Winter

Freaky-version of Torta della Nonna, a recipe from the book “Naturally Vegetarian” by Hortus!

Torta della Nonna, a recipe from the book "Naturally Vegetarian" by Hortus! | The Freaky Table

My dear friend Valentina (Hortus!) wrote a book, and after a year of hard work, research, intuitions, doubts, shared inspirations and support behind the scenes, today I can flip through its pages and feel proud almost as if it was my own cookbook!
In these pages, I can even see the story of our friendship, together with many nice recipes and pictures, timed by seasons and food, the same who Valentina sometimes cooked for me as well.
I recognize her mother’s hands mixing the pasta dough, surfaces and textures of old tables where I happened to eat and/or shoot, flowers and plants of her garden, props (including also some of our TheFreakyRaku ceramics!!), details of her life… of which I am lucky enough to be part of.
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Winter

Lost in the fog: a boat trip in the Lagoon and a dish of spaghetti con le vongole

I don’t know what silence is, I said, while I am floating in the void.
It looks like Paradise – however you call it – the place where we go afterwards, doesn’t it? Francesco smiles under the wet scarf.
I am tasting that new and inconsistent taste, the fog, the dense fog which enters the nose and rests on the tongue, a bit salty.
When you’re inside it, you can’t escape. It’s like being in a dream and trying hard to wake up, in vain, until the doubt of being already awake arises as an upsetting possibility.
My eyes are wide open but there’s nothing to see. Continue Reading

Travel

Recap of my Food – Trip in The Netherlands – part. 1 Rotterdam and around

You know that sometimes, when so much happens in very little time, you just don’t know where to start, when it’s time to tell it. Well, that time has come.
Last month was one of the most intense times of my life, not only because I almost always travelled alone but also because I never knew what to expect.
I adore being organized and prepared for life (whatever it may bring me) but this time I left  thinking – more or less – “whatever happens will be ok”.
And, you know, I ended up thinking that it is exactly when expectations are not clearly defined that we can be really surprised – such a surprise that makes your belly ache.
I will remember this autumn as one of the most difficult of my life, not only for all the trips I am going to tell you about and for the new portfolio I have published, but also for some personal happenings that have pierced my stomach as a lance. I will not add anything else, this is all I have been able to do and say lately and, although it is still very painful, I only want to jump backwards to tell you about the wonderful places I was so lucky to visit.
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Fall

Come, Grandmother

Come, Grandmother, and sit next to me in my garden. We shall have breakfast under the vine, and we shall see the morning light glow upon the leaves that bear your name, Edera – Italian Ivy.
I know, it is foggy now, but all the mist shall pass.
You will see, it will be so quick – just the time of some coffee together, and this soft, white veil shall disperse in the October sky.

I know you want to follow it and go up, up…high up in the sky, and maybe watch me as I fret to prepare all this for you – for us. But, I pray to you, stay with me just a little longer. It took so long for you to get here. 93 years are far longer than I can imagine.
Your eyes saw so much, and yet kept their enchanted, child-like glow.

I met so many people, you know? Most of the time, they were complicated people. But maybe it is life itself that is complicated, and there are so many things you do not know of the outside world.
You only need few simple things to be happy. I can hear your voice on the phone, so happy that I called.
As you say ‘hi, love’, I can find in your slightly sorrowful voice the certainty that you brought kindness in this world, and you did so through your modest, quiet soul, and your child-at-heart attitude that has never left you.

I know you have to go, and I do not mean to keep you. It’s just that I am going to miss you so much, and I really wish you could stay a little longer… but I do not mean to be selfish, I figured out a while ago that everything is borrowed in this life.

Slender hands, blue eyes and copper-blonde hair are just a tiny part of what I inherited from you. There is a universe of love within me that will follow you wherever you go.
Enjoy this new journey, dear grandma Eda.
I will stay a little longer, and listen to your voice in the rustling of the leaves.

In beloved memory of Edera Molin,  1924-2017.

Salva

Salva

Salva

Salva

Salva

Summer

Towards a new season – Tarte au chocolat with figs, blackberries and pine nuts

I woke up hearing the rain pattering slightly on the windows, as to announce timidly the start of a new season and the end of an incredibly torrid and dry Summer.
The grass in the garden burned under the blistering sun at the beginning of August, and its green soft mantle turned into a yellow hispid clearing. The golden yellow, though, seems to make the trees stand out, still green and so loaded with fruit that their branches bend under the great weight they have to bear. Continue Reading

Summer

Blackberry Almond & Dark Chocolate cake & Saveur Blog awards nomination…while I am in Paris!

Paris wakes up early. The first light of dawn illuminates that intricate tangle of rooftops and chimneys, bringing a twinkling glow into its still deserted streets.
The morning smells of butter and freshly baked warm bread. I feel at home in this city where the clouds run always fast, I feel happy of that happiness we’d like to always have. A sense of freedom pervades my body with the same intensity and romanticism placed by Eugene Delacroix into the woman with the flag who is leading the people. Continue Reading

Summer

A Creative Gathering in Venice and two easy-recipes from Veneto, Valeria Necchio’s cookbook

In the latter part of Venetian lagoon, where the water becomes stagnant and the flow enters the silent shoals, there is a precise point where the phone ceases to receive the signal.
Lately we have explored the lagoon with the FreakyBoat almost every evening and every time, in that precise spot, we took a look at the phone knowing it will be our last chance to post an instagram story.
In three different evenings, when we took the last look at the phone, I noticed some emails with a very promising object: the first was “August in Paris?”, the second was “Travel in The Netherlands” and the third was “Creative gathering in Venice”.
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Summer

Venetian Melanzane in Saor and a talk in the garden about “chiaroscuro” photography

©ZairaZarotti_01

On the train which takes me back home after spending some days with my dear Valentina, I thought about the pictures I took before leaving and that are now waiting for me, in the messy folder of “unfinished things” on my desktop.
Lately, the summer light leads me to explore some new arrangements and corners of my home, but especially my beautiful garden that in this season turns into a kind of lush oasis where the plants give their best.
The golden light calls us outside our dark rooms only after 7 pm, when the air becomes lighter and the breeze – that smells like the lagoon – gently moves the higher tree tops.

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Travel

NEW ZEALAND, A LIFE CHANGING JOURNEY – PT. 2

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*[You can read part 1 here!]

It was some kind of euphoria that made us feel a bit like gold miners. We wanted more, and more, and more. It really seemed that every mile we trod, the best wonders were still to come. Where one lake ended, another one would start. So we ended up at Wanaka lake and we knew about this famous tree growing in the water, but we didn’t know where it was.
The music of a piano led us to it. A young man was playing a real piano just in front of the tree, on the lakeshore, almost on the water. It was unreal, even now, when I think about it, I wonder if it was a dream. Ah… sometimes music is enough to take you far away! Wanaka was the first urban center we found, a small but very lively town. Continue Reading

Summer

Ricotta lemon alternative tiramisu and the importance of taking time to feed your own creativity – or something like that

©ZairaZarotti_LemonTiramisu06

The other day, between dust, mosquitoes and the noise of the sander I was using to plane the wood of our new boat – wait, I’ll tell you more about that later -, I thought about many things.
Maybe it sounds weird, but I don’t remember the last time I had time for surfing through my thoughts. Probably sometimes we really need to let ourselves do some manual work – something purely mechanical, in order to become estranged from the world for a while, just to follow your flow of thoughts like moths toward the flame. Continue Reading