Thursday, April 23, 2015

TripREvisor....Cooking in Cortona

Recently several friends have asked me about cooking classes in Tuscany ......
this blog is for you! You can Google Alessandra Federici's Cucina Cooking School
 and read all her praises on TripAdvisor, Slow Travel, and even You Tube!

Or follow me through a day of cooking with Alessandra....
First you must understand that this is a "real life" cooking class in Alessandra's family kitchen, in her home in the foothills of Cortona, Italy.  



She will meet your group in the main square in Cortona 
(a special Tuscan hillside village you will need another day to explore!) 
for a quick coffee and a look at your menu for the day. 
Alessandra is a big personality, with an engaging laugh, hilarious stories,
high energy and she is the most genuine host. 
You will feel like you have known her your whole life!
Did I mention - she is a fabulous, authentic, Italian cook!   


From there you will visit the butcher, the farmers market, maybe the 
wine store!
Your cars stay parked in Cortona and Alessandra drives you 
down the winding paths/roads to her farmhouse below.  
Usually this includes a side trip to her brother's for olive oil 
and the neighbor's chicken house 
for fresh eggs and herbs - 
ask her about the "bunnies" and make sure "rabbit" is not on the menu! 


Everyone gets an apron and everyone cooks....
When we were there in June the Electric Company was working on some lines and cut the power!
No lights, no oven!
Alessandra is big on making due with what you have. 
She stresses cooking with what is in season, what looks good in the market that day.
The roast she was planning was scratched from the menu
but our meal was fantastic! 
Don't forget to bring your appetite.....
This was my antipasto plate......


Tagliatelle alragu di Fungi can be cooked on a gas range! 




AND EVERYBODY EATS!


AND EATS, AND EATS!


I really hope you will give her a call the next time you 
plan a trip to Italy.  It will be the highlight of your holiday! 


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

TripREvisor - Camogli was a mistake!

                    But it was the best 'Travel' mistake we have ever made!


Planning a trip can always be a challenge, especially in another country.
  I always start on-line, checking out travel sites and travel blogs, 
then I reach out to friends who may have vacationed in that spot for hotel and 
restaurant recommendations.  
Our trip.....Cinque Terre, the five villages on the upper Western shore of Italy!



With our friends Tim and Sandra, we planned to hike, explore, take the train, eat fresh seafood, 
and of course, sample the local wine.
This Hotel came highly recommended from friends and the reviews sounded perfect! 







AND IT WAS...ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!
AND SO WAS THE SMALL ITALIAN FISHING VILLAGE OF CAMOGLI!

(Which could, TO SOMEONE NOT PAYING ATTENTION, be confused with the middle village in the Cinque Terre known as Corniglia)
Que Sera Sera! Whatever will be, will be!
As it turned out Camogli was the perfect spot for us to explore the Cinque Terre by train, 
out of the busy touristy towns,
and return every afternoon for a refresher in one of the family friendly piazzas .
We witnessed the most incredible sunsets
before enjoying the catch of the day at a different restaurant every night 
and strolling down the boardwalk back to our hotel for a nightcap! 





Buona sera Tim and Sandra!
***More on the Cinque Terre to come! 





Monday, March 30, 2015

March FABness !

A Ladies Night Out with great food and cocktails, a spectacular fashion show, and tempting raffle items all to raise money for the Norwell Women's Club......
and my chance to reconnect with old and new friends!

This may not occur to someone who is not familiar with moving, but with every new adventure ~ in this case retiring and moving back to our home after being gone for 8 years ~
comes the challenge of "connecting". That is finding  a place to fit in, a group to belong to, friends who share common interests, a way to share talents and stories, and make new memories.


I volunteered for the food group and these two ladies were a blast to work with!
Mary Lou designed our matching aprons! 



Some of the food was catered and desserts were brought in by members.
My chicken salad on green apple slices were a big hit.....
Everyone seemed to be on their spring diet so the "no bread" choices were popular! 


........also the Antipasti on a Skewer!  


I can't tell you how many deviled eggs Susie made
but each one was perfect! 


We had adorable high school girls volunteer to serve for us
while we kept the food coming.
The decorating committee did a fantastic job of bringing a little spring 
to our otherwise dreary weather with 
hundreds of butterflies fluttering from the ceiling 
in pink and green.


It was just a "love-ly" evening!  




Saturday, March 21, 2015

Solo Footprints......

                           " Together, our footprints travel on, 
                         Leaving prints, side by side, in the snow.
                                    They are joined together
                             By love, friendship, and happiness, 
                                And together, our lives go on. "






Meet SOLO
He is a Norwich terrier
and we have welcomed him home! 

(and you thought this was going to be another post about snow!) 



He has been with us for one week
and we are still getting to know each other......


He likes a snack 
and a nap! 


And we are all waiting patiently for spring!  




Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Something different in New York City

Where do you go for a classic American breakfast in NYC?
........Home to the "future stars of stage and screen"?
You go to Ellen's Stardust Diner on 51st and Broadway where the waitstaff sings to you while they pour your coffee!





That is also where you hop on the "On Locations Tour" bus for a 
guided tour of the locations in NYC where all your favorite TV shows 
and films were made.  


Here we are posing, appropriately, in front of the building used for 
the apartment on 
"Friends"



And you may recognize this firehouse from
 the movie
"Ghostbusters" 

It was a fun tour, something different, 
a great way to see the sights and it brought back fond memories of 
favorite forgotten shows.






Sunday, March 15, 2015

New York City - a place for friends to meet!

When the stars align, New York City is the perfect place for friends to meet and play.  Can I tell you how much I love having girlfriends who like to organize a trip!?!











First on the agenda, a Broadway Musical of course.....
Honeymoon in Vegas featuring Tony Danza
Great music, laughter, and the flying Elvis-es!






then, decisions, decisions.....
the night is still young and we are in NYC.....
Margaritas & a movie anyone?


The next morning we all met at Ground 0
to tour the underground museum honoring the victims of 9\11.
To say it is moving and powerful is an understatement! 
The sheer enormity of this historic event is captured 
and reminded all of us of that morning, when we were mesmerized 
by what we were watching on TV. 
It is a part of OUR history and everyone must see it! 



After an all-girls lunch and a little shopping at Chelsea Market we caught up with the guys
 for dinner at Hurley's Saloon in New York's Theater District
 where we spent the evening reminiscing 
about good times together in London.
  



.......and planning our Tuesday together!





Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dreamin' at the Boat Show

The Boston Boat Show.....
It's inside, it's warm, everything is clean, people are nice.....
beverages are served....
What's not to like?


I could snuggle right in for a nap on these leather loungers!
This party pontoon had a hot dog grill on the back...
and florescent runners down the sides,
perfect for a sunset cruise on the river. 



The Captain was in his negotiating mode....


I found a PALM TREE to lean on!  



This may be the new boat for next summer.....


and this one WILL have a name!


Everyone gets to suggest one name...
and the Captain decides.
Mine is "Delta Blu"
What's yours?