Le Panthéon

We had an 8 hour layover in Paris yesterday, so we hopped over to the Latin Quarter, had crepes for lunch and visited the pantheon, where we saw Foucault’s Pendulum and the tombs of Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Madame Curie, Aime Cesaire… a very productive visit! But when we finished, it was raining hard so we hopped back to the airport, only to find our flight was delayed… Au revoir Paris!

Budino al Limone… senza uova

Our last night here after a wonderful and productive six weeks. Sad to leave, as usual, but looking forward to trying some of this summer’s recipes in my fabulous Cambridge kitchen this year.

Last night Bella made her brownies to use up the eggs. All I have left to use up are 2 lemons and half liter of milk… hmmm. Can I make pudding out them? I do have cornstarch. I found this vegan recipe:


And adapted…

2 T cornstarch + 2 T cold water — mix well together 1 c. milk, juice of 2 lemons, 1/2 c powdered sugar, 1/2 c brown sugar (all the remaining white sugar went to the brownies) — mix in a saucepan.

Turn on the heat, add the cornstarch and stir until boiling and thick. Took about 5 minutes. It’s in the fridge now firming up. Licking the pan, it’s not really pudding… more like a caramelized sauce. Not super sweet, but lemony.

Many hours later it is firm. I turned it out of the bowl and plop… Hmm. I’d say it’s a lemon flan. Not bad!

chicken and mayo

We’ve been in Italy a lonnnnnng time! I think this is our longest stay yet, and Bella is getting antsy for something other than italian food. So she tried out this recipe for sweet and sour chicken:


Which worked pretty well, although we couldn’t get fresh ginger (but had ginger powder), skipped the bell peppers, and used a red onion scallion instead. Also our ketchup was actually “cherry tomato sauce”… it had other veggies and sugar in it, so figured close enough.

And then I noticed the four lemons still sitting on the counter and remembered… Mayonnaise! Plus, I actually have an immersion blender here, so I gave it a whirl. I used 1 yolk, a few crushed cloves of garlic, a few chopped sage leaves, a big tablespoon of lemon juice and a cup of extra virgin olive oil (some people say it makes the mayo “bitter”… but I love that rustic olive taste myself). Literally three seconds later I had the best mayonnaise ever. I added a few drops of truffle oil and presto. Heaven on a tomato!

e per dessert

This recipe actually worked as written, although we added a little cornstarch to the peaches since the syrup didn’t quite happen: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/peach-cobbler-recipe/index.html

We were very impressed! Went very well with our fragolino and blackberries.


Tonight’s dinner brought to you by a comfort food fantasy. It’s been a little cooler here and overcast, so less incentive to get out early. Bella found this recipe and we adapted it for our kitchen:

Heat oven to 240C.

Boil about 4 cups water with 2 chopped carrots, a half bunch of chopped celery stalks, 3 chopped cloves of garlic, 1 chopped shallot, 2 chicken breasts in large pieces, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary and parsley, and 1 bouillon cube.

(I tried to buy a whole chicken from the macelleria, but a whole bird includes head and feet, and when I asked the butcher if he could cut them off for me, he said just buy the breasts! Why mess with the bones and feathers too? Uh… ok!)

After the chicken turns white, remove it and bake it in a hot oven, covered in olive oil, sea salt & pepper. Let the stock simmer covered until it cooks down to about 1 2/3 cups of liquid.

Meanwhile, make the pastry with 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup white flour, 1/3 cold butter and a couple tablespoons of ice water. Roll into a ball and let rest.

Saute 1 chopped red onion in 1 stick of butter until the onion is soft and turning translucent, about 10 minutes. Add 1/4 c flour and continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add the hot stock and simmer for another minute. Add 4 teaspoons heavy cream and stir together.

When the chicken is done, remove from oven and cute into smaller pieces, and place into a small casserole dish. Add the vegetables from the stock, then add the cream sauce and mix lightly together. Shape the pastry to cover the dish and place on top. Brush with beaten egg thinned with a tablespoon of water. Make 3 slits into the top of the pie and place into the oven at 190C. Bake for one hour.

I think I may have used twice as much butter in the pastry when trying to convert cups and tablespoons to grams … oops! It was still the best pot pie we’ve ever had!

bella brownies #2 2011

The scent is intoxicating! Must eat now…

bella slices it up

best pizza yet!



mela pizza

Tonight’s pizza:

Whole wheat crust, garlic-rosemary-olive oil, gorgonzola cream sauce, green apples, sausages, mozzarella.

That is all.


We had 500 g of leftover potatoes. And Giuliana just brought us some fresh eggs. Now that we are back in business with a new bombolo of gas, we decided it was time to make the famous Garavelli Gnocchi.

Boiled the potatoes and then mashed them with a big fork. Added one beaten egg with our new Persian blue salt from Siena, fresh ground pepper and nutmeg. Stirred in 1/4 c grated parmesan. Then came time for the flour — used about 2 1/2 cups of flour total, kneading it in and then rolling out the gnocchi. I seem to have sprained my thumb in one of my ankle-twisting falls a couple weeks ago, so I could only break off the bits and roll them between my palms. The dough was very light and fluffy though – and sticky.

Bella made gorgonzola sauce (just cream and cheese), and I threw in some caramelized red pepper and onions with rosemary. Topped it all off with thin apple slices.

The wine I bought at Conad today, upon the recommendation of a random man who said it was molto piu buono than the other one I was considering. Not bad!

Now to watch the Tony awards, finally!


We first drove here in 2007 and didn’t find anything of interest. This time we took the train and found a statue greeting us on the platform. That was about it for this town.