Fennel Pesto – Surprisingly Different


It’s always great to experiment in the kitchen. In the US I learnt that not too many women like cooking and having fun in the kitchen trying out new recipes or just cook for their love ones the daily meal. I enjoy it, especially the cooking for my man. He likes my cooking, even though so different to the American cuisine. But I am from Italy!

And I am currently back in Italy and enjoy the life in the country-side. I wake up in the morning and listen to the birds and during the day it is still the same. No traffic here, no people shouting to children and dogs who are barking all the time. Just the nice calm country-side.

As I am the lucky person who has a friend who happens to be an organic farmer and is growing a lot of Ancient types of vegetables and fruits, completely free of pesticides and GMO I get a batch of this goodness every time I ask for. Plus ‘lucky eggs’!


He brought me last week 4 boxes of greens, different kinds of lattice, kale, peppers and much more. Plus some fennel with the green tops still on the bulb. He suggested to try some pesto with it.

The pesto came out so tasty! The only thing: in the processor I had a little difficulties to process the long parts. They should be cut into small pieces before processed.

To make it paleo omit the cheese like Grana or Parma. The taste is definitely great! Or try nutritional yeast which gives that cheesy taste. Use the fennel pesto on (gluten-free) linguine or (gluten-free) eliche/spirals. Don’t forget to put some more fresh Olive oil on the top before serving. It makes a difference!


Fennel Pesto on Linguine
Fennel Pesto
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Fennel Pesto on Linguine
Fennel Pesto
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients in a blender or processor and process until it is smooth and creamy.
  2. Store in a glass jar in the fridge until 5 days.
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A Walk in the Golden Hills of Fano


Now fall is nearly gone and the first snow is already on the way in Northern Europe. The weather forecast predicts cold and rain for the next week and I believe November now starts to be what it was always: the gate to winter.

Today was still a beautiful fall day and in the afternoon finally I got out to have a hike with a friend. And I am happy I could take some really nice fall shots. We hiked around the Hermitage Monte Giove in the hills of Fano, Le Marche.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Btw: I added my new photo signature I am very proud of!

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Monte Giove, Fano, Le Marche/Italy

For further information:
Website of the Hermitage Monte Giove, Fano


Posted in Europe, Italy, Marche, ON TRAVEL, reflections | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Shrimp – a Perfect Warm Up


Fall for me is soup season. I love soups, all kinds, thick and creamy, light and healthy, chunky and crunchy, wild and classical. Soups not only warm the stomach but also your heart and your mind. In front of the open fire place or sitting with friends around the table with candle lights or maybe reading the new book of Ken Follett ”A Column of Fire (Kingsbridge)”.. every moment is perfect! In addition a soup is quickly prepared and can last for a few days.


Pumpkins are in season now, but also mushrooms – did you ever have wild mushroom soup? Thinking about soup it reminds me my desperate search of simple minestrone in an Italian restaurant in California. It is not possible to find a normal minestrone, a simple vegetable soup. It is ALWAYS with pasta in it. Unbelievable!


My pumpkin soup is with coconut milk that makes it super creamy and not coco-nutty. The shrimp give it an additional kick of taste and texture. You can use shrimp or also prawn or crab meat if you like. Make it vegan with mushrooms.

Try all and enjoy!


Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Shrimp
Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Shrimp
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 liter 20 min
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
2 liter 20 min
Cook Time
1 hour
Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Shrimp
Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Shrimp
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 liter 20 min
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
2 liter 20 min
Cook Time
1 hour
Ingredients
Servings: liter
Instructions
  1. In a big enough pot drizzle some olive oil and let it warm on the stove. Put garlic and onion chopped into small pieces and let them lightly golden.
  2. Meanwhile clean and chop the pumpkin and the sweet potatoes.
  3. Transfer in the pot, add the vegetable soup and stir. Add the spices, stir again and let it cook slowly for 50 minutes.
  4. With an immersion blender blend the soup until creamy.
  5. Add the coconut cream and the shrimp and let simmer for another 10 minutes.
  6. Serve hot and steamy!
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The Library of the Trinity College in Dublin


One of the ‘must see’ places in Dublin/Ireland is the Trinity College. The main reason for me was the Book of Kells. It is an illuminated manuscript gospel book in Latin and one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. It is one of the finest and maybe also most famous manuscripts of the Middle Ages and was found at Kells, a little town in County Meath. It is displayed in the Trinity College in Dublin and wonderfully explained step by step, from the beginning of the folios (calf vellum) to the paintings and to the bookbinding.

But it’s not about this beautiful art work I want to talk. It’s not allowed to take photos and so I won’t talk about it.


I want to talk about the equally beautiful library above the rooms with the Book of Kells.

I finally had a look into the library, in another time I was in the college it was closed. It is a beautiful, impressive library with thousand of ancient books. And unfortunately too many people to visit it in the same moment. But nevertheless I am glad to have been there.


The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth – like it is the full and official name – is situated near to Grafton Street in the center of Dublin. The research university was founded in 1592, Ireland’s oldest university.

Now in the heart of the city once it was outside the city walls and additionally in the outlawed Catholic Augustinian Priory of All Hallows. Until 1873 it was reserved only to Protestants, the professorship, the scholarship and the fellowship. Catholics could go to the college only with a permission from the church until 1970 and the first women were allowed to go only in 1904.

It is still one of the finest and most prestigious colleges in Ireland.


The library with its 6.2 million printed volumes and manuscripts is the largest library in Ireland and has a legal deposit library status which means that it is entitled to receive a copy of all works published in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

To get into the library you need to go up a huge staircase. The 65 m/213 ft long chamber, called also Long Room, was built between 1712 and 1732. 200.000 of the oldest books of the library are on the shelves here. They look so inspiring, for a book-lover like heaven. I just wanted to take a book out and open it, pretending to know how to read Latin AND ancient lettering.

It was once only one floor. In 1860 they raised the roof due to have an upper gallery to host more and more books.

Interesting are the many marble busts. Pieter Scheemaeckers, a Flemish Sculptor of the 17th century, is the artists of 14 of them. Writers, philosophers and personalities who have a meaning to the college are to see.

Very interesting is the copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic which was read by Pearse at the General Post Office on 14th April 1916.

A beautiful artwork is the oak and willow harp of Brian Boru from the 15th century.

I enjoyed every single moment in the library and my imagination was flying in the past when privileged people only could come here and consult the books for their studies. Real books are the treasure of mankind!


Dublin, Co. Leinster/Ireland:

For further information:
Dublin Website
Website of the Trinity College in Dublin


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Halloween Muffins or Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes


The crazy time of Halloween is here! A little bit everywhere but for sure in the United States much more. I saw already in the beginning of October, when I was visiting San Diego, a lot of yards decorated with crazy creepy monsters. Here in Europe everything is less and especially in Italy I never saw very much of it. Even though it exists and children sometimes go around for trick or treat. I limit myself to put something like earrings and/or tights that are creepy funny.

But what is Halloween? It’s the old Samhain festivity of the Celts. The name itself dates back to 1745 and is a Christian short expression for ‘hallowed evening’. It refers to the evening before All Hallows/Saints Day.

For sure the feast was already in the Roman culture but it is mainly referred to the Celtic Samhain in the end of summer, right the 31st October. It is also the transition into the darker, colder half of the year. Beltane is the spring festival and transition into the warm period.

At Samhain the spirits needed some offerings (treats) to remain kind against the people as in the winter period there was not enough food and it was important that the livestock survived. The souls of the dead will also come out to have a visit home. Let them be in a good mood! It was normal to lite a candle and pray this day. Famous are also the bonfires that once ‘served to keep away the devil’.


And it’s also pumpkin time. I love to eat pumpkins, as soup, side dish or anything else. I think the huge pumpkins carved with creepy, screaming faces and lit inside by a candle are super scary.

I used some pumpkin the other day for a smoothie but yesterday I was in the mood to bake some cupcakes with homemade pumpkin puree. In Italy it’s very difficult to find ready, canned pumpkin.

Of course I brought the cupcakes in their creepy cupcake papers straight to my friends in Valderica and they loved them all. Even the most critical ones. They are yummy and a perfect treat for this period.

Pumpkin Pie cupcakes or muffins are super easy and like most of these little treats a just-mixing-together-dough. Only 25 minutes later they come out of the oven warm and smelling great.

Hope you will enjoy them as much as we did!


pumpkin spice cupcake
Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
pumpkin spice cupcake
Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ingredients
Dry ingredients:
Wet ingredients:
Topping:
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. In a bigger bowl mix all dry ingredients.
  3. Put all the wet ingredients in a blender and blend until well mixed.
  4. Add the wet part into the dry part and stir until well combined.
  5. Place 12 cupcake forms in a muffin tray and fill them with the muffin dough. Put some chopped pecan nuts on the top and bake them for around 25 minutes. After 20 minutes check with a tooth stick, if it come out clean they are ready.
  6. Take them out of the oven and let them cool on a cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

For additional decoration you can put some icing sugar. Or drizzle some chocolate on the top. If you want to make them more 'spooky' put some Halloween decoration tabs or make some marzipan fingers that are 'bleeding' and stick them into the muffins. You can be sure it will look 'authentic' 

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