Francese! (French!) My husband and I took our kids on a tour of the catacombs of the Church of St. Agnes Outside the Walls in Rome and there was a collection of different nationalities in our little group. The guide was checking which languages we all understand to determine which language she can use. Upon hearing the word Francese, my daughter immediately jumped up and shouted Francese!
How right she was because after spending a week in France with her, she did pick up a few words in French. You know how kids are with languages. Their brains work like sponges, absorbing everything so fast and easily. It had been her second trip out of the country but her first as a toddler of 2-1/2 so her memories of our French trip had remained. She and I took the plane to Nice and stayed in my friend's house for a little mother-daughter vacation. It had been one memorable week for all of us especially for me because it was the first time I got to know her pretty well, away from the rest of the family.
When my son was a little older than her, I also had the chance to travel with him in the train to Montone, a small 9th century village in Umbria. It was only for a couple of days but that trip left important imprints on both of us and a memorable Penne all'Arrabbiata to remember it with. I am grateful that I got to travel alone with each of them.
Foodwise, our trip to France was highlighted with a platter of tapenade in the early summer evenings with glasses of kir while my daughter plays in the garden scampering after my friend's cat or just playing with her toys on the blanket we spread out for her on the grass. This same little girl just turned 4 today. Time flies so fast. I'm not posting a cake to celebrate her special day. I ordered a Peppa Pig chocolate birthday cake for her party today, just like how she wants it. What I have instead is this tapenade as the food with our little French trip memories behind it.
Yields 1/2 cup
1/4 cup black olives (I used Taggiasche from Liguria) 1 fillet of anchovies 1/2 tablespoon capers 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 garlic clove (or 1/2 - 1 whole if you like it more garlicky) 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon brandy 2 dried figs 1 teaspoon almonds 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil of good quality - See more at: http://www.apronandsneakers.com/2013/01/mini-ham-sandwiches-with-olive-fig-and.html#sthash.nVouIHeF.dpuf
- 1/4 cup black olives like Taggiasche (not the green olives in the pictures)
- 1 fillet of anchovies
- 1/2 tablespoon capers
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 garlic clove (or 1/2 - 1 whole if you like it more garlicky)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon brandy
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil of good quality
- Soak the capers in water for 10 minutes then drain. Squeeze out the excess liquid.
- Mix all the ingredients except extra virgin olive oil in a blender (or mortar & pestle if you have the power).
- While blending, pour the extra virgin olive oil slowly.
- Keep refrigerated in a jar.