San Francisco, mon amour

A business trip to San Francisco, where I lived for one year

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First thing I do as soon as I land in SF?

Head to Williams Sonoma to set my eyes on all the amazing kitchen tools and inspirations that are all over the place. Look at this amazing copper Kitchen Aid!

Kitchen utensils and tools are as important as a chef’s skills and good ingredients: without the right tool, no good dish was ever prepared. Nevertheless, we need to refrain from overdoing it: there is no need for an electric orange juicer when you can squeeze your oranges in the morning with a manual one! Some food requires very specific tools, like a potato masher, but within this, there is a wide range of potato mashers that you can get. In your life, similarly, in order to achieve a task or reach a goal, you need the right tools and a recipe or an idea on how to get “there”.

Having the right tools at hand is the most important thing you can do to use your ingredients in the most efficient way and get to your end goal effortlessly and simply. In life and in the kitchen!

 

Wood-carving: it’s a horse!

Working with my hands has always great benefits

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Last weekend, I took a horse carving class with the amazing @grainandknot at @carve.london What a lovely way to spend a morning, with the nice smell of wood, working with my hands and creating something beautiful.

Now I just need a house in the countryside with a fireplace and a dog :))

Having the right tools at hand is the most important thing you can do to use your ingredients in the most efficient way and get to your end goal effortlessly and simply. In life and in the kitchen! Sometimes I live too much in my head, thinking and overthinking and planning and procrastinating, examining every option, researching endless possibilities…and NOT doing anything.

Doing some manual activity is a proven way of stopping the monkey mind and channelling energies into something practical, seeing the results of our work and be more grounded and real: it can be playing with clay, chopping ingredients for a yummy meal, using a carving knife to give life to a little wooden horse or patiently building a Lego castle. Put your hands in the driving seat, and let the mind be the servant and not the master.

Love your wooden horses!

 

Italian spritz with cruditee’

We don’t just drink an aperitif, we EAT it as well!

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Italian pinzimonio, which means cruditee (mostly carrots, celery, fennel, indivia salad) dipped in olive oil, vinegar and salt accompanied by the most amazing Spritz ever!

Saturday night at home, but feels like the best bar.

Here in the UK there is a different tradition around aperitif, even when you move away from the pub & beer combo, to something more “upscale” (noting against beer, I love it from my Dutch days!) there is not much food/appetizer served with your drinks: a few olives, perhaps some chips but you have to ask for more to accompany what’s in your glass.

In Italy you can have a proper dinner while you do your aperitif: there is food to take to your table or to nibble at the bar, “real” food like bowls of pasta with simple sauces, hummus with focaccia or cut vegetables, pizza slices, cold cuts, and mountains of chips. The chic places would bring these pre-arranged plates to your table so you can sit and sip your champagne in peace without mingling with the people at the bar to fill in your plate.

It’s a treat you can have only once in a while, unless you really want to skip dinner every evening, as it’s so satisfying you won’t eat anything else back home (and as an added bonus, you don’t get drunk because the food you have with alcohol prevents you from absorbing all the spirits immediately :))