Month: May 2013

Video: Truffle Hunting with Ezio in Piedmont

I have just come back from a whistle stop tour of Piedmont & Liguria in Italy. I went truffle hunting with a wonderful truffle hunter Ezio, and his fabulous little dog. I shoot a lot of video but rarely get the time to edit them, so I forced myself to turn this around really quickly this time. I normally shoot them on my DSLR but it committed hari kari recently, so I filmed this on a swish Samsung S4 which I was sent to review. The results are pretty impressive for a phone – the S4 can’t do ought about my still scratchy voice (5 weeks of coughing takes its toll!). I would like a little tripod / stabiliser thing to do something about the shaking, but otherwise, I am pretty happy. Enjoy! Here are some photos that I took with the phone also. The timing could not have been more perfect. … more soon! I travelled to Piedmont & Liguria and Tra Arte e Querce as a guest of BITEG & the tourist board

A Postcard from Lisbon

And now, Lisbon. Lisbon grabbed me by surprise. I have been here before and knew I liked it but Lisbon is a city that I could now see myself spending a lot more time in. In fact, I am fantasising about moving here for a bit to write my next book. People are so helpful and friendly (in the main), it is affordable, the food and wine is delicious (once you steer clear of the tourist track), and it is on the sea. The architecture is beautiful with pretty buildings coated in colourful tiles dotted throughout. It is also possible to stay in really lovely places without blowing the budget. I have lots of recommendations for you, the first being put Lisbon at the top of your list. Then come here for a prego (Portuguese steak sandwich), wonderful seafood, those swoonsome pasteis de nata (especially the original secret recipes ones from Beleim) and the wine, for lots of the delicious and very affordable wine. A full detailed and printable list of recommendations will be appearing …

A Postcard from Rome

Greetings from Lisbon, and a delayed greeting from Rome. I haven’t written from either (yet) as I have been ill. Coughing and whooping, I felt like something within was scratching to get out. I am much better now, and sitting in a gorgeous Lisbon apartment bathed in sunshine. I can now write. Lots to catch up on, lets start with Rome. I spent 4 nights there, working on a HouseTrip city commission, gathering local recipes and checking out the best local places to eat. It was my fourth trip to Rome, but my first in seven years. It was interesting to see how much it had changed. Less Fiat 500s and more Smart cars for  a start. I stayed near the Vatican, on a hill, in a sleepy quiet part of Rome. Rome is so walkable it was a great location from which to explore. The four days were saturated with nostalgia. I couldn’t help but recall previous trips. The first when I was 19 and so very naive and enthusiastic. I had been in …

Recipe: Linguine with a simple tomato sauce, wild garlic flowers and pine nuts

I wasn’t planning on blogging this recipe. I arrived back from Ireland extremely tired and with no voice, replete with booming scratchy cough. I was in reasonable spirits though as I had just spent a great weekend at the new Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food & Wine. It was a terrific event and weekend, drawing the worlds best food & drink writing talent to East Cork. But, that deserves a whole post on its own and I will come back to that. On my return I was tired, hungry and in need of nourishment. Something delicious but not too challenging. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and London was alive. We had our first peep of summer. So, I brought summer to my kitchen too. I eat this dish a lot. I adore pasta and I love quick pasta dishes like this one, carbonara, gricia and many more. The secret to this dish is to use the best ingredients. There are so few that if you don’t, you will know. I had fabulous …

On 6 Years in Blogging: Reflection, Ranting & Some Advice

Well hello! This morning I realised that I was now 6, or rather that this blog was. Sitting on my sisters sofa, sipping coffee and observing the tornado that is my 3 and 2 year old niece and nephew, I spied the date and thought, didn’t I start this blog on May 2nd 2007? I did. 6 years later, and my life has changed. I am very grateful for that. I was at a point where I was getting no satisfaction from my job and I needed a creative outlet. I knew something had to change but I wasn’t quite sure what. I had an urge which became a fierce drive with each unhappy meeting and day in the office. I had long loved food & travel, hoarding cookbooks and putting every spare penny towards travel wherever I could. I was touring London’s food shops, buying random ingredients, cooking furiously at home. Learning all the time, hungry for information and recipes, trying to perfect everything at home. 2 years previously I had started loading my …