perugia-maccheroni dolci 3 copy

This morning I woke up to the most stupendous sky changing every 5 minutes or so and as I was snapping it at different degrees of dramatic colour changes and cloud movement, I stopped to have the most intriguing breakfast: sweet pasta which my friend’s old cook had sent for Christmas. I think her version does not have any cocoa powder which I think is better, and even if I haven’t yet tasted any other versions, her balance between sweet & savoury is pretty perfect not to mention her marvellous tagliatelle fatti in casa. Wishing you all a happy christmas with a series of this morning’s changing sky with ‘my’ marvellous persimmon tree against it!

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sicily-morning coffee copy

I arrived yesterday in the mist and fog and I worried about how I was going to take nice photographs of the olive harvest but the weather this morning was just glorious and warm enough for me to have my coffee outside. So, I thought I would share this lovely moment with you! And as of tomorrow, I will start sharing the olive harvest, the pressing of olives, a visit to Maria Grammatico, and other Sicilian adventures.


balluneh-emile bakery-emile copy

Just back from visiting my mother in Lebanon and because I hadn’t been for nearly two years, it was a rather nostalgic visit. I did things that I used to do when I lived there like going to the bakery to make manaqish for breakfast. It wasn’t any of the bakeries of my youth in west Beirut because my mother now lives in Balluneh in the mountains but I love Emile, her new baker, just as much as I loved our bakers in Hamra even if Emile doesn’t use firewood. His dough is wonderful though and people bring their own topping or filling (a very common practice in Lebanon) for him and his worker to shape and bake manaqish, fatayer and lahm bil-ajine.

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melwi-17 copy

If you are having breakfast in Uzbekistan, you would probably be eating Charles’ scarab pasta but in Morocco you would feast on melwi, an amazing multi-layered bread which is a kind of mille-feuille in that the dough is layered with fat except that the technique is very different. And here, in black & white pictures, is how Bushra, who I worked with in Marrakesh, makes Melwi.

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