Tag Archives: Family

Home Sweet Home

16 Mar

We´re back from a hectic but wonderful week in London, catching up with family and friends.  We were wined and dined and thoroughly spoilt, drank far too much wine, walked for miles and laughed for the entire week.

We ate broccoli grown in my parent´s London garden.

Best friend Ria made us an amazing Chicken and Leek Pie, and extra marks to her for cooking it in her sister´s kitchen as her heating and hot water weren´t working for a few days.

We spent a day walking through London.

Of course, we stopped for coffee to revive us.

We drank good old British bitter.

Cheers!

We helped our pals Donna and Craig “christen” their new home in style.

We had "Bolly" too - lucky us...hic!

Entertainment in their new home village, Lewes, was fun and quirky.

Check out those amazing sideburns!

We even managed to spend a few days down on the south coast combining business with a little relaxation.  Of course, we had to take a romantic walk along the seafront at night when a sea fog was making everything look very atmospheric. We were in St Leonard´s on Sea, where my parents have a holiday place, and also home of Promenade Plantings.

We spent a wonderful day with my parents walking around beautiful Hampton Court, one of Henry VIII´s amazing Tudor Palaces.

"Mamma & Papá Russo" - the Royal Elders of our family!

My favourite part of the Palace? Well, the Tudor Kitchens of course!

Peacock Pie anyone?!

And last night we arrived home, weary but happy.  Our case was packed with goodies….dressmaking patterns and fabric, antique carpentry tools, some vines from my father´s garden to plant here in Spain, salad seeds, a new mini baking tray… so much to look forward to.  And guess what?  When we unpacked, we found we had a stowaway.  Flat Ruthie has come to visit, so we´ll be enjoying some time with her very soon and cooking together!

Stowaway on Board!

Figs for breakfast

23 Jun

A Kind of Roman Breakfast!

When I was a child, summer holidays were extra special.  We joined the great exodus of Italians “going home” for August.  My father, like many Italians, started his working life in London as a waiter.  Sometimes the restaurant he worked in, usually Italian, shut for the month to allow staff to be with their families.  Other times, it didn´t, which often meant a return from holiday at the start of September with no job for my father.  I´ve only recently thought about this and how difficult and precarious things must have been for the family financially at times and the sacrifices they made for us children.

My family, however, thought it was important for my brother and I to be in Italy with our many cousins and aunties and uncles, spending time being free on the beach, eating meals late at night, talking Italian and sharing that special love that comes from a huge extended family. I thank them for it, I´m sure much of what I experienced in those summer holidays helped make me the person I am today.

We often drove to Italy as putting the car on the overnight train from Calais to Milan was expensive.  Then we faced a further day or two of journey to the very south, the “toe of the boot”, to Calabria. It was an epic journey, but it was made fun with plenty of food, books to read, songs to sing in the car (no DVDs or Playstations then!) and stops along the way to visit more family and friends.

We always stopped in Roma, where my father had spent a portion of his youth and visited Zia Sara and Zio Angelo.  Roma has some wonderful food markets and I have strong memories of someone going out in the morning to buy focaccia for breakfast – that typical flat white bread drizzled with olive oil, coarse salt and sometimes rosemary.  I don´t know if it was a Roman thing, or a family thing, but if we were lucky we also got a bag of juicy figs to go with it.  An extra sprinkle of salt, a little drizzle of olive oil and it was heaven on a piece of bread.  Sweet, salty and peppery all at the same time.

Now I try to recreate it with griddled bread, a sprinkle of coarse sea salt and a drizzle of our very own olive oil.  It´s not quite the same, but the memories make it all the sweeter.

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