Whilst November 11th is Armistice Day in the UK and much of northern Europe (in memory to end of WW1) here in my corner of Italy, it's the Festa di San Martino. San Martino is one of the more important harvest festivals... at least, it was the case many moons ago. It depends where you … Continue reading November 11th is the Festa di San Martino
You would have thought that after two months of vendemmia (grape harvest) that the work would be coming to an end by now. It's far from true! Towards the end of October, in this area of the Veneto, all the local farmers stand on the side of the road, peering up into an olive tree. Yep, it's … Continue reading The Olive Harvest
So you've taken a couple of classes, downloaded Duolingo and bought a hefty dictionary. You can breeze through conversations with natives and even answering the phone to an unknown number is no longer intimidating. You're ready to move onto the next level. The next three phrases are not the Italian that you learn in a … Continue reading So You Think You Speak Italian?
Mother Nature has changed direction. After the balmy summer nights of July and August, September has arrived. The crisp, damp mornings. Even though now it is accompanied by the sound of tractors heading off to the vineyards and the smell of wine fermenting in the town's cooperative, it still vividly reminds me of pulling up … Continue reading A Perfect Autumnal Plum Pie
The second Sunday in September will go down as the day in which both the oven and the dishwasher broke down. Of course, an oven never fails when you're not trying to use it. I had made a plum pie (see here) and was halfway through cooking the roast chicken and potatoes when it conked … Continue reading The Second Sunday in September
The boy and I got hit with a stomach bug this weekend. After just a half-day in the vineyards, we came home and he camped out on the sofa because it was closer to the bathroom whilst I battled a fever from underneath the duvet. Whoever said romance is dead! By the next day, some … Continue reading What Would Be Your Dream Kitchen?
"What do you mean, the old men of the village don’t come over to take a look at a building site in the UK?" asked my Italian friend, bewildered. I was asking why, over the last month or so, a stream of people have walked, driven and peered over at our ongoing - and increasing … Continue reading The Return of the Goat
Butter, Ricotta and Kefir - I made all three of these at some point in Paris. They're relatively labour-intensive and ordering unpasteurised milk from my local cheesemonger (it had to be ordered in specially for me) got me the reputation of being "the weird English girl." However, the butter here in Italy is really dire (I was so spoilt in France!) that desperation may well drive me to risk my reputation again and ask my cheesemonger to put aside some milk for me...
Setting up life in a new country is never simple. That said, it's been almost exactly one year since I made the decision to move and I don't regret it at all. For every "that didn't work out the way I thought it would" set-back (I wouldn't go so far as to say failure, although … Continue reading Fortune Favours The Bold
It's been really boiling hot this week and often without as much as the slightest breeze. Temperatures will easily soar above 30 degrees (86F) every day... and what makes it particularly unbearable is that it doesn't start getting cool until at least 10pm at night. Normally I like standing in the kitchen, spatula in hand, … Continue reading Some Like It Hot