Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Tradizioni di Pasqua (Easter Traditions)

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Ieri abbiamo cucinato una Simnel Cake (simnel torta) che tradizionalmente é preparata a Pasqua. È una torta alla frutta con due strati di marzapane, uno nel mezzo della torta e uno sopra. L’origine della parlola “simnel” è sconosciuta benchè qualcuno pensi che simnel fosse una parola per un tipo di farina di buona qualitá. Nell’epoca vittoriana si è cominciato a mettere dodici palline di marzapane sulla torta e queste palline rappresentano Gesù e gli undici apostolic (tranne Giuda).

Anche a pasqua prepariamo, o almeno compriamo, gli “hot cross buns”, un tipo di panino dolce, di forma rotonda, fatto con frutta secca e spezie. Sul panino c’è una croce fatta di farina e acqua. Tradizionalmente questi panini si mangiano il venerdì santo ma oggi sono disponibili nei supermercati  un poco dopo Natale.

Simnel Cake

Simnel Cake

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Yesterday we made a simnel cake which is traditonally made during Easter. It is a fruit cake with due layers of marzipan, one in the middle and the other on top. The origin of the word “simnel” is unknown although some people think that “simnel” was the word for type of fine flour. In the Victorian era they began to put 12 small balls of marzipan on the take and these represent Jesus and the 11 apostles (minus Judas).

At Easter we also make, or at least buy, hot cross buns, a type of round, sweet bun made with dried fruit and spices. On the bun there is a cross made from flour and water. Traditionally you eat these buns on Good Friday but today they are available in the supermarkets from soon after Christmas.

Tre Amiche Italiane a Londra (Parte 2)

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Sabato sera abbiamo incontrato le nostre amiche italiane, Alba, Oriella e Silvana.  Avevo trovato il ristorante su internet. Si chiama “English Restaurant”. I commenti sul Trip Advisor erano positivi ma mi preoccupavo che alle nostre amiche non sarebbe piaciuto. Pero si è rivelato una buona scelta.  Il ristorante è molto suggestivo come una locanda di molti anni fa. Il  pavimento e le parete sono  di legno ed alcuni tavoli sono separati da divisori di legno.

English Restaurant

English Restaurant

Non tutti i piatti  erano  tipicamente inglese ma c’era come portata principale lo “steak pudding”, che è un piatto traditionale fatto con manzobistecca avvolta in una pasta fatto della farina e del grasso di rognone.  Per dolce c’era “bread and butter pudding”, un dolce tradizionale fatto con pane, panna ed uva sultanina. Fortunatamente le nostre amiche hanno detto che il cibo era buono.

Alba, Oriella, Silvana at the   English Restaurant

Alba, Oriella, Silvana at the English Restaurant

Prima di venire a Londra Alba mi ha detto che a Londra ci sono italiani dappertutto. Nel ristorante la cameriera era ovviamente inglese con capelli biondi, la pelle chiara e, naturalmente un accento inglese. Quando però abbiamo cominciato a discutere il menu la cameriera ha cominciato a parlare in italiano.  Ci ha detto che suo padre era inglese e sua madre napoletana. Forse Alba ha ragione; é impossibile evitare gli italiani a Londra.


Un café che accetta i cani. (A dog friendly cafe).

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Credevo da sempre che gli inglesi amassero i loro animali più di quanto gli italiani li amassero. Ma, ora che abbiamo un cane, non sono sicuro che sia vero. Ci sono molti caffè a Kingston ma fino a poco tempo fa non ne trovavamo uno che accettasse i cani. Poi abbiamo scoperto il caffè “Pistaccio” che è vicino al parco dove andiamo con Tristan. Il manager si chiama Mario che dice che il caffè sia “dog friendly” (accetta I cani) sia “child friendly” (accetta I bambini). Ora ci andiamo due or tre volte alla settimana. Di solito abbiamo un cappuccino e un brioche und Mario offre al cane un po’ di porchetta o un pezzo di salsiccia. In aggiunta il caffè è molto buono.

Pistaccio Cafe

Pistaccio Cafe

I used to believe that the English loved their animals more than the Italians. Now that we have a dog I am not so sure. There are many cafes in Kingston but until recently we had never found one that allowed dogs in. Then we discovered the Pistaccio Cafe which is close to the Park where we go with Tristan. The manager, Mario, says that the cafe is both “dog friendly” and “child friendly”. Now we go there two or three times a week. Usually we have a cappuccino and a brioche and Mario offers the dog a piece of bacon or sausage. An added bonus is that the coffee is good.

Virgin Caipirinha

Sunday, July 1st, 2012


The hotel in Berlin had a nice bar and so one evening before dinner we decided to have a drink. I opted for a Virgin Caipirinha. I had never heard of a Caipirinha never mind a virgin one but apparently a Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail and is now very popular in Germany. It is made from  cachaca (sugar cane rum), sugar (preferably raw sugar) and lime.

The Virgin Caipirinha is made from brown sugar, lime and ginger ale. Simply add a teaspoonful of brown sugar to the bottom of a glass. Cut up half a lime and add to the sugar. Muddle or mash the lime so that it mixes with the sugar. Add crushed ice or ice cubes and fill the glass with ginger ale. It is very simple and very refreshing.

Ethic food again

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

ethnic food
Ever on the lookout for ethnic food being available locally we were pleased to find  a shop in Pesaro, managed by a Japanese couple, which apart from stocking spices etc for indian and oriental food also stocks English stables such as porridge and even Marmite.

Then we were told that a local supermarket (A&O) were stocking some Scottish ethnic food including Walkers shortbread and Scottish jams and marmelades. Reasons for going home get even less.

Mauna Lani Mule

Monday, October 10th, 2011


Being somewhat fickle in relation to drinks we have dropped Barneys Brew as our favourite cocktail and moved our affections to the Mauna Lani Mule. The mule is a cocktail created in the 1940s and was made from vodka, lime and ginger ale. The hotel here has come up with its own version:

1.5 fl oz of vodka
1 fl oz of lime juice
1 fl oz of sugar water
1 teaspoon of ginger puree
soda according to taste.

Shake, strain and pour over ice. Garnish with lime. Delicious.

Non alcholic cocktails

Monday, October 10th, 2011

bill with roy rogers
In a cafe for lunch Bill happened to see a non-alcholic cocktail called the Roy Rogers. It was a mixture of Coca Cola and Cherryade. It was awful. If he had asked for it with Sprite instead of Coke then it would have been a Shirley Temple.

Bryan’s Brew – how to use up left over basil.

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

bryans cocktail

In the evening we returned, as promised, to the Taberna Mexican restaurant where Bryan the barman made me the basil based cocktail. It was, as he had said, delicious and he very kindly gave us the recipe:

Take 6 large, torn basil leaves and in a pestle and mortar “muddle” them i.e. grind. Add them to  a cocktail shaker and add 2.5 fluid oz of gin, 1 fluid oz of simple syrup (see below) and 2 fluid oz of fresh grapefruit juice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with basil leave.

(sugar water: equal quantities of sugar and water. Boil the water and add to the sugar. Stir until dissolved. Cool and keep in fridge until needed) 

Ethnic Food in the cinema – Maltesers.

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

The Giometti multiplex cinema in Fano has been taken over by UCI (United Cinemas International).  This forms part of the Odeon/United Cinemas Internation group. The films remain the same but a few changes have been noted. They appear to have stopped selling coffee in the foyer. The last time few times we went they have introduced the trolley being brought into the cinemas during the interval. As all films in Italy come with an interval this is an ideal selling opportunity but most italians still prefer to go out for a fag and buy something in the foyer.

Last Wednesday we went to see the film Contagion and noticed that the foyer shop was not particularly well stocked – certainly looked as if the old stock was being run down. However, there was a large pallet with boxes of sweets waiting to be put on the shelves. Among the boxes were Maltesers. I have looked for these before but haven’t seen them, not even in supermarkets. I want them so I can make a very simple but very delicious dessert – malteser ice cream cake. A dessert first given to us by Bill’s niece Sam. We were very impressed until she told us the recipe – allow some vanilla ice cream to soften, add crushed maltesers, refreeze. Now I can make this anytime and all it will take is a visit to the cinema.

Osteria della Vipera

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

osteria del vipero
Last week three of us (Bill, Michael and I) went to a new restaurant in Fossombrone. It’s called the Osteria dell Vipera and is found at the far end of the main street in Fossombrone. The entrance is a small bar area which leads into the main room which is bright and welcoming. (There is, apparently, another room upstairs and so there should be no problem getting a table). We had a plate of “antipasti della vipera” to start. It was meant for 2 people but was sufficient for 3. There was a good mix of cold meats, grilled vegetables and cheeses. For the main course I had a Ravioli stuffed with asparagus, Bill had a green pepper steak and Michael had a tagliata. All three were good. We passed on dessert although the lemon and almond tart looked very appetising. We had been going to order a bottle of house red but the owner recommended, for a couple of extra euros, a bottle from a local vineyard near Stacciola which turned out to be very good. Coffee to finish and a bill for 26 euros a head. Certainly a place I would go back to.

Osteria della Vipera
61034 Fossombrone
0721 714181
Closed on Mondays