Day 416 – #43 Visit 5 counties I’ve never been to

26 02 2011

Last weekend we went to Redditch to see a man about a dog.  As we were somewhere handy, we decided to have a jaunt to Statford upon Avon.  It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go to, but have never got around to it.  What a pretty little town!  We parked next to the Royal Shakespeare Company building on the Waterfront.  Then we went for a stroll along the riverside and along to the canal junction.  It’s lovely and it wasn’t too busy either.  Stratford itself had some really nice looking shops, but we had the dog with us so didn’t do much in the way of shopping.  It’s somewhere I think I’d like to investigate in more detail.  Maybe take the boat up that way in the future?!?!?

Day 416 – #55 50 New recipes

26 02 2011

Now, I’m the first to admit, this doesn’t look amazing.  But for a “store cupboard standby” it’s wonderful.  It’s another recipe from Gennaro Contaldo and consists of a whole onion, finely diced, pancetta, sage leaves & ricotta cheese all cooked together in a pan then tossed with farfalle pasta.  It’s lush.  And dead fast to cook.  Result!

Day 416 – #55 50 New Recipes

26 02 2011

Having eaten a “proper” Ragu in Rome, I was determined to try and recreate something at home.  I found a recipe in an old Italian cookbook I had already.  Quite a surprising list of ingredients.  Mainly different types of meat.  But the only tomato based product was one tablespoon of tomato puree.  A far cry from the tomato & mince-based ragus of everyday usage.  It took 3 hours to simmer on the hob but oh my goodness, it was definitely worth it.  Not only did it smell divine, but it tasted amazing too.  I can see why the Italians bother!

Day 406 – #14 & #15 Pass Grade 2 Lights/Heavies

16 02 2011

Yay!  I managed to pass both 🙂  I was in no way confident after making a complete hash of one light dance and having to restart the other!  Both heavy routines were exactly that.  So very pleased to have passed them both with a grade B- (which is classed as very good)

I had some good comments, including one which I loved “[Debbie is] a very graceful dancer” Ha!  I don’t think I’ve ever been described as graceful in my life!!  I also got comments about my crossed feet and turnout again.  Must try and improve on that next year 🙂

Woo – go me.

Day 406 – #55 Try 50 New recipes

16 02 2011

Inspired by my recent trip to Italy, I’ve been looking through my Italian recipe books at home in search of new dishes.

This was found in Gennaro’s Easy Italian by Gennaro Contaldo.  It’s called Gnocchi al Forno and is deeeelicious!  I couldn’t find Fontina cheese in either sainsbury’s or morrisons so after a quick google I found out that I could substitute edam cheese.  So I did.

It’s proscuitto, edam (or fontina) & white sauce with gnocchi all baked together in the oven.  Oh and it’s topped with grated pecorino cheese.  What’s not to like?!

Day 398 – #67 Go out for a meal once a month

8 02 2011

We went out for a gorgeous meal at Da Pancrazio.  Classical Italian waiters in waistcoats making you feel at home.  The ristorante was just off the Campo de Fiori and, according to legend, was where Julius Caesar was killed.

We went for the Classical Roman Taste Menu.  To start with we had Bucatini all’Amatriciana.  Which was thick, short spaghetti-type pasta coated with a pancetta & tomato sauce.  It was delicious, if a little tricky to wind round the fork!

Then we were given Saltimbocca alla Romana, which is Veal escalope topped with sage & parma ham, with a white wine sauce served with peas.  It was lovely.  My first real experience of veal and I loved it.  This was accompanied by a tomato side salad.  The tomatoes were dead tasty and coated with a tangy dressing.

Then for dessert we were given a ricotta & chocolate tart.  It was melt-in-the-mouth delicious.  I couldn’t eat all of mine so Mark finished it off.  It was “molto bene” as I said to the waiters.

It was an excellent evening and I would highly recommend visiting if you’re ever in Rome!

Day 398 – #73 Do something exciting for Mark’s Birthday

8 02 2011

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For Mark’s birthday we got tickets to see Italy vs Ireland in the Six Nations tournament.  Neither of us had ever been to an international match so it was a very exciting event for us.  We started off with a walk up through the Villa Borghese.  Stopped on the Via Flaminia for a beer & panini before the match.  Sitting outside in the sunshine was lovely, watching all the fans making their way up to the stadium.

Once we’d finished we headed up as well.  Outside the ground was packed.  The whole thing was sponsored by Peroni so they had all sorts of corporate events going on, including a band!  There were groups of Irish supporters in full leprechaun outfits!

We went into the ground itself and found our seats pretty quickly.  Luckily, we didn’t have to go up the rickety scaffolding to get to our places!  Where we were sitting we had a great view of the pitch.  Then the teams came out and the Irish squad were warming up in front of us.

The Carabinieri band came out to perform the national anthems.  The Irish one was awful – it was so quiet, we didn’t even realise it had started!  The Italian anthem however was amazing.  It’s so upbeat anyway, hearing it in full voice was a hair-raising experience.

The game was very close.  Italy scored first and the whole ground went nuts.  The end of the first half was a bit dull and we managed 2 full laps of a mexican wave!

Straight after the break Ireland scored the first try.  O’Driscoll went over right in front of us and it was great!  I was jumping up and cheering like a mad thing.  After that things got a bit tense because Italy scored a try too.  They were so much improved from last year – it was quite a transformation.  They didn’t give away any stupid penalties like they usually do so the game was very tight.  Ireland finally ran out winners at 13-11.  Phew!