mardi, juillet 31, 2007

Fleur de Courgette Frite, Vinaigre Balsamique et Miel and Beef Cappaccio

Male Zucchini Flowers

blogged about her Fried Zucchini flowers the other day and set me thinking that I should make some myself. On my visit to the supermarket this afternoon, I came across some lovely male zucchini flowers (she bought the female flowers the other day, they are the ones carrying the vegetable) and so bought 12 of them to make some Fleur de Courgette Frite, Vinaigre Balsamique et Miel (Fried Zucchini Flower with Balsamic Vinegar and Honey). Male flowers keep slightly better than the female ones, in any case not to be kept for more than 2-3 days in the fridge as they wilt really fast.

I made a simple Tempura batter , but made it smooth so that I will not have the sexy lumps for a change. Added in some coarse sea salt and then lightly coated the flowers in the batter. Fried them gently in a mix of olive and sunflower oil and served them hot with grated Parmesan cheese and a sauce made of Honey and Balsamic Vinegar.

They were really light, slightly crispy yet tender and delicious. Baby Girl loved it (goes really well with the cheese and sauce - sharp, sweet and sour) and I had to persuade her to wait for her daddy to come home before we cook the other half of the flowers. These fried flowers will do great as an appetiser, eaten with a few glasses of Champagne or Prosecco. They can also be stuffed (e.g. with cheese) and fried or baked in an oven. Many possibilities...

Meat Bone to enrich the Soup

I made a Leek and Potato Soup to start, followed by another starter of Beef Cappaccio. My kids eat raw beef. In fact, they love it. So this no-need-to-cook dish is occasionally served in this house. Just spread out the wafer-thin slices of beef, add Olive Oil, Parmesan Cheese, Salt, Pepper and Lemon Juice and it's ready for consumption!

Beef Cappaccio

I am still working hard to try to get the house ready for the new school year (starting in September). As the kids will need alot of my help when they start their 1st year in an English-speaking school. Also, I'll be learning Italian then and will have most mornings taken by the lessons. And I expect our social life to start again, the expatriate community here being small and rather active. Apparently there is a Ferrari Women's Club and as a Ferrari Wife I'm expected to join. Hmm...maybe I'll be able to start a monthly Cook-Together session once I'm in it. That would be quite fun, don't you think so?

lundi, juillet 30, 2007

Play Play Play (and Visit to the Beach at Livorno)

What do children do but play, watch TV, forage for food in the pantry and play some more?

Call me Cinderella

I should make them do some homework and work the brains, but am busy with the unpacking, besides we're not in Singapore and need not join the rat race so early, so I'm letting them make the most of their childhood - while they can.

And me Cowboy-Knight cannot decide

The movers complained that I had too many toys and just dumped half of the boxes unopened in the playroom, the other half they just emptied en masse on the floor. What a mess, God was I frustrated. It took me at least a week to put things to order and finally 2 days ago, I assembled the last toy in the playroom - the Kaufladen.

The Grocer in her Kaufladen
Shopping Trolley
Close-up of some of the groceries

I've still a few toys meant for outside to assemble, but it's so hot here (averaging 36-40ºC daily) nobody wants to play outside.We'll have to look into setting up a small pool, which would have to wait since we'll be driving back to Paris in 2 weeks and having a pool will need some studying of maintenance : chlorine, anti-insects etc.

Pour more water over me, please!

I honestly see no interest in having so much heat. You can't do anything outside or you'll wilt, the garden is dry and the trees dying, insects abound and all you want to do is stay in and drink.
On Sunday we had the great idea to drive a few hours to the beach to escape said heat. It was our 3rd trip to Livorno and we wanted to go there for the pretty decent seafood restaurant at its port. But whatever beach it has sucks. I think that we'll have to go to another beach the next time.

First of all there is almost no beach to speak of. And it has little sand. But loads of people. Hubby's recurring comment throughout the day was, "My, this beach is popular (as in classe populaire)..." We certainly sound snobbish, but well, with the amount of taxes we pay nowadays, you can imagine that we've lost a little touch with the reality of the working classes. I avoid the expensive beach clubs like the plague, but rubbing shoulders with your average factory worker (and watching them read magazines filled only with photos versus your Economist and Le Monde) was a little surreal.

I think that what worries me about them is not material, but intellectual. It's about mentality. Mom has always told us not to envy our neighbours and likes to recite the story of our maternal grandmother who was very poor all her short life, but who insisted that when one is poor, one need not have to look it. Apparently the dear lady would always dress herself cleanly and correctly and carry herself with dignity even as she was selling mussles in the wet market. And she had also instilled in her children a thirst for learning. Mom has had no chance to be educated, but she seizes new knowledge greedily, whether it was trying to follow us through our homework (until she could really no longer catch up), or learning Mandarin through the radio at home or at the Community Centre in her 50s. I've always told Hubby that if she hangs around more often, she'll be speaking French in no time.

OK, so I get carried away just thinking of those picture magazines and the 2 women next to me spending their whole afternoon on their handphones.
Our tent, of course it had to be different from everyone else's :-)

We were lucky to still get to eat Gelati before we headed home. Because Hubby as usual did his are-we-ready-to-go act at the door and left without taking his wallet, driving license or even his precious phone. I've to get everyone ready, do I have to prepare the guy too?

I managed to pay for lunch with my Bancomat card (that usually only works once in a while), leaving me with 2 50-euro notes for petrol and ice cream. At the 1st petrol station, the 1st 50-euro note was swallowed by the machine with no petrol being offered in return. The 2nd note was used at the 2nd station leaving us with no cash for ice cream. Luckily I still have coins somewhere in the bag that had managed to escape liquidation by Hubby at some point in the near past. He likes to complain that my coin purse is too heavy and would help me use up my coins - leaving me in a mad rage when I needed coins for the supermarket trolley and could no longer find any, for example.

On the way back, he said, "Should we take away a few burgers at McDonald's for the kids?"

"And what do you intend to pay for them with?" I retorted.

So we reached home at 9:30pm and ate a watermelon and some ham for dinner.

samedi, juillet 28, 2007

La Brace

I've mentioned before that Hubby used to dine very often at La Brace in Maranello when he was living here alone in the week. Usually served decent portions and somemore get discount. Now that I'm around, he would bring us there to dine in most Friday evenings to maintain *relations*, support supporter. Suits me fine, don't have to cook so I'm certainly not going to complain.

The food is not too bad in general. Classic stuff like pizzas, pasta, meat, seafood (usually fried or grilled), pretty good value for money (as long as they do not ketok you like they did me once). And at the end of the meal they usually serve you the Nonna's home-made Limoncello guaranteed to kill all bacteria in the stomach so strong it is.

The service is usually assured by the son of the family, a certain Mario. The thing about eating there for us is that we're pretty exposed. To the village. There would always be some colleague of Hubby's hanging around in the restaurant. The other evening, a young lady came up to us with her hubby, nearly paralysed my hand with her iron grip and introduced herself as one of Hubby's Senior Buyers. Better still, she informed us that she's actually the restaurant owners' tenant, renting part of their house in Maranello.

Which is why I always try to remember to bathe and comb my hair and put on something clean before I go to the restaurant. And to try not to chew with my mouth open. And more difficult, to try not to finish up everybody's plates.

Ristorante Pizzeria "La Brace"
Via Claudia Est, 22
Maranello (MO)
Tel. 0536/941159

vendredi, juillet 27, 2007

Thank you for the book

I drove out of the house yesterday and saw that there was a packet sticking out of my letter box. Yippee - mail! I'm a sucker for mail, used to have 40 penpals from all over the world when I was a teenager so that there would always be a letter waiting for me in the letter box.

It was from Amazon. Hmm...didn't order anything from them lately and in any case it was addressed to both Hubby and myself. Had to be a present.

And as I've guessed it right, it was from the Schwarzs. To thank us for our sans-serviette hospitality the week before. It was a book by Hervé THIS : Casseroles & Éprouvettes, about the Science of Food.

When they were around, I had mentioned that cooking is not just an art, but also a science, that I'm still trying to figure out the latter and how it could help me better understand my food and cook it better. They knew of this book, so voilà the book aussitôt mentionné aussitôt reçu. Time for some heavy reading.

Thank you very much B and F for the book and the next time you visit us, I'll work on making sure that I receive an equally interesting gift :-).

Herb Pesto, Orechiette with Salmon

It started out like this. I went to the supermarket to buy a few vegetables to make a soup. Then before I could pick them up, I came across some fresh Orechiette pasta. Have always wanted to buy some.

So I did and spent the next half hour thinking of what to cook it with. Left the supermarket without the vegetables. OK, so no soup tonight.

I was convinced that it would do great with salmon. Then I wondered what sauce I should accompany it with. I walked a few rounds in the kitchen and kept seeing my pots of Basilic and Mint. *Lightbulb* Why not a Herb Pesto???

Basilic Leaves (wherever possible use fresh herbs)
Parmesan Cheese
Coarse Sea Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

The Salmon I marinated them quickly with Honey and Balsamic Vinegar. Seared them on a hot pan (the idea is to have them grilled on the outside and pink on the inside). Serve hot with fresh tomatoes, the Orechiette pasta and the Herb Pesto. Yummy.

jeudi, juillet 26, 2007

Pesto and Chitarra

I actually forgot the time since I usually spend my waking hours nowadays unpacking. By the time I realised that it was time to make dinner, the supermarket had closed. Alamak, what were we going to eat this evening?

I looked around and saw that I still had some Chitarra pasta left. And a new pot of fresh Basilic. So voilà that was it - Pesto and Chitarra!
2-3 Handfuls of Fresh Basilic
1 Handful of Pine Nuts
1-2 Handfuls of Parmesan Cheese
1-2 cloves of Garlic
Coarse Sea Salt, Pepper to taste
Loads of Olive Oil

There is nothing like home-made Pesto Sauce.

Call Me Spider Buster

I wake up, prepare myself and usually start the day unpacking. Probably still another week of boxes to unpack at this rate. Then I will take a few breaks in the day to feed the kids and eventually the blog (my way of relaxing is to write). Where necessary, I'll do a wash, clean the house a little, drive to the supermarket to shop for food and buy the kids a few gelati along the way (better have a budget for ice cream when you live in this country). And one other thing I've discovered that I have to do at least every other day is go around the house clearing out insects especially spiders, their babies and their webs.

The first time I saw a spider I freaked out, had goosebumps and jumped up and down. In Stuttgart, I usually amused myself by spraying them (rather big ones) with insecticide and watching them die a slow death. Since moving to this house and facing the armies that they make up, I've had to change strategy.

I now go around with my duster attached to a long stick, sturdy slippers, a powerful torch and a few wet ones. If I had to kill them with insecticide, I would end up broke or would have suffocated myself with it before the spiders disappear.

The duster is for reaching really high ceilings and literally sweeping webs filled with big and small spiders (trust me, they are everywhere!). The slippers for smashing and squashing them whenever I see them and where they are within reach, the wet ones for cleaning up the mess. The torch I would need to help me source out almost invisible webs (loads of them) and get rid of them before they become too big. The baby spiders look like flecks of dust, but I was told that if you do not get rid of them, in 10 days they would become adults and at least 20 times bigger. Anything left untouched for a day or 2 in this house is sure to be colonised by spiders. #@*+%$¿

I'm only talking about spiders as there are also loads of ants, wasps (I'm getting quite good at killing them), flies, silverfish, centipedes and believe it or not, found a scorpion in the kitchen last night!!!

I thought at first that it was one of my kids' plastic toys, but luckily remembering that one can find almost anything in this house (maybe even snakes), I called Hubby over to check it out. It started moving when he arrived so that we could be in no doubt about its substance. Hubby squashed it with his slippers. Now you know why we all have to wear good slippers in this house.

I'm still all squeasy about it. I don't think that I'll ever learn to get blasé about this one. After all I'm a Scorpio myself.

PS : I'm seriously thinking of buying a gun to shoot the pigeons who are shitting everywhere in my arcade and especially on my new car.

mercredi, juillet 25, 2007

Nasi Lemak

Coconut Rice, Sambal Egg, Fried Ikan Bilis (anchovies) with Peanuts, Cucumber, Luncheon Meat

In his current job, Hubby doesn't travel as much as he used to. Or he would actually travel within Italy (mainly to Torino) say about once or twice a week and since we are 2-4 hours away from almost everywhere else in the football boot Peninsular, he could usually complete his trip within the day. Then he was recently in Germany, Austria etc. And still back within the day. A miracle, if you consider the fact that the nearest airport is in Bologna which is an hour away and far from being an international destination.

Well, the thing is that if he travels with his boss, he gets to use the company's private jet or helicopter. The machine doesn't seem very stable, but it does help to save travelling time and the hassle at most airports.

So moral of the story is that Hubby is back home for dinner most evenings. And when he told me that he would be home late on Tuesday because he had been invited to a colleague's farewell party (at the Golf Club just opposite our house) after his business trip to Austria, I quickly whipped out my precious can of coconut milk and last packet of dried ikan bilis - ready to cook myself a Nasi Lemak in his absence.

Coconut milk used to be easily and cheaply available at my friendly neighbourhood Pennymarkt in Stuttgart. Now the one can I last saw here (and refused to purchase) costs 5 times more. Thank God that I wisely bought 4 cans before I left Germany. But there is still hope as I've yet to visit the Chinese shop that is an hour away from my place. Once I finish my war stock and become desperate enough, I'll make the journey. For the moment, IKEA has my priority (and petrol).

So back to this Singapore favourite. I made it for lunch, had some for tea and finished it at dinner. With lots of help from the Babies (Eldest Son's reaction was just "Blegh!") who though burning at the tongue gamely ate the rice encore and encore. The rice, of course, liberally drowning in Singlong's Nasi Lemak Sambal Chilli sauce (no, I didn't make it myself this time as I've given all my chillies to Pris and have yet to find any here). My one and only bottle of emergency sambal chilli sauce.

Coconut Rice :
400ml Coconut Milk
360g Jasmine Rice
1 Tsp Salt
Knotted Pandan Leaves (or extract)
120ml thicker Coconut Milk

Cook the rice with the coconut milk, salt and pandan leaves. When the rice is cooked and dry, turn off the heat, pour in the thicker coconut milk (I added cream to normal coconut milk) and cover for 15 minutes for the rice to absorb the milk. Fluff up rice with a fork before serving.

When I looked at the luncheon meat, I kept thinking of Otah Otah (Fish Paste in Banana Leaf). So that's probably what I'm gonna make sometime soon.

PS : Pris, here's the Nasi Lemak Sambal recipe - 100g Dried chillis, 20g Fresh Chillis, 1 clove Garlic, 100g Shallots, 55g Shrimp Paste, 1/3 can Coconut milk, 1/4 cup Oil, 4 Tbsps Sugar, 1/4 Tsp Salt, Tamarind or Lime Juice. Soften dried chillis in water, grind them with the fresh chillis, garlic and shallots. Heat up the oil, fry shrimp paste and the chilli paste till fragrant, add in coconut milk, sugar etc.

Risotto à la Queue de Lotte et aux Crevettes Roses

I have a little fascination with the burbot (lotte en Français) as I've not made it in a while and seeing it so often here with its ugly face and meaty tail gave me the desire to cook it.

So I bought one the day we bought the stingray at Carrefour and made a Risotto à la Queue de Lotte et aux Crevettes Roses with it. Basically just Rice with Tail of Burbot and Cooked Pink Prawns.

OK, I wanted to cook it like a paella at first (which would give me a crispy fish), but I suspected that it would be better to cook it like a risotto to benefit fully from the juices of the fish, which led me to combine methods in the end.

Fish cut into big cubes
Prawns with heads removed (but kept aside) and shells peeled
Olive Oil
Chicken Broth
Dill, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Parsley
Arborio Rice
Lemon Juice
Sautée heads of prawns and Burbot tail bone in olive oil till fragrant
Remove heads (infuse them in the chicken stock instead) and add in garlic, vegs (but not the zucchini - I know some escaped me though) etc
Add rice, stir a little, push aside and cook the fish
Remove the fish when the juices are out and the meat almost cooked through

Add in the prawn-infused chicken broth ladle by ladle

Put in the zucchini, fish and prawns when the rice is almost cooked. Cover. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and lots of lemon juice (fishy dish).

The result

Hmm, the next time I'll do it in an Indian Curry...

samedi, juillet 21, 2007

The Hunt for the Frigo Cantina (Stingray and Chitarra with Salted Butter Sauce)

We were off to Bologna again today. To a Mall. With Hubby.

Why was the guy with shopping phobia so enthusiastic about visiting a mall?

Because he is in a race against the clock, trying to find a Frigo Cantina (Wine Cellar/Refrigerator) to house all his hundred-odd bottles of wine probably spoiling away in the current hot Summer weather...

I found him one on Ebay, but of course it didn't suit Monsieur as it had to be with an opaque door (no light must filter in), vibration-proof etc etc. This is when we wish that we were back in France, where wine cellars are aplenty and much cheaper than over here in Italy.

Anyway, fruitless day at the Mall for the poor guy, though we consoled ourselves by shopping for food in Carrefour and managed to find some fresh stingray to make dinner with.

If you ask me, I still prefer to eat my stingray the Singaporean way i.e. BBQ with sambal chilli. But over the years I've been converted a little to the French way of eating it, which is finer and not too bad at all.

The usual way would be to serve it with a Butter and Capers Sauce. But I'm no fan of capers so it'll have to be a little different.

Still, we stick to the poaching method and we poach it in a delicately-perfumed broth (court-bouillon) that we make with celery, carrots, bay leaf, onion, cloves, garlic, lemon slice, anis seeds, herbs like thyme, parsley, estragon, dill etc. If you are lucky enough to find some fumet de poisson from your local fish monger, I would use it too. For a reasonal piece of clean and peeled stingray, it shouldn't take longer than 10 minutes. Boiling broth, put fish inside, cover pot, immediately lower heat to lowest. The meat of the fish should be cooked just enough to be able to leave its cartilage easily, but not overcooked so that it becomes dry and chewy. Actually I already have a similar recipe in my May 2006 archives.

For the sauce, happy to have finally found salted butter, I made a simple sauce with the butter, garlic, shallots, some white wine, the court bouillon (fish broth) and some herbs. OK, a touch of cream as well.

And I served the all with fresh Chitarra pasta that had been cooked in...the fish broth! And then mixed with salted butter, of course.

Actually, the poaching method would work just as well with more Asian ingredients like ginger, lemongrass etc. Depends on the fish and what you intend to serve it with. It's very mutually-benefitting : the broth adds flavour to the fish and vice versa.

Beef with Ginger and Green Beans (Leftovers Part 2)

Beef with Ginger and Green Beans

I mentioned before that part of the joy of cooking was to transform leftovers into an edible meal or 2. So at noon today we had meal Nº 2 from Wednesday's Pho : Beef Sautéed with Ginger and Green Beans. From the leftover sliced raw beef for those who remembered.

Nothing spectacular, but quite satisfying nonetheless, fragrant ginger, garlic and onions, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, sherry etc.

On our guests' last evening with us, I made a Moroccan Couscous with lamb, chicken and chipolatas (no merguez, will have to find a North African grocery somehow). Not the kind of dish that you usually eat in a very hot Summer like the one we're having right now, but those who have lived in France are really so fond of this dish they'll eat it any time.

Well, we'll be sorry to see our guests leave, but maybe the next time they visit we'll have more time for them. We forgot to offer them towels etc, can you imagine that? The guest towels must be somewhere in the boxes still...

Happy 57th Mom!

With all that unpacking and the visit from Hubby's old school friend and his family, I had lost track of time - literally.

Yesterday, as I picked up where I left off in my unpacking after saying goodbye to our guests, I started to wonder what the day's date was. The last time I kept track of the date was - Friday the 13th! (Forgot to buy Lotto)

And I realised with a start then that mom would be turning 57 on Saturday and that of course the new WiFi modem that we had had to be kaput since the day before i.e. no Skype. Thank God that there was still the phone and that it wasn't too late to call home. Well, it must be nearly 11pm in Singapore then, but mom usually stays up late to wash clothes, watch TV etc.

We spent 15 minutes on the phone. Another year that I couldn't celebrate her birthday in person with her. That I couldn't give her her present personally. At times like these I would wonder why I left home as I did all those years ago. But of course life, as we know, goes on. And we should all just try to make the best of it.

So once again, Happy 57th Birthday, Mom! Hope that you've had a great time with the rest of the family and that you will enjoy good health and get to celebrate at least another half a decade of delicious, warm birthdays.

jeudi, juillet 19, 2007

Transforming Leftovers (Kai See Rice Rigatoni)

Part of the fun with cooking is transforming leftovers into an edible meal or two.

Venus Clams in Garlic Wine Sauce

Last evening we had Venus Clams (Vongole) in Garlic Wine Sauce to start with followed by a Vietnamese Pho (mix of Pork Ribs and Beef) that I served with Rigatoni pasta made of Rice Flour. I make a Pho (for recipe see October 2006 archives) whenever I feel like having a complete soup meal. And since my guests were spending their day in Bologna, I had the time to prepare my broth and let it simmer for hours on end.

This morning, they left for a trip to Modena and I will take the opportunity to make another broth, this time around for a Moroccan Couscous - another family favourite. In the meantime, I had lots of cooked Rice Rigatoni pasta, the beef and pork rib broth, mushrooms, bean sprouts and even meat from yesterday's Roast Chicken lunch. What to do with them?

Well, I have been craving for Kai See (Shredded Chicken) Hor Fun so the idea to make a Kai See Rice Rigatoni took shape. The ingredients were all there so cooking it would be a piece of cake.

Meat Broth
Light Soy Sauce
Dark Soy Sauce
Fish Sauce
Salt and Pepper
Rock Sugar
4 Tsps Corn Starch
Rice Noodles or Rice Pasta
Shredded Chicken Meat
Bean Sprouts
Chilli Oil
Green Vegetables etc.

Brown onion, garlic and ginger. Mix the sauces and corn starch in the cold meat broth. Pour it into the pan. Stir the sauce as it starts to thicken. Add in the rock sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the rice pasta and garnish with shredded chicken meat, mushrooms, bean sprouts, chilli oil, cooked green vegetables etc.

Kai See Rice Rigatoni

mardi, juillet 17, 2007

Venice and Lotte au Curry Jaune Thaïlandais

Hubby took the day off and we set out all 10 of us to Venice for the day.

I've not been there since the Carnaval in February 1996.

And this was the first time that we visited the city as a couple.

But we were angry with each other in the car as we've forgotten the strollers. Fancy visiting a city in this hot weather WITH the babies WITHOUT at least a stroller...

And we were a little disgusted with the news that we received on our way driving there vis-à-vis the insurance premium that we would be expected to pay for the house : 1000 euros versus the 120 that we used to pay in Germany! Once again, how do the Italians cope? So many things are so much more expensive than elsewhere here.

Luckily Hubby used to visit Venice on business when he was working in Germany and had experience with parking in the city. For no cars of course are allowed in the city. Prices really vary depending on the parking even though the buildings/lots are next to one another. The one we went to was better for just a day trip, e.g. for 4 hours we paid 9 euros. It's next to the bus depot. Opposite to the parking we went to was another parking, but this one would be more suitable for overnight parking.

Once you've gotten rid of the car, you'll have to decide how you wish to visit the city. If you are strong and courageous (like I used to be), I would strongly recommend visiting Venice on foot. It's a lovely city with loads of little shops, museums etc in little alleys, walking would allow one to catch a maximum of what the city has to offer.

Otherwise, you'll want to hire a means of transportation which would have to be on water. Best not to be seasick-prone like Yours Truly. There again unless you have a loaded purse, you'll have to check out prices before you proceed. We were 10 and the first boat (small one) wanted 90 euros one-way for the trip to San Marco. The second we went to was the public ferry which would cost 6 euros per person one-way, 13 euros for a 12-hour validity period and so on. But you'll have to squeeze with loads of people on the ferry. The 3rd boat (another small one) asked us for 60 euros and that, we decided, was a deal. I would suggest that if you were not too numerous to hang around the public ferry counter and try to form a group of at least 10 with a few other tourists so as to hire a small boat together.

There is also the famous Gondola. For romantic couples with money to spare and a desire to risk the dirty waters of the canals. My opinion, of course.

Venice is lovely (I repeat myself) even though it is sinking and can be quite inconvenient. It is now also home to François Pinault's private Art Collection (Palazzo Grazzi). We will have to visit it another time though as we had 6 kids with us and too little time.

One of the shopping highlights besides the ubiquitous masks was jewellery made of Murano glass. I bought a little pendant for Baby Girl and could find nothing for myself as my fingers are too fine for the usual ring. Once we're no longer on a tight budget maybe I'll get some of those vases. Pretty and pricey.

Lunch though was nondescript. As a very touristic city, restaurants are usually tourist traps meaning that the food usually sucks. We ate a few rubbery paninis and some gelati forewarned being warned, making a mental note to return and spend a night so that we would be able to find a good restaurant and enjoy it the next time.

Hubby and his brilliant God-daughter C

It was fortunate having the Schwarzes and their extra arms to help catch or carry the babies. Us being the not-too-organised tourists, we were lucky to have the other couple armed with 2 city maps and telling us all where to go. We walked from San Marco back to where we parked our cars. Took us nearly 4 hours with the heat and the babies.

Originally we planned to go to the beach (maybe the one near Ferrara) after Venice, but as usual that was too ambitious. Especially when I had promised everyone a Lotte (Burbot) au Curry Jaune Thaïlandais for dinner that evening.
Picture taken in a hurry in the dark, but the burbot is a good fish for making a curry with as it is firm and consistent but not tough and chewy. I had it marinated quickly in Ground Turmeric, Mustard Seeds, Salt, Fenugreek Seeds and Anis Seeds before frying the pieces of fish quickly, setting them aside and then preparing the yellow Thai curry. Pineapple, grapes, cherry tomatoes (usually added to a red curry) etc add a touch of sweetness and acidity to the dish which was not unpleasant at all.