Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cocomero Days

Cocomero (watermelon) is served in slices along the Lungo Mare
July in Marina di Massa, Italy...I have yet to experience such until now.  I have caught a glimpse into my husband's extremely fortunate childhood days.  Those times included waking up, walking to the beach, stopping to purchase a rosetta con la coppa (roll with a kind of salami) then onto get the pink paper (which is the Italian sports paper called Gazzetta dello Sport, which he now despises but that is a a totally different post) and finally onto Bagno Fifi.  (In Italy different bagni line the beach, this is a business that sets up chairs everyday for clients.  Some have bars as well, but most of the beach is "owned" with only a small area that is public.)  Marina is much more lively in the summer with most of Italy's inland residents and tourists flocking to the coastal areas.  A true getaway from the non-existent summer that is the midlands of England.

One cocomero stand that started as a side of the road stop that blossomed into a full blown bar 
The cabina (where you change into your swimsuit) at Bagno Fifi
Every inch is dotted with chairs
This coastline to the Cinque Terre has been dubbed the "Tuscan Riveria"
My sister-in-law has kept the reserved chairs in the family for many years, therefore her chairs are very close to the water, not toward the back
A post about Italy with no food, nonsense!  Here are fresh mussels my mother in law prepared for lunch one day
Basil growing in her terrace garden, she has so much of it that with a breeze you catch a scent of it
After eating one of these cherry tomatoes off the vine, I know what the sun tastes like
Focaccia from Paula's (even in the summer fresh bread abounds)
A sunset at Bagno Fifi, where most beachgoers are home to clean up before going out for dinner around 9

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summertime snack

Summer.....well what I generally grew up knowing as summer, warm days and nights, sunburns, pools, Hawaiian Punch, ice cream....I could go on.  Another food that I typically associate with summer and  backyard bar-b-ques is deviled eggs.  Now this might be a very southern association, but this snack with other foods like sweet tea and fried chicken help make summertime.  Alas living now in England the weather is not really what I am used to, as it rains everyday and if the sun comes out, it comes out in bits and basically I am still wearing jeans and a jacket to go out.  Sad I know....but I have been told this is quite unusual as it is now July....I keep hoping, but even if the weather changes it will never be the same as typical summer weather in the American south.

I know, I  know my eggs were probably too fresh, thus I didn't get the shell to peel away and leave a clean egg

I don't use all my egg yolks, I generally leave at least two of them out
I use only a teaspoon of mustard, but note to self don't use dijon as the flavor is too strong
I have yet to find prepared relish here in England, so I tried to chop up some sweet pickles in place.  Note to self, buy relish when next in the US
Add mayo and if not using store prepared relish add generous salt and pepper
Put your filling into a plastic bag and snip the corner to pipe the filling into the egg whites
For a southern touch garnish with paprika and a slice of pimento stuffed green olive (which I did not have on hand!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pound Cake Perfect

I saw these beautiful berries at the grocery yesterday and knew I would make this pound cake with them.  This pound cake truly lives up to its name as it requires four eggs and the final result is quite dense.  Serve with fresh whipped cream with a nip of vin santo or Grand Marnier or just a shot of either liquor.

Adding a bit of orange zest brightens the flavor
Mix and mash about three tablespoons of the flour mixture with the raspberries

Just fold in the mashed raspberries gently or you might end up with a pinky-purple cake

Bake for one hour

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Baraset Barn

Last weekend, it was slightly sunny, but windy.  Nonetheless, we decided to try and make the most of the peekaboo sun and took the convertible out with the top down.  We wanted to eat outside, so we went to a pub near Stratford Upon Avon that offers good food and outside dining, The Baraset.  (Now, in my opinion The Baraset sets the standard high for the definition of pub as the interior is bright, clean and lovely.  It is a converted barn property, which are quite popular in this area.)  Although towards the end of our lunch the rain clouds were rolling in, we still had a lovely time, (but less wind would have been better, but I suppose being spoiled in California for all those years with perfect weather I have to take what I can get here in the Midlands.)  If you want to know more about The Baraset check it out here

The outside deck where we had lunch
The lounge area...notice the cute pillows with the Beatles on them
My husbands app, scallops....very tasty
Details like the dishes are great
Luna waiting patiently for table scraps
My lunch, seared halibut with salmon and pepperoncino risotto

Summer squash risotto, satisfying but not overly filling