Big News!

So I have had some news to share for a while but wanted to wait until things were finalized. Now that they are, I can finally share that I will shortly be moving to Brussels to start a new job. While neither Alessandro nor I are keen on going back to long distance dating (something we were hoping we had finally put behind ourselves when I moved to Rome in 2012), it was unavoidable even before I was offered this great opportunity in Brussels as Alessandro has to move to Turin for work this summer. At least we are used to the long distance thing already, having survived years of it when I was still working in London and Alessandro was working near Milan (and hopefully it is only a matter of time before we are back to sharing the same flat). I have actually lived in Brussels before, working there for six months a few years ago (back when

read more Big News!

Roasted Hazelnut, Sea Salt and Date Brownies

Alessandro and I are spending this week on the slopes. Such a ‘settimana bianca’ (a ‘white’ week) is by now a yearly tradition for us. After my first tentative steps on skis on a schooltrip to Austria as a teenager I am now able to tackle almost all slopes and dare I say, even enjoy myself a good deal doing so. While there are a few small slopes not too far from Rome, once you have mastered the basics, they are a bit short and boring. So our yearly ‘settimana bianca’ now takes us up to Northern Italy, to the Dolomites, to San Cassiano in Alta Badia to be precise. A trip we are now doing for the second time with a group of about 10 or so friends. While I feel sorry for anyone else staying in our small hotel given our inevitable loud chatter in the bar after a long day on the slopes (no doubt fuelled by

read more Roasted Hazelnut, Sea Salt and Date Brownies

Peach Polenta Pine Nut Cake

I asked Alessandro the other day what his idea of summer was – his answer? Pasta con pomodoro fresco e basilico (pasta with a sauce made from fresh tomatoes and basil). My idea of summer? Biting into a slice of crunchy, juicy and perfectly sweet watermelon after a refreshing dip in the sea (failing which, a dip in a swimming pool). Like him (and myself) I am sure all of you have your own idea of what summer is (maybe a crisp glass of white wine enjoyed on the porch, a barbecue with friends, the smell of sun lotion etc), it is after all most people’s favourite season of the entire year. Having spent the majority of the last 12 or so years in the UK, first in Brighton and then in London, I got used to a somewhat different type of summer than my childhood ones in Germany, where the days from late May to early September were filled

read more Peach Polenta Pine Nut Cake

Fior di Latte Gelato with a Fennel-Infused Honey and Pine Nut Swirl

  I have been meaning to make fior di latte gelato for quite some time – it is one of the most delicate flavoured gelatos you can find. Sure, normally I am a pistacchio gelato lover through and through but given that I have had my fair share of this over the past few years (most notably in Noto in Sicily, as close to where the famous Pistacchi di Bronte come from as I have managed so far), I have started to branch out – my favourite Roman gelateria, Fatamorgana, offers all sorts of mouth-watering flavours, a firm favourite being ricotta con agrumi (ricotta gelato mixed with citrus fruit zest) … but sometimes, you just want a classic, something that isn’t too sweet, something that doesn’t challenge your taste buds but promises simple pleasures, the ice cream equivalent of a down comforter, and that is where fior di latte gelato steps into the picture. It is one of the few gelato flavours that does not rely

read more Fior di Latte Gelato with a Fennel-Infused Honey and Pine Nut Swirl

Cacao Nib and Buckwheat Crunch Cookies

  Since moving to Rome in November, Italy has not stoppped to surprise me – while healthfood stores are hard to track down and most Italians think nothing of eating sugar-laden pastries for breakfast, a pile of pasta for lunch and a pizza for dinner (which might also explain the mountain of prunes on offer in most supermarkets!), it is surprisingly easy to find a huge variety of different types of flours and sweeteners. My small local supermarket stocks spelt, buckwheat and kamut flour (in addition to a whole plethora of different types of wheat flours for baking and pasta-making), I know a couple of places where I can buy chia seeds and I can get my hands on maple syrup, agave syrup and molasses with a simple detour during my lunch break. While my impression is that there cannot be a big market for these ingredients in Italy given that I have yet to eat a homemade birthday cake

read more Cacao Nib and Buckwheat Crunch Cookies

House-hunting in Rome & Inspiration from the interwebs – May edition

House-hunting – the bane of my existence. While the past 12 odd years of moving across Europe (Germany-Austria and back, Germany-UK and back (a few times), UK-Brussels and back and, lastly, UK-Italy) have taught me a great deal about minimising the stuff we all drag around with us (well, except for my cookbook collection, but I am not willing to part with that) and to wrap my beautiful bowls I bought when we went to Japan carefully enough to survive a move half-way around Europe, the one thing I am still utterly crap at is house-hunting itself. I know what websites to use, what sleazy property agents to avoid, what questions to ask prospective landlords, what hidden costs to look for etc, but at the end of the day I struggle with the simple fact that, at least if you are renting in large cities, you will never find a place that ticks all your boxes. Now add a boyfriend to the

read more House-hunting in Rome & Inspiration from the interwebs – May edition