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We moved!!

Hello everyone!!

I know it’s been a veery long time since I last posted on the blog, but life has been incredibly hectic and I did not have any time!

Anyways, I decided this was a good time to get back in the blogging world, and have decided to do so from my own website!

If you’d like to check it out it would mean the world to me =)

Cheers to all!

Giulia

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Spring has sprung

Hello to all!

For a few days this week I had to take Daigo out in the morning before class, which meant getting up at 6.20 to do an hour long walk from 6.30 to 7.30. I did not expect it, but I actually enjoyed getting up so early to walk the dog before starting my day, especially now that there is light. On Thursday morning I decided to take my camera with me to snap a few pictures of the park: this is probably its finest time, with all the flowers in bloom.

Also, I’ve been taking pictures of some small-scale car models for my father (he’s an editor) and learned a few new functions of my camera, so I was eager to test them out.

  

   

  

  

  

  

  

Daigo was interested in other things…

Do not be fooled by his apparent attentiveness: I’m holding a cookie in my hand 😀

The only down-side of spring?

This lovely plant:

I’m highly allergic to Common Ragweed ( and mildly to a few more) and have already started sneezing and itching. Thankfully it is not one of the most wide spread plants in Italy!

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Tromso

Be in the Arctic Circle?  Check!

Go Snowboarding with Mattia?  Check!

Go on a cruise, even if just for 4 hours?  Check!

See the Northern Lights?  Check, check, and check!

Mattia and I have been back for a while but I only now got around to write this post.

Our trip was wonderful, Norway is beautiful, with incredible scenery, and the Northern Lights are breathtaking. Although the weather was terrible for the first half of our vacation (think snow, freezing cold wind, some rain at night, never ending clouds and fog and some more snow), the second half was beautiful and lived to its fullest. We got to see the northern lights for 3 nights in row, we went snowboarding and on our last day we went on a round trip Tromsø – Skjervøy – Tromsø: a 4 hour bus drive to Skjervøy through mountains and fjords ( I wish I had pictures of this trip because it was truly breathtaking, but it isn’t easy to take good pictures form a moving bus!) and a 4 hour trip back to Tromsø at night-time on a cruise ship through utter darkness, so the possibility of seeing the northern lights is higher. lets just say we had quite the show that night!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a few pictures of our trip!

 

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Chocolate Orange Cake

And a very Happy Birthday goes to one lucky person…

Vienna 2008, first trip together!

Happy 24th Birthday Mattia!

Since we are still in Norway and I couldn’t really make him a cake for his birthday I made one in advance, for the weekend we spent together before leaving for Tromso.

As you know, I love the combination of orange and chocolate together and thought of making a chocolate – orange cake.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t be making my favourite cake on someone else’s birthday…

…but it did come out awesome, so that makes up for it, right? 😀

Chocolate Orange Cake

CAKE:

2 cups orange juice

1 1/2 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup oil

2 1/2 cups spelt flour

1 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

FILLING*

3 – 4 oranges

1 tbsp brown sugar

I only cut the cake in two layers, because I wasn’t expecting it to rise so much while cooking. Next time I will probably cut it in three layers and double the filling, to have a stronger orange taste.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine together in a bowl juice, sugar and oil and whisk well.

In a different bowl mix all dry ingredients, then add the dry to the wet, stirring well.

Place in a oiled pan and cook for 40 minutes, until the toothpick comes out dry.

Allow cake to cool down.

Meanwhile prepare the filling; peel and chop the oranges and put them along with the sugar in a sauce pan. Cook for 20-30 minutes on medium low, stirring often. If you prefer, you can skip this part and simply use orange marmalade.

Once the cake has cooled down, cut it in 2-3 layers and cover with the orange filling.

Finish the cake off with a awesome yet weird ganasche

CHOCOLATE GANASCHE

1 1/2 avocado flesh

150 g. chocolate, melted.

1/4 cup cocoa powder

Puree the avocado, add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder, stir well. cover the cake with the ganasche.

Although I thought I could taste the avocado Mattia couldn’t guess it was the secret ingredient and couldn’t detect it after I told him what it was. It may seem a bit weird to use avocado, but the result is really good. Just make sure to keep the cake refrigerated at all times  to avoid spoiling of the avocado and finish it as quickly as possible…not that I think that could be a problem! 😉

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Norway!

Guess where Mattia and I are?

Yess, our trip to see the Northern Lights has finally arrived!

We’ll be staying for a week or so in Tromso, and hope to spot the Aurora at least once!

But do not worry, I have a post scheduled for this week, so I won’t be abandoning you completely!

I hope to come back with plenty of pictures to share with you 🙂

 

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Chickpea Peanut Stew

Hey Guys!

Look what this lucky gal got in the mail yesterday:

Yes, 6 jars of pure awesomeness!

Peanut Butter isn’t very common in Italy, and The only kind you can find in normal supermarkets has hydrogenated vegetable oil in it….nooooo thanks.

Of course there always are little shops that sell international food, but lets just say they’re not exactly cheap :D.

As a consequence, I’ve been making my own peanut butter lately, but it’s quite a long process. Sometimes the process of shelling peanuts takes longer than one movie…not too fun.

Thankfully, amazon.co.uk decided it was about time they could ship food to Italy, so I am now a happy camper with 6 jars of peanut butter!

In honor of such an occasion, here is a special Peanut Butter-y recipe:

Chickpea Peanut Stew

serves 4-5

1 onion

1 celery stalk

1 carrot

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp olive oil

3-4 medium sized potatoes

1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 cup chickpeas, cooked

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup peanuts

1/2 – 1 cup water

1 tsp salt

dash of pepper

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp ginger

 

Dice the onion, celery stalk and carrot, sauté with minced garlic and olive oil for 5-10 minutes on medium, until tender.

Chop the potatoes, add to the sautèd veggies, then add can of tomatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, chickpeas, water and spices.

Cover and simmer for 50 minutes. Adjust spices as needed.

I actually love the combination of peanut butter and potatoes, and I think this stew goes perfectly well with rice.

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What would you do

Hey guys!

This is what happens when there is a cross-country ski world cup planned but no snow:

  

Pretty neat, huh?

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been studying a lot for some upcoming exams, so I haven’t been able to make new recipes. I do have a few ideas in mind though, and hope to tackle a few tomorrow!

Meanwhile, I leave you with a question I love to ask other people:

What would you do all day if you didn’t have to worry about money and didn’t have to work? 

I would love to cook and bake more, and run more often, I would like to write stories and such, would love to start archery and pick horse-back riding back up and, well…travel more!!

How about you?

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