Throwback Thursday

…. to a post from April 21, 2009 in which I recount my attempt to recreate a Neapolitan Easter Dessert.

I realize it’s a bit late for Easter but as I was decanting a cocktail recipe my friend Yannis posted on his website the smell of essence of orange reminded me of a kitchen adventure from our time in Rome. My friend Marco the Neapolitano was good enough to share his family recipe for La Pasteria and I was foolish enough to believe that it was a simple task. Oh foolish man!

This is a two parter and the link to – spoiler alert) – the IMHO “triumphant” conclusion is at the bottom of the first post.

Willy Or Won't He

I first encountered Pastiera, the traditional Napoletano Easter dolci, when we were doing an “Italian theme” Easter dinner back in 1990.  My friend John was delegated to make it using a recipe from the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Back in those days many of the ingredients were hard to find and the “wheat berries” had to be bought in a health food store and the lengthy process of cooking them followed. John wasn’t too confident that this such a great idea for a desert and made an angel food cake as well. As I recall the “pastiera” was considered to be a bit on the exotic side.

I wasn’t to encounter it again until I moved here four years ago and then only really became familiar with it after meeting my friend Marco, the Napoletano.  Two Easters back he talked about it – and how he had…

View original post 527 more words

Throwback Thursday – Sweet Bolognese

A week or so ago my friend Anna mentioned a trip she took to Bologna at the beginning of 2020. And as always she took some incredible photos of city and, being it was Bologna and Italy, of the food. And of course that included a primi that is synonymous with that magical city: Tortellini.

This brought to mind a weekend jaunt in December 2010 with our friends Carol Ann and Craig to celebrate Carol Ann’s birthday and an evening stroll through the Quadrilatero steps away from Piazza Maggiore.

We ate in several great restaurants and being Bologna had tortellini as both a primi and surprisingly a sweet. I wrote about the history of the pasta and the pasta rica on our return to Rome that December:

Willy Or Won't He

If there is one pasta that is associated with Bologna  it’s tortellini – those little crescent shaped packages filled with meat, cheese or vegetables. There appears to be some dispute as to whither the dish originated in Bologna or Modena but chances are you’ll see them on the menu in most towns in Emilia.  Often they are served in broth, dressed with cream or ladled with a meaty ragu.

However those wily Bolognese don’t just think of tortellini as a primi – take for instance this tempting plate in the picture. You really wouldn’t want to smother these in hot broth, cream or ragu. Chances are that would turn them into a gloppy mess of .. chocolate.

These incredibly rich white chocolate confections are the work of the people at Drogheria Gilberto on Via Drapperie; a sweet shop nestled among butchers and bakers and, believe it or not, candle makers…

View original post 205 more words

Throwback Thursday – Food Glorious Food

Sadly I do seem to have run out of Gratuitous videos of the Hounds from Hell for real. And things around here are rather routine these days with nothing of great excitement taking place. So when in doubt, as so many of us have recently, I turn to the comfort of food.

With the advent of summer – I’ve been assured we will get something resembling summer at some point – it’s time for a bit lighter fare. The less time spent in the kitchen the better so I thought I’d share a recipe from this date (July 9) in 2009.

I haven’t made it in several years but given that some really lovely tomatoes are currently on the market and tuna in olive oil was on sale this week it may just make it’s way onto a menu this coming week.

Willy Or Won't He

Some how or other I never got around to posting this – and given the Saint’s name day how could I have forgotten. Anyway better late et al. And it was a great, though sadly our last, evening with Yves, Rolando, Joe and Peter. That’s the way of life in the foreign service as people move around from post to post.

Well yes we are – tonight as we say goodbye to two of our colleagues at dinner – we are starting with tuna salad. But not just any old Tuna Salad. Back in March when I was in Barcelona I had THE TUNA SALAD! It was around 1400 and we were heading up to the Gaudi Parco Guell. The old tummy was suggesting that food was in order but the pickings for sustenance were a bit scarce in the area – a sandwich shop appeared to be the…

View original post 509 more words

The Measure of the Meal

This little gem appeared on a site today and reminded me of a few of my attempts at cooking when we first arrived in Italy.  It took a while but I soon figured out what a “nut” of butter,  a “string” of oil, and a “splash” of wine really amounted to.  And as for Dario’s mother’s recipe for Easter Pasteria there was the almost disaster when she called for a “four bottles” of orange essence.  Fortunately I had posted a picture of the ingredients on FaceBook and got a panicked SMS say:  No!!!!!  Small bottles!

Now with Christmas coming up this would be a thoughtful stocking stuffer….  just saying:

measuring-spoons

And I’m reminded of a quote I gave when submitting Marco’s mother’s recipe to an International cookbook:

Four years in Italy taught me that simple is better and fresh is best; and the eye, the nose, the finger and the mouth are the best tools any cook can have in the kitchen.

 

On this day in 1927: The Holland Tunnel opens to traffic as the first Hudson River vehicle tunnel linking New Jersey to New York City.

Throwback Thursday

Back in June of 2011 I made one of my frequent trips up to Milan for the opera. It was my last assignment for Opera Britannia – Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette conducted by Yannik Nézet-Séquin. As always I took an extra day or two to luxuriate in the wonders which that incredible city had to offer. The Museo Diocesano was a bit off the beaten track but it was, as Michelin use to say back in the days when they were an impeccable source, “worth the detour!”

Unfortunately with some of the older posts that were transferred over from BlogSpot I have not been able to reformat for a more pleasing page display.

On this day in 1872: Illinois becomes the first state to require gender equality in employment.

Willy Or Won't He

“You brought the sunshine with you from Roma,” beamed the always welcoming Vittoria as I checked in a week ago Monday at the Hotel Star in Milano.  And indeed after several days of continuous rain it seemed that the sun had returned to warm the Piazza Duomo and it was a glorious day for strolling through Centro.  However my gift was short-lived: the next morning Vittoria suggested that an umbrella and a sweater would be more appropriate than SF15 to the day.

Peck is a food lover’s paradise however the stern warning tells you – No dogs! No Photos!  And some of the staff give a new dimension to Milan attitude – except for Bruno behind the prepared food counter who is charm incarnate. Though at those prices everyone should be.

Fortunately even in the rain Milano has much to offer – it means spending a bit of extra time…

View original post 1,007 more words