30 November 2007

Mmm... smell of the season

This is a little shout out to my friend, at Table Bread ,who has done a fab article on baking with ginger (scones, cookies and cakes oh my). Now if only he would send me some...

What's for lunch in Paris

At my favorite cafe in Paris we had Quiche with goat cheese and Épinard (spinach) and a veg lasagna --mmm so good. It also helps that the ambiance is so lovely!

29 November 2007

Oh Paris, what will I do without you?

More to the point: what will I do without my frequent visits to see my friends and the wondrous city? My Adorable Friend's birthday party was a big hit both in quality and quantity of everything. The menu was fantastic from the beginning to the end. I made two amazing discoveries: a Polenta with Porcini mushrooms and tomato sauce that I loved (I had never had any I liked) and a mind blowing Pear Mousse Tart that had a marzipan topping that was as crunchy as crème brûlée.
The polenta dish she made and I'm going to have to borrow the recipe because it was too good not to duplicate. As for the Pear Mousse Tart -that was a special order. I wish I had photos to share with you but of all things my camera's battery died out the second day we were there (sorry).

However, I do have a few good photos to share here and over on Jet Set Baby. The first is the plaza next to the Center Pompidou. Notice how creative this space is in mixing old, functional and whimsical. I love it when art comes alive like this:

On a different note, I don't know how Parisians keep any money in their pockets. Every time I turn around there is another cute store begging to be explored. I found one too many of these stores and it is almost impossible to leave without a little something (even if you have an impending move -ahemm). This being the holiday season the stores had displays of grand chandeliers and lots of cool gifts (did you know that almost every store will wrap a present for you for free or practically free?!).

We of course had to pay our respects to an old friend too -check out his digs. Anyone know who's apartment this is (he's kind of famous)?

Things I'll miss about living in Italy

ust back from Paris and one of the biggest things I'll miss about leaving Italy are the cheap airfares to other places. We are always just back from a trip or just leaving for one and with these prices -who can blame us?

I'll post tons of photos from Paris later this evening so stay posted!

21 November 2007

Napoli Fast Food

Ok, just one more post before I go. So I've got 24 hours between trips and you might wonder what the heck do I do for fresh wholesome food?
Pizza. One of my favorite pizzerias is out in the country and it is called Bella Napoli. For 3 Euro I can get a full round of Pizza Margherita (tomato sauce and mozzarella) . Great price for something that is made from scratch and baked right in front of you. We usually also walk out with a bag full of fries -don't ask me why it is just tradition.

Here's a general hint on how to find a good pizzeria: look at the counter to see that all is fresh and check out the Pizzaiolo (professional pizza maker) to make sure they are plump (don't trust one that is skinny -I don't know why it is just tradition).

On holiday

I'm leaving tomorrow for a few days in Paris for a friend's birthday so I won't be posting for about a week. Never fear I will be back with lots of photos.

Also to my American readers -Happy Thanksgiving! Oh, and save some cranberries for me.

Great Design Store in Rome Airport

Just back from a super quick trip to the Motor City with the family (more on that later). While I was waiting for my connection in Rome's Fiumincino Airport (aka Leonardo da Vinci Airport) I saw a new store at the international C terminal called Just Design. They have lots of really nicely designed gifts (all from European heavy weight designers) that fit into that already over packed carry-ons. I picked up some very cute leather luggage tags (afro sporting lions, dachshunds, pugs, frog princes, mod vespa ladies, etc) and a very cute French baby bib for a reasonable price.

By the way, aren't the free carts at the airport so cool? I wish they would offer these carts in America -and yes free because I'm only borrowing it not taking it home (although this one would be very cute as a laundry cart). FYI of all the airports I've been in it is always the ones in the US that want you to pay for the use of the carts -why is that?

14 November 2007

Looking forward to...

I'm now looking forward to going to the US because I'm thinking of all the things I can't get here; great fall colors in the foliage, hot cider, candied apples and flower mums (without people telling me that they're only for the cemetery!). I'm looking forward to visiting with my old friends again -it has been too long.

P.S. Check out my friend's cool photos from Rockefeller State Park outside of NYC (the photo's link)

12 November 2007

What I'll miss about my Italian life

Chocolate! Real, pure and fresh. While there is a push in America (cost cutting) and FDA approval of no cocoa butter in "chocolate" bars -here in Napoli I'm blissfully happy. I am a fanatic for chocolate and I am not happy with the way things are going in the American food "industry" -as they call it. I'll miss my chocolate (drug) factory.

I don't like Gay Odin (it is in all the guidebooks) because it tastes as old as they claim the store to be. Also, I found out that some friends of mine worked there for two days. They said the conditions were terrible and that they only got paid 30 Euro for two people for two days (crack of dawn until well past dusk).

The place I do like is called Dolce Idea and they have an excellent chocolate. I've taken it as gifts as far as India and everyone has always loved it. It is made fresh and well with no questionable items in it. The maestro has won many many awards (the store is wallpapered with the awards!). So if you are ever in town -pick some up! However, be warned that the maestro isn't the friendliest of people.

P.S. In the photo below you are looking at over 3 kilos (over 6lbs) of chocolate -you can tell I'm preparing for another trip.

09 November 2007

What I'll miss about my Italian life

Time is ticking away very quickly and I'm starting to get nostalgic about the things I'll miss. One of the things that I've been trying to take advantage of in the blustery weather we've been having is my fireplace. It isn't in the usual place. Here in Italy the fireplaces tend to be in the kitchen. I'll miss cooking my Tuscan beans overnight in the terracotta pot on the hot embers.

07 November 2007

What's for lunch in Napoli today

Ok, so you've seen what my Italian Anna prepares now I think it is time you see what I'm cooking up. Today we are feasting on Sri Lankan style Dal (split peas) with curried mixed veggie rice. Also on the plate is roasted Capsicum (peppers) and potatoes with onion and curry.

Eating Italian food is wonderful, healthy and tasty. However, on a day to day basis it gets very tiresome. I've traveled and lived too many places to ever be satisfied with just one cuisine -I suppose this is the downside of seeing the world. So if you don't mind every now and then I will surprise you with a little world cuisine. In a few months I'll no longer be here in Italy so until then I will try and squeeze out as many purely Italian foods as possible after that I'll be giving you some interesting cuisine. A presto!

04 November 2007

WOW! 26!

Just wanted to give you my readers a great big thank you! I now have a loyal readership in 26 countries! This is way cool!

Napoli Road Rules

Driving in Naples is a hazard and an accident waiting to happen. The most dangerous road in Italy is in fact the Naples' Tangenziale (it is our main spine highway). You have to be on your toes all the time because you never know which direction they'll be coming from.
Here are a few rules:
  1. It is common practice that if you should whizz by your exit it is no problem -simply go in reverse!
  2. Speaking of whizzing -that is also an acceptable and common view on the side of the highway (I like to call it al fresco peeing). Though now they say it is illegal I've never seen anyone get ticketed.
  3. Brace yourself when approaching an exit because you never know when someone will be passing you on the left to cut you off to make it to the exit on the extreme right.
  4. When approaching a red light slow down and determine whether you can beat the traffic, the cop, or the old lady crossing the street and in all likely if you can STEP ON THE GAS AND GO
  5. If there is a police car flashing lights behind you let them through (they need to get to mama's asap because they told her to "buta la pasta")
  6. If a cop sticks out an over sized lollipop on you then you must stop or he'll shoot you (really)
  7. During traffic hours there are double the amount of lanes than are drawn on the road so be prepared for full contact with scooters too
Remember: show no fear -they can smell it and use it to their advantage against you!

Photo is of an actual taped up Fiat going full throttle down the highway. If you look closely the driver's side door is taped to the passenger side to keep it closed. So does this mean those people won't be able to get out?

02 November 2007

In a Blur

Halloween is my favorite secular holiday. However, this year it has come and gone without so much as a festive pumpkin in this house. I think my neighbors know something is up. I usually ask the children to make their own costumes and I decorate the hallway with skeleton drawings and ghosts. But, the truth is I'm feeling a little down. We are moving. We are leaving Italy for the US. I should feel happy and excited but instead I feel apprehensive and nervous.

I've lived here for EIGHT YEARS. There have been a lot of really good moments: we’ve welcomed in the millennium here, I gave birth to my first child here, we've met some extraordinary people here and we've traveled so much that there is not a bit of room in my passport for another stamp. There have been really low points too: my mother dyeing without a chance to say goodbye, having my house broken into twice (the last time we were in the house and I was 9 months pregnant) and having to put my dog down this summer.

I’m still trying to make sense of it all (if that is even possible). I’ll miss so many things and yet I think it is time to move on.

What's for lunch this week at Anna's

My favorite! Eggplant "meatballs." These little fried wonders are filled with eggplant, pecorino cheese, bread and spice. They are are savory and oh so good hot! The side to this is more eggplant with tomatoes.

For the next course we had fresh mozzarella di buffala with plain salted salad in balsamic.
For the dolce we had fruit. It wouldn't be a complete fall meal without the Kaki (persimmons) -take a look at this little slice --mmmm. Buon Appetito!

Free Mammo Screening in Napoli

Just check out this hilarious link to my other blog.