Category Archives: nature

Green eggs ANTS and ham CHEESE

Photo credit: Michael Eisen on Flicker. Some rights reserved CC BY 2.0

Don’t worry, I am not about to start experimenting with these beauties in my kitchen (unless Australia starts exporting them to Italy) but after hearing about them on MasterChefAU, well, I couldn’t keep quiet. It was like, you know… having 🐜🐜🐜 in my pants. The Australian native green ant is the new thing in insect dining. Its tart flavor brings up descriptions of lemonade, lemongrass and kaffir lime, and so far I’ve read that it is being used as a flavoring for gin and cheese.

Remember the cricket dessert a few months back? Well after that experience I thought no way was I going to eat bird chow again, but I may change my mind next week when Prince Charles makes an appearance on MasterChef. From what I gathered in the trailer, he’ll be facing down a platter of fancy canapés and one of the items will feature these green lovelies. The anticipation is just killing me!

Photo credit: Michael Eisen on Flicker. Some rights reserved CC BY 2.0

You might be interested in the following image/articles:
Green ant cheese
World Cheese Awards
Green ant cheese in the states


A-Tisket, A-Tasket

…a tansy in my basket.

Tanaceto (common tansy)

Tanaceto per frittata is what the description read when I spotted this among the herbs at the garden nursery, and as I didn’t know what tanaceto was at the time of purchase, I didn’t think 2.50€ would be a huge loss if it turned out to be an edible weed.

Good grief, was I close.

Tansy, as it turns out, can become invasive. I couldn’t find anything on the use of tanaceto/tansy in Italian cuisine but with a history that goes way back, and also as a known companion plant to roses and berries, it has a home here if it can survive our winters.

The blue gold of Provence

Lavender field in Auribeau
Lavender field in Auribeau, originally uploaded by Rubber Slippers In Italy on Flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND)

In the last 10+ years of visiting Provence we’ve come across so many lavender fields that you’d think we’d have seen them all. But no, no no, we keep discovering new ones on each trip back. How much we see depends on where we’re staying and the season of course, and to give an idea of the far and wide of Provence’s “blue gold”, here’s the website I use to map out an itinerary: Routes de la lavande.

A car may not be the only way to experience Provence, but there can be no argument that it is absolutely the best way. I’m lucky to have a husband that doesn’t mind being behind the wheel while I shout out LAVANDE! LAVANDE! when the familiar hue comes into view.

Favorite summer skirt
©Rubber Slippers In Italy

On the way to Saignon
On the way to Saignon, originally uploaded by Rubber Slippers In Italy on Flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Timing is everything, but sometimes we’re caught completely by surprise, like when we were heading to a little village reputed to have the best croissants. The lavender was harvested, but I’ve never seen it like this with bundled bouquets laying all over the place.

Bundled lavender in Saignon
©Rubber Slippers In Italy

Those awesome croissants I had heard about were all sold by the time we reached Saignon, but the chaussons aux pommes were buttery delicious with a pretty damn good espresso.

Breakfast at Chez Christine in Saignon
Breakfast at Chez Christine in Saignon, originally uploaded by Rubber Slippers In Italy on Flickr

July 22, 2017 – heading south from Saignon on the D48, this borie came into view. I saved the coordinates for the next time; you can thank me when you get the shot with blooms intact! 43°50’43.0″N 5°25’46.7″E (43.845283, 5.429633)

Borie south of Saignon
©Rubber Slippers In Italy

We drove to Valensole during the 4th weekend of July and there was no blue gold in sight, save for a modest stretch of young plants. “They’ve already been harvested,” our b&b host tells us, but off we went. No holiday in Provence is complete without the dogs in the picture.

Maddie Besties for life

And don’t forget the sunflower fields.

Champ de tournesols dans le Luberon
Champ de tournesols dans le Luberon, originally uploaded by Rubber Slippers In Italy on Flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND)