I’m flying back to Malta this afternoon. You might be reading this while I am on my way to the airport. One thing’s for sure: I will be sad to leave. J and I lived in Surrey for these past seven years, but London was, is and always will be one of my favourite places to visit. J doesn’t totally get it I think; London is expensive, dirty, and brimming with people. I love the brimming-with-people part. Surrey is beautiful and J thrived there, especially while taking walks in the countryside. One one hand I loved it too, while on the other hand many times it just got too quiet. Thank goodness for Guildford town centre. Now that’s lovely, and it’s another place I will greatly miss.
This is a simple photo taken while I was sadly parting with my Greek basil plant. It was the picture of health for months and months. Then suddenly parts of it started to dry up on me. I didn’t want it to go to waste, and instead of trying to save it and knowing that I would fail miserably, I decided that the best thing here was for me to keep the majority of it by cutting it, washing it, using some up and freezing what was left.
This is a photo of my beautiful Mum. I call her my lovely Mummy. Or simply Ma. On one of her few visits here J drove us down to Rye and on to Rye Harbour, a charming little town in East Sussex. The weather was on our side, and we took a short two-mile walk along part of the coast and around some of the nature reserve. The first order of business though when we arrived was a fish and chip lunch – it was just what we needed. J has a photo of it somewhere, which he promised to give me, if and when he remembers. Apparently we both forgot about it.
These pictures were taken very recently during a short visit to Chartwell, the Churchill family home, now a National Trust property. The day was grey and the sky quite featureless, but apparently this is good for shooting things really close. It wasn’t the best time to visit the gardens either, (I was also really tired after a walk) and the kitchen garden was obviously missing much of the good stuff but there were many trees around and a couple of huge pumpkins. So whatever was on offer was still very pretty and I knew I didn’t have my camera with me for nothing. My day was made. Hope you enjoy these. Rob x
I am wide awake. Have been since three this morning. I’m not a good sleeper in general, mostly because my mind doesn’t stop. When I was younger I despaired during moments like these, especially before exams, which made them worse and always made me anxious. Now, thank goodness, my university days are over and done with, but older years come with other concerns. These days I’m trying to learn how to relax when my insomnia bouts kick in. I have realised that staying in bed, trying to sleep makes the whole thing worse for me. So I get up and do what I love to do best: catch up on my favourite foodie blogs and bookmarking every recipe I like. I read until sleep catches up in turn with me, or until breakfast time, when my lovely J, who’s still half asleep, asks me if I would like some coffee. Yes, espresso please!
My stomach still has some collywobbles, however I wouldn’t mind something like this (see photo) this morning! A soft-boiled egg, so yellow and so nutritious, paired with Rachel Khoo‘s savoury cake. I have posted the full recipe and loads of photos some months back, but it’s one of my favourite things to eat. Why? It’s versatile and portable. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and perhaps on a picnic in between!
These are some more photos taken in Malta. I don’t get to go often, simply because visiting the rock is never completely a holiday. What was different this time round is that I did a fair amount of cooking and of course, learning. Cooking rabbit was like an adventure. Sounds a bit silly I know, but I felt like a kid in a candy shop. All it took was a bit of white wine, onions, garlic and spice (sweet mixed preferably but recipes differ in nature), firstly seared in a large pan. My big mistake: not having my trusted notebook with me in case I wanted to write the recipe. I have a bad long-term memory. I learnt my lesson. Same goes for the Bigilla (a typical Maltese dip made out of beans). I still have to find someone who doesn’t like it as much as I do, but you never know.
Enjoy the pics!
Nothing beats good weather, good food and great company. And I had all three. In Rome. Correction: I had all four. After a long and beautiful morning drive, I asked the Js if we could kindly stop for a coffee and cornetto…yet again…to which they agreed. You see, the designated driver and his passenger (to his right) needed a coffee fix there and then. I, on the other hand, did not necessarily need one, but I wanted something sweet anyway. Obviously! When the coffee break was over (alas) we went for a short walk, after which J2 drove us to Monte Tuscolo. I soaked up the view, and something magical happened…my Italian came back…well, a teeny tiny bit of it at least! Some locals who loved the place as much as I did sat next to me and asked me about my sketch. I found myself trying to speak a few words here and there. Nothing special but I was happy. It felt good. (All those hours watching Montalbano certainly paid off. Well that’s not exactly Roman…mah!)
What felt even better was lunch, of course, at Hosteria San Rocco in Frascati. After some antipasti, which were good but somewhat overpriced, we ordered fresh pasta alla gricia and the classic cacio e pepe. These did not disappoint. I braced myself for the saltiness of the guanciale (not pancetta as loads of Italian bloggers rightly cannot stress enough) but it was simple food at it’s best I thought. The boys just wanted their coffee. I had Tiramisù, which is not typically from the region, but it was either that or fruit, so the choice was clear. I can never get over how good the coffee is in Italy. One of the first things my bro-in-law told me was this: “You can never, ever, go wrong with the coffee here.” Right he was. And with such cute coffee cups how can we ever? Guess which one I picked…
Arrivederci Roma. Hopefully that was not un addio…