Some snaps from Rome & the addict’s recipe …
Rome was exactly what I had expected. Full of life and sunshine, it is a city of hustle and bustle, of espresso shots and scooters and of incredible ancient ruins scattered across the entire city. Rome is a city for exploration, of religious devotion and most importantly for food.
When backpacking across Europe I was savvy with my money and often I bought food at shops and markets or binged on complimentary continental breakfasts supplied by the many hostels I visited – For Italy however my frugalness left me and I ate out all day everyday during my stay at this vibrant and gastronomic country!
Italian food is my absolute favorite. Where taste and comfort is at the heart of it, Italian food does away with any fuss or pretension and when made with love and fresh ingredients packed with flavour – Italian food is eccezionale!
Below are a few snaps from my trip to Rome and below that is this week’s scrap on an Italian favorite – Gnocchi. It’s surprisingly easy to make and the recipe below is fool proof, perfect for a lazy sunday afternoon whatever the weather. Admittedly I tried my first ever Gnocchi in Rome and let me tell ‘ya – I wasn’t disappointed!
I ate at a small restaurant that was a short walk away from my hostel. Tempio di Mecenate is a cosy spot where they serve good wholesome homey food. It’s good value too and is close to the enchanting Porta Magica – a magic portal in a garden which is a quiet and special find rarely surrounded by tourists. Before traveling to another dimension, I recommend having lunch at the restaurant and although it will cost you extra, sit outside in the sun – it will be worth it.
Old school Roman dining beside a garden of magic – bellissima! (…yes I’m unashamedly throwing Italian words into my post)
Although in Rome, I had Gnocchi with a rich ragu sauce. The recipe below is perfect for beginners and although it does take some time, it is incredibly simple and can be made into larger batches and stored in the freezer for future use.
This recipe ensures the Gnocchi is the centre of attention. The sauce is very light which I think compliments this starchy and substantial pasta
Ingredients (Serves two)
2 large potatoes
2 cups of flour
salt and pepper
NOTE: Gnocchi can be kept in the freezer for future use. Just pack the pieces in a zip bag with a little dusting of flour (to prevent them sticking) and defrost them the night before you need them
This is comfort food in a bowl and although it uses simple ingredients -it doesn’t skimp on flavour. It may take some time and attention but gnocchi isn’t as daunting as you’d think – give it ago.
Expect more posts on my Italian adventures. I have tonnes of photos, tips and recipes I want to share. This was only a little taste of Rome, there’s plenty more to come – so look out for more on the scrapbook
A stroll with a camera …
I didn’t stay for very long but Venice was a spectacular city. It was crowded in August but this did nothing to diminish it’s beauty. I took a night train into the city and a night train out. It was a quick stop on my journey to Rome and wouldn’t have happened had it not been for a good friend of mine who took a position at the Peggy Guggenheim gallery. After a VIP tour of the gallery and a quick trek around the city. I vowed to return – hopefully with a lover in hand …
These are a few shots I took whilst making may way through the bridged maze. Venice is truly something.
Don’t be lingering around windows now …
Prague has to be in my top three European cities. It has it all. A fantastic nightlife, restaurants and bars and the city itself appears completely untouched from time. Little has changed within the medieval city – You can still visualize horse and carriages making there way across cobbled lanes and the old square is spectacular. The city is a historian’s oasis with a tale to be found around every street corner. It is breathtakingly beautiful and extremely cheap too. I found the Czech’s welcoming and warm but funnily enough, the ‘tough Czech’ persona lives on, hardened & justified by Nazi and soviet oppression – and it’s something that is even celebrated. I spoke to a woman one night at some cave styled bar in the city, she was an Australian who married a Czech, and she told us about how her mother-in-law, had lived in 4 different countries without ever leaving her home! I was told she is an old tough Czech too!
The city is rich with history and the story behind how the people of Prague defended the city from the Nazis is something to marvel at. Civilians fortified the city using tables and chairs hindering the German invasion whilst the Czech’s fought – waiting desperately for the Americans to liberate them. The tale ends tragically however as efforts to push out one oppressor ended with another entering the city – the Russians soon took over Prague. The communist grip over Prague is not quite history yet but the Czechs found liberation in the end & they fully deserve it.
The old square is a place you cannot miss when in Prague. Surrounded by renaissance buildings and restaurants, is the famous astrology clock. 700 years old and still operational. The grim reaper pulls the bells – harking a new hour closer to death. Very ominous but incredibly beautiful & ornate. Above is a snap of powder tower. Although most of the medieval city walls are intact, the tower stands alone today and gets its name for it use, as hundreds of years ago – the tower stored barrels of gunpowder! Thankfully no such explosives are stored within today!
When I was in Prague I went on one of the free Sandeman city tours. It was extremely hot, August last year and our tour guide sat us down in the shade as she told tales of knights and feuding families. Many of the aristocratic homes are still seen today and can be identified by the artwork which adorns the many renaissance buildings within the city -Called Sgraffito – it is the beginning of what is known today as graffiti. One of the most memorable stories was the countless cases of ‘defenestration’ – whereby people/rivals were kicked or pushed out of windows. The term itself was coined after incidents happening in Prague castle in the 1600s. As a result, I suppose, I didn’t linger too long around windows!
Another interesting observation is Adam and Eve tower, sat atop the stone church in the old square. Most likely an architectural mishap – the tower on the left is smaller than its twin on the right. The towers were named, romantically symbolising Adam’s love for Eve and as the larger tower – he stands to protect her.
There is so much to do in Prague, this scrap could go on for pages and pages but one suggestion is to visit Prague castle and the neighboring monastery which has been brewing beer for centuries. The views from the Castle are spectacular and although entry is free – I really recommend taking a tour as the place has so much history and folklore attached to it. I paid for the combined tour with Sandeman, as I loved the tour guide from the free tour the day before, I waited to book during her shift and for 12 euro, she brought a group of us through Prague castle, it grounds and later to St Norbert monastery to taste some medieval beer!
The view from atop Prague Castle is worth the trip alone but at least take a historic guide book with you, so you don’t miss out on all the cultural superstitions which are attached to almost every statue within Prague. Prague Cathedral is also a towering beauty you’d be mad to miss.
This scarp has been a little rambling, almost borderline stream of consciousness but Prague truly is a city that you can escape in and as I said before it is breathtakingly beautiful. I would be devastated if any sky scraper or modern monstrosity was to appear in it! The city is also an amazing party town - with an epic ice bar and enough absinthe bars to make an Irishman blush! I'm sure I'll post about beer crawling in Prague soon enough but for now this scrap is about beauty - which Prague surely is !