Asparagus pistachio risotto

Asparagus pistachio risotto

I recently had some friends over for dinner and decided to treat them to risotto. Pasta and pizza, especially when home-made by an authentic Italian cook, are always a good option, and no guest will ever frown at this choice of menu. But there’s so much more to Italian cooking than pizza and pasta. Rice is, in fact, a very popular food in the north, together with polenta (cornmeal). Coming from northern Italy myself, I consider risotto one of the finest expressions of northern Italian cuisine. Continue reading

One autumn morning on the Giant’s Causeway

Visiting the Giant's Causeway one autumn morning.

A deserted beach made of massive basalt columns disappearing into the sea: the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. It was my favourite picture in a folder named “Ireland” in my old desktop. Many, many years ago, I was completely in love with Ireland. A genuine teenage obsession with the emerald island and its music, traditions, history. Out of all of the beautiful landscape images that filled that “Ireland” folder, the Giant’s Causeway one was by far my favourite. I dreamed about going there one day. Continue reading

A distillery tour of Ireland – exploring the world of Irish whiskey

There was a time in my life when whisky was just whisky. Actually, as the hibernophile that I am, I used to spell it whiskey, with an e. Even scotch or bourbon, it was all whiskey to me. In fact, I didn’t even know the difference between a scotch and a bourbon. Then I met my boyfriend and he happened to be a whisky person. A big whisky person (and notice the lack of the extra –e- I loved to use). One who will describe his favourite kind of whisky without even saying the word whisky (“Peated single malt”. Okaaaay.). Continue reading

Mini tarts with mushrooms and parmigiano

Mini mushroom pies recipe

I’ve been an advocate of shortcrust vegetable pies for years. I started making them when I didn’t even have a tart pan but was using a springform pan, instead. It works, and it can look pretty, too. Then I started going smaller and made them finger-food-sized baked in the muffin tin. Also something to be proud of. Until I finally got myself a proper tart pan and started producing the real deal. My favourite? Definitely the mushroom tart.

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Szarlotka, the Polish apple juice and vodka cocktail

Szarlotka is the name of Polish apple pie. There is another item in Polish cuisine that goes by the same name and that features two of the same ingredients – apples and cinnamon. The third igredient is Żubrówka, probably the most famous Polish vodka out there, the one with a leaf of bison grass in the bottle. When szarlotka doesn’t refer to a pie, it is a drink, Poland’s favourite way of drinking Żubrówka when used as a cocktail ingredient and not enjoyed alone.

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Easy sponge cake recipe

The easiest recipe to nail a fluffy sponge cake.

Remember the baking powder I brought back as a souvenir from Iceland (if you don’t, you can read about it here)? Well that tin can is just too beautiful to sit in my cupboard, unnoticed by the world. But I can’t just use baking powder as a random prop for any photo shoot, right? Well, it (finally) dawned on me that I had never featured a sponge cake recipe on this blog yet. How was that even possible?  Continue reading

The art of fika, a reunion in Stockholm

The art of fika in a Stockholm café

The first time I travelled to Stockholm with my boyfriend was during a long weekend in December some years ago. The city was packed with snow and Christmas lights and it was utterly romantic. It was also very cold, so cold that every now and then we felt the need to enter a café and order a hot drink to warm ourselves up from the inside out. What we did out of necessity, we discovered later to be also a very cultural thing in Sweden: the art of fika.
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Baba Ganoush, roasted eggplant dip

Baba ganoush, the Middle Eastern roasted eggplant dip

My mom learned to make roasted eggplant dip from a Romanian friend. This friend used to roast her eggplants on the open flame, as that is the traditional way of doing it in Romania. My mom decided to do it her way and roast the aubergines in the oven instead. By doing so you lose the smoky flavour, but the outcome will have the same texture and will yield an equally great ingredient to make a delicious eggplant dip.

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Walnut cupcakes with honey mascarpone frosting

Walnut cupcakes with honey mascarpone frosting

Although in most of this emisphere it is still summer, in Sweden it definitely feels like fall already. There are some flavours that are just perfect for this time of the year, when you still don’t want to let go of the refreshing taste of summer and you’re not ready yet for winter spices. September is the time for full-bodied flavours that can still work very well also in the background. Think walnuts and honey. Continue reading

A pregnancy photo shoot on the beach

Pregnancy photoshoot on an Italian beach

Back in June, when my boyfriend was in Rome visiting his family, I learned that one of his best friends and his girlfriend were expecting a baby. I’ve known them for a few years now, and despite the fact that we only meet once or twice a year they have become dear friends to me, too. Back then I was to travel to Rome myself in August so I couldn’t wait to see them to congratulate myself in person and, well, touch the round belly! Continue reading