The Butcher of Bologna

Our meal is a disappointment. Beautifully presented pasta and delicious melanzane parmigiana, yes, but the atmosphere is lacking and the prices are steep. Our waitress rushes around the sleek surroundings in a joyless and harried fashion, which is something of a surprise in foodcentric Bologna. It’s almost a relief to be out on the street, … More The Butcher of Bologna

Ristorante da Enzo

I’m watered as I examine the restaurant menu hanging at street level. I take it to be an invitation of a sort. Ristorante da Enzo in Modena (a first floor establishment) has windows back and front, dressed by a variety of healthy plants. Responsibility for their welfare falls upon a green-fingered older woman who is … More Ristorante da Enzo

Le Sfogline

Le Sfogline – sisters of pasta. More accurately, it means: those who make sheets of pasta by hand in the traditional way by using a rolling pin (mattarello). Rick Stein met them once (these particular sfogline, who are indeed sisters) and they reminded him that never in Bologna – or Italy for that matter – … More Le Sfogline

Shy daffs

Shy daffs of yesterday are showing off today. Happy days. It must be Spring.

Tortilla de Patatas

I want to do what Elena did in her pink frying pan. Tortilla de Patatas. I try to follow her hand-written recipe to the letter, but her careful Spanish script gives directions so succinct they seem too simple for something that tastes of sunshine and salt and melting-soft potatoes. It is a quintessentially Spanish tapa. I dig … More Tortilla de Patatas

Sugar Quotes

In Spain, taking a coffee can be an enlightening half-hour. Especially if you’re going through a rough patch. “Confía en el tiempo, que suele dar dulces salidas a muchas amargas dificultades.” (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra) “Trust in time; it usually gives sweet endings to many bitter challenges” Usually. Thanks, Miguel. Words of wisdom from the great … More Sugar Quotes

Ana Luna

This is Ana Luna. Her character is as warm as the bread she bakes, and her heart is as full as the moon will be tonight (27th July). She sells her pan from behind a small counter at number 37, but photos of her bakery at the back are offered for free. Ana lives two doors … More Ana Luna

Glimpses of Gdańsk

I travel through the eyes of another, with glimpses of Gdańsk like these: They are my reward for arming my husband with this before he left for Poland: Snapshots are shared sporadically without much of a commentary (my husband is work-focused), so I try to discover more for myself. But it’s the new Museum of … More Glimpses of Gdańsk

A Serious Case of Escapism

In an attempt to take my life a little more seriously than I habitually do, I make coffee, then grab a pen and a whimsically-covered notebook. I plonk random pieces of fruit next to me for colour and inspiration, and read snippets of this fabulously escapist and informative book (another Oxfam bookshop gem). Funny and … More A Serious Case of Escapism

Tapeando in El Tubo

Zaragoza’s tapas quarter is small and perfectly formed in a web of old streets called “El Tubo“. The narrow lanes of Calle de los Estébanes and Calle de la Libertad comprise its core, with bar after bar offering gastronomic delights, and then more spin off into the neighbouring streets. Its a fine way to follow the Spanish … More Tapeando in El Tubo