Burano, Italy is like a postcard. It is most recognized for it's lace and beautifully colored houses. An island in the North Venetian Lagoon, it can often be overlooked in favor of it's more famous neighbor, although to tell you the truth, I would much rather spend a day here than Venice. Walking through Burano is akin to walking through a painting and you are almost guaranteed to become that annoying tourist taking a thousand photos of the brilliant palette that is the island. It is the kind of place that becomes more beautiful as the sun sets, casting that golden glow on the houses and all at once, you have a whole new masterpiece surrounding you. Burano è come una cartolina. Notata per il suo pizzo e le sue case tutte colorate. Burano è un'isola vicino a Venezia ed a dirvi la verità, preferirei a passare un giorni qui invece di a Venezia. Camminando tra le case è proprio come camminando tra un dipinto, diventeresti quella turista scattando un mille di foto.
To boudoir or not to boudoir, that is the question. And the answer is absolutely! As many of my girlfriends are getting hitched this upcoming year, I thought I would post about getting boudoir photos done for a groom's gift. I was initially extremely nervous because who really wants to stand around in lingerie in front of a stranger for an hour? Especially when standing around really means posing awkwardly for what you hope will miraculously produce a Victoria's Secret print ad. And I have to say, miracles do happen. I was so happy with the experience, even more so than with the photographs (which turned out jaw-dropping gorgeous, my friends could not believe it was me!). Interestingly, one of the first questions the photographers asked me was whether this was for myself or for someone else and I was rather inclined to say myself. The way I approached the boudoir experience was actually in regarding it as an end goal. After I purchased the package, I immediately signed-up for personal training with Infinite Fitness. That was five months and eight pounds ago and it is thanks to them that I got these photos taken. I think every woman should consider doing a boudoir session, it turned out to be a great self-motivator for me. As Samantha Jones said- you'll be able to look back at them when you're eighty and think, damn I was hot!
And of course, they make a great groom's gift...you're welcome Massi.
I am adding this daily dose of awww to my blog posts since I have accumulated so many little romantic stories and quotes and letters over the years. Some of it is original material while others were stolen from another website or novel (I will of course try to let you know from where whenever possible). Hope these help warm your heart on a chilly day!
December 18, 2009- a note written from me to Massi
You have gone back to Italy today. I miss you like I miss sunshine on rainy days in Paris when I plan a picnic with wine and baguettes, like when it is the last day in a city and I have a stomach ache. I will miss you like the ocean would miss the pull of the moon. See you in 27 days.
Pictured is the mozzarella tasting platter at Tavern 1903 (find them here: http://tavern1903.com/). The pesto is amazing but the mozzarella is standard and by standard I mean has the subtlest taste of once upon a time in Napoli. The Italians say the only place to eat it is right from the source of Southern Italy and even if you try to bring it back up North on the Frecciarossa (the fastest cross-national train), it will never be the same. It might as well be radioactive in the sense that you have a set amount of time to enjoy it's creamy amazing-ness before it self-destructs. I could talk about mozzarella for days and I have been infamously known to never turn down a nosh...however, what we should really be talking about is their Signature Truffled Mac and Cheese with baby lobster and shitake mushrooms. It is the kind of dish you pencil into your planner a week before so that it looks something like this:
Saturday, September 13, 2014
18.00-19.45: Date with Truffled Mac and Cheese
19.45-21:30: Digestivi @ Bar Bricco to help digest above
How creamy and filling is it you ask? I worked out twice in 12 hours the day before. Twice. Due volte. Trust me, you want to try this and you are not a true Edmonton foodie unless you have. Make reservations at least one week in advance for Friday or Saturday nights otherwise you'll end up like me this past weekend with my 18.00 reservations that saw me calling it a night post-Bar Bricco "night-caps" at 21.30. Party on young twenty-somethings, I have a date with my bed and my food baby.
So you know how Kraft Dinner is the Canadian go-to dish whenever you're hungry and need a quick-fix? It might be the ultimate comfort food in addition to being cheap as it brings back nostalgic memories of the simplicity of being a kid. Massi had never heard of Kraft Dinner before coming to Canada, nor did he ever warm up to it's cheesy goodness. However, there are one or two pasta dishes that he makes that are both happiness in a bowl while requiring minimal effort to make. This is one of them. Food is so closely linked to memories and that might be a huge part of these dishes and why they resonate with me. This is a dish Massi used to make me when we first started dating and when he had first come to Canada. We used to have to cook it in the frathouse kitchen and there would barely be room to move around (not because of the numerous boys trying to cook but because of all the empty, dirty dish piles!). We would then eat it with reckless abandon on a fall day, sitting on his bed, watching the golden and red leaves swirl around outside. And I remember thinking, this is what it means to be happy. Food and love, that's all it takes.
Tuna and Tomato Pasta
1-2 cans of tuna in olive oil
1-2 cups of passata (a tomato purée)
2 tbsp good olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 onion, chopped (if you like)
whichever pasta strikes your fancy
(keep in mind that something with ridges or holes in it will hold the sauce better!)
Add the tuna and olive oil into a pan and cook with onions until onions are soft. Add the passata and simmer until the sauce is thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Boil your pasta to al dente, drain. Pour tomato and tuna sauce over, stir and serve hot.
Ah the moment you stumble upon a deserted alley in the midst of the tourist hustle-and-bustle...the world just stops and you are suddenly transported to a simpler time. The chatter of a dozen languages fades away and all you hear is the gentle breeze and the rustle of fresh laundry drying. The paint is peeling and the colors muted from years of rainy springtimes. There are cracks running up the concrete. And yet, it is the most beautiful thing you have seen. This is the moment so many people come to Italy to experience and not all will find.
I just updated my Instagram so that it will soon be a little more linked to the blog and everything social media-wise will have some continuity. If you wanted to check out my past photos on Instagram, they were a tad more fashion-focused (ahem, selfies and the such) which I do hope to eventually continue on on the blog as well. Thought I might share this shot of my Coordinates Legend bracelet (check them out here: http://www.coordinatescollection.com/legend-bracelet). The coordinates I had engraved are actually those of Bergamo, the city in Italy where I will be living. I also had a ring made with the coordinates of Edmonton because although we may grow wings and take flight, it is so important to remember where we came from. Cheers and see you on Instagram!
This might be my next favorite pasta dish after casoncelli (click on category link for past post on these). Pizzoccheri are also from Northern Italy and the kind of dish you feel like eating after a long day's hiking/skiing in the mountains (or in Massi's case, motorcycling the mountains). It is quite heavy on the tummy but I doubt there is an anti-depressant that could elicit the same feeling of content-ness with the world as a plate of these. Not even cocaine. These are better than cocaine. The photo was taken by Massi a couple weeks ago, it is not photo-shopped...collective gasp. And the best part? The pasta is typically made of buckwheat or whole wheat, so that means they are healthy and we can eat as much as we want.
Pizzoccheri- by Mark Bittman, The New York Times
1 stick butter ( 1/4 pound)
4 fresh sage leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 medium potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup swiss chard, in strips
1/2 pound flat, broad buckwheat noodles (pizzoccheri) or whole wheat noodles
1 cup fontina Val d’Aosta (or other good semisoft) cheese , grated
1 cup Parmesan, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups homemade bread crumbs.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter with sage and garlic until butter turns nut-brown; be careful not to burn sage leaves. Set aside.
Cook potato and cabbage in boiling water until they begin to soften, just 5 minutes or so. Add pasta to same pot and continue to cook until pasta is nearly done. Drain.
In a large oven-proof dish, spread a layer of vegetable-pasta combination, then a layer of grated fontina, then a layer of grated Parmesan; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue this layering until all ingredients are used, ending with a layer of Parmesan; ideally you will have four layers of each. Cover dish with bread crumbs and drizzle with melted butter and sage (discard garlic). Bake for about 15 minutes, or until top is golden-brown and cheese has melted. Serve hot or warm.
Link to recipe: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/31/dining/311mrex.html
*This recipe does not include how to make the pasta from scratch, however there are many recipes that include that as well as it is just a flour and water-based pasta and you do not need to roll it out with a pasta machine.
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Jasmine is a former pharmacist turned writer and wine drinker from Alberta, Canada living "the sweet life" in Bergamo, Italy.
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