I'm really passionate about home cooking and making nutritious meals from scratch but being a super busy working Mum, I also a massive fan of a shortcut if it's done with good quality ingredients and no artificial stuff. I want to know where things come from and I want my boys to learn about good food. I want them to be enthusiastic about food and learn that real cooking doesn't have to take all day and that anyone can do it. You may know by now that I love comfort food and I think spaghetti and meatballs along with lasagna are Italy's ultimate comfort foods. This recipe is a family favourite that I have reinvented using Spice N Tice's Italian Meatball Marinara Seasoning Kit.
When you've been learning and speaking a language for a long time there are certain words and phrases that stick out and embed themselves in your everyday life. Italian is such a beautiful language, it just sounds so lovely and flows off the tongue so well, two of the reasons I wanted to learn it. For this blog post I've picked five Italian words/phrases that stand out for me.
We love pasta with pesto in this house. It's our staple, our go-to meal when we want something quick and easy to prepare, my super quick work lunch. The boys love it with tortellini or gnocchi, Matteo loves it with spaghetti. When I started cutting out gluten and dairy about two years ago I worried that I would't be able to eat pesto anymore and if the dairy free alternatives would be tasteless. Thankfully there are a few that are really nice, of which Sacla is my favourite and on my shopping list every week.
The last few years we have holidayed on the east coast of Italy in the Marche and Abruzzo regions. We tried both self-catering and full-board accommodation. Going away with family means that you want to travel to a place that meets everyone's needs. Somewhere that is great for kids but makes the adults happy too. Somewhere that caters for those that want to be active, but also for those that just want to totally relax and forget about their busy life back home for a short while. Matteo loves the beach and the sea air, whilst I am more than happy by the pool. The boys love both, as long as they are active they're content. This includes playing football on the sand and going in their boat on the sea as well as jumping in the pool and riding on Daddy's back.
Dear Italy, I fell in love with you a long time ago, your food, your language, your cobbled streets, your rolling hills. I hated history at school yet I fell in love with yours. I never thought I wanted a foreign man, even after I had spent five months emersed in Italian culture, but you sent me one anyway. You changed my life for the better.
I wrote a little bit in my first #dolcevitabloggers post about my time doing Erasmus in Urbino. I travelled to quite a few places in Italy during the five months that I spent there but I would still say now that it remains my favourite city. I just loved the cobbled streets, the architecture and the amazing surrounding scenery of the Marche hills.
So when did my connection to Italy begin? Most people think it began when I met Matteo in 2003 but actually it was quite a bit before that. My first taste of Italy was as a teenager. We stayed in Sorrento and visited Pompei and Capri. Something about the people, the food and the language must have drawn me in as while I was doing my A levels I started teaching myself some language basics using an audio course.
I love Italy, it would make sense really seen as I live with an Italian, have a degree in the language, used to use it in my job and have travelled there every year but one since 2002. There's just something about the people, the language, the history, culture and food that caught my attention.