Spring on toast & toast for spring

Spring on toast & toast for spring. Grab the season of rebirth and cherry blossoms into your hand and savor these springful toast slices accompanying your senses into the new cycle of life with colors, delicate taste, seasonal food, elegance and a completely natural sparkling wine from LaStaffa, a classical method biodynamic verdicchio wine with a small percentage of trebbiano grapes, a true rarety, cultivated in the rolling hills of Staffolo nestled in the hills in the north of the Marche region, in the Esino valley. In fact its name is “Mai sentito” (Never before heard of). It is a perfect match here and its so appropriate to make a toast to spring, summer coming up and Mother Earth, with this fresh, crisp, fruity and extremely convivial natural spumante, expressing in such a beautiful way the distinct characteristics of the area.

 

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Ricotta filled fried zucchini flowers

Fried zucchini flowers are one of Italy’s most elegant and graceful street foods. Like so often in Italian cuisine, the variants are numerous, and every region has its traditional recipe. Then you can make your own variations to the theme of course. When its delicately crunchy surface gives in to the soft filling, is a magical moment for the senses. It’s an authentic sensation, unique. Normally sparkling water is used in the batter, but I made a sparkling wine variant to the theme, that I thing is matching perfectly with the mild flavor of the flower dumplings. The chopped chive is also giving a mild contrast to the cheese in the filling. A romantic tête-à-tête dinner or an elegant appetizer. This is your dish.

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Art colors our existence

In difficult times and crisis, the thirst and hunger for art seems to become a general need. Pablo Picasso wrote a sentence that crystallizes in a glimpse what art means for our soul: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”. So true and a beautiful metaphor at the same time. Just think of what a difference it makes, if you just pay attention to your breakfast, that it is not only nurturing, but as colorful as possible, that you inhale some extra minutes the enchanting perfume of your favorite coffee listening to a great song or symphony. In everyday life maybe we take art too much for granted, and don’t make the most of our own private moments, creating small works of art out of our lives. In times of crisis it is the soul who seeks by itself its food, as if telling us it has to be nurtured, it needs to rejoice, to be caressed caress it in midst of a storm. Art reconfirms itself yet another time as our official food for the soul.

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Dreaming of more Rome strolling in the spirit of Audrey Hepburn

I visited Rome two days in pre-spring, vivid, charming and fresh as ever, embracing the rinascimento season with its timeless flavors & perfumes, its warm gazes full of profoundly rooted  joie de vivre and gestures loaded with centuries of savoir faire. I put on the timeless and comfortable ballerina shoes of Audrey Hepburn (the style of shoes she loved to wear), ideal for tippling quietly yet elegantly through one of the city’s most characteristic neighborhoods, Trastevere, tasting, observing and odouring its magic, its genuineness, its passion for life and the beauty that lies in the little things. Accompanied as before by beautiful Berta. Let’s dream together of Rome and try to imagine the sensations produced by its numerous flavors, perfumes and colors. Rome is resting now like all Italy, resting and fighting like all Italy in order to make this beautiful spring continue, more vivid and colorful than ever before.

 

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Very very easy pasta

Simple things are often the best things. Let’s think of the omelette, a freshly made bread with simple butter….. and a simple pasta with sugo, a heartwarming tomato pasta sauce. In this case meatless, just canned tomatoes, oil, garlic, onion, carrot and some aromas. All ingredients that you very probably have in your kitchen cupboard and that will save your day. Freshly grated parmigiano cheese on top would then make it just perfect. Buon appetito!

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To Rome & Audrey with Love + slow travel tips

There are few things more romantic that I can think of than Rome in spring, or should I say breathlessly charming? Observing Flora’s season exploding with its million colors and perfumes into the timelessness of the city is somewhat unique.
When I think of Rome, and when I go there, my spirit automatically travels back at least to the mid fifties and sixties when Audrey Hepburn had already left her inimitable footprints in the eternal city, first with Vacanze Romane (1955),
and later living there for many years. Celebrating International Women’s Day by getting into her beloved ballerina shoes and tap through her most dear Trastevere neighborhood in the company of the border collie Berta and photographer Danilo Mecozzi.

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Luscious lemon curd

Lemon curd is a wonderful combination of North and Southern Europe cuisine. Butter & eggs meet Mediterranean lemons. Lemon curd is English of origin, and is an established spread for afternoon teatime onto scones and bread as for filling for cakes and pastry. This beautiful yellow cream is great onto cheesecake for a zesty contrast to the fatty cheese flavor, gorgious in French Lemon Pie, into morning yogurt, to fill your pancakes, and I love it with ladyfinger biscuits and a cup of ginger lemon tea.

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Tagliolini with clams

This dish is definitely on my list of things worth living for. Isaac Davis (Woody Allen’s character in his film Manhattan), makes his list including amongst other things Louis Armstrongs’ recording of “Potato Head Blues”, Swedish movies, Sentimental Education by Flaubert, the incredible pears by Cézanne and the Crabs at Sam Wo’s. These creamy tagliolini are highly quoted on a similar list of mine. The dish is Napoli originated and has conquered the tastebuds of Italy and the world. Like so many Italian dishes, it’s so simple, but as always it is the quality of the ingredients and the attentive cooking that rule the outcome. You can of course make this pasta dish with normal spaghetti, but fresh egg tagliolini are exalting in the most delicious way the creaminess of the clams and delivering the salty lightly spicy taste of the sauce.

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Apple fritters from Tyrol

There’s something about fried food that is so comforting and satisfying for the tastebuds. The aroma of the fried ingredients, the crunchiness of the dough that surrounds it…. Heavenly indulgent.
I particularly love fried apple slices in batter, and they are the main reason why sometimes I go skiing. It’s really worth while (independently from the breathtaking view), to take the funivia up to a couple of thousands of meters altitude, and savor these Tyrol Apple Fritters in their perfect surroundings.
The dessert is originally from the Trentino Alto Adige region, which is by the way Italy’s most important apple cultivation area. Then the ski ride down the mountain serves to burn the calories and admire the spectacular view.
When I make them, the sweet, fresh and comforting smell brings out the the imagine of a sunny skiing day in the Alps.

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Risalamande

The milky rice pudding Risalamande is of Danish origin and in Scandinavia it is written as pronounced: risalamande.
The word Risalamande is taken from French, and is built out of the three words: riz à l’amande, that literally means: almond rice. For my senses as to many other Scandinavians, this dessert
is tightly connected to Christmas. Immediately from its “boiling” perfumes in the pot, fragments of memories are shaped in the mind and help recall various atmospheres connected to the feast of the heart, love, faith and light.

 

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