Tag Archives: wire-haired dachshund

Smells like Christmas around here

Christmas baked goods

All done! I almost wish that there was another week to go before Christmas so that I could keep up the holiday bakefest, but nope, enough of the sweets until next month. I worked on 2 more Ottolenghi recipes this week (one is an adapted version on Food52), and despite the scary amounts of sugar, I have to say that Yotam’s ideas are amazingly delicious and spot on!

Christmas baking

Clockwise from left: Halvah and Nutella Babka from Food52; recipe adapted from Ottolenghi’s Chocolate krantz cakes. I used nocciolata, a chocolate-hazelnut paste, in the place of Nutella. The babka is a treat at breakfast. Next, Christmas Eve Tourtière from Dish in the Kitchen. It has a savory pork, mushroom, and potato filling seasoned with sage. And lastly, coffee and hazelnut cakes. The recipe is Yotam’s Coffee and walnut financiers but I like the marriage of coffee and hazelnuts better. The batter needs chilling so this was a great recipe to put together the night before. At first I thought the mixture overly sweet, but after baking it mellows out and is just fine without the added icing that’s called for.

Hope your kitchen smells just as good. The dachshund hung around the kitchen all day long!

MisterChef 2017

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First snow of the season

Mister and the first snow of the season

In the news they’re calling it Black Ice Monday because of dangerous road conditions, but today it’s just more cookie baking after a break over the past 3-day holiday weekend. So far I’ve made 24 dozen in an assortment of abbracci, thumbprint cookies (from the same abbracci dough), and nucatoli. Right now a batch of gingerbread cookies are cooling on the counter, ready to be turned into gingerbread mendiants, and because I’m ahead of the baking game, I changed my tune about not making a lot of different cookies and tried a couple of interesting recipes by chef Yotam Ottolenghi. More on that tomorrow.

Autumn tour part 3: Glamping under the Puglian sun

Some 1500 kilometers from home when we finally reached Puglia and the southernmost part of our trip, we simply could not wait to settle down, settle in, eat, drink, and be off the grid for 3 whole days. We booked a pajara, a thick stone building which is basically a trullo in another name. Most people are familiar with the cone-roofed trulli of Alberobello. Ours by comparison had a simple flat top but it held more character and charm that I could have ever imagined. It actually felt like having a second home.

Trullo lu Ruezzo

Trullo Lu Ruezzo has everything for a self-catering holiday: fully-equipped kitchen (small fridge and gas tank stove), breakfast table, sitting room, bedroom, bathroom, 2 outdoor dining areas, hammocks, outdoor shower for rinsing off after the beach, clothesline, barbecue area (perfect for an open wood-fire paella), AND a small garden from which we were welcome to pick as many vegetables as we wanted. Paradise!

Trullo lu Ruezzo

The pajara sits on a large parcel of land dotted with olive trees, fig, and prickly pear, with the nearest neighbors being the owners who lived a stone’s throw away. Absolute privacy, tranquil, and 100% rural by all definition, yet within easy reach of beaches and major towns like Galatone and Gallipoli. Where the glamping part comes in is how you need to step outside when going from room to room. Kitchen, bedroom and bathroom all face the foyer on 3 sides, so it had a sort of camping vibe but upgraded to the most basic of creature comforts.

Kitchen with a view
A kitchen with a window from which I could call out to the MotH – a tavola!!! (come and eat!)

View from kitchen window
He hung around a lot between meals.

Ricci di mare for lunch
But he was totally hands on when it came time to crack open the sea urchins we picked up from a roadside vendor in Gallipoli. Not a lot, but you don’t need much for spaghetti ai ricci di mare.

Sleeping in a trullo

Bedroom

A cool experience that we nicknamed “hunkering down in the cave”. Even though the roof is flat, the ceiling slopes up into a conical shape which gives a sense of height. Simple details like the lampshade below is made from a dried cactus leaf.

Cactus leaf lampshade

Bathroom

Even the bathroom rocked! Note the prickly pear cactus leaf decoration nailed to the wall. There were a couple of geckos in there that looked like the common house geckos in Hawaii.

The best part though, was creating meals and drinking wine

Mixed antipasti platter
We popped into the Conad grocery store in town for daily antipasti.

Calamaretti and spaghetti
Made spaghetti with baby calamari and enjoyed a taste of Calabria (the only region we didn’t pass through) with a bottle of Greco Nero rosato (Statti).

Sweet peppers and bombette
The next day we picked sweet peppers, fried them with bombette (meat roll-ups made with pork and a tiny cube of cheese inside), and enjoyed them with a big bowl of salad. SO GOOD!

Ital-english Scrabble

Since there was no internet available, I brought the Scrabble board along and we played in both languages. It was the first night in a long time where we weren’t glued to the tv, tablet, pc, or phone. Liberating, but I LOST!

Trullo lu Ruezzo outdoors

Last day

Mister B at Trullo lu Ruezzo

It was a very sad day when it was time to leave, but we hope to be able to visit again and soon. The proprietress saw us off and we left with a bottle of her own homemade tomato sauce – a generous and lovely gesture that we will treasure for always. Mille grazie e Mahalo!