Really easy lemon and potato chicken

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I just had to blog this dinner today as it was an absolute winner with the whole family last night. I was just going to make another roast chicken seeing as the first one was such a big success, but then Alex chimed in and thought that wasn’t such a good idea. He wanted chicken and rice.

‘You know mum, how about the yummy one with honey and soy sauce and the other stuff you use to make?’

Yep, I do know that one but I haven’t gone to the Asian grocer yet so no soy sauce (and yes you can buy soy sauce at the local store but it is that horrid black and extra salty soy that makes you suck in your sides every time you eat the stuff, I just need to zip down town to an Asian grocer now that holiday season has ended and the shops are open again). Actually while I’m here, I have never, ever heard of an Asian grocer going on holidays. This would have to be the first time I have tried to buy Asian supplies and read a sign on the door stating they are closed for holidays. When in Rome, I suppose!

For some reason, Alex’s question made me think of lemon chicken. This then made me think what else I could make in my teeny, tiny oven. For a meal that took about 10 minutes to throw together, and that was with me breaking down a whole chicken, it is one that everyone must try- Tarsh this is for you and all new mums with babies big and small!

Grab your roasting pan, preheat your oven to 200 degrees and slosh a bit of olive oil in the bottom of the dish. Get your chicken pieces (you can use anything, I used all parts of a whole chicken but seriously thighs, legs, wings, breast anything with the bone in otherwise the meat will dry out before the potatoes are cooked), season them with salt and pepper and toss them in your dish. Thickly slice enough potatoes that will keep your family/friends happy (my family loves potatoes so I usually do 2 medium ones each) and then toss in with chicken and coat well with the oil. Smash about 8 garlic cloves and toss in with chicken; grab one lemon and slice thinly leaving rind on. Add fresh rosemary then give it all a good toss through once more to lightly coat chicken and potatoes with oil (potatoes always cook better when tossed through some olive oil).

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Spread it all out evenly in your baking/roasting dish and then add about a 1/3 of a cup of water and pop it in the oven and forget about it for the next 40 odd minutes. Actually it is really hard to forget about because it smells friggin’ awesome! The boys were watching Dr. Who and telling me the smell was driving them crazy and when can we eat already?? So I sat down and had a glass of wine then popped on a pot of beans and carrots in the last 5 minutes of cooking time to go with the chicken. When I poked my head in the window of the toaster…..I mean oven to see it browning up beautifully,  I decided we were good to go!

Seriously, give it a whirl, it is such an easy, tasty dish and the potatoes with the lemon going through them are simply to die for (Max’s words).

PS Don’t forget to drizzle the lemon juices over the chicken and potatoes once you have served it!

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Pesto parmesan bread

Nic and I were sitting back having our afternoon knock off beer the other night, watching the sun go over the hills and enjoying the cool evening breeze when our tummies started calling. We decided after Rome that we in fact are NOT on a 12 month holiday and we really shouldn’t keep on eating ‘chips and dips’ before dinner on a nightly basis!

We have been good, beer/wine only but it doesn’t stop as talking about what would be really yummy to eat at this moment in time; you know lemon/rosemary marinated olives; spicy eggplant, garlic and parsley dip; cheese platters of any description……. It sounds like torture I know but I figure if you’ve eaten the food before then you can recall the flavour in your memory and wash it down with a sip of cold beer.

We kind of fell off the band wagon last weekend (it was the weekend after all!) with a beer snack I swore and declared a decade ago I would NEVER make again as long as I live. Chef Anthony Green of Fabulous Fine Food in Melbourne will laugh at me for making pesto parmesan bread again after all these years, in fact I am sure when we both left our old stomping ground we both swore we’d never make it again……..It’s amazing what a decade of absence will do and what a walk down memory lane brings forth; maybe it was because we are in Italy and had all the ingredients in the kitchen?? Who knows, but one thing I do know is it tasted sooooo good!

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The reason I swore I’d never make pesto parmesan bread again wasn’t because it was bad, it was because we use to make so much of it every day/night at the restaurant, I’m talking in the thousands. It was the ‘go to’ snack before dinner, waiting for friends, sorting out a hangover on Sunday mornings/afternoons, basically a really yummy snack that was too moorish to ignore and prefect with pretty much any beverage.

Ridiculously easy to make; first get some day old thick bread (fresh is fine but day old stands up better), toast one side, flip over and spread liberally with a good quality pesto then sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese (and I don’t mean the pre grated/shaved type).

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Pop the pieces on a tray then back under the grill until the parmesan melts and gets a slight colouring. Remove, cut into bite size pieces and sever straight away for best results.

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As I’m sitting here wishing I had some pesto left I am thinking this would be prefect served as a side with roast chicken and salad for a quick, easy summer dinner……

Swimming at the local water hole

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It’s summer; you’re hot, you’re with friends, you swim.

I forgot where I was for a moment! The above thought process was my interoperation of meeting new colleagues of Nic’s down at our local pool a few weekends ago. We went to mingle and meet fellow foreign families who will also be at  Villa I Tatti this year and basically to cool off.

I used to swim quite a lot in Sydney. I broke my ankle a few years ago which put a halt to any running I was doing. To help get me back into shape I started swimming at the local pool (which just happens to be situated right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge with breath taking views of the harbour). I was accustomed to pool etiquette…..or so I thought!

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The local pool (about a 5 min bus ride from our place) is set on magnificent, large, leafy grounds and suitable for any Olympic athlete donning a budgie smuggler, alas, that won’t be all he’d be donning let me tell you….or perhaps show you (things I’ll do for this blog!)

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That’s correct folks, not only do you have to pay a small fortune to enter the grounds (I think 10 euro per person is a little extreme!!) you are also required to wear swimming caps! I’m not sure why I forgot to pack my swimming cap……but I did!

At first I thought it was a joke but then if they were asking us all for identification before entering the grounds then swim caps seem perfectly normal- right? 

Of course I felt like a bit of a weirdo with my green head condom on, but as I looked around at the heaving pool I see everyone within a 50 meter radius of water had one on and we were all looking ridiculous together! If anyone knows Italy at all then you’d also know that not everything is regulated and rules are there to be tested…..taxes spring to mind, however, this is not the case with the swim cap. The lifesavers take it very seriously if this rule is not adhered to (the chick next to me with a slip of a swim suit on and masses of hair had the whistle blown at her numerous times…..which I think she actually enjoyed, or maybe it was the numerous visits from the cute lifeguard ‘telling her off’?!). 

I couldn’t help but laugh when I looked around at all these brightly covered, sorry, well covered heads and as the eye wondered down, I sometimes struggled to see anything more than a few tiny pieces of string and fabric triangles on the rest of the bronzed bodies (not all welcome sights trust me!). I looked quite ridiculous with my well covered head AND body donning my one piece serious swimmers suit!

We had a fabulous time at the pool; we cooled off, dive bombed just as hard as the locals and stared just as much as the locals too! We stayed until closing time (to get full value!) and left, cool, happy campers. One of the best things about living in a country as opposed to just visiting is checking out how the locals behave and seeing if it really is any different from home. I’m just wondering when my next big surprise will come?

 

PS. the pool photo was taken just as we were leaving so all the serious swimmers had left with caps in hand

Does size matter?

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I think I will be forever the queen of small kitchens! Anyone who visited my last apartment in Italy will tell you that it was a TINY kitchen with a tiny fridge and tiny sink and not an ounce of bench space. Our last apartment in Sydney was probably my biggest kitchen I have owned and I did not let that space go unused…that’s right I started up a catering company from home that went gangbusters in the end and I think I was pumping out food for 100 pax each week.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t anything fancy; we lived in a two bedroom apartment in a nice end of town but the building hadn’t been renovated since the construction back in the 1990s. I did manage to get a new oven seeing as the original one from the 90s blew up (that was in fact a god send in the end!).

After working in lots of commercial kitchens around the world and making some of the best food I have ever prepared in tiny, shitty, old and rundown kitchens I am starting to wonder if size really does matter when it comes to food?

Of course I scan pinterest with the best of them ‘liking’ my favourite wooden bench tops, great storage ideas for dreamy kitchens but really, would I be cooking any more with a larger kitchen?  I ask myself this question quite often and I am yet to answer it truthfully.

When I first saw my latest Italian cucina (not quite like the Vogue model in my mind), I was impressed at how modern it looked and extremely excited at the hide away dishwasher on the right. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to lose my dishwasher for a whole year. The first 6 years of married life were without a dishwasher and I wasn’t about to give it up so flippantly let me tell you!

It wasn’t until further inspection that I realised I had none, nope, zippo counter space…..hmmmmm this looked familuar. On further inspection I then realised there was only one cupboard for dry food, a cupboard for the bin, one for our dismal pots and pans collection and last but not least, a cupboard for the drying rack (this is something I really love about Italian kitchens, I think they are so cool!). Yep, back to small kitchens and I can only say small and not tiny because at least this time I have a teeny, tiny oven-thingy to cook in (I had a stove top only in my last Vogue kitchen).

With all that said, I am not sad or angry that I have moved back into prepping on top of the sink or storing my poatoes and onions in the third drawer where the tea towels should rightly belong, no I am actually looking forward to the adventure of what I will produce from this marvellous little cucina and what will be the maximim number of people I can feed from such a tiny oven and cook top…….a challenge I except though must make a note to make more friends with the locals!

The weather had a slight dip last week and took the temperature plunging down to a comfy 31 degrees so I thought it was about time I turned on my ‘oven’ and see if in fact it does work and the thermostat was accurate. What better way than to test it out with a chook (aka chicken for all my non Australian readers). The fennel is fabulous this time of year so I chopped up a couple of fennels into chunky pieces, likewise with a white onion and then smashed a few whole garlic cloves to line the bottom of my baking tray. With the chicken I went out into the garden and picked some lovely marjoram then popped it up into the chook’s cavity with half a lemon and a couple more garlic cloves; gently pierced the skin with the tip of a knife and put some butter under the skin (just in case the oven temp was right off and way too high, I didn’t want a dry bird for my first attempt). Generous amounts of salt and pepper were lovingly rubbed all over the chicken skin with olive oil. It was then placed on top of the fennel and onion and cooked in the oven on 170 for about an hour and a half; finishing off resting for 20 minutes while covered in foil on the stove top.

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Potatoes were thrown into the bottom of the oven about half way to see if they would burn or cook and I then held my breath. After about ten minutes the kids were commenting on the yummy smells coming from the house (good sign) and by an hour they were doing the ‘when’s dinner ready, we are starving!!!’ chorus.

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The oven works! I managed to cook our first roast without any hiccups and the clean up took all of about 5 minutes- EXCELLENT!!! There will be many more kitchen outbursts, this I can guarantee, however, there may just come a time when I need more bench space…….or should I say a bench?

So far it’s a positive for small kitchens.

 

 

Nic’s Commute

The whole reason it is even possible for me to wake up every morning under the Tuscan sun and look out through the skylight at the busy morning birds flying over head is because I married well, lets face it.

Next month is our 13th wedding anniversary and it is the second time we will be celebrating it in Italy- in my book this is pretty awesome!

A little under thirteen years ago I fell in love with a student who was taking time out to live and work in the crazy world of hospitality. Nic was fun, loved to dance, thought I was fabulous and loved to travel…what was there not to like? Within the year we started dating, he was working full time as a bar manager/server and finishing off his Masters degree. I was studying massage part-time and working full time in a very busy restaurant. Nothing was stressful or exhausting because we were 20-somethings who were falling in love, working, having fun and hungry for more. We were engaged within 6 months, wed by 11 months and heading back overseas by about 13 months- WOW!

My student has a brilliant mind (lucky he doesn’t have control over my blog otherwise he would disagree) and with that mind he applied to one school in the USA with a Professor he truly admires. He put all his eggs in one basket and manage to get a full scholarship to study history- Italian history.

A baby was born, then bags were packed and we headed over to Chicago for the next seven years while he studied like a mad man and I began to try working out how to raise our son on a student stipend (this is a whole other story!). We met some fabulous people along the way and I even tried my hand at working in a few great kitchens. In this time we managed to find time to have another baby, pack more bags and fly to Italy for eight months. Nic lived in the archives of Florence while I met more fabulous people in Italy; cooked some delicious meals on the cheap and wondered what or where this was all going to take us?

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Villa I Tatti has always been on Nic’s radar. It is a Harvard University research centre that gives fellowships to scholars of Renaissance Italy. Fifteen such people each year have the privilege of being accepted as a fellow and to come over and live in Florence and have full access to this amazing institute; Nic just happens to be one of them this year.

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Am I proud? Words don’t convey how proud I am of him.

So here we are in Florence…..living the dream! I know he has to go to work each day but if you loved your work as much as he does (and all the other fellows I have met thus far do) then work is exactly where you want to be. Nic told the boys and I in the beginning that family wasn’t allow to come to the Villa unless it was a planned ‘family day’.

Mmmmm, OK.

A few weeks ago a new colleague of Nic’s came over for a glass or three of vino in the evening hours when the heat finally died down to a reasonable temperature that didn’t have you sweating every time you moved. It was then that I found out the true facts about families on I Tatti’s grounds. It is true, kids are not really welcome, however, you can go and have a quick look if the need arises.

The need arose! I am far to nosey to sit back and wait until ‘family day’ so with that bit of information tucked away the boys and I insisted on picking Nic up from work a few weeks ago. I can completely understand why kids and partners are not welcomed with open arms, the place (or you could quite easily mistake it for a palace) is devoted to serenity, calmness and tranquility- I’m actually surprised Nic does in fact come home!

ImageHe has one year to soak up this beautiful place, and put his research into material he will one day turn into a book; or perhaps write a few papers/articles for History journals. Whatever he decides to do we support him 100% and along with all our friends and family, we can’t thank him enough for an awesome holiday destination!

To bad he has to walk to work everyday, that traffic can be a bitch…..

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Blackberry foraging

ImageMost afternoons I am hankering to get out of the house, especially on the weekends.  Nic understands this as I have never been one to sit around on the couch relaxing; I seem to have an inability to rest, relax and chill out on a regular basis which can be good and bad depending on who you’re talking too. The boys think it is outrageous that I suggest afternoon strolls in the countryside, what a horrible mother I am!

Every time I go for a run I pass bushes and bushes of blackberries, and the boys are quite fascinated with all the wild berries growing along the side of the road. Nic tells them not to pick them off the bushes and just eat them (they could be sprayed or a dog could of sprayed wee on them- this I would actually like to see as the dog would have to be in a pretty precarious position to even attempt getting close to the blackberries that are at least a meter off the ground…..but hey, thats just me!)

I, on the other hand say pick away, I have always thought that if any fruit is hanging over on public ground then it is free to all who walk past. Our Greek neighbour when I was growing up in the NT did not agree with this train of thought and was always shouting at us kids for picking his guava when plump and bursting with ripeness (I guess that was one of the downfalls of living next to a park where all the local kids used to play). Personally I think he loved us picking them just so he could have something to carry on about….it still makes me smile.

There was a lovely breeze yesterday afternoon and we’d played at least 10 games of Uno so I suggested we go foraging for blackberries to stretch our legs and get outside for a while. NO was the first reaction from the boys, followed closely by slumping the shoulders forward, dropping the bottom lip and commencing to carry on a treat about leaving the house. Blah,blah,blah. I knew they would actually enjoy it once we started picking so I told them to put a cork in it, get their shoes on and get out the door! I don’t think Alex really minds getting out and about, but when his brother puts on such a performance I think he feels a little compelled to join in!

With Max storming ahead we started looking at potential pickings. We haven’t had much rain and the sun has been intense so a lot of the blackberries were dried out and shrivelled, which is sad. We walked on a little more to the spot I had in mind and we were in luck. Max even started to pick a few and I’d even go as far as seeing a smile creep onto his face when he came across a good branch.

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Alex on the other hand was super-excited and wanted to pick every one he saw, I like the enthusiasm; however, after explaining the difference in taste between the red ones and black ones he soon started looking for the big fat black ones. I get a little excited when I start picking and can’t stand it when I see a bunch of juicy blackberries just a few inches out of reach. I’ll get on the tips of my toes to go that extra mile and usually ending up with nothing but thorns in my legs and hands.

Blackberrys   I was hoping for 6 cups of blackberries as I could make a blackberry pie, just like the one I was reading about in my Saveur magazine, however, we only ended up with a cup and a half. Not to worry, I got the boys out of the house, managed to get Max to spend some family time with us and lose the scowl. Plus we had yummy, fresh blackberries to eat with our gelato — what’s there to hate about that?

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Potato/Patata….no-one can resist!

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The other night I was thinking of what to have for dinner that didn’t consist of pasta. Nic and I tend to eat A LOT of pasta when living in Italy, it just feels right. Anyway, we must of over indulged in the early weeks because the comment was voiced rather loudly from the boys that perhaps we could have something OTHER than pasta? This is quite an amazing request seeing as it is on the boys ‘go to list’ when asked what their favourite food is.

And just on a side note, I hate it when people ask my kids that question because their instant reaction without even thinking is to blurt out- ‘pizza, pasta, burgers and hot dogs!’….that’s right, just because I’m a chef doesn’t mean my kids aren’t like millions of other kids who love the above list and will eat it at the drop of a hat if required on a day to day basis……they forget about the beef satays with peanut sauce that they can’t help but lick the plate or the roast veggie and lentil soup I make every winter that has them running to the table.

OK I’ll move on now.

Whenever I order potatoes in a European country (actually I have to exclude Amsterdam, I’ve always had great potatoes there!), they always are diced (big, medium or small), have been fried; be it shallow fried or deep fried and always, always pre-cooked a few hours before the restaurant doors are open and served reheated, lukewarm from the oven. Just once I would like to have the potatoes when they have been fried and served HOT from the kitchen within 5 minutes of them being cooked. 

It was this thought that came to mind as I was peering into my potato/onion and garlic drawer deciding how to start dinner.

Everyone seems to love potatoes cooked one way or another and the more I cook of this variety, the less I seem to eat (thanks to the little boys that fill their tummies first!) If your kitchen is limited like mine then these are the perfect accompaniment to just about any dish, I even cooked some up at the olive grove last visit and they were gone before the adults sat down for dinner.

Basically, you skin 4-5 potatoes, dice each potato into the size you like (just remember the larger you leave them, the longer they will take to cook), wipe the excess starch off the potato with paper towel then grab your largest frying pan, add a generous glug of good olive oil (NOT extra virgin) and place on a medium burner on medium to high heat. Once the oil starts to warm add your diced potatoes and begin shallow frying. I  also add a generous pinch of sea salt and cracked pepper at this point and give the potatoes a good toss.

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After about 5 minutes I then add 2-3 garlic cloves, sliced (sometimes a thinly sliced shallot for flavour) and two sticks of rosemary. Keep on tossing your potatoes occasionally so they cook evenly and watch the temperature isn’t on full pelt otherwise you will have dark potatoes before they are soft and delicious on the inside, the whole process usually takes about 15- 20 minutes if your dice is small/medium.

I must warn you, smell travels fast and neighbours may pop in unexpectedly so it’s always best to make extra. These are great for a snack, or served with steak, chicken, veggies, pork…the list goes on.

I served ours with a zucchini and Tuscan sausage dish I came up with that could be cooked in one pot (again I have a very limited kitchen in the pots department and even more limits on bench space but more about that another time. 

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Tree Top Adventure

I just had to postpone a post I was going to write as we just got back from the best adventure park I have been to in a long time. Melanie’s youngest son was turning 6 and they always like to do something fun with the family……and we were lucky enough to get an invite.

We were told we’d be swinging in the tree tops, climbing and jumping between trees etc. It sounded like a bit of fun and I am always on the lookout for things to tire the boys out, so of course I jumped at the chance. When Melanie came to pick us up I found out the adventure park was just behind us…….well up an enormous great big hill that would have taken about 40 minutes to walk up and LOTS of winging! (something I’ll save for when it’s a little cooler and the boys want to go again).

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The guys running the park were very friendly, helpful and very serious about safety (as I find most Italians are). They helped us into our harnesses (that’s right I wasn’t going to miss out on all the fun; I was swinging, climbing and freaking out with the rest of them!). The operators gave a detailed safety demo in Italian. Tony, Melanie’s oldest son translated for us, however, if your Italian isn’t brilliant you can figure out what they are saying by the demo they give, and if you still think you might not be sure they make you do a test climb to doubly make sure you know what the rules are. There were a couple of guys that knew a little English, however, it really wasn’t needed (that would be a big high 5 for my improvement in Italian!!)

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The boys on the ‘test’ wire. You have to do all the clipping and unclipping yourself because there is no turning back once you have climbed up into the tree tops!

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You are only allowed to have three people on the tree stands at one time and one person on the wire which was a great rule, especially for the more height sensitive people who don’t need to be rushed or pushed. Melanie’s little guy did the toddler friendly tree climb a few times (it is only about a meter off the ground, an excellent meander through the trunks), and then took the plunge and did the big kids climb. He was an absolute star and made it around the entire course before finishing with the flying fox- very impressive for a 6-year-old! (the picture on the right is Melanie and mister 6 plucking up the courage to go on the flying fox).

Not much else to tell you really as I think the pictures speak for themselves. If you are in Florence and want to have a bit of outdoor fun then I highly recommend this adventure park. Check out the link above and don’t forget to pack your sneakers (I did it all in thongs but runners would have made it a lot easier). We will return if the walk up the hill doesn’t stop us first!

The olive grove

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It’s not everyday you re-connect with a person you met 8 years ago when life was throwing you a few curve balls; for example……living in a foreign country with a new-born baby and a toddler; your husband going off each morning to bury himself in the archives of 16th-century Europe, or trying to work out when you should leave the apartment so it fits in with feeding schedules for the baby, toilet stops for the potty-training toddler and last but not least, trying to figure out how to make friends.

I met Melanie at a local English speaking church (St. James) where a bunch of mums started a mother’s group for English-speaking mums living in Florence. It was something I really needed and a chance to speak to someone other than my 3-year-old son.

Melanie also had a boy the same age as Max and a new born a few weeks older than Alex so I’m sure we had lots to talk about….Oh did I also mention she is a chef and one of the best cake designers I have seen; her website should explain her work better than I can write about it. Anyway, I say ‘I’m sure’ because to be quite honest I don’t remember a whole lot of the early days when Alex was only weeks old, however, I did remember Melanie and I did remember talking to her about food, cooking classes and a few other bits and pieces even though we never had a strong connection as I left about three months after meeting her. Thanks to Facebook we reconnected a few years ago and have been following each others career ever since.

When we found out we would be heading over to Florence this year I was so excited to reconnect with Melanie in person and basically pick her brains about all she had been doing in the 8 years we have been living in separate countries. I was also happy to learn she felt the same.

Once we settled in to our place in Florence I gave Melanie a call and she invited us all out to the family olive grove for a much needed swim in the pool, a relaxed, delicious meal, vino and lots and lots of talking. This was an offer I was not going to refuse!

It was a really hot day when Paolo her husband came to pick us up at 4 in the afternoon. Foolishly I thought it wouldn’t be so bad re. the heat, and when I stepped out of the house into what felt like an oven on full range, all I could think about was a pool and a cool breeze.

I had never met Paolo, and we laughed at the fact that we really were complete strangers getting together on a chance meeting that happened 8 years ago when our lives were very different. This is stepping out of your comfort zone; if I’d never of connected with Melanie over the internet once back in the comforts of the world I knew, we would never of arrived at the olive grove and we would of never been able to talk for 4 hours straight about our lives both in and out of the kitchen- it was fantastic!

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Melanie has since had a third son and all 5 boys got on like a house on fire; swimming until their fingers were shrivelling like dried prunes; gathering sticks for bows and arrows, making swords, daggers and anything else you can whittle out of a piece of wood. Running through the olive grove trying to catch the fat bunny that feeds on all the vegetables will be forever in their memory, this I can guarantee!

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As the air cooled Paolo stoked the BBQ while Melanie took me around to the outdoor kitchen and we played with produce that was grown a stone’s throw away (seriously, a dream come true for me). We used olive oil that was pressed from the trees around us and I had a hard decision wondering which tomatoes I would use for the salad.

ImageWe decided to keep the food simple and stress free. I made one of my all time favourite faro salads before we left home. I can’t seem to get enough of it at the moment, though I’m sure this will pass when I eat it one too many times…….well maybe?

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We were in for an absolute treat. As Melanie was cutting off slabs of pecorino cheese onto a plate she was telling me of their family’s butcher who goes and hand picks the animal he slaughters and then lovingly butchers the beast, then sells it from his shop in the back hills of Southern Florence (I have been promised a visit to his shop as it is quite difficult to get to if you don’t know the area……..YES, I am excited!!)

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So a quick reverse, the pecorino Melanie was cutting (pic below)  and also the prosciutto we ate with the melon were from their wonderful butcher, honestly the man can do no wrong in my book!

The other treat Melanie had in stall was the 35-year-old balsamic vinegar she drizzled over the pecorino: a brilliant flavour combination and the texture of the balsamic was syrupy, sticky, rich and divine to put it simply.

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Melon, prosciutto and homemade salami..I could of eaten this all afternoon..

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I don’t have to tell you the olive grove holds a special place in my heart and being asked back for a second week was heavenly for all four of us. We will have many more fun days/nights with Melanie and her family this I am sure of but for me this will be a memory I will hold onto when I’m wondering what an earth I have done with my life……I feel very lucky indeed.