Tag Archives: westie

The Great Christmas Bake Off

Bake-off 2017

I know that sounds downright ambitious of me but given the 4.1 kilos of Belgian chocolate from an Amazon order, I am ready to fire up the oven. During the holidays it is always a mad rush for getting cookies, cakes and those wonderful treats out on time, but this year will be less chaotic because 1) I’m not making a lot of different cookies, I’m just baking more of what we like best and 2) I’m going to cheat. How, you might ask? Well for starters, no gingerbread house from scratch. I picked up the house kit from IKEA and while it’s a small one, I’ll take small over having to mess with templates and all that goes with decorating the end product.

Today was predicted to be a snow day but it turned into a mix of flurries, sunshine, and passing clouds. Nighttime temps have dropped down to 0°C, the wood-burning stove is almost always lit, and so far it doesn’t look like any snowstorm is heading our way. What do you think Mister B? Poor guy. He’s having his teeth cleaned tomorrow and I’m going to be hearing a stream of annoyed huffs in the morning since he mustn’t eat anything before being put under.

First snow day of December

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

A good thing I snapped this photo a few days ago (when the weather was beautiful) because turkey day looks like it’ll be cloudy and damp this year. The countdown is on people. Time to get cracking on those xmas greetings, baking, decorating, and last but not least, shopping. Are you ready for the holidays?!

Autumn tour part 4: Molise and San Marino

500 kilometers and 5 hours after leaving our beautiful trullo, we pulled into the b&b in Agnone in the northern part of Molise. Happy to be out of the car but with Puglia still present on our minds, soon enough it was time to set out for dinner.

Grrrrr…third strike out!

As it happened, restaurants in upland Molise weren’t so dog-friendly. Whether by choice (from the Slow Food guide) or at random, every place we went to didn’t allow dogs. Even the opening hour for dinner was absurd – not before 8:30pm! We wasted an hour and a half driving around before heading back to a pizzeria next to the b&b. They didn’t allow dogs either but they had take-out. What a run of unfortunate circumstances on this trip.

Ah well, Agnone may not have been a hit for writing up a stellar meal but it has one thing going for it that makes visiting worthwhile: caciocavallo. The caciocavallo impiccato of last month still lingered in the back of my mind, and when I saw this in the breakfast room, our host explained that every home has at least two hanging in the cellar. It was time for cheese shopping.

Where to buy – Caseificio Di Nucci in the center of Agnone is the place to purchase smaller, vacumn-packed sections since their factory on the outskirts of town sells whole ones. There’s cacio with black truffle, lemon zest, hot pepper flakes, stuffed with butter, and a cheese called caciosalame that has a whole salame in the middle. I should’ve bought more, but at least I didn’t leave without a jar of mushroom/truffle topping.

A brief word of how the cheese got its name. Wikipedia in both italian and english explains it well enough but I’m going with what our b&b host told us. When herders and their livestock took part in the transhumance, cacio (cheese) produced on the way was transported ‘a cavallo’, or by horseback.

Samnite ruins over museums

Agnone’s main attractions are 2 museums dedicated to copper and bells (big ding-dong ones), but if guided tours aren’t your thing, try the ancient Samnite ruins at nearby Pietrabbondante. The entry fee is 2€, you can wander at your own pace, and dogs can go in too.

Maddie at Samnite ruins

San Marino

Poor little San Marino. The oldest republic in the world and all it gets is a mention. I booked an overnighter at an agriturismo so that we could come down from “vacation high” before hitting the road home. It was wonderful to experience the various cuisines, accents, change in scenery, and hospitality in the southern regions, but most of all it was great to record our travels with our dogs since we never like to go anywhere without them. Thank you for reading!

Related posts:

Home, sweet home
Autumn tour part 1: Tuscany, Abruzzo
Autumn tour part 2: the long road to Basilicata
Castelmezzano
Autumn tour part 3: Glamping under the Puglia sun