Jul 31, 2015

Saturn Peach Gingersnap Tartlets

No, I'm not baking, are you kidding?! Italy is suffering the worst heatwave in 135 years. Nope, not a typo: one-hundred-and-thirty-five years. It's so hot I hardly have the energy to cook, let alone bake.

But every now and then, I allow myself a small digression from the "eating plan" and make something sweet. I make dessert, even in the middle of this crazy Italian summer (See what I did there? I called it an eating plan, I didn't use the D-word).

Plus, taking advantage of the season's amazing fruit, I convince myself that these desserts don't even constitute a danger for said diet eating plan. A great solution for eating sweet yet healthy in summer is making large batches of fruit smoothies. The best employment of the smoothie? Mixing in 1 tbsp of sugarless jam (of the same fruit you pureed), pouring it in plastic cups and stacking them in the freezer. Hello, healthy homemade popsicles.

If ice lollies are not your thing, and need something a little more substantial to chew on, you could always make my failsafe "tartellette alle pesche saturnine". Saturn (or donut) peaches – also locally called tabacchiere because they resemble tobacco snuff boxes – are my favorite stone fruit. If you've been reading this blog long enough you may remember how I even made tiramisu with Saturn peaches. Today's recipe is an ode to sloth and laziness. No cooking, no baking, just putting together great seasonal ingredients for a sweet summer cuddle.

These particular tartlets combine the aromatic, succulent pinkish flesh of the Saturn peach, with the spiced kick of ginger contained in the base, and the cold, creamy middle. I use ricotta, but you could use mascarpone, gelato, cream cheese, Greek yogurt or – if you're feeling particularly sinful – gorgonzola. Or even burrata.

Yes, I said burrata, stop salivating.

There's no need to turn on the oven to enjoy these Saturn peach tartlets. Just start with a great cookie to begin with, and assemble your way up. I'm using Pepparkakor biscuits, known outside of Sweden as ginger snaps, or ginger thins.

Quantity of units is up to you. I put out all the ingredients and eat as I build, while binge-watching my favorite Netflix series.

Ingredients, in liberal amounts
Ginger thins
Ricotta cheese (or gelato, mascarpone, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, gorgonzola or burrata)
Saturn peaches, rinsed and sliced

Slather your dairy cream of choice on cookie. Top with sliced peaches. Devour.

Buon appetito!

Jul 29, 2015

Rome: Top 10 neighborhoods for food and drink

Rome is packed to the rafters with varied food and wine options. We've singled out 10 of the city's most popular food-centric neighborhoods and suggested a handful of places out of the many we know that are worth visiting in each area.

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Jul 26, 2015

Drink wine like an Italian

Italians regard wine an essential expression of their culture, it's in every Italian's DNA! As a fundamental testimony to the land's incredible biodiversity and ultimately a part of any meal, Italians – even the non-connoisseurs – give great importance to their vino and respectfully drink it accompanied with delicious regional dishes.

So when in Italy, drink wine like an Italian. But what's the best way to enjoy it like a local? Here are some wine-drinking tips that will add a little Italian flair to your next glass.

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Jul 17, 2015

The best granita & cremolato in Rome

Granita and other ice-inspired refreshments provide ideal relief from torrid Italian summers. I won't be in Sicily for another month, but I'm already dreaming of granita smeared in a French style brioche.

The best granita I've ever tasted was bought for pennies in a little gelateria run by a grumpy woman in Santa Maria la Scala, near Catania. Her pistachio, almond and mulberry granita flavors have forever spoiled me.

While I pine for Sicily, here's my shortlist of where to score the best granita and cremolato in Rome, and what signature flavors shine in each.

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Jul 11, 2015

New challenge: going on a diet

I have purged the fridge. Emptied the pantry. Gifted neighbors with full jars of marmalade, hazelnut spread and precious oil-preserved Taggiasca olives. Monday marks the beginning of a new project. Project ME.

In the past few weeks I have eliminated refined sugar and alcohol. In the following 14 days I will have to deal with further detoxing. I will be eliminating foods that are slowing down my metabolism and are essentially being stored as fat because my body can't deal with them like it used to.
That means no more processed food.
No more salt.
No dairy.
No yeast.

Next after that, I will be embarking in a 5-day paleo shock, to be followed by a 40-day metabolism regime. The gym membership has been renewed. The Fitbit fully charged.
Everything has been carefully planned, and I am now ready.

Back from my sunset run, I took a "before" polaroid and glued it to the bathroom mirror.

Fortunately, shifting my eating habits during summer in Italy will be easy, given the abundance of this...


But it will also mean saying bye bye to this for a little while...

This doesn't mean I'll stop publishing articles and posts about recipes, restaurants and food tours, on the contrary. I will continue to write about my favorite food & wine related topics and share photos of beautiful, healthy Italian dishes. It will be the ultimate zen challenge!

{Just be prepared for the occasional rant, frustration and (hopefully) cheering related to my weight loss program}

Wish me luck!