Sunday, October 30, 2011

Autumn days + Chorizo risotto

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Yup, it's officially autumn - the clock went back an hour today, leaves have gone a golden/reddish hue or fallen on the ground, I brought 2 pairs of boots to the cobbler to get it resoled and ready for the cold, my leather gloves are in my handbag at all times for 'emergency' sudden cold snap at night

It also signals the return of comfort food - starting with....drum roll....chorizo risotto....I love my husband!

Picnik collage

Picnik collage


Better late than never



Overall our tomato yield was a little disappointing compared to last year - I think we should stick to cheery tomato varieties next year. BUT...we finally (I know...its almost November!) harvest our tomatoes and check them out! I love the gorgeous shapes and ribs on the tomatoes - these are called Costoluto Fiorentino. Mixed in there are a few tiger toms with subtle dark green stripes

These are going into our risotto tonight - next post!

Monday, October 17, 2011

'Minimoon' at Puglia, Italy - Part 4

Food.....the number 1 reason we chose Puglia. We toyed with the idea of Croatia for our minimoon (Scott even went as far as buying a guide book for Croatia but it just didn't click. We had been dreaming and talking about visiting Puglia for years now - everytime we read an article it raves about the food...the slow pace of life...the food...the lack of tourist...the food...the wine...the food...the biggest producer of olive oil in Italy...the food. OK I think you get the gist of it!
We (ok I) put back on whatever miniscule weight I lost for the wedding and came home satisfied - a slightly heavier me and a very heavy luggage (4 jumbo bottles of olive oil + 2 bottle of vino). We kept our fingers cross and all survived the Ryanair luggage handler!

I do have to apologies for the pictures - half are gobbled down before I even remotely remember to capture it (we are such carnivores when it comes to food), the other half...when I remember to capture it...the picture didn't turn out as well. Blame it on my rubbish camera skill and bad night lighting.



stuffed crust with riccotta - out of this world!


popular local dish - mash broad beans and wild vegs. So basic but the mash was GOOD!I have not idea how they do it but it is the ultimate comfort food. I had it 3 times which says a lot when you are in Italy and you want to try everything on the menu!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

'Minimoon' at Puglia, Italy - Part 3

Polignano a Mare
Apart from the parking ticket, minor accident (one word: Italian drivers ...thank God we had full cover otherwise we will be about £750 poorer from the holiday) and Scott losing his wallet - the last 2 days in this seaside town was bliss. Fresh grilled octopus on the beach for 5 euros made my day. At least we have a story to tell for our minimoon.



This is where we suspect Scott's wallet was (and still is!) - under the sea!



Surreal town - an old town dug into the rocks creating cave like houses. Men are believed to have settled in this area since palaeolithic times and it is suspected to be the first human settlement in Italy. It was hidden away from the main road as we drove into Matera which caused much confusion as we were looking out for it and all we can see as we drove into Matera town are new builts. But we turned a corner and literally stopped dead in our tracks and were in awe. Pictures doesn't do it justice....narrow windy lanes that goes up-hill for a bit then curved down-hill then another curve and you feel like you are lost in this forgotten town. It was drizzling on a Monday afternoon when we were there - completely devoided of tourists, it was very quiet to the point of eeerie at some parts of the town. Mel Gibson shot part of Passion of Christ movie here - can totally see why

Not the clearest picture but you can see the town craved out of the ravines on the right



Scott was so pleased when he (accidently) found the exact spot the Lonely Planet picture was taken for the book. Quite an accidental feat considering the town is a bloody maze!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunday in pictures

Hello autumn!

Scott's half marathon race
L: Before the start of the half marathon run (13 miles)
R: After the run. Doesn't look like he broke a sweat (so annoying!)

still smiling at the 9th mile

Just after the finishing line...1 hr 43 min 59 seconds

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sunday pub
Sunday papers in the pub

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Walk home for a cuppa

Picnik collage
Baking using Willy's cocoa - definately smell and taste more chocolatey but I'm not sure if it justifies the price

Sunday dinner - baked beans with brie on toast

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

'Minimoon' at Puglia, Italy - Part 2

This is without a doubt the cutest place we visited in Puglia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. A town of trullis - trully a sight (hahah - it rhymes) and surreal to walk around these well preserved bit of history....that is until you get someone holler 'konichiwa!!!' at you. (The Pugliese kept mistaken me for a Japanese and I was even given a town map in Japanese!) Unfortunately the place is filled with tat - that kind of goes with gaining a UNESCO approval. This was the only place we blended in as tourists. Otherwise, we were often 'the odd one out' - we hardly heard anyone else spoke English throughout our time in Puglia.




Beaches in Puglia
We were about an hour away from the closest beach and we took advantage of the good weather and gorgeous stretch of white sand beaches - many of which are blue flag beaches. Again, we stood out like a sore thumb - me the odd chinese girl, the only one on the whole stretch of the beach and Scott the guy NOT wearing a tight speedos. People stare then they smile then they get to business:topping up their tan. Life goes on...





The water is suprisingly warm, something I wasn't expecting as I remember the water in Greece was freezing in the middle of scorching August and I assume the same in Italy. But it wasn' was like being on a beach in Thailand. And check out how clear the water is! surreal....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

'Minimoon' at Puglia, Italy - Part 1

Minimoon villa
We were so pleased when we were upgraded to a proper trullo for our stay in Puglia!!! It is the cutest and most quaint place we ever stayed in on holiday. Much more spacious that you would expect inside. It is a 2 bed place with its own kitchen and bathroom. Conical exposed roof and teeny tiny windows adds to the charm. The villa comes with a lovely pool and amazing fresh figs for brekkie...amazing
front view



Shared pool - but hardly anyone is around because the owner has 3 villas to rent but often we were the only one renting at that time


Martina Franca
The closest town to our lil' villa - very elegant with cobbled and marbelled flooring throughout the square. Weekend nights are when the town comes alive - everyone comes into town for the passegiata (i.e. everyone congregates at the square in their best outfit to celebrate the end of the workweek and stroll to and fro throughout the night - surreal to watch and don't even try to walk against the flow of people as the town square gets so rammed in as everyone is out to be seen!)





Towns around Martina France


My husband is a happy man when he found this