Tag Archives: living in Rome

Catching up: Norway, London, Accra, Rome, Accra…….

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Catching up here after a lot of traveling on the last six weeks: first a white Christmas in Norway, lots of concerts and family. Sledding with our nephew. A bit of Christmas baking: this was sent by my sister, who is very fond of giraffes.

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Christmas presents from my parents: Norwegian food, some for my in-laws in London, some bound for Rome, and a few items for Accra (kaviar, apple jelly, prim). The reindeer sausage was delicious, and with all the cheese Veganuary is being delayed.

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A few days in London over New Year’s, with the English in-laws, who are lovely. Homemade Christmas cake, walks along the Thames, and always on offer: “a nice cup of tea”, which is black and strong with milk  (urrrrghhhh). They know I like my tea terribly weak by British standards. I bought mince pies (4 for 10p!) and flew back to Accra.

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One week in Accra, early January. The harmattan has been weaker this year (dry, dusty winds from the Sahara) but with lower humidity it was actually OK to walk around town. But then I went to Rome for work (such a hardship).

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Deepfried artichoke, mmmmmmm……  I had really intensive days of meetings and work planning, and very little time for seeing friends, but Rome is always lovely (despite the crumbling roads, piles of garbage – it will get better). We also had two nights in Tuscany with friends, during which I made chickpeas cacio e pepe. Really good. More to follow on that.

Now I am back in Accra for a month or so before the next trip, and am looking forward to getting back to regular cooking again. Today I am just making Italian lentil-pea soup, not very photogenic but good winter food (even when it is 31C……) The apple jelly survived the trip, so I need to bake bread soon.  For now it is just nice to unpack and start catching up here.

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A few days in Garbatella, and a lemon/blackcurrant curd tart

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I’ve been in Rome for a week for work, and despite the rain it has been lovely to amble round the neighborhood (Garbatella), drink coffee, meet neighbours tut-tutting over the weather, grafitti and state of the roads, and of course enjoy fall food.

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Cavolo nero at the market. And artichokes, broccolo romano, cicoria, mmmm….

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Friday night apertivi at the butcher’s up the hill, on Via delle Sette Chiese.

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Artichokes at the market: we were on our way to Eataly to see their new IKEA section, interesting. At least a good place to get ziplock bags without going to Anagnina.

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Alberto Sordi commemorated on Via Antonio Rubino.

The lemon/blackcurrant curd tart

One shop-bought pastry crust (here, gluten-free pâte brisée)
One jar lemon curd
One jar blackcurrant curd

Blind bake the pastry crust for ten min or so at 200C. I used baking beans. Then pour in the two curd jar contents, and cool until serving.

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We bought the blackcurrant curd in Maldon, and it was very nice. The artistic swirl foreseen did not quite work, but this was delicious. Also super easy.

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“Solrose” bread for terrace drinks

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It’s Easter Monday, andre påskedag in Norway and Pasquetta here in Rome (little Easter), which is often marked locally with a picnic. Lovely sunny day, with a cool breeze, nice on a state holiday, and it’s been very quiet here in Garbatella. Our neighbours upstairs  just got married this weekend, and they have invited the condominium up for celebratory drinks on the rooftop terrace this afternoon. This bread is our contribution.

“Solrose” bread (makes two)

25 grammes fresh yeast
500 ml milk
50 grammes olive oil
2 tbs honey
1/2 tsp salt
50 grammes hulled sunflower seeds (plus some for top)
700 grammes plain wheat flour
50 grammes wholewheat flour

Milk for brushing just before baking (or a beaten egg)
Handful of hulled sunflower seeds

Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm milk. Add everything, fold with a spatula or wooden spoon until it is smooth and you feel a bit of spring. Cover the bowl (plastic shower cap works well) and let it rest for an hour so, until it doubles. It depends how cool your kitchen is. Once doubled: tip the dough out on a lightly floured surface, and divide it in two. This will make two loaves (very handy when  you are heading to drinks at 1830, then dinner elsewhere at 1930…… This also transports well in cake carrier.)

For each half of dough: get your parchment paper ready, and form a round ball for the centre, then roll out a smooth sausage of dough to make a circle around the ball. Maybe 30 cm or so? Pinch the edges together so it is smooth.

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Then cut the ring every two cm or so, to get nice deep slashes right through to the parchment. Cover each sheet with a tea towel and leave to rest another 40 minutes or so, it will rise nicely (above is just rolled out). Heat oven to 220C  (210C if doing one tray at a time). Right before baking, brush lightly with milk and sprinkle with more sunflower seeds.

Bake about 15-20 minutes, until nicely golden. I swapped the trays over after ten minutes to get a more even bake, I might try 210C and fan assist next time.

Note: This is adapted very lightly from “Gjærbakst på alle bord”, 1987. A classic! One of my first cookbooks when I left home for university. The original recipe calls for 50 grammes fresh yeast and much faster rises. You could also use 12.5 grammes dry yeast. Also, the recipe uses margarine rather than oil, and only 700 grammes white flour, but I thought the dough looked a bit wet so I added the wholewheat flour. Normally I’d brush the dough with beaten egg, for more shine, but loaf #2  is coming along for a dinner tonight where someone is allergic to eggs, so I used milk for both.

Tomorrow is my last day in Rome before heading back to Accra: coffee with neighbours,  go see the plumber, have pizza with friends, and in between, the last round of food shopping this time. Cheese, more cheese, celery, and zucchini. With limited fridge space there, there will be more longlife items on this trip: flour, crackers, olives, passata….. it will be shared and enjoyed!

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