Friday, 10 January 2014

Winter Light Black and Right

We were so so lucky with the weather this Christmas. Our flights were on two calm days, and our electricity was reconnected in time for Christmas day. We lost four trees and the hens got up turned, breaking an egg, but in between the storms there were a couple of moments of brightness long enough for a spot of photography.

The bad weather continues. Some of the scenes I took only two weeks would be impossible now with all the extra water. 

Anyway, I don't often convert into black and white, but when I do I have to share it! 

Misty Cobweb

Winter Sun

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Nonna's secret recipe

My back aches. My shoulders ache. All that mashing and rolling. Eh. Ridi, ridi, che ieri ho fatto gli gnocchi!

Hard at work making the gnocchi

Gnocchi al pomodoro

Nonna B's gnocchi recipe

1kg potatoes
1 egg
flour - quanto basta
secret ingredient  - quanto basta

I didn't actually make these with her secret ingredient. I used about 1.5kg of potatoes and 500g of flour in total, including that for sprinkling. Since quanto basta (enough) was not a totally foolproof quantity, I may try putting in less flour next time. Nonna B's are a slightly fluffier and lighter.

My friends came over (two of us could never have eaten all that gnocchi) and we feasted. My friend ate one raw (no thanks!) and said it tasted about right, so a success for a first attempt I think. He too wanted to learn how to make gnocchi as a boy, but his grandma would never teach him. Even his aunt who made gnocchi with his gran for over 20 years can't get them quite right without her. Grandmothers and their mysteious ways! 

Oh no, you didn't really think I'd be divulging secrets, did you? It took me three years to get the pickled zucchini recipe, I'm not about to go spilling the beans online. In another two years she might give me her seafood pasta sauce reicpe. ;)

Friday, 3 January 2014

Fruit Bread Update

So was 34 euros a kilo too much for fruitbread, is the question you've surely all been asking yourselves over Christmas. I can say that I have, very unselfishly, fulfilled my obligation in finding out and the answer is....

Yes. 34 euros is too much for a panettone, however pretty the bag. A and his family all agreed that last year's 25 euro panettone was more buttery and therefore better. I probably enjoyed the average supermarket bought panettone the most (with custard - yum!). I nearly had an uprecedented 3rd slice, but this might be because for once I wasn't eating it at the end of an enormous meal.  The coop fiorfiore panettone with exotic fruity pieces was also very nice. I have another artisan panettone in the cupboard, so it's just as well that I've decided I do quite like panettone this year.

I also had the opportunity to try Pandoro prepared properly. My friend showed me how to warm it up a little in the oven, to make the butter melt a little and then how to cover the Pandoro in icing sugar by shaking it in a bag. It made a huge difference to eating it. I will no longer dread being given it by students.

In other panettone news, The Guardian published a very anti-panettone article in which the author states that Italians never eat the stuff. This had A insensed. He might even have signed in to leave a comment, that was how outraged he felt. So follow the link at your peril!