So far in the autumn of 2016, I have made the typical recipes (apple crumble, buckwheat banana loaf) for the season plus something new inspired by my recent trip to Siena, Italy.
Ricciarelli almond shaped, almond flavoured cookies were amazing. I love the gluten free aspect and the richness of almonds. I found this recipe from Juls Kitchen to help me replenish my long gone box of ricciarelli I purchased from Nannini.
The almonds on top are not necessary. It was my mom’s insistence for decoration. As you can see I only permitted a few to be (un)enhanced. I also reduced the amount to powdered sugar. I suggest reducing the sugar. It can be quite overwhelming and as always, my grandmother, aunt and mother will remind me to cook with less sugar. If you are not already familiar with the chinese and their desserts, they don’t like it too sweet. Although I do think it’s their feeble attempt to keeping their figure and to passive aggressively to tell me to watch my growing muffin top.
Here’s how they actually do look out of the box from Siena. So I’m sure any true connoisseur of these cookies are shaking their finger at me for bastardizing my amount of sugar. For this I apologize and hope they can understand that it’s for reducing my tendency for muffin top growth and appeasing my elders.
One thing I couldn’t quite get addicted to was the panforte. I was drawn to these prettily packaged confections. Not knowing what exactly they were, I bought one anyways. I like all things (most) sweet and went for it. Oh my adventurous gluttonous self couldn’t help it! I saw them cut up on display and assumed the dark pigmentation was just dense chocolate with nuts and fruits. I was mistaken. It is the most dense fruitcake of many spices which was made during the renaissance period for the elite and clergymen as these ingredients (dried fruit, nuts, spices…up to 17!) were precious and afforded only by the rich.
It tastes good if paired with a tea along with a few other items after a big meal. I can imagine it to be quite pleasant but I haven’t had the occasion to truly appreciate it as it should be. I will give it another try but other sweets take priority.
The intention of starting with enthusiasm and pep with some accidental face plant (literal and figuratively). I have sufficient bruises and scars that I can’t quite explain as that’s the type of clumsy person I am. If I can explain it, be ready for a long tale of self humiliation. I’m sure I’m not the first to start some diary/blog/journal with the goal of keeping myself accountable to pursuit of personal contentment. I thought I had figured out what keeps me balanced and somewhat satisfied with life but doesn’t that sound a bit sad? “somewhat satisfied” is visually like this wispy grey cloud amongst the puffy white cumulus ones. The reach should be better than that right? Then again, oatmeal, as predictable as it is, keeps you regular, functioning and averaging the overall good over a longer period of time versus using up all the good karma in one spastic moment.
Currently as I ascend to middle age status, I assess how comfortable am I in my skin. The reach (or journey to an undefined goal) seems to be a pursuit for stretching towards some ideal balance with room for some indulgence in a bit too much gelato.
A memory of of my recent trip to Venice just flashed across my mind. It is very specific to a Friday mid morning on my way to seeing the Tintoretto pieces. I didn’t know too much about this artist aside from references from a Woody Allen movie with Julia Roberts in it and something about good sfumato–a term I learned long ago in my undergrad art history class. My fellow traveller, Jeff, and I just finished having an espresso break in a cafe right behind the Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. I stood there in the cafe taking in the moment. It was actually almost perfect with the sunlight barely streaming into the cafe, a morning of tranquility of looking at renaissance art and Al Green’s ‘Let’s stay together’ playing in the background. I say ‘almost’ because perfect would be swaying in the moment with someone I loved or in love with and there was no one. I think it’s in those moments that I actually care about being with someone. I am otherwise fairly content on living an independent life surrounded by my loving family and friends. Did I wish my fellow traveller was more than just this guy I barely could stand 10 days ago? Sure I did but reality settled in and we were on our way to seeing some beautiful art. The amazing part of travelling is discovery and if coupled with being fulfilled with seeing something beautiful, it is truly a happy feeling that surpasses any unhappy thought.