Liberation Day in Italy: “Bella Ciao” and chocolate cake

chocolate cake

It’s April 25th, Liberation Day in Italy. At 3PM people were out on their balconies singing “Bella Ciao”  – the link below is from the Palladium building here in Garbatella.

I think people were singing all over Italy. Lots of flags and cheering.

E le genti che passeranno
O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
E le genti che passeranno
Mi diranno: “Che bel fior”

From a friend: the Italian Air Force was also out today.

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-25 at 15.23.55

I made a cake today, as some yoghurt needed to be used up. Quite light and fluffy, not too sweet.

Chocolate cake with cocoa and yoghurt
125 gr butter, melted and a little cooled
300 gr white sugar
3 medium eggs
450 ml dl plain yoghurt   (I had three small 150 ml containers to use up)
50 ml milk   (as it looked a little stiff)
350g white wheat flour (I used 00)
4 heaping tbs cocoa powder (dark unsweetened kind, rather old)
2 sachets instant coffee (4 gr) (if you have some)
2 tbs baking soda
1.5 tsp baking powder
generous pinch salt

Melt butter. Whisk eggs and sugar until fluffy, then stir in everything else and mix. Bake in parchment-lined tray (I used 20×30 cm) at 200 for 30-40 minutes until cake is done (is risen, stops wobbling when touched and a wooden chopstick inserted comes out dry.) Cool cake.

125 gr butter
3 heaping tbs cocoa powder
90 g dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 sachets instant coffee (4 gr), or generous splash of strong coffee
275 gr icing sugar
1 tbs sugar syrup (I was making some, otherwise just use a little more icing sugar)
a couple splashes of milk to make it spreadable

Melt butter with chocolate. Whisk rest in until it is shiny and smooth. Spread on cake when cake is cool. You might want it sweeter, this is quite dark. Top with sugar sprinkles.


I failed to wait: friends were out for a walk in the sunny afternoon, with their police declarations ready, and were walking by our house. I hastily spread the frosting on the hot cake, and sliced off a third of the cake for them. We had a socially distanced hello and handover. Wrapped in tinfoil the cake was still quite hot, and collapsed a bit, but great to have a chance to share! After seven weeks (?) of lockdown it will be so nice to see friends again next month, we hope.

Carrot soup with ginger, lime, red lentils and coriander

img_20200417_172608_7Lockdown day 43, and all is well. The weather in Rome is lovely, it is warm and sunny. I hope you are all safe and that spring is with you as well (I know it’s been snowing in Chicago, Moscow and northern Norway). Officially we have two more weeks at home here, but we expect it to be longer. The pandemic situation in Italy is definitely improving, and morale is still good.


Working from home is going well, and weekends are busy! I’ve packed away my winter clothes, am decluttering my way through massive piles of papers, and we are cooking up a storm. I haven’t set foot in a supermarket for four weeks, but we are managing really well with deliveries from smaller co-ops. And neighbours! We have been swapping cake, bread, fresh yeast, orange marmalade and fresh fennel, all at a very maintained distance. This happy coriander plant came from a friend, and inspired this soup. I over-ordered vegetables and had some sad carrots in the fridge.

Carrot soup with ginger, lime, red lentils and coriander

750 gr carrots
2 yellow onions (or red, or white)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp dry red chilli, crumbled
2 cm fresh ginger
1 tbs olive oil
1 litre vegetable broth
150 ml dry red lentils

200 ml UHT cream  (or coconut milk)
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
generous handful fresh coriander

Peel and roughly chop carrots, onions, ginger and garlic. Heat the oil, gently fry vegetables for a few minutes. Crumble in dry chili. Add vegetable stock, dry lentils and bring to boil. Leave to simmer 25-35 minutes (I had a looooong call with Accra friends and just turned it off while we chatted – try  if you need a Zoom alternative.) Then blend the soup with a stick blender. Stir in cream and lime juice, add salt and pepper to taste. Top with chopped coriander before serving.


We had this with grilled cheese sandwiches in front of the TV, absolute comfort food. Enjoy your Sunday!