Author Archives: Rowena

About Rowena

Hobbyist gardener, enthusiast in cooking different cuisines, smitten with dogs of all shapes and sizes, and travels occasionally when the mood hits.

The perks of going gold

Sometime last month, our favorite supermarket emailed an invite to apply for, at no extra cost, the upgraded version of their loyalty card: Fidaty Oro. With this card, customers accumulate 10% more points on grocery purchases, and it doubles as a store credit card with zero annual and/or renewal fees. Credit limit is determined by the company and the sum total of a month is deducted from your bank account the following month.

Sound good? I thought so too, because who doesn’t love free stuff when it comes in a gold box? When the card was ready for pick-up, this came with it, compliments from the company. In it were an assortment of the store’s brand prodcuts, from tomato sauce to chocolate and coffee pods. The package of pasta mista (mixed pasta*) on the left flap and the red Buon Natale tin (filled with pralines) were freebies within the last month!


*A note about pasta mista, these are leftover bits and pieces – great for adding to soups and minestrone.

Catalog Awards

I would be curious to know how store points awards work out for supermarkets across the pond and elsewhere. From the 3 places that we buy groceries, 1 has so-so items, another has okay items, and the last definitely has a motto of go big or go home! We rack up a lot of points through store incentives, and at Esselunga, some things we’ve been able to exchange points for…


Fiskars Norden wok – Free with 7400 points (or 3500 points + 39€)


Dessert spoons that I don’t remember for how many points, but a definite freebie


In other news…Italy has been experiencing exceedingly bad weather and it appears that we’ll have to ‘wade it out’ until the end of the month. Venice is not sinking, it’s drowning. And Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Alto Adige are either under water or under snow. We’ve been spared the worst, but being cooped up in the house for days on end is messing with my mojo. The dwindling daylight hours don’t help either. But the good thing to come out of all this is that I’ve been catching up on my reading and the end of a 30-book challenge is in sight!

3 YouTubers that every food lover should be watching

Now I know that Youtube has a glut of cooking videos to learn how to make this or how to recreate that, but have you ever seen any that has a veritable garden of eden as a backdrop? I’m 2 years behind in discovering Liziqi and Dianxi Xiaoge from China, 2 impressively talented young women worth their salt with the views they’re getting. And I’m not just talking knife skills.


Screen grab – Liziqi on YouTube

She dyes her own fabric with grape skins, spins wool for a coat, and cooks with absolute style and grace. My eyeballs popped out of their sockets when she made block sugar from sugarcane that she harvested herself! My grandfather worked the canefields in his day (hacking the canes with a machete); backbreaking work and nothing to scoff at.


Screen grab – Dianxi Xiaoge on YouTube

There’s a comforting rustic vibe to Dianxi’s videos that reminds me so much of my grandmother (bless her soul) and the little plot of vegetables that she grew with such care. For a mid-autumn festival she prepared fried crab for a special meal, redolent with ginger, garlic, and chilis that would probably blow my mouth off. But what made me pause the clip were the sweets brought by family and friends. Wish I had kin/pals like hers.

And lastly, from Italy no less, the channel Pasta Grannies. I just heard about them over the weekend and haven’t seen more than a few videos, but the quality, editing, and content are top notch. In the image below, Cesaria is making lorighittas, a type of pasta from Sardegna. It is then boiled and served with a chicken ragu.


Screen grab – 93-yr. old nonna makes lorighittas on YouTube