Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Following the thread on Loobylu’s page (which, by the way, is one of my favourite blogs, and the first one I started reading, either) I decided to participate in this week’s Hot or Not series.

So, what’s hot on a Wednesday?

The last beautiful Indian Summer days in Rome are definitely hot

Going to the Vatican Museums tomorrow – Hot! I am ashamed to say that after more than a year in Rome I still haven’t been there. Tomorrow is my last chance…Why? See the “Not so Hot” part :)

The Feijoa tree that’s growing in our backyard. It bloomed beautifully all summer long, and yesterday I tried my first fruit – it’s fantastic! It tastes like a mix of wild strawberry and kiwi, sweet and tangy and intense. I think I’m hooked on those ….

Shopping – hot hot hot!!!! I did quite a bit of online-shopping lately and am currently waiting for:

These gorgeous Japanese crafting books bought from here, which is the best source when it comes to Japanese books.

A book full of scarf knitting projects from here – winter, I’m ready!!

A shortbread mold with a beautiful butterfly pattern.

Lots of fabrics and other pretty little things from Dawanda – the German equivalent of Etsy (by the by, I’ve got a shop on Dawanda – come to visit me soon ;)

Waiting for baby chicks to hatch – incredibly hot! Our sitting hen is currently hatching 16 eggs which should be due in 3 days. Last time we scored 5 out of 10 and kept her. She’s quite a beauty by now:

What’s not-so-hot?

I am leaving Rome. Like, next week already. I am moving to Genoa, which is a cool city, and I will do a nice job, which is cool as well, but I will be missing Rome. Things like stepping out of the metro and finding the Coliseum right in front of you, or strolling along the Fori Impreriali – my favorite part of Rome, stopping for a piece of pizza in San Giovanni or going to Porta Portese flea market ….It’s just the usual story – you think you still have a lot of time to do everything, and then the time is over, you move on and leave things undone. Oh, I’m getting too melancholic here…

Angry neighbors in general – not hot

Angry neighbors that don’t like dogs and keep on complaining – so not hot

Packing, cleaning, fighting with Italian bureaucracy for moving house – not hot at all.

Monday, October 26, 2009


If you would like to have a beautiful white puppy of Italian maremma sheepdog, take a look here.

Oh yes, I'm a Daring Baker and this month's challenge was making Macarons. "Macaron" is french for "Damn much work for this neat little cookie". I've been dying to try them from the first time I saw them last year on internet. Cute little cookies with different fillings and in rainbow colors - that was quite intriguing.
For the challenge we were supposed to use the french technique. I started full of enthusiasm, grinding my own nuts, letting the eggwhites age on the counter and putting high hopes into the result. Suffice to say that I failed competely at that. The macarons came out flat and brittle and I felt defeated. Fortunately after reading the comments on the forum I realized that I was not the only one. Many fellow bakers did have problems with the recipe and some have suggested trying Tartellette's recipe. It worked like a treat! For my Pesto-inspired macarons I did sub half of the almonds for pine nuts and prepared basil-infused white chocolate ganache. The macarons came out quite pefect, cute little feet and all, even though I wish I had made smaller circles. The flavors played toghether nicely and the cookies were gone whithin an hour :)
Would I make them again? Not on a day-to-day basis, but for some fancy party surely yes!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

One of my last year's projects - a soft woolly bolero with matching mittens. It makes me think of Little Red Riding Hood, Heidi and other heroes of my childhood :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Magic Tree

Come with me to the fairy land to see my little shiny Magic tree ....

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pizza pizza

Living in Italy, one would suppose that I'm surrounded by innumerate occasions to eat good pizza. Unfortunately, Rome is full of mediocre pizza, and finding a really good one is quite an challenge. You're best off buying it at the small standing-in pizzerias where they sell lot of types by weight. Spending around 8 euro, you can sample around 4 pieces with different toppings.
But when I'm not into eating out, I like making pizza at home. It's cheap and tasty, and good girl as I am I will even share my treasured never-fail pizza recipe with you.

You start with this:
325 ml water
4 Tbsp olive oil
500 g bread flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 packet dry yeast

Dump it all into the bread machine choosing the pizza-sycle (1,5 hours). (of course you can make it without bread machine, too. Dissolve yeast in a bit if warm water knead all the ingredient for about 10 min, until you've a smooth elastic dough. Put into a lightly oiled bowl, cower with a towel and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour)

Go on to prepare the toppings and the sauce.
For the sauce, you will need about half a liter of plain tomato sauce, in Italy it's called "passata di pomodoro", basically it's just pureed canned tomatoes with a bit of salt. Add some olive oil, salt, a bit of sugar and a bit of dry oregano. Done.

Now shred your mozarella. You don't want to waste your good stuff on the pizza - it will be too watery. Use the dryest kind you can find, and pat the moisture with a paper towel. Shred it or cut into little cubes.

Preheat your skillet.

By now your dough shouldbe ready. Pour it onto your well floured working surface and divide it into 5 pieces (makes medium-sized pizza).

Roll out the dough to fit your skillet. Dust the skillet with flour, put the dough disk inside, smear with the sauce, top with mozarella.

It will look like this:

Put lid on top and lower the flame:

Cook for about 5-7 minutes, taking care not to burn the undreside too much (a bit charred is ok, though, it gives it the "real" pizza touch.

When it's ready, put other toppings - here I used basilikum and prosciutto - and enjoy :)

Long Greek-goddess style dresses were all the hype this summer. This one I made of light jersey. I really like the neckline of this one - it shows off the shoulders and the back nicely :)

Oh, and by the way - if you like this dress, you can buy it here!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Meet the tofu

In my last post, I've been speaking about the Japanese ability to anthropomorphyze everything. Browsing through the web today, I came along a great site selling Japanese kawaii stuff - bento boxes, stationary, cell phone charms...And guess what I found there?! A plush toy figuring a...tofu cube....dressed as a wolf...TOFU?! Dressed as a wolf? I mean, really? Anyone who has ever seen a block of silken tofu know that it kind of ... lacks personality ... But despite my firm resolution not to like it, I fell in love immediately... making me want to spend cold winter evenings cuddling this squishy adorable cube of ...whatever ... Just judge for yourself:

And if apple-pie tofu isn't quite your thing, there is also a green bean that looks like a dog that looks like a bean.

To top it all, here is a triplet of algae....It kills me thinking that this is what my sushi-wrapper really look like.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Does it remind you of someone famous? No? Unfortunately me neither.... Inspired by Panda Bread and this cutie, both examples of Japanese capacity to turn everything from bread to domestic animals into icons of cuteness, I wanted to try my own version of it....Well, from the aesthetic point of view the experiment failed. The bread was still tasty and made great breakfast toasted and slathered with butter and honey :)

...a hand-knitted warm fluffy jumper is your best friend. This one is from soft mohair wool and is the result of last year's cold weather stay-in. The attached scarf and the belt come from the Roman flea-market "Porta Portese" and are actually a silk shawl divided in two.

Got milk?

I love breakfast. I would happily skip lunch and dinner for having breakfast 3 times a day. It's been only recently though that I have discovered granola. The good, homemade type of it, not the store-bought chock full of sugar and fat. Today, I will share with you my favorite granola recipe with olive oil, honey and pistacchios. Topped with some milk or homemade yogurt (thanks to my new yogurt-maker!) it's the best way for me to start the day :)

Olive Oil Granola Recipe
(adopted from The Kitchn)

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup salted roasted pistachios, hulled
1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1 cup dry grated coconut
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup mild extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Dried fruit like cherries or cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut, honey, olive oil, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.

2. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add dry berrries, tossing to combine. Serve with cold milk or yogurt.

Yield: About 9 cups.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


What comes first - the inspiration or the material? For me, it's usually the material. I love love love shopping for fabrics, thanks to Etsy, Dawanda and the like. By now I have quite a collection of fabrics, some have a mental tag attached to it with a precise idea as to what it will become, others are just my source of inspiration, being the beautiful muse everyone needs :)


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