Monday, 26 September 2011

meat-free monday: the italian job

I'm just back from 72 hours in Italy. 

It was everything Tuscany is supposed to be - steaming hot, beautiful countryside, good wines, not-so-good wines, Italians parading around in quite a lot of bling, centuries old architecture, and outrageously delicious food. 

I happened to have bought this book on sale at Anthropologie, and have been meaning to post some recipes from it: 

It's fantastic, and some nights I take it to bed and read it like a romance novel, imagining I was the heroine who could turn such everyday ingredients into meals fit for Prince Charming, all the while being seduced by photographs of Italian countryside :

Most nights though I think Prince Charming might be the man who would make all that for me!

It would be totally appropriate to take a recipe from here then for today's post - only I am so full from spending most of the waking hours of my hour trip eating and drinking, that I can't face food, and even the thought of reading a recipe feels like it might push me past 'over-indulged' to 'fireman needs to cut woman out of her house'.

There seemed to be a lot of meat involved this weekend - if it wasn't bresaola, it was some kind of sausage, or rabbit, or venison, or steak, or meaty broth - all totally delicious, but all designed to make me feel I'd added 72 pounds for each of the 72 hours I was in Italy. And when it wasn't meat, it was olive oil, marinated artichokes, pizza so thin that you could see through it and so scrumptious you want to marry it, local olives designed to be eaten in groups of 100, and crazy food combinations that I'm too tired to remember right now, but will be subjecting you to just as soon as I upload my millions of pictures. The only issue was that the antipasti, Primo Piatto and secondo courses were too much to allow for any kind of pudding!

It was all so outrageously good though that there was no way I wasn't going to get stuck in and make the most of the experience and opportunity - after all, it's not every weekend that one gets to eat in a Tuscan vineyard. That was the highlight of my weekend, and I recommend visiting Gino Fuso Carmignani if you are near Montecarlo in Tuscany, and if you're not averse to being told off before you sit down that you can have only 'acqua e vino, niente birra, niente cocacola.'

While Gino rabbited on in Italian I nodded sagely, but I was really totally clueless - I knew the conversation was about his favourite restaurants in London and I grinned maniacally at mention of Locanda Locatelli, which happens to be one of my favourite restaurants too, so that got me some brownie points. Mainly though, I just ate and ate and ate, and when I was full, I ate some more, all the while feeling so grateful and so blessed to be sitting outside in late September, being eaten alive by mosquitoes and drinking wine from unlabelled bottles...doing as I was told!

So it's going to be one or two Italian meat-free recipes when I get my photos uploaded, but tonight it was lamb's lettuce and dijon mustard for dinner around here.

And a krispy kreme.

I remembered kid's rule no 1 of all food rules:
There's always room for Pudding.
Pudding goes in a different stomach.

Man, I wish I'd thought of that in Italy.
I could have fitted in another 72 pounds of Italian deliciousness.



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