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30 May 2013

The Food and Wine of the Hills of Langhe and Roero in Piedmont, Italy

Before joining the Enogastronomic Press Tour of the Piedmont Tourism Board, I barely had knowledge about the Langhe and Roero Hills.  It only took three important words that clicked in place and made me understand what this area stands for.  Barolo wines, tartufi (truffles) and nocciole (hazelnuts). These three are integral contributions to the importance of the enogastronomy of Italy.  And what makes the Langhe and Roero Hills special is that they have all three plus a lot more in their land. These hills are also candidates for recognition as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

29 May 2013

Mini Cheddar Balls With Smoked Paprika and Chives

One of the cheeses I grew up with is cheddar cheese.  Commercially produced, always available and the taste is always reliably good.  It was actually one of the few I chose to snack on when I was young.  While in a delicatessen in Rome, I chanced upon two kinds of cheddar cheese from England.  I have always wanted to try the real thing but it's like looking for a needle in a haystack.  It's close to impossible to find it in Italy.  I bought both kinds.  One orangey and one pale yellow.  The paler one was more aged than the orangey one which by the way, got its color from beta-carotene, a natural content of milk when the cows are pasture-fed with fresh grass in spring.  It's the same natural pigment that gives the orange color of carrots. 

28 May 2013

Lemon Herb Chicken and Potatoes

Chicken and potatoes rank high on most family tables just like on ours.  The myrhiad ways to prepare them and enjoy them underlines the beautiful marriage of tastes of these two.  I myself love chicken and potatoes, simple, complex, traditional or whatever way it's expressed by the cook.  This one is one of my favorite recipes.  I just use lemon and a mixture of herbs while the chicken and potatoes absorb all the flavors while roasting in the oven.  It gives a nice, homey kitchen smell that permeates the whole house.  It's my welcome home smell.  

For my recipe, you will have to hop on over to to see it.  Please click on this link.  If you want to see the rest of my recipes in that site, click on this link.   

Please wait for my other recipes and travel posts while I slowly reacquaint myself to working again.  Have a wonderful day from sunny (finally) but still coldish Rome!

27 May 2013

Chickpeas, Pepper and Chorizo Side Dish

I arrived late last night at Roma Termini after a train trip from Turin in the middle of a big chaos in the city after Lazio won over Roma in the calcio (football) finals of the  Coppa Italia TIM Cup.  I am not a football fan, not even my husband.  The supporters who were celebrating in the streets with the police presence just hindered the possibility of a nice family welcome I had been hoping for after being gone for days.  So after getting off the train, I dragged my tired self with my luggage weighing like an elephant to the platform of yet another train I had to take to go home.  My husband, who, on the other hand, got stuck in the traffic, made the car fly towards the airport where my second train will arrive.  And all this time, both my kids were howling of fear because they couldn't understand what all the mess, rushing and my extended absence meant.  The thin thread of surrealism welcomed me back.  Welcome home!

23 May 2013

Pepper Rolls With Robiola and Smoked Paprika and The City of Turin

The redness of these peppers mixed with the colors of the chives and the robiola remind me of the Italian flag.  Red, white and green are actually my favorite colors to put together in a dish.  They depict freshness of the ingredients and they have the power to convince you to take a bite.  Just like these pepper rolls.  It's a very easy recipe that I would like to share with you.  The only thing that takes time is grilling the peppers but if you use the pre-cooked bottled ones, then it's really easy like ABC.  Go straight to the end if you want to go straight to the recipe and if you are curious about Turin, you can scroll down and see the city through my lens today.

21 May 2013

Sautéed Mussels and Clams (Sauté di Cozze e Vongole) and an Upcoming Tour of Piedmont and Liguria

I just closed my suitcase and triple-checked the list of things that I should take with me.  Almost everything's packed.  I never really mentioned until now that I was invited to go to Piemonte (Piedmont) and Liguria at the northwest part of Italy for an Enogastronomic Press Tour sponsored by Borsa Internazionale del Turismo Enogastronomico (BITEG).  It's a tour organized by the Piedmont Tourism to experience and to get to know some chosen towns that represent both regions well.  In Liguria, the cultural and culinary specialties of the Savona coast will be explored like their chinotto (myrtle-leaved orange tree), extra virgin olive oil and pesto. In Piedmont, we will get to know the three important food and wine products that the region proudly stands for:  Barolo wines, truffles and hazelnuts.  

18 May 2013

Amaretti Pancakes With Peaches and Reduced Amaretto Syrup

Here I am with a breakfast recipe experiment gone yummy.  Pancakes are lovely to manipulate with different flavors and blends and when I am bored with my first meal of the day, I tend to browse my cupboards and fridge to look for interesting combinations to put together.  Remember the Banana Pistachio Pancakes With Marsala Syrup, the Hazelnut Pancakes with Roasted Figs & Reduced Marsala Sauce, the Dark Chocolate Pancake & Banana Towers or the Almond Blueberry Pancakes With Godet Chocolate Ganache? There are also other combinations that you might want to check out at my recipe index (under breakfast).  

17 May 2013

Tartiflette: French Potato, Onion & Cheese Gratin

It was in Chamonix, France where I had my first tartiflette. It was in the middle of summer and the town was full of tourists.  Yes, I noticed the beauty of Mont Blanc but when you are walking in the middle of a big crowded town with a large dog taking you for a walk and lunch time is ticking away fast, the only thought I had at that moment was where to eat.  After our futile search for a place to sit down & eat, my husband and I eventually gave up and moved away from the town.  There, just about a kilometer or 2 away, we found the perfect open-air spot.  Our dog found his spot too under the shade of a tree while I ordered my very first tartiflette, the specialty of the region.  

16 May 2013

Parchment Baked Red Mullet Fish With Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Asparagus

After fruit & vegetable markets, I love fish markets next.  I love immersing myself to the different kinds of sea creatures, some with vibrant colors and interesting forms.  This goes especially to the tropical fish and shellfish markets.  They all exude freshness just like the fruits and vegetables.  And, they are healthy food. 

13 May 2013

Toasted Spongecake With Vanilla Yogurt and Fruit

Breakfast, breakfast, what's on the table this morning?  If you had been eating too much food lately and would like something light and fresh to start your morning, a plate of fresh fruit with some yogurt would be wonderful.  If you also happen to have some shop-bought sponge cakes in the cupboard, just pop them in the oven for a few minutes to make them crunchy.  Put them altogether on a plate and you have a 15-minute quick, simple and healthy breakfast.   Good morning! 

11 May 2013

Italian Breakfast on Mother's Day

An Italian breakfast is sweet.  Period.  I grew up with salty breakfasts.  Period.  For that I had a huge problem in coming to terms with my first meal of the day when I moved here.  It took me years to appreciate the switching from salty to sweet.  And it took me a very long time to say that I am looking forward to breakfast as soon as I open my eyes. 

10 May 2013

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

I have been blogging for more than two years and I can't believe that I haven't shared one of my favorite pasta dishes yet.  The other one that shares its glory in my eyes is Gricia or Amatriciana Bianca (White Amatriciana).  It's the same as this amatriciana but without the tomatoes.  If you click on the link, you will also find out about its history and that amatriciana was actually originally white from the 12th century, before the tomatoes were introduced to Italy in the 17th century.

09 May 2013

Lemony Mashed Vitelotte Potatoes With Baked Fish in Sticks

My 3-year old daughter came home today from kindergarten, holding a colorful cupcake with hearts wrapped in clear plastic wrapper with a little card saying "Ti voglio bene Mamma."  It means I love you Mommy. As she walked through the front door, she was excitedly calling out to me with her little package and she loudly announced that I'm the only one who's supposed to eat it because it's her gift for me for Mother's Day.  I knew she wanted it but she was keeping her teacher's word that it's only for me.  A little pushing finally succumbed to a delightful "Buona!," from her little smile with crumbs. Now, that is a perfect Mother's Day gift. 

08 May 2013

Fried Ham and Cheese Rolls

Ham and cheese, and uhhhm, fried.  Three words and they will definitely catch any kid's attention.  With the warm melted cheese oozing out as you slice the rolls, no one, not even the adults can resist grabbing a bite.  It's simple, very good, not really your everyday food but nonetheless something that has the right to have a space on the table and impress adults and children alike.  Absolutely a recipe to keep!  See my recipe at this link at and click here to see the list of other recipes that I have there.  

Have a wonderful week!

06 May 2013

Carciofi Arrostiti (Roasted Artichokes)

Our plates were overflowing with artichoke leaves.  Some leaves were neatly stacked on one side while the others were left haphazardly all over the plates and spilling on the table.  Every single leaf was pulled out from the globe with only the tender part of the leaf eaten.  It seemed like a tedious job of taking apart the artichoke leaf after leaf before arriving to the core which is the biggest surprise you will have.

05 May 2013

Hotdogs, Eggs and Fried Rice (Hotsilog), A Philippine Breakfast

Life happens and families grow. But as time flies, it slowly dissipates from our hold.  We get old and the clock just keeps on ticking. The kids become adults, the adults grow older and the older ones leave us.  Life keeps on continuing and time is our enemy because life, as we all know, is very short.   Let me explain why I am speaking about life when there's a breakfast plate to be explained. I just lost my 94-year old paternal grandmother and coincidentally, my other 94-year old maternal grandmother is in the hospital. 94 years is a whole lot of time to enjoy life and I am glad I to have known these two strong women in our family. 

03 May 2013

Strawberry, Basil & Almond Smoothie

I'm not a pink person but when I see pink and pastels together, I feel relaxed.  It's true that colors affect our moods and when they are light and soothing to the eyes, they traverse through our bodies and give us tranquility.  Exactly what I need when the house quiets down after the initial morning chaos of the kids' preparation for school.  A refreshing, healthy and fruity breakfast in a glass is one of the best ways to start the day.

02 May 2013

Cold Pasta With Mozzarella, Tomatoes & Tuna

If you can see one of our rooms now, you will wonder what happened.  The floor is covered with boxes of summer clothes.  There are four of us so you can imagine how much they are.  Help!  Summer temp has arrived and I still haven't switched the seasonal clothes.  Just looking at the wool and thick clothes in our closets gives me beads of perspiration.  I pulled out our summer clothes that almost match, we all went out and headed to a friend's house to celebrate Labor Day with a barbecue lunch.