Cardoncelli mushrooms: Possibly not an aphrodisiac but delicious nonetheless

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When autumn approaches, ‘one off’ stalls, selling mushrooms that people have collected, join the regular stalls in the market. Pride of place goes to the Cardoncello mushroom, which grows in the ‘Murgia’ area – the stony elevated plateau that occupies more or less the centre of Puglia. Continue reading

Zucchine alla Poverella

DSC_0569okZucchine allla poverella, has to be one of my favourite dishes from Puglia; golden discs of zucchini, with the taste of good olive oil, garlic, the summery freshness of the mint and the slight tang of vinegar. When I first came to Puglia and was staying at a Masseria I was fascinated to say tray after tray of zucchini slices laying out to dry in the sun, and delighted to taste the results later that evening. Continue reading

April News

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The weather has been glorious here for the last couple of weeks and it is now warm enough to lie on the beach in a bikini though the water is still very cold. There have been a spate of last minute holiday requests from people desperate to get away from the lousy weather elsewhere but , although some have made it, the flights to Puglia often get more expensive at the last minute, rather than cheaper so, in an ideal world, you want to be booking at least three weeks ahead. Continue reading

I am in love with Donna Gislena ……

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One of my favourite cantinas in Puglia (and there are many) is Cantina Albea, in Alberobello, and I find it ridiculous, extraordinary, and very Pugliese that, desite winning prestigious prizes (including the coveted tre bicchieri Gambero Rosso and Veronelli super tre stelle)their wines are not well known or easily available outside Puglia. Hopefully this will change soon (watch this space!) Continue reading

Passion, and perfection, in Locorotondo

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I first started hearing about Bina Ristorante a while ago; the (Italian) word on the street was that it was refined and stylish and well worth a visit, with ‘e poi si mangia bene’- you also eat well, as an after thought. I didn’t feel compelled to rush over there. It is difficult to eat badly in Puglia, and Italians in general go crazy for anything new which ticks the ‘stylish’ box, whatever the current definition of stylish happens to be. Suffice it to say that the fairy story of the emperor’s new clothes is not widely known here, nor the expression ‘all that glisters is not gold’. Continue reading

A Primitivo approach to computer maintenance, Sponsali Soup and Zucchini and Mint Risotto…..

A couple of weeks ago there was balmy weather, blue skies and I was full of the joys of spring, but things took a decided turn for the worse and the last few days have been cold and blustery as well as wet..

After a day of running errands, with a sore throat and runny nose, I was feeling thoroughly disgruntled, with an evening of work on the computer stretching uninvitingly ahead of me. Maybe a nice glass of warming primitivo while I worked would make me feel better? It might well have done but, as soon as I sat down with my laptop and glass of wine, my cat decided to play his favorite attention seeking trick of walking slowly back and forth between me and the computer screen.Not feeling like playing I brushed him aside, knocking my glass of wine onto the computer keyboard. After this it is fair to say I felt considerably worse… Continue reading

Cozze Gratinate – stuffed mussels

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The bizarrely named ‘Bed Bed”- local purveyor of mussels!

When I first came to Puglia I found a great restaurant with tables looking out to sea. The father of the owner sat in a corner of the terrace, cleaning mussels all day, while on nearby tables happy customers worked their way through huge plates of Spaghetti alle Cozze, Fritto Misto and antipasti including Cozze Gratinate – stuffed mussels. Continue reading