually so mistreated.

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The roots. Jersusalem artichokes soup

Zuppa di Topinambur

Jasmin and Manuel’ s contest, Taking roots, organized to celebrate their first Labna blogiversary, was definitely my cup of tea for two reasons:

– the roots are essential for all of us, your family build them up for you day after day, they give you the sap to grow, the minerals from the home soil to fortify you and the strength necessary to let you fly;

– the roots are magical, they contain the power of Mother Earth, they are used in potions and spells, in fairies’ decoctions, they are the basic ingredients of the people of the woods diet, the long legs of the trees supposed to defend the forest.

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