Asparagus foraging

Wild asparagus

Wild asparagus

I’m back! Our plane got in yesterday from New York and I am still on a high from the trip; however, a couple of days before we left for our US adventure Shelly and I went wild asparagus foraging. It was so much fun, so I want to tell you about it before I get carried away with NY.

Has anyone else foraged for wild asparagus? The season isn’t very long and you know when it has started because a lot of the older folk start walking up into the hills, carrying plastic bags and walking around the fields with their hands behind their backs, bending over inspecting the ground. Shelly and I weren’t exactly sure what we were looking for, or where to find it, however, the day before we went forging my landlady pointed out that we had two wild asparagus growing in our garden: perfect!

I didn’t know where to find it, however, Shelly had asked an elderly Italian guy what to look for when foraging asparagus and he pointed out a spiky bush and mumbled something about ‘look out for this stuff,’ and then hurried back into the fields (I think the locals would rather we didn’t know about it…makes sense really).

With the minimal information gathered (but  plastic bags forgotten), we set out on a beautiful Thursday morning walk with the sun beating down on our bodies and hope in our hearts. We were wandering around one of our old haunts talking about what we should be looking for, when all of a sudden we stopped, scanned the nearest area and, lo and behold, I spotted one lone asparagus! I’m not going to lie, we were excited. Shelly couldn’t yet see them, however, when I spotted another and another she soon caught on and we were off with our hands behind our backs and our eyes glued to the ground.

wild asparagus foraging

wild asparagus foraging

At first we just grabbed all that we could see not really looking at quality. It wasn’t until we came across a few brown-red ones with a very crisp ‘snap’ that we decided some of the ones we were picking might be a little old and gone to seed. However, that didn’t stop us from looting more from a farmers field! As you can see in the photo above they are very easy to miss and shoot up on their own around the small prickly green bush that Shelly is holding back.

A big batch under an olive tree

A big batch under an olive tree

We were wandering around in this field for about an hour happily picking away when we heard a dog barking. Our first thought was to ignore it, that was until the barking came closer and closer. For a few minutes Shelly and I thought it might of been the farmer coming to shoo us off the property, fortunately, it was just an elderly gentleman walking his dog up our road.

He knew right away what we were doing and complimented us on our forage. We had a small chat with him and then he started breaking into words Shelly and I didn’t recognise, we had a feeling he was giving us a recipe for the asparagus but that was for the ‘too hard basket’, so we gently said goodbye and took our stash further up the hill.

Of course we were buzzing with excitement and dying to try the wild asparagus, so I offered to cook it for lunch. After finishing our walk in the hills I popped a pot of water on for some poached eggs. Once the asparagus was washed and trimmed I simply melted butter on a low heat, added sliced garlic, asparagus, salt and pepper and gently sauteed until cooked.

Sauteing wild asparagus with butter and garlic

Sauteing wild asparagus with butter and garlic

The smells were fantastic and the asparagus darkened to a very deep green as the stalks became tender. Once they were cooked, I poached a couple of eggs, added a generous sprinkling of truffle salt and finished it with slices of pecorino cheese. The end result was fantastic!

Poached eggs with wild asparagus

Poached eggs with wild asparagus

The truffle hit your nose as soon as you sat down and cutting into the egg letting the yolk run through the asparagus was pure heaven. Not much talking was done while we still had food on our plates. The flavours all infused beautifully and enhanced the asparagus. To say we loved it would be an understatement. No wonder the Italians didn’t want us knowing the secret places to forage, it really is a wonderful spring treat if your lucky enough to lay your hands on some.

Finished with slices of pecoreno cheese

Finished with slices of pecorino cheese


Morning walk


The weather app on my phone told me this week will be sunshine and warmth. I was a little apprehensive as I lay in bed and looked out the skylight at the whitewash of cloud at 7.30am, however, by 9am the sun was shining, clouds passed over and there was nothing to see but deep blue sky stretching over the hills. The boys were at school, I had no plans for the morning so I popped on my sneakers, downloaded a podcast from This American Life titled: Somewhere in the Arabian Sea and head out the door.


I love going for morning walks, especially when you have scenery like this to cast your eye over as you climb a steady pace up a surprisingly large hill.


As I am walking and slowly stripping down to my t-shirt (a very un-Italian thing to do in March!) under the suns warmth, I am listening to a whole other world. They are talking about people working everyday jobs in the Navy, out at sea. These people are travelling the world, working and seeing more than they ever dreamt they would and here I am taking a casual stroll in the Tuscan countryside…


As I am heading down a hill toward home, I smile to myself as I walk past the street where our friends came to stay when they visited a few months back.


In fact, it is the same road that butts up onto casa di Boccaccio. Kathleen, I am sure you remember this stretch of road like the back of your hand!


As my postcast comes to an end, so does the stretch of road that brings me back to our main square. An hour was filled with someone else’s stories and views of another persons country while I leave behind nothing but footprints, yet I’m full with memories.

Settignano…..Best views of Florence


I know I have talked about our family walks a few times, however, one of our favourite places to wonder around would have to be Settignano. I could go on and talk about the winding roads and picturesque views of rolling hills and breath taking views of Florence, OR, I could just show you! For anyone visiting Florence for a few days and eager to head out of town and away from the million other tourists for a couple of hours, then I suggest you go on down to Piazza San Marco, jump on the number ten bus and enjoy the ride up to Settignano (which will take about 25minutes). The bus drops you right in the heart of Settignano and from there you can stroll around the town and up into the hills for breath taking views of the Italy I am sure you really want to see. Don’t take a map, just walk and enjoy the views, you won’t get lost, however, you could just fall in love with the place.

Another great feature of this town are the wonderful cafes you can visit and rest your weary legs at and for the gelato lovers, there is a gelateria there as well! Take a moment to feast your eyes on this beautiful part of the world and start planning your next trip to a mountain village near you……fresh country air does you the world of good!


It was a soaring hot day as you can see by the heat haze but hiding in the shade made it painless.Image

I am never sure if we are just way to embarrassing to be seen with or just really slow walkers but Max will always be strides ahead of us.


The other side of town, I could sit and look at this view for hours….


and if you decide to jump off the bus a little earlier this pic is taken from the bottom end of town and also includes a good butt workout!


Oh, we must of been really slow here!Image

I love this peek a boo shot of the city….Image

A cheap, cheerful and extremely relaxing way to see a little bit more of this glorious city!