Rome at its best

A sneak-peek of my book "As The Romans Do"

© David Loftus

© David Loftus

Dear reader, my valiant Unknown Soldier, Thank you for stopping by. If you’re reading this then chances are that you’re longing for luscious dolce vita style meals, echoing with imperial ruins and Vespa rides through the side streets of the eternal city par excellence, a panino in your bag.

Rome – a place that’s like an open air museum, disseminated with monumental masterpieces from the Colosseum through Piazza Navona to the 80 years old lady cleaning artichokes – the Holy Grail of the Roman food scene - at the food market. A slice of the historic and a wink at the contemporary gastronomic culture, that’s exactly what the book “As The Romans Do” is about. But that is not all.

This is a cookbook to butter and splatter, that will tickle and invigorate your taste buds. I hope it becomes an integral part of your kitchen and that you’ll fill it with personal notes and tomato sauce stains.

It’s been made with love and its pages spark up with food ideas that you can enjoy simply as they are or freely contaminate with your own touch.

This patchwork of recipes and anecdotes is developed much in the fashion of a day in the life of a Roman, each chapter punctuating a different time of the day. You’ll find crispy pastries to get you started, bringing you the magic of the Italian coffee-at-the-counter routine, vibrant packed snacks (merende) and lunch on the run options – a perfect fit for those busy weekdays. Then come family lunches to feed a crowd and recipes for two if you’re up for romance. I’ll explain to you all about #foodhappiness and the power of organized improvisation, and we’ll indulge in ‘midnight munchies’ with delicious dishes that take just a few minutes to make and even fewer to wipe out.

The images will catapult you right to the very heart of the Italian capital. They’ve been taken by the talented David Loftus and are evocative of an off-the-beaten-track lifestyle. The book contains tons of short stories and tips on how to live Rome like a local. You can share them with friends and family, or simply enjoy reading them while curling up on the couch. I’ll tell you how a Carbonara pasta is reminiscent of those orange splashed Roman sunsets and how Rome is the only town in the world where people of all kinds mix together in an almost contradictory way: you see the vagabond with the prince, the lawyer with the butcher, the florist with that mysterious lady always dressed in black. Just look at the way most people walk, literally trascinati, almost as if dragged by an invisible force, a form of vigorous sloth, just like my dragged savoy cabbage.

I hope to convey to you what Romanity is all about so that, from now on, when in Rome, you can’t help but do…. As The Romans Do.

Want to order your copy now? Amazon has put it at a special price and it's only a click away, if you click here.

Baci & abbracci,

Eleonora

My book "As The Romans Do" is a wrap

I missed you, too. After much food-writing, food-styling, food-testing back and forth between the stove, my computer, my publisher's HQ in London, David Loftus photography studio, and my beloved Rome, it's  finally a wrap. Some amongst you could follow the much hectic process through my Instagram. My debut cookbook, "As The Romans Do" has gone into production now and will be released on June, 2nd 2016. How could I know just a year ago that so many pieces needed to fall into place in order to make this happen? Well, I simply had no idea.

There has been the book proposal, followed by the content brainstorming - a plethora of things to say and just so much space (blame the author's irrepressible ego).

Recipe testing: three to four times in order to perfect each recipe to satisfaction, thanks to a wide range of very hungry and incredibly patient friends and my clients, both corporate and private through La Belle Assiette (more to come in the book's Acknowledgements).

Then the very reserved moment of actually filling up those blank pages, often with elaborate anecdotes to transmit the very cinematic context in which my recipes were created - I mean, we're talking seriously Dolce Vita Rome, guys. And the recurring questions: "Did I express everything I needed to say, was it clear enough for the audience to grasp?"

A little later, the most exciting time arrived: the photography for the book. We've been in Rome for the outdoors and in London for the studio photography, shooting up to 10 recipes a day with the help of an incredibly brilliant team. There was a food stylist making sure the cherry was always on the cake, Emily Ezekiel, a prop-stylist delivering the atmosphere of a Roman home into the studio, Linda Berlin along with an amazing in-house art director, Juliette Norsworthy. And numerous helpers that have proved valuable in cooperating especially during those quite inevitable yet crucial: "We're missing a piece of Parmigiano" moments.

Copy-editing was next, followed by the layout decisions. This entire experience has shaped my artistic voice into exactly who I want to be, right at this stage in my career, and I couldn't be more honoured for being able to send my message across so vividly to such a wide audience.

And that I owe to my brilliant online community, YOU.

It's good to be back to blogging, a dimension that leads my creativity to explore unknown places hence providing me with an always wider sense of what's possible.

My book is now available for pre-order on Amazon, just click on the link here to have it at your door right upon launching date.

I hope you'll forgive my temporary absence, but it was for the good cause and I'm now back in track with loads of new adventures to share in the near future.

And I cannot wait to experience it with you.

Baci & abbracci,

Eleonora

My book deal

I've always been instinctively compelled to write about what, to me, is the lesser known side of my culinary immediate horizon: Rome. I'm still pinching myself at the idea that I'm currently working on something that is soon to become an entity of its own: with a cover, hundreds of idyllic scented pages (I love nothing better than smelling through the inside of a new book) and most of all, my name on it. "I mean, really really? " (that's what my supercute 6 years old stepdaughter answered me when I told her that I'm conceiving a work that might inspire moms, amongst all kind of people - potentially all over the world -  to cook & travel for/with their daughters).

However, my story doesn't sound as fairytale like as many of my colleagues', who often talk about being picked up at food events or, even better, being directly sollicited by publishers in order to write a book. Nothing of the such happened to me, at least not on an international level. In the past, I had been sollicited by an Italian publisher who pictured me the less than tempting idea of autopromoting my own book - and If you're not Dante Alighieri, that's just standard procedure here in the Bel Paese.

Since by then, I already did my own publicity & marketing and am used to barter html programming for a pan of lasagne, I figured that was not where I intended my message to be delivered. After years of cooking workshops, food festivals and collaborations with brands, I felt like I deserved a softer, editorially competent pillow to provide me with a peaceful night's sleep.

I'm Italian, and certainly the fact that the English language is not my mother tongue didn't exactly help endorsing my candidature.

I knew I had an authentic message to deliver and I also knew that, in order to do so, I needed to pass through the UK market, one of the most globally sensitive to all things foodies. So I scratched my book idea, being at the same time extremely reserved for fear of being withdrawn and terribly open in order to transmit my very own philosophy on #romanity.

So there I was, over a year ago, sitting down in my working space - the kitchen - and loading my phone with phonecalls to the most eligible literary agencies in London. After 10 failed attempts I thought that my Mary Poppins side (constantly thinking "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down") was officially out the window. Over the weeks that followed my first shots at finding an agent, and after the 35th failed attempt, I changed bed positioning as I thought that there might have been some serious feng shui turmoil going on with me. At the end I got, wretchedly, to agency pursuit n.45 and went directly in front of the mirror, my hands miming a gun ready to shoot, my intuition yet determined to keep that smile on.

Much to my surprise, I got 2 agents offering to represent my work, and from the most respected literary agencies too since, for fear of approaching too high and fall down with an unpleasantly burning bump, I left the biggest numbers at the end of my: "I want to become a food author" marathon.

This sorcerer's apprentice, by now my very lovely and charmingly tyrant agent, stood by me step by step before entering my book deal. She helped me compiling a book proposal and waited (oh, those months and my restlessness) for the right moment to introduce it to the most appropriate contending.

Then, it was a matter of a few, incredibly hectic days, where I jumped on a train to London and met with a few publishers. With all due respect to all, only one was truly extraordinaire, though. And I' a firm believer in instincts. Oddly enough, the love at first sight happened to be mutual and, after receiving a wild-eyed courtship, I decided I met my match.

While I may not be writing here as often in the next couple of months, just imagine my busy self all dedicated to test and write for my book, to be published in May 2016 by Octopus Publishing Books (part of Hachette) with the envisioned title "As The Romans Do".

So when in Rome... keep tuned.

With love and an incandescent keyboard,

Eleonora

Honey glazed salmon fillet

In Roman habits, friday is a non-meat day. The tradition is linked with the Bible and the general precept of the Catholic Church that imposes not to eat meat on Fridays, the day of the Passion of Christ. Green light then to all kinds of fish and vegetables. When strolling around Roman's open air markets, such as the one in Campo dei Fiori or Testaccio, any respectable fishmonger on this day would scream out loud its generous supply of blessed cod with chickpeas (baccalà co' ceci). In order to grab attention, they would accompany it with a typical Roman stornello, an often emblematic folk song containing lyrics on a romantic and mockery tone, like these ones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8k-S3onbVyk

Even if you're rolling on deadlines before the end of the week, believe me, this no-fuss recipe will only take 5 minutes to make. I love how the citrusy flavour tickle with the rich drops of balsamic vinegar. What's more, this sweet and sour salmon is easy & quick to perform and will give the impression of an elaborate dish. I worked on this video as a collaboration with a French production company, hence subtitles may be cryptic. However, images do speak for themselves, and if you want to give it a go, you will find below all the details.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWDd9KbkzX4

Honey glazed salmon fillet

Ingredients (serves 1 person):

  • 150 gr. salmon fillet
  • 1 lime
  • 1 orange
  • 30gr. honey
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 20 gr. of fennel seeds
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

In a bowl, first press the orange and the lime. Pour the obtained juice into a large bowl, add the balsamic vinegar, the honey and the olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Grate the fennel seeds and add them to the mix.

Place the salmon fillet in the obtained marinade. Cover with foil and let rest in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes.

Warm up a pan, then cook the fish fillet aller-retour, 1 minute each side. Next, lightly drizzle with the marinade and let the sauce reducing for a couple of minutes. Put the fish on a dish and pour the sauce on top with a brush before enjoying it with a side seasonal salad.

With love and salmon,

Eleonora

Roman style artichoke

This artichoke recipe is a typical antipasti issued from the gastronomy of  Lazio and in particular of the city of Rome. The artichoke has always been a very popular vegetable used in the Roman cuisine, which, moreover, also has a special variety, the mammola, very suitable for the production of this type of recipe. Among different dishes of artichoke,  I also love the Jewish-style artichoke, another typical dish of the Roman cuisine that has that can be enjoyed uniquely in the very heart of the Jewish ghetto. The origins of the dish once again can be found in the ancient times when, when making food, farmers used what their land made available for them: in this case, artichoke, with its body cleansing properties, soooo beneficial after Christmas blowouts, is thus suggested in drainage diets. I particularly like this recipe for the direct contact you get with the vegetable, but be aware! Its colour could easily stick on your finger, so in order to save your weekend spotless manicure please make sure you pour your fingers deep in half a lemon's pulp before getting on with the cleaning of this remarkable vegetable. Roman-style artichokes

Ingredients for 8 people:

  • 8 artichokes
  • 50gr.breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp fresh finely cut parsley
  • 2 tbsp fresh finely cut mint
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh unwaxed lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic

First, proceed with the artichokes cleaning: remove the hardest outer leaves, with a sharp box cutter, working it down with a spiral movement going from the bottom to the top of the artichoke and finally, cut a part of the stem leaving only 4 cm of it. Spread the artichoke's leaves with your hands so you can remove the inside beard and place the artichoke, now cleaned, in a basin with acidulated water in order to prevent the formation of black parts.

Let the artichokes soak for a few minutes, while waiting chop the garlic, the mint, the parsley, then the breadcrumbs, a little olive oil and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.

Using a teaspoon, fill the artichokes, broadening their heart, with crumb stuffing. Add salt to the surface and place the artichokes in a nonstick pan bathed in oil and let it burn for two minutes, then add water to two-thirds. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

To understand if they're well cooked, prick them with a fork to check they are ready. Sprinkle with the cooking sauce and serve them warm or room temperature.

With love and artichokes,

Eleonora

Breaking Meatballs

Take one Italian and one English woman. Together on a day smelling like chestnuts. In a Roman kitchen. The idea was outrageously simple. Meeting up at Testaccio local market after coffee, which more or less corresponds to the civilized Roman early morning hour, that is 11 a.m; getting our heads and spirits lifted and spinning around grocery shopping with overchatting attention to the selection of delicious ingredients. Later on, run back home to an authentic Testaccio apartment block - with walls painted in orange, just like the colour of those unforgettable Roman sunsents - where I'm sure I've seen the shadow of Pasolini walk past us (but at the time I must have been too taken into considering whether going for a in bianco or rosso - white wine or tomatoes based sauce - for our main course).

I wanted to share a secret with Rachel. This ginger hair, delightfully tall girl from Britain, mother of a tiny 3 years old munchkin boy named Luca, runs a spectacularly well written blog called Racheleats. There, she basically goes through the pros and cons of Italian food traditions, letting the reader have full access to her palpably genuine lifestyle in the Roman neighbourhood of Testaccio, let alone her IG celebrated sink. She also managed to get messy in a few of the most renowned kitchens of the boot, thus embracing the most genuine Italian gastronomic culture. Away from the emotionally constipated view some have of the modern Brits and more in line with a contemporary version of a character issued from Austen's "Pride and (no) Prejudice" Rachel Roddy tries it all. And she tried mine too. I'm talking recipes of course. On our morning together and following her recent article on the Guardian, where she gratifies the reader with the, oh so many versions of the italian polpetta, of which we can find thousands of reinterpretations (I already mentioned in a previous post that each one has their own madeleines, haven't I?), I told her about my own Nonna's meatballs. We made them on a white Formica table veined in green just like Gorgonzola cheese, that Rachel purchased from a nuns' community. Couldn't get any more Roman than that. What a difference between the wine used for cooking, so called vino sincero (sincere wine due to its tendency of making you drunk undoubtedly cheaply) that makes for some fantastic meals and the one usually served in trattoria's tables, slightly more refined and delicate to the stomach.  An up tempo people pleaser and scrumptious, comforting food. There is something dangerously addictive about these mouthwatering pops. Just try to believe, until #foodhappiness kicks in.

Ingredients for 6: - 250 gr. pork twice minced meat - 250 gr. fracosta beef meat - 1 garlic clove - 150 gr. extra virgin olive oil - 100 gr. Parmesan - 150 gr. breadcrumbs - 1 fresh parsley bouquet, finely chopped - 2 fresh free range eggs - salt - pepper - 50 ml. Whole milk - 230 ml. Of white wine

In a bowl, bring together the two different meats with the eggs, the parmesan, the parsley, half of the breadcrumbs, the milk, a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of both salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients roughly with your hands in order to form a big mountain.

Place the remaining breadcrumbs on a big round plate, and have another ready beside it. Form small meatballs rolling them inside your hands, then cover them with breadcrumbs and position them one by one on the clean dish.

Warm up a pan with  100 gr. of oil and the garlic clove. Once it browns, pour in all the meatballs and let them cook for about 3 minutes each side at medium fire. Close the fire. Prepare a dish with some absorbing paper on top, and let the meatballs off the pan and on the scottex in order to get rid of the excessive oil.

Then, pour the wine of in the pan and let it warm up for 1 minute a high fire, then pour the meatballs in again and let cook for 5 minutes vivaciously. Serve warm and covered with parsley and its sauce.

With love and a mountain of meatballs,

Eleonora

* photo credits @Rachel Roddy

Exciting new beginnings ahead - Pasta alla Norma

There's only few things in life that beat the excitement of new beginnings. I'm planning to extend my activity on a pop-up basis to more European cities, I will keep you updated on that veeery soon. While I spend my entire days between my consulting bustle and the tedious filling of bureaucratic schedules for my next destinations, I've been lately getting to the comfort of crunchy eggplants. These wonderful vegetables are now in season more than ever, having diuretic and anti-cholesterol proprieties. Before making any use of this gorgeous food, I usually get rid of their bitter water by way of letting them rest for 20 mins. in a colander with rocky salt and a weight on top. No one wants soggy eggplants in their fabulous meal. Pasta alla Norma is a dish of macaroni topped with tomatoes, with the subsequent addition of eggplants (fried or grilled), salty ricotta and fresh basil. This dish is originally from the Sicilian city of Catania, in which dialect is better known as Pasta ca' Norma (Pasta with Norma). It would seem that to give the name of the recipe has been a well-known playwright who, in front of a well seasoned dish, had exclaimed: "It 'a Norma!", to indicate the supreme goodness, comparing it to the famous opera by Vincenzo Bellini.

PASTA ALLA NORMA

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 12 leaves fresh basil
  • 2 medium size eggplants
  • 4 table spoons extra virgin olive oil
  • a hint of black pepper
  • 200 gr. salted ricotta cheese
  • salt
  • 400 gr. of dried pasta (rigatoni or paccheri)
  • 700 gr. peeled tomatoes
  • Wash and trim the eggplants, then cut them into slices of 4 mm in the vertical direction. Make sure you also cut a few slices horizontally which will be used to garnish the dish at the end. Place them in a colander sprinkled with coarse salt, then cover the eggplants with a plate and place a weight on top: leave them to purge for at least 20 minutes.                                                                                                                                                 Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce by putting in a pan to brown the garlic with the oil: finally, add the peeled tomatoes. Cook on low heat until the sauce becomes mushy, then pass it through a sieve and put it back over to the heat to thicken. Once off the heat, add half the fresh basil leaves. Rinse out the eggplants under cold running water, then dry them thoroughly with a clean cloth and fry them in hot, but not boiling olive oil, or alternatively on a grill without oil, until golden. Transfer the eggplants on some paper towels to lose the excessive oil. Then put to boil the pasta in salted water and grate the ricotta, putting it aside. While pasta is cooking, cut into strips the fried eggplants (all except the longer slices that will be used to decorate the dishes). Transfer the remaining eggplants pieces in a pan with a few tablespoons of tomato sauce and when the pasta is al dente, drain and add to the sauce in the pan ; mix pasta and sauce for a minute and, before serving it, cover the pasta with the remaining tomato sauce, a few slices of eggplants, the grated ricotta, and the remaining fresh basil leaves. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Enjoy your weekend!

Eleonora

Sour cherry ricotta cake - a blog exchange for HautAppetit.com

We met on Instagram. We talked about sharing #foodhappiness together. We planned for a date. Here in Rome. We made it happen.

Elizabeth Minnett is a former model who also runs a deliciously fashionable baking blog, HautAppetit.com. Whether in Milan, London, Paris or New York, cities that she visits regularly in order to keep updated with the latest fashion trends, she made it a mission to translate fashion statements into food ones. Following the historical background behind Italian gastronomy, she wanted me to create a recipe that would embody the colour patterns and the texture of the eternal city. By keeping it light, of course ("feed the models" being her motto). Here is the amusing result of a foodie italo-american affair.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUi3CBphaFCi0teFPDwLc2ZA&v=I4NNBI4TgD0

Have you missed any points? No worries, I wrote down the recipe for you.

SOUR CHERRY RICOTTA CAKE

* Eleonora Galasso’s recipe

120g sugar

4 eggs, plus 1 yolk

135g flour

100mL milk

250g Ricotta

150g sour cherry marmalade (jam)

2 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

Directions:

Please watch the video for instructions!

With loads of love and cherries,

Eleonora

A day at the bakery

The morning was crispy and fragrant, like fresh bread, when I headed to one of the oldest bakeries in town in order to learn the secrets behind the Italian essential for excellence: il pane. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

5:30 a.m. A ray of light touches Piazza Del Pantheon and, as the breeze caresses my, brrrrrr!!!, too summary outfit (there’s still quite a temperature shift from night to day) giving me the shivers, I realized, once again, that Rome in the morning holds the most dazzling of secrets: it looks like it’s been built a moment ago, for your eyes only. Oh my, what a bliss.

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As I walked by the narrow roads, the Roman cobblestones, i sanpietrini, leaded me to the most sumptuous tiny squares, as greeting as a lively living room. I went through the Ponte Sisto and found myself in the bohemian Trastevere district. Having been an authentic Roman for my entire life, I still find it quite hilarious to get lost in the melting pot of side streets to the point that, after my first coffee and with my head clear enough, or so I thought, I still couldn’t’ quite find my way to the oldest baker in town, turning flour into bread with lievito madre (sourdough), which makes it fluffy and lasting for over a week.

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But then Gina appeared: imagine a lady dressed in black, all frowned and focused while peeling potatoes, who told me, unflappable: “You obviously got lost my dear, it’s the most wonderful thing I can tell you”, which only added to my feeling of inadequacy in front of Rome, a city where one always feels either too big or too small.

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Abandoning myself to that overindulging feeling, I finally found my way through the most iconic of senses: smell.

Dusty, floury, and oily, bread is usually to be found in every Italian table, a synonymous of hospitality and prosperity. Back in the old days the well to do families would consume nothing but white bread, as a symbol of their accomplished wealth, whereas the brown bread would be left for the agricultural working class.

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The head baker Giampiero is an institution at one of the very few last bakeries in town. He and the boys treated me like an equal for the entire shift, and that included handling packages of 25 Kg. flour and bite the pizza dough to make it flawless and crusty. I felt as happy as ever when I finally got my hands on my first filone (Roman style loaf of bread) ever, even though I burnt a finger in the process, since it was too irresistible and I simply couldn't resist. But that's part of the game, I guess.

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I brought a bunch of bread loaves on my basket, they look like a well decorated bouquet of flowers. I jumped on my bike, thinking about the millions sauces that will accompany it for brunch tomorrow. Let the weekend begin.

With bread and tulips,

Eleonora

Viva la pappa col pomodoro!

At the end of what has been a boiling hot week in Rome, let me wish you a very joyful weekend through a couple of videos displaying the Italian attitudes for excellence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ5Zwrcvvaw

"Viva la pappa col pomodoro" is a very popular song interpreted by Rita Pavone, a sort of "enfant prodige" back at the day, who acted as Gian Burrasca in one of the first tv-series:"John Gale, the bad boy". This nickname, which the family gives to him because of his restless behaviour (more for exuberance than malice), has become proverbial to indicate an unruly kid.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNjdrzBYzOk

"Che Bambola" by Fred Buscaglione is the epytome of the Roman piacione, a guy who would typically go after all pretty girls by assuming a forced captivating attitude. A typical experience for any gal going around an Italian town.

Off to an Italian weekend, enjoy yours!

Eleonora

It's #romanity. Sneak peek #8

Once upon a time I was grocery shopping on a vintage Vespa. As I jumped on it, I realized that the colours and smells of this incredible city that is Rome were way more vivid. I could touch the walls as I escaped a tiny street to get into the wonders of yet another square glorified by historical monuments. Rome is truly an open-air museum. So I decided to tell you about the flawless feeling of flying through it. Ladies and gentlemen, here is a #romanity tribute to our favourite Roman means of transports, and madness. vespa8

First, there was the bicycle. Coloured in pale green, blue or red, originally it had no speeds, so it was a courageous and awesome act to climb on the seven hills of Rome on one of those. I am always amazed at the wonderful baskets, that I love to fill with groceries, and the magnificent flowers that go with them. Those means of transport, as simple as they may be, become sumptuous when laying by the side of a Roman column. And the poetry begins. Buy or rent it at Collalti (they will also fix it for you at any given time), either way you'll look terrific!

vespa1

Then came the Vespa. 500 Special. Oh If that's something.

vespa7

Often found side by side, these two means of transports are the epytome of #romanity. They make a significant part of the charm within the city.

vespa9

Running through the city on one of those helps reviving those images of daily life that would go otherwise unnoticed. Try the Trastevere neighbourhood on one of them on a peaceful early afternoon, then tell me your daydreams.

vespa2

When I say everyone uses them, I mean it. Priests and monks alike can be seen playing among the urban traffic before reaching the Vatican City, the state within the state of Rome.

vespa3

Talking loud in the city is a measure for affection. Enjoy those discussions that stop the traffic of an entire city. On a Vespa special they can sound justifiable.

vespa4

But, ehy, there's nothing more fun than strolling around the city with a special 50 that drive your fears (and hairs) away.

vespa6

Among solitary roads and spacious angles, a very Italian means of transport is always going to be a safety nest.

vespa5

Have a lovely weekend,

Eleonora

Amazing photos, right? Look no further, it's the de-lovely Cucina Digitale

It's #romanity. Sneak peek #7

In a world where opinion leaders /development leaders, even impatient leaders thrive to handle worldly opinions, being a cauliflower leader is as near to #foodhappiness as #romanity can lead me to. That's the state of the art, for me at least. Do you get the message?cauli1

And so, I often find myself giggling through the eternal city's narrow streets, in search for the perfect spot to stop by for a well deserved crowd-rescuing moment.

cauli2

The best places in Rome to find solitude are the least visited. Look for them outside the beaten-track, just like the arty and sooo ever-green Caffè della Pace, only steps away from Piazza Navona, yet totally inserted in a bohemian and exclusive atmosphere. Don't mind Dolores, the cuckoo lady who stops by , her entertaining stories, fire red lipstick, as well as her decadent allure are part of the whole charm.

coli3

In a city where the past comes as a glorified and refined definition of the eyes who see through it, finding yourself can be as easy as climbing the Roman symbol for excellence: the Colosseum. You might even be taken for one of its inhabitants, if you don't pay attention at details like closing the door before leaving any kind of space. You would otherwise be shouted at: "Ehy, what is it with you? Do you live in the Colosseum?".

coli4

The most inspiring place to reflect and observe the moveable feast of our life (as Hemingway would put it), is the church, any church in Rome really, the city has over 900 of them. Their history define the artistic, religious and intellectual soul of the city. Between many abbeys, 4 papal basilica, the Medieval, the Gothic, the Renaissance or the Baroque styled, the choice is huge, and always a corner away from anywhere in the historical centre of town.

cauli5

And as the situation calls for it (in Rome as in life more in general), always stay grounded, but with your eyes up!

Eleonora

It's #romanity. Sneak peek #6

I am not fishing for compliments. fish1

But Romans are, constantly, all the time. The term "coatto" should ring a bell to all of those who seek the company of authentic Roman types. A coatto person is the kind of guy that you would find out at the local bar or square. Naturally restless, impatient at the monotony due to its inactivity, he tends to react with strong emotions and hence has a passion for the sport in general, motorcycles and modified sports cars.

fish3

The typical Roman guy believes the rest of us as apathetic, passive people. Don't mistake his quarrelsome behavior as really rude, in most cases it's just the after-effects of a lust for life. He would wear flashy clothing in contrast with the ordinary fashion. Most of the time you would see him reckless driving and doing hilarious bravado, within the instance of vitality, and a "will to live".

fish4

I am not fishing for compliments, really.

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But I have a sense these fishes do.

fish8

Look at their shining skin, and those magnetic eyes..It's all about the eye really. When purchasing the right fish you should always stick with those carrying a vivacious allure with them. Make the choice of buying fishes which actually swim in our seas, in order to promote local businesses.

fish5

Choose fishese that are not too big in size: the bigger the fish, the greater is the possibility that it contains an accumulation of toxic substances. The only thing you should get toxic about is pristine, utter beauty.

The best days to consume fish in #romanity style are:

- Tuesdays: the fish is at its freshest. Beware of restaurants trying to serve you fish on a Monday in the eternal city, as it would be at least 2 days old. You would be left with a vague stomach-hache that no walk into #romanity could spare you.

- Fridays: Traditionally for the Catholic world, this is the day of Jesus Christ's passion, hence it's a meat-free day. Romans love the combination of codfish & chickpeas. In #foodhappiness we trust.

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Have a lovely weekend,

Eleonora

All pictures here are too good to be true here thanks to the lens of Cucina Digitale

It's #romanity. Sneak peek #5

It's Sunday. Finally. The day ahead is for us only, no tough projects or serious intentions allowed. Sunday in Rome, particularly, is truly a treat. Walking through the eternal city as if it belonged to you, when the purpose of noise is to make silence resonate. A typical Sunday in Rome would involve, of course, looking for the perfect lunch. There's no better way than doing it in one of the city markets. The Campagna Amica one offers a choice of products coming from the Roman countryside and 100% naturally grown.

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Once the selection of  the tastiest ingredients is dealt with, it's time to think about the perfect table sparks. Other than being a grace for the eye, flowers can also be poured into caster sugar and make for a wonderful cake decoration.

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Every Italian table would have at least one loaf of bread, to be considered a respectable measure of conviviality.  Most of us opt for a "scarpetta": after overindulging in your Sunday's lasagna, you take a piece of bread and clean the rest of the plate off the delicious leftover sauce. Strictly with your hands. Beware of all imitations.

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As my friend and partner in this project Cucina Digitale would put it - whether the weather - Sunday lunch is a sacred event.

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Taking long walks with a #romanity attitude and your favourite Sunday paper are likely to make you stumble upon Locandas and Trattoria. The typical sunday specials around here are: Lasagna, bucatini all' Amatriciana, Vignarola, Roast Lamb with Potatoes. And #foodhappiness as a cherry on the cake. Can you read it on my face?

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What's your favourite Sunday treat?

Happy thoughts to you all,

Eleonora

Blown away by the images? Blame it on Cucina Digitale amazing sight.

It's #romanity. Sneak peek #4

What If I told you that we could go back in time, exactly between 1957 and 1975, just by walking in the narrow streets of Rome? 500one

It is possible, with the first ever and surprisingly elegant city car of all: the one and only Fiat 500. But that is not all. Think about all those producers that bring you joy: florists, groceries suppliers and "pasticceri" alike, they all use a three wheels minivan, the Ape, to get around the city. And often run in the risk of parking it abusively. But ehy, that's #romanity, too.

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To indulge or not to indulge? That seems to be the question, even though the answer is so frequently: yes, come on, it's only a little pastry. "Pastarelle", as we call it in Rome, are those sweet delights filled with cream and fruits aromas that men bring back home to their wives for Sunday lunch. When it comes to traditions, some are just better kept up, wouldn't you agree?

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Whether in front of the most secluded and splendid fountain,

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or among the ever wonderful, ever green cypresses along the Via Appia Antica,

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Rome lets you find pleasures that allow you to get exclusively at ease with yourself. Finally again. The smell of fresh coffee (taken religiously standing up at the bar),

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accompanied by a doughnut, can make you rethink the concept of doing a u-turn, either it being a spiritual or a practical one. It is true, as they say in Italy, that not all doughnuts come with a hole - not everything can be perfect. As long as there's #foodhappiness. Fashionably so. Thanks to Renato Balestra.

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On a sweet tone, I leave you to make the most of the rest of the week!

Eleonora

All pictures are taken by the extraordinary eye of Cucina Digitale

It's #romanity. Sneak peek #3

The Tiber river flows at a speed of 876 litres per second. The human body is composed by water for more than 60%. Experts all agree in suggesting a daily intake of water of 2 litres. acqua5

No task could be easier when in Rome. Water in Rome is good for you; actually, it's the best you could find in Italy, due to the hygienic safety guaranteed by the absence of microbiological indices. In other words, it's filled with minerals and excellent for fastening up that methabolysm! acqua4

Water is an ever present element in many Fellini's movies scenes, celebrating La Dolce Vita, its excesses and its fragilities. For example, in the most celebrated 8 1/2 movie its protagonist, interpreted by Marcello Mastroianni, is looking for fountains all over Rome in a quest of lost purity.

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When it comes to private affairs and their disclosure, all Italians agree on one thing: you don't air your dirty laundry in public.

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There's nothing better, on a sunny sunday, than taking my bycicle and hop on a regional train with destination: the sea - il mare!

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When it comes to #romanity, acqua6

it's always best to combine together something old, something new, something borrowed. A fountain, a fabulous Fendi outfit, a bunch of grapes ( like Bacchus would have loved them). And just like that, it's #foodhappiness time!

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Happy sunday folks!

Eleonora

All pictures are taken by talented Cucina Digitale

It's #romanity. Sneak peek #1

Rome, Rome, Rome. It's a ringer. What about it? It's decadent, magnetic, multi-faceted, suspended in time. Yes. But that, we all know.

photo credits  © Cucina Digitale

Nothing beats those orange splashed sunsets or the magic rays of lights on those knocking on heaven's door cupolas . How playful to run through its tiny, pizza flavoured streets. Oh boy, the Eternal City is a swinger.

photo credits  © Cucina Digitale

Now, be ready to take all that you think of Rome and turn it upside down in an unprecedented, refreshing way. Because we are going to explore the myriad of its aspects, its allure, its humanity;

Photo credits  © Cucina Digitale

Its spectral angles and controversial lightness of being, its immorality, its immortality;

Photo credits  © Cucina Digitale

Seasonability and sustainability don't overcome its inner and most authentic exuberance. Nor does time alter its unmistakable charm. It's romanity.

Photo credits  © Cucina Digitale

We'll give you the right tools to dream it,  feel it, live it.

That's what true #romanity is all about. Beware of imitations.

Confidential notice: this is a project that will drive you (nuts) directly into the most unusual,captivating, off-the-cuff, tasty Roman scenarios.

You'll be mesmerized. Stay tuned. 

a Romanity sneak peek by @ Cucina Digitale

What is Romanity for you?

Eleonora

Images courtesy of Cucina Digitale

My tasty week...Young and Foodish

I discovered how to efficiently fight my usual adversion for mondays: it can be solved thanks to wooden mirrors and.. the use of magnesium, which properties are beneficial for both our body and soul. foto-141

Oranges are good for you, whether you want to get over a winter flu or you want to give that perfect citrus hint to a meat serenade, as I discovered this week while cooking for a bunch of ladies - yes, the Roman Witches Supper Club is back .

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Talking about preserving your health, I find it difficult to figure out the extent to which people might be or not intolerant to certain products, meeting so many of you guys during my weekly Cooking Workshops. Truth is, that many find it difficult to digest peppers. These amazing vegetables, containing vitamin A and 90% of water, come with something of a bitter taste. However, if properly roasted and eventually peeled off, they gain the sweetness they deserve and are perfect if served with some extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar.

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So excited about a special project I'm involved in. Please find below a little hint, tell me what you think it entails and stay tuned for further developments over the next few weeks.

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How are you going to treat yourself during these cold winter weekend mornings? Prepare yourself a savoury fried egg delight this weekend following these easy steps.

Ingredients for 2 Fried Eggs Delights:

  • a Pastry Cutter
  • 2 Slices of Rye Bread
  • 2 Eggs
  • 100 gr. Soft Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat the oven at 200°. Place the slices of bread one on top of the other and proceed by cutting 2 rounds with the appropriate pastry cutter. Let them become crunchy in the warm oven for about 5 minutes. Then spread a generous amount of a soft cheese of your choice (I love to use stracchino). In the meanwhile, cook an egg per time, directly inside the pastry clutter's form, in a small pan with a hint of warm oil. After a couple of minutes the egg will be ready, and you will simply need to place it on top of the beautiful round of bread, adding salt, pepper and fresh erbs as you prefer.

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Have a rocking #foodhappiness weekend everyone,

Eleonora

My tasty week...Singing in the rain

It rained cats and dogs here in Rome, for the entire week. Hence I've been "singing in the rain", as Gene Kelly would have rightly put it. And amazing flowers blossomed just right. I purchased a bunch of parfumed buds to use them in some recipes over the next days. SingingInTheRain

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ZYhVpdXbQ

I was able to grasp a unique ray of light early yesterday afternoon, which gave my South Tyrol apples (which I talked about in a previous post) a glowing appeal.

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I'm trying to cleanse up my whole metabolysm by eating loads of seeds and veggies. Also Potassium Citrate tablets help. This fennel salad (pictured below) with parsley and almonds took no time at all to make and was incredibly delicious with its lemon and poppy-seeds vinaigrette.

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I couldn't maintain all my greens fresh for these long and rainy days if it wasn't thanks to the invaluable vacuum-sealing machine which keeps my food from going soft and soggy for over 5 days.

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I was lucky enough to enjoy a winter sea storm, which inevitably puts everything at its place, inside out. I couldn't refrain from purchasing a couple of tempting mullets. And then I asked myself: should I spoil their sparkling colour? No way! Still, I had to turn them into dinner...Therefore I cooked them plainly with extra virgin olive oil and let their gorgeous self be the protagonist of one of my clandestine dinners.

On the importance of chocolate. The picture of this handmade scrumptious cake talks for itself, and for all of our food cravings, which shall be indeed indulged during the coldest winter evenings.

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And, on this sweet note, I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Eleonora

A walk down Marron Glacés lane - Foodie discoveries

And there I was, wondering around the streets of Rome for some delicious new treat to add to my spiced up witch-drawer, ready to use for my cooking workshops, when I literally bump into a foodie place that couldn't possibly be misunderstood. In front of a liberty style palazzo in the residential Prati area of Rome, the sign MARRON GLACéS lightens up the far end of an otherwise rather conservative road. A chestunut studio filled with goodies? Yes, I am coming in, please.

The same family has run it for over 60 years, and looking at the care they put whilst wrapping my bag with 5 marrons only (I obviously still have to seriously get to my new year's resolutions), they have done a terrific job ever since 1948.

These glazed marvels come in two different shapes, but I personally went for the big one, because I can put it to many uses in the kitchen (crumbled in a salad or dipped in some fresh cream) and then mainly because, when indulging, one might as well just do it all the way. All kind of sweets products derived from chestunut are on the list: from marmelade to chocolate.

My eyes turned wild when I realized that, in a matter of seconds, I came a long way from my initial "I swear I'm only buying 5 marron glacés" 'purpose. I also got slightly carried away with:

- the most beautiful crystallized violets, great for cake decorations as well as on their own, accompanied by either a hint of liquor or a glass of champagne;

-stuffed dates, stuffed plums and stuffed walnuts, in random order according to hunger level. It's basically almonds paste mixed generously with icing sugar and attached to delicious Israeli dates, tasty California plums and crunchy Italian walnuts. A fabulously indulging mix;

- I couldn't get out of the shop without helping myself with a good dose of jellies: blackberry, plum, mandarin, citrus, anise, strawberry, apricot, orange, lemon, banana, black cherry and the list goes on and on.

- did I tell you about the chocolates, too? And how they are dipped in any kind of glazed fruity heaven? Amongst the tangerine, orange, ananas, pear, and chino (from which extract comes the very Italian soft drink Chinotto, a kind of soda), I absolutely cracked for the fig. I am actually eating one now. And I am shamefully splattering my computer's screen.

And also, "lacrime d'angelo" (angel's tears), which are sweet little pearls made of fuits essence. Let me give you their coordinates before hiding at the little corner for gluttony.

Giuliani - Marrons Glacés & Chocolates: Via Paolo Emilio, 67, 00192 Rome (Italy), or on the web here Open every-single-day at the usual working hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.And there I was, wondering around for some delicious new treat to add to my spiced up witch-drawer, when I literally bump into a place that couldn't possibly be misunderstood. In front of a liberty style palazzo in the residential Prati area of Rome, the sign MARRON GLACéS lightens up the far end of this otherwise rather conservative road. A chestunut studio filled with goodies. Yes, I am coming in, please.

The same family has run it for over 60 years, and looking at the care they put whilst wrapping my bag with 5 marrons only (I obviously still have to seriously get to my new year's resolutions), they have done it brilliantly.

These glazed marvels come in two different shapes, but I personally went for the big one, because I can put it to many use in the kitchen (crumbled in a salad or in some fresh cream) and then mainly because, when indulging, one might as well just do it all the way. All kind of sweets products derived from chestunut are on the list: from marmelade to chocolate.

My eyes turned wild when I realized that, in a matter of seconds, I came a long way from my initial 5 marron glacés' purpose. I also took:

the most beautiful crystallized violets, great for cake decorations as well as on their own, accompanied by either a hint of liquor or a glass of champagne;

Stuffed date, stuffed plum and stuffed walnut, in random order according to the hunger level. It's basically almonds paste mixed generously with icing sugar and attached to beautiful Israeli dates, California plums and Italian walnuts. A fabulously indulging mix;

I couldn't get out of the shop without helping myself with a good dose of jellies.