30 October 2012

Fried Scamorza Cheese & Chive Sandwich (Scamorza in Carrozza) and The Town of Veroli


I love lunches and dinners but breakfasts have a special hold on me.  I sometimes skip it with just a cup of espresso to jerk me awake before hurrying to do the morning things.  I always forget that breakfast is more important than anything else.  When I do give myself time to sit down and nourish myself to start the day, I get a glass of spremuta (freshly squeezed orange juice), season permitting, a bomba con la crema (doughnut stuffed with cream) if I don't feel too guilty about what I am eating or a cornetto (croissant) if I want to lighten up and a cup of espresso. 

26 October 2012

Savory & Sweet Breakfast: Ricotta & Almond Pancakes with Caramelized Grapes in Port & Balsamic Vinegar and A Plate of Sautéed Savory Breakfast


It's late Thursday night and I am hastening this post in time for the weekend.  I even leapt through all my other planned blog posts just to share this one with you.  Let me tell you why.  I had been fixated with big breakfasts lately.  My mind starts whirring very late at night, every night, thinking of the contents of my fridge & cupboards and what I can put together the following morning.  Lately, it's me, myself and I whipping up breakfasts in the silence of the mornings. It's a luxury, I'm telling you and I am truly enjoying my "me" time.

24 October 2012

Conchiglioni con Frutti di Mare al Cognac (Shell Pasta with Seafood & Cognac) & A Day Around the Pantheon Area


Going around the city with the cameras around our necks, my husband and I continuously click on the monuments that we've been taking pictures of over the years, each time with a better camera from the last.  I can see the chain we are going through.  In a few years again, better equipment, still the same route, to the city's most photographed monuments.  I showed you some shots of the Colosseo and its confines in the previous post.  Now, let me show you the Pantheon and its surrounding area. 

19 October 2012

Dutch Baby Pancake with Caramelized Plums in Brandy, Cinnamon & Lemon Zest


Our house has grumpy little people when the sun rises in the morning.  Each little person hides deeper under the covers when we call out. 

"Rise & shine kids!"  Grunts.  
"Breakfast is ready!"  Grunts.
I draw the curtains to let the morning light come in.  More grunts.
"You will be late for school!"  Grunts.
My older son stands up but sports the grumpiest morning expression in his face.  
My younger daughter unites herself with the bed.  When she does that, it only means one thing.  It's a quiet declaration of a difficult morning.  Whereas if she stands up and takes her breakfast, then it's a promise of a smooth morning.  

17 October 2012

Hazelnut & Cocoa Truffles with Piment d'Espelette


Mistakes happen and we get over them soon enough.  BUT.  Sometimes, mistakes are stepping stones for learning.  Have we heard that too often?  And that is precisely how my life is inside the kitchen.  I take trial and error cooking episodes as ways to build a stronger foundation for my cooking because that is the time when I extract the cause of the problem and ruminate about the whole thing.  What did I do wrong after I followed the recipe letter by letter?  I think I have complained about these redundant episodes in my kitchen more than enough.  You see those brown beauties piled up together?  They were supposed to come out as hazelnut & cocoa cream, a homemade version of Nutella. They happen when you leave the mixture too long at the blender.  But I wouldn't have enjoyed them if not for my mistake.

15 October 2012

Pasta with Porcini Mushrooms & Datterini Tomatoes with Truffle Oil


There it goes!  The thermometer says 19 degrees Celcius today and I am feeling the first few quivers of the autumn cold.  Summer is still trapped in my closet.  It's that part of the season when it's too early to pack up the summer stuff and take out the autumn clothes.  I surrender my open shoes for warmer ones though.  I had popsicle toes the other night when I grabbed the warmest looking high heeled summer shoes I have.  I guess I was wrong.  

Taglietelle di Farro con Ricotta & Salsa di Pomodoro (Farro Taglietelle with Ricotta & Tomato Sauce)


The country is bracing again for another bad weather.  Rome and the rest of central Italy will be hit from the afternoon until night time.  After the very bad snowstorm that hit the country and the capital last winter, weather predictions are being taken seriously.  I didn't even realize how serious today will be until I saw the news asking the people to stay home if there's no need to go out.  And yesterday, some surrounding towns of Rome were stacking up on sacks of sand to protect themselves from overflowing water.  Towns that we frequent and around us.   One of the canals of the Tiber River is running just a few hundred meters from our house and we are on ground level.  Even if my husband continuously calms me down that it will not overflow, I still fidget and it's becoming more and more imminent when I see the news.  Where is that ladder?

11 October 2012

Clam & Corn Soup with Moringa Leaves and a Day Around the Palatine Hill & Colosseum


As much as I would like to enjoy the warm autumn weather of Rome, I suffer the consequence of returning home very tired and my sore throat still throbbing after spending a day out taking photographs.  On the positive side, I get to enjoy the pictures I took while I rest in bed.  I sometimes wonder until how far I would go just to get a good shot.  I have seen some people balancing themselves on places they shouldn't be standing on just to satisfy their need to go up a few centimeters higher to get a better angle.   

08 October 2012

Sponge Gourd Soup with Misua, Shrimp & Saffron


I can sometimes be mistaken as the autumn party pooper because of my reluctance to enter the season.  There is one thing that I absolutely hate about it.  It's the beginning without end of sicknesses at home.  With both kids in school, not only do they take home homeworks or dirty table linens that they use for snacking, but they also take home something that I'd rather interfere with using a big red stoplight before it steps inside our house.  If only I could

05 October 2012

Easy Shrimp Sauté


Less is better.   

I find myself betwixt and between the state of being a minimalist and immoderate.  I am in the habit of accumulating things but I hate clutter.  It's a lifelong personal predicament I live with and cannot shake off.  Fortunately, my cooking did not inherit this side of me. I love minimizing my cooking to the least possible ingredients.  I learned that in Italian cooking.  The less ingredients you put, the better the food will taste and the healthier it will come out. 

Meno é meglio

04 October 2012

Prunes and Walnuts Wrapped with Lardo di Colonnata


I found this appetizer a bit strange when I first encountered it at a trattoria during a friend's birthday. There was an array of appetizers that could have already been a full dinner. I was enjoying every single antipasto. They were all the usual appetizers presented in more innovative ways until this tray was passed to me.  I had to take a good look at it and tried to imagine the taste of lardo, walnut & prune together.  It was coying to tickle my taste buds.

As soon as I popped it in my mouth, the saltiness of the lardo was prominent. Then as I bit into the prune, it became more interesting. Salty, slightly sweet, slightly sour and finally, the walnut flattened everything out to a nutty taste.  It was good.  I had a few and finally pushed away the tray in front of me, scared that I would finish the whole thing. My husband gave me a knowing look.  It won't be long until I make my own version at home.  

02 October 2012

Simple Chocolate Cake


I was (and still am) a chocolate cake fiend when I was a little girl.  Now that I am an adult, I have long abandoned my ideal birthday cake of chocolate goodness for more sophisticated varieties with names that twist the tongue but I still secretly wish for a good old moist chocolate cake all covered with chocolate icing.  I'm still a simple little girl at heart.