Saturday, 27 July 2013

10 signs that you know the southern Italian summer has REALLY arrived...

Apart from the obvious sign of course: that you are really, really, sweaty...

1. You find yourself making more and more excuses to 'do the shopping', knowing full well that all the big stores have wonderful, amazing, incredible air conditioning.

2. You realise that is it ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to have at least 2 showers a day.

3. You realise that it is also ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to sleep in the middle of the day. For at least two hours.

4. You will no longer care about getting a tan whilst at the beach. Between 12pm and 4pm, shade is ALL that matters.

5. You find that your gelato/crema al caffè consumption has skyrocketed. (In my case, this means at least one of each per LEAST...), creamy, sugary goodness...

6. Salad, tomatoes, cold cuts and mozzarella will become you dietary staples. Because a) you are often required to do number 1 to get them and b) cooking? When it's this hot? You're joking right?

7. You find yourself walking really, REALLY slowly.

8. Nobody, I mean NOBODY, is out and about between the hours of 12.30pm and 5.30 pm.

9. You ACTUALLY need to drink that 2 litres of water that doctors tell you you should. Because if you don't, dizziness/headaches/nausea may occur.

10. Unbelievably, you start craving the Autumn.

So, stay cool folks. Literally.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Courgette Capers

Remember the giant courgette?

Well, if you don't (shame on you), just take a quick peek here to become well and truly informed about said giant courgette.

Anyway, I was a little unsure what culinary treats I could whip up using this larger than usual vegetable. So, I did the following:

First, some simple grilled slices of courgette with olive oil, salt, mint and garlic. Served cold, of course.

Then, I whipped up (I say whipped up, that gives the false impression of culinary expertise which I most certainly do not have) a pasta dish, creating a sauce from chopped/blended courgette, salt and pepper, olive oil and garlic. I then cooked some spaghetti, added it to the pan of courgette for a few minutes, before chucking in some chopped walnuts and roughly chopped mozzarella. This was a massive experiment and although it was tasty, I would try a slightly stronger tasting cheese such as Parmesan next time.

It was great to eat such delicious, fresh produce, but I think I give courgette a miss for a week or so- I may have reached my limit! :D

Have a great day!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Friends and Veggies

Hello folks!

One of the things I least like about being in Italy is the fact that I'm not near to my friends and my family. I can't just pop round to my see my mum and dad for a cup of tea and several (hundred) biccies. Nor can I just jump on a train and see my lovely London friends for a night of several (not hundred) cocktails. So when one of my friends comes to visit me here in Italy, it doesn't half put a big smile on my face. Despite the fact that there is the added pressure of making sure that they are well fed/comfortable/not bored/not being harassed by Italian men, I love having people to stay, and now I've got my new place with an extra bed and wonderful roof terrace, it's so much more fun!

My first official guest (Anika) came to stay this last week, and it was great having her around. We stayed up until ridiculously early hours of the morning, just chatting and drinking wine and generally relaxing. I also took her to the beach, for some seriously good ice cream/pizza/other delicious foods and of course, made sure she met all of my Italian friends here. They loved her, she loved them, and she wants to come back really soon. Here's hoping!

So now onto the weather. I am British you know, so it's mandatory that we discuss the weather every now and then! I've been hearing that in the UK the summer has well and truly arrived- yay! Normally my decision to spend the summer in Italy (even though I don't work in the summer months) is well and truly reinforced by the fact that British summers are usually dismal anyway, so I'm not missing out on much. But when it's actually hot and sunny there, I do get a longing for picnics in the park, outdoor pub lunches and countryside walks. I'm heading back to the UK in August, so let's hope the weather stays sunny until then!

And finally, this would not be a sunshine and tomatoes post without some reference to food. I've included a couple of photos of some of the delicious cibo that I have been tucking into lately, so if you're prone to food envy, look away now. Also, check out this whopper of a courgette (!) that my boyfriend's uncle gave to me. Will keep you posted on subsequent courgette recipes! (After all, I think it'll last about a week...)

Home made parmigiana

Can't even begin to describe how good this was (Thanks Antonio!)

With fresh buffalo mozzarella...mmmm

The giant courgette.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Home sweet home...

My week and a half of vegging out at home in the UK is officially over. I went, I saw, I ate pork pies, I watched repeats of Lewis on TV (love that show). But now, after a much less turbulent flight than my previous one, I am back in southern Italy and enjoying the sunshine. Oh no, wait a moment, I'm not. The sun is officially nowhere to be found. Today is decidedly grey and yucky, and the Italians who have 'braved' the streets are pretty grey and yucky too. Italians and bad weather? Let's just say that their grumbling starts to rival that of us Brits. Here's hoping that it perks up soon, as I am seriously in need of some beach time; that's what Italian summers are all about! (Well, that and the excuse to eat as much gelato as humanly possible.)

You will have seen in my last post that I moved house. Well, I am now officially settled in my new flat and have arranged all of my (bags and bags and bags of) stuff accordingly; photos on the wall, bottles of San Pellegrino Cocktail in the fridge, Union Jack biscuit tin on the table and little 'witty' signs like this all over the place:

I'm feeling at home already.

Buona giornata!