What’s cooking chef?

Gosh after missing four weeks of Tara’s Gallery I was itching to get back in the saddle and one of my first ‘jobs’ on the PC when I reopened after our 3 week break was to check her prompt. 3 words. Eh? Did she mean Cheryl Cole’s song? No, she had been inspired by Radio DJ  Simon Mayo’s afternoon show where people phone in with three words. So what to do?

This was one of my first holiday snaps that sprang to mind along with the caption ‘Can’t be arst.’ but I didn’t want to upset Tara so soon after my break, so I then contemplated using this

with the caption ‘Buggeru to do’ (you gotta laugh innit?) This beautiful coastal town on the Costa Verde in Sardegna is actually pronounced Boo-gier-oo so I finally settled on this one as it brings back happy memories of only a week ago

along with the caption ‘What’s cooking chef?’ there’s nothing my ol’ man likes more than tampering with some meat on the BBQ and we had plenty of them over the course of 21 days now all we need is the weather to perk up here in the Uk so we can continue on our carefree evenings here too.

Have a fab week and watch out for My Travel post on Sardegna, in the emntime head over to Sticky Fingers and see what the others have come up with today – bet they haven’t got Buggeru! :)

Silent Sunday

A Scandinavian Sojourn – Italy For Amateurs

Emma from A Scandinavian Sojourn has also stepped in to help me out and keep you all well read whilst I am away and having seen my growing collection of posts Holidays in Italy decided to tell you about her stay in the Bel Paese which is funny and also highlights two wonderful destinations San Sepolcro and Alberobello in Puglia. Here is

Italy For Amateurs

Mari’s invitation to write a guest post for her blog Mari’s World (whilst she is off enjoying a well deserved holiday), prompted me to think about holiday’s we have been on in the past, and those that have been the most memorable to us as a family. Given her Italian links, Mari might be pleased to hear that some of our best trips so far have been to beautiful Italy.

Our first visit was to Sansepolcro, on the very edge of Tuscany, where we stayed high up in the hilltops in a small stone cottage. We had nothing but the geraniums we had been asked to water, and the tiny scorpions that lived in the window frames(they were totally harmless!) to keep us company, and it was perfect! Our daughter was around 18 months old at the time, and I was around 5 months pregnant with our son, and still suffering from terrible morning sickness. We were there in September when it was cool and calm, but the weather was still good. During the day we would explore little towns, searching out great local restaurants for lunch, and scouring the markets for seasonal food to cook in the evenings. A few days in, and my morning sickness suddenly disappeared – it was such a relief, and as an added bonus I suddenly developed an urge to eat my own bodyweight in gelato.

One morning we awoke at the crack of dawn to a large group of traditionally dressed huntsmen gathering outside the cottage, we watched over breakfast as they returned triumphantly carrying a huge boar. This rural idyll proved to be just the break we needed from hectic London, and our love affair with Italy began.

Fast forward a couple of years and we returned, this time to Puglia in the middle of June. Our choice of accommodation was quite unusual in that we chose to stay in a Trullo. This was really interesting, if not a little basic, but nothing we couldn’t cope with! The children bathed in washing up bowls, and the kitchen was a true test of our cooking skills, but it was fun! The metre thick walls also kept us cool during the day, and felt extremely cosy when thunderstorms approached! Once more we had the peace and tranquillity we craved for a couple of weeks, and again our mornings exploring and seeking out the shade in the afternoon.

We gorged ourselves on local produce, from beautifully fresh seafood and pasta to the most amazing tomatoes, and mounds and mounds of black cherries and strawberries. We devoured salads made from squat round cucumbers (an accidental purchase as I had mistaken them for melons!), I often crave these from time to time now, and I am kicking myself for not picking up any seeds from the markets! We made a great discovery one afternoon at a butcher’s in town, where they would cook your purchase for you at your chosen time. It saved us attempting to cook it in our primitive kitchen and on washing up!

I will always remember enjoying one of the best coffees I have ever tasted at a lovely café one morning. On arrival, I took stock of the place, slightly worried about the fact that it looked like it was THE place to be seen, and the staff had possibly been selected on looks alone. I had taken my (then three year old) daughter straight to the toilet, and left my husband to order the coffee. Job done, we walked back through the packed café, and I began to feel quite self-conscious as all eyes were completely on me. I told myself that it was because they maybe didn’t get many English tourists, and sat down to enjoy my coffee. Around ten minutes later, someone opened a fridge door, and as the door swung around, the reflection that greeted me was utterly mortifying. I looked like more of an idiot than usual, with my three year old daughter’s sun-hat perched like a pea on a drum on top of my head (where I had placed it whilst trying to sort the three year old out in loo, and had then promptly forgotten about it!). A sophisticated Italian I was very obviously not. I can’t quite believe that my family members hadn’t actually thought to let me know, and had let me sit there for ages oblivious, but then they had to endure me not being able to move for laughing for around half an hour. The beautiful staff, all stood around looking faintly bemused at this oddly dressed English girl, who now appeared to be having some kind of fit. Needless to say, I couldn’t bear to go back there again, which was a shame as the coffee was outstanding!

Since our Scandinavian adventure began, we haven’t had the chance to go back to Italy, and I feel like we have neglected one of our favourite countries. However, before we start our next adventure, I am determined to try and fit in a visit, even if it’s just for a weekend – it’s been far far too long!


Now head on over to A Scandinavian Sojourn and see what other delights she has to share


Ciao ciao!

I’m gone! I’m there so I can’t link up this week but wanted to join in anyway! Have a great week everyone!

The Italian Dolomites

The Dolomites are a beautiful mountain range located in the north-east of Italy and are equally shared between the three provinces of Trentino, South Tyrol and Belluno. There is another smaller group called the Piccole Dolomiti close by and that is where I called home whilst I spent close to 20 years in Italy. The Dolomites are full of parks including one national park and has also been declared a natural heritage site by UNESCO.

Steeped in history, during the First World War the line between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces ran through the mountain range and many open air war museums can be visited such as Cinque Torri. Many people visit the area to climb the Vie Ferrate, protected paths also created during the First World War and also to trek the Alte Vie, long ‘high’ trails numbered 1 – 8 requiring at least a week to walk through and served by mountain huts along the way for refuge, the most nominated being the  Alta Via 1

The Dolomites are famous for skiing in the winter, (a subject close to my heart and which I shall return to in the autumn *watch this space*) and all kinds of sports in the summer months such as mountain climbing, hiking, cycling, base-jumping, para-gliding and hang gliding. Free climbing has been a tradition in the Dolomites since 1887 when 17 year old Georg Winkler conquisted the ascent of the pinnacle Die Vajolettürme!

Today I am going to concentrate on the Region of Trentino as I know it so well and for those who are not lovers of the sun, sand and sea holiday this could be the perfect alternative. Trentino is a huge favourite with the Italians themselves, many flock from the hot sticky towns in the height of summer in order to sleep at night in a cool environment, to enjoy the sun but in a fresher climate and to savour the sweet mountain air which of course works up quite an appetite. And if it’s food you’re worried about let me tell you hand on heart, you’ll be in your element, the menus are full of delicious options such as Strangolapreti (spinach gnocchi), or Gulash and polenta, a firm favourite from this part of the world. In fact watch out for the Polenta di patate which is sublime.

Are you a wine lover? Then this region is bursting with prize winning wines from the full bodied red San Leonardo, grown in the Adige Valley to the deliciously bubbly prosecco Ferrari. Some of my favourites are the Vallarom oaked Chardonnay, a Gaierhof Nosiola or a Barbanico made from one of my favourite cantina’s Balter Do look them up and see if they’re available close to you, they are delicious.

So where to go in Trentino? Well some may have already been as Riva del Garda at the top of Lake Garda is in Trentino and of course I must mention my old home town of Folgaria which I shall highlight properly one week but here are a few other places that are well worth a visit should I have tempted you; the Altopiani Cimbri , Madonna di Campiglio e Val Rendena, the Val di Non con Tuenno, Cles and Sarnonico. Here are some Travel organisers who specialise in the area from the UK and for more information make Visit Trentino your first stop.

This is my letter D for Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe Thursday where you can find plenty more interesting D’s to read