Archive for August, 2010

August 23, 2010

Warning: addictive!

There are so many wonderful blogs out there. I read most of them because I like to have a chance to confront with people whom I share a passion with – food. After a while you get the feeling you know them, even if all the direct contact you have had is maybe an email exchange.

Many blogs are also a constant source of inspiration for cooking, of course: this is why I started reading food blogs in the first place. Maybe the author has a different background than mine, and is familiar with ingredients or techniques I am not. There is so much I have learned this way, new ingredients I have explored, new combinations, new cookbooks. In many cases, the author is also an inspiring chef.

For other blogs, the main reason for reading them is  just the constant aesthetical bliss. They are beautiful. The author is a really talented designer, photographer or writer, and more often than not, all these things together. I tend to fall into Stendhal syndrome mode then, and just gorge on the pictures and read the writing as if it were the latest chapter of my favourite book. I am so totally captivated, I just forget sometimes we are talking about food, in the end. I know, how is it ever possible!? forgetting about food?

However this did happen, with one of my favourite blogs. What did I miss! Luckily, I recently remembered there are recipes on it as well. I am sure you are all already familiar with La Tartine Gourmande by Bea, and I do hope you did not make my mistake.

August 17, 2010

End of summer?

Peach Gratin Cake

Two days ago it was Ferragosto. Which maybe does not mean much to you if you were born north of the Alps. If you are Italian, though, you know that 15th of August makes Christmas look like a pale imitation of a holiday. Someone might be working on Christmas: for sure some women are, preparing lunch for 20 members of the family on average. Ferragosto is a Catholic holiday as well, but it feels quite pagan. Everyone, literally, goes to the beach or to the mountains, everyone is on holiday, and apart from the very touristic destinations, you won’t find anything open. Every family will pack food prepared the day before, drive through traffic jams, and queue patiently for their little piece of lawn in the sun, to have a picnic. Fighting is traditional, and helped by heat and overcrowding. Also, the tradition requires politicians to make the silliest declaration of the year, knowing that the news, apart from the traffic jams, would otherwise be really empty. It is the apex of summer.

When I moved abroad and I discovered that it is actually allowed by natural laws to work on that day, I must admin I had a major cultural shock. It took me a while to recover, and a few years of making it to the office in the fog, or under a persistent rain, to really come to terms with the idea. For some reason the weather appears to be quite often awful on that day. This year, it was raining the whole day, with no breaks. It has not stopped yet, and  it really looks like summer is already over. But! I won’t despair – not yet. The farmer market is still exciting, I still buy much more than I can carry, let alone eat, and new varieties of fruits and vegs are still appearing every week.

August 15, 2010

Gazpacho quest

Roasted tomatoes
It is summer. Few food items are relegated to the hot weather for me. One of them is not ice cream. One of them is indeed gazpacho.

I fell in love with it on my first holiday in Madrid, Spain. I was so lucky to spend two whole weeks at a friend’s home with her family.  The most detailed memories I have (it was a long time ago.. ohmy. Don’t make me count the years) are of food: cold horchata  soon after arriving, which I did not like that much, but was great for recovering from the heat;  falling in love with the street food (my favourite ever: bocadillo de calamares, a crunchy baguette filled with fried squids); and starting every dinner with a glass of gazpacho, cold from the fridge. Sour, refreshing, nutritious, and as heavy as hell. This little beauty can include anything from raw garlic and onions, to a more than generous amount of vinegar and olive oil. And I am one of those who never had problems with raw peppers or cucumbers… Not that I disliked the final result, mind, and I actually tolerate raw flavours much more now than then.

August 11, 2010

Off the Silk Road

Feta, chicken and potato kebab

Thanks to Melissa, I found out the Silk Road Gourmet. The  blog is beautifully written and extremely informative, and a peak into the recipe’s list convinced me I needed to own the cookbook as well.  I found the layout by countries very interesting, because I could quite easily find out that some of the spices and flavours combinations are very distinctive for a country’s tastes, even though many of the ingredients are common. 

August 7, 2010

What’s in a name?

My caffettieraThis blog has recently turned one. I had decided to give in to a tacky celebration, just because this is something I traditionally don’t do in ‘real’ life, and a tiny side of myself is still the 13-years old girl wanting to throw the hottest party in the whole school, and I am here to voice my secret wishes and aspirations, in the end. Unfortunately I am late.

Anyway I am going to celebrate somehow, and my celebration is to allow for a lengthy and probably meaningless explanation of this blog’s name.

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