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
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 – 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
I’ve known I was a Cornish Pasty ever since I can remember. It’s a family thing, a bit silly, but consider that my parents’ audience (many years ago) was a delighted group of three small kids. We loved that my biggest brother was a Cockney Sparrer, and that my other brother and I were great … More Cornish pasty
Not long ago, my husband and I were discussing food, thinking through weekend meals. I suggested a chickeny something for the Saturday night. My husband agreed that this was a safe bet for the whole family, before remembering that I rarely eat meat nowadays. He said, “You’ve become a vegetarian really, haven’t you?”. Except for … More Labels, chorizo and falling off the wagon.
I don’t expect Israel to notice me. But his head turns my way while I am still taking pictures, and he stops. Smiling all the way from across the empty road, he leans with nonchalance against his tractor and readjusts his straw hat, happy to strike a pose. Then he beckons – come, cross the … More Israel and his Peaches
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
There’s more to Elena than meets the eye. On the face of it, she is a modest, middle-aged woman who runs an unassuming grocery store in an Andalucían white village (she lives and works opposite Ana Luna). Elena is always there, behind the counter, with her apron on and hair tied back. She knows everyone, … More Elena the grocer, baker and tortilla maker.
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
A humble potato – not much to look at – meets a cupful of thyme. The pair realises that times are changing, and so they are. (Scissors, a peeler and a knife are introduced, in a very respectful way). Butter is melted and brought on board, and garlic has a small say too. Sliced, stacked … More The humble potato story