Easy, fresh and light tagliatelle recipe

Perfect for a summer day. This recipe is easy and super quick, but the taste is still rich and awesome. I really love this kind of pasta, the only little problem is that it tends to get cold quite quickly, so make sure you serve it immediately when it is ready.

I am not going to specify the quantities for each ingredients because it really depends on the amount of pasta you are preparing.

For the sauce you will need:
a few cherry tomatoes;
a few portobello mushrooms;
olive oil;
a bit of onion finely chopped.

For the topping:
parmesan cheese;
wild rocket;
black pepper.

Pour the oil and the onion in a pan and stir fry gently for a few seconds. Then add the chopped mushrooms and when they are almost ready add the tomatoes cut in halves. Don’t overcook them or the mushrooms will turn too dark and the tomatoes will mash. You should also make sure it doesn’t get too dry or the whole dish will be just sticky and impossible to eat. Add some salt according to tastes.

In the meantime cook the tagliatelle. Drain them when they are still al dente and make sure you save part of the cooking water, because you might need it later when mixing the pasta with the sauce in case it is all too dry. Put the tagliatelle in the pan and mix together for a few second on a low heath.

Once the pasta is well mixed with the sauce, add the parmesan, pepper and finish with some rocket on the top.

Enjoy! 🙂

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

When my friends suggested to go to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, I had no idea of what it was about, but the name sounded cool so I said “why not!”. As soon as the show started, I was so glad I decided to go and I could not stop to thank my friends for suggesting it.

First of all the location: the Esplanade in front of the Edinburgh Castle. The show starts at the dusk, and if you are lucky enough and the weather is nice, you will enjoy a wonderful sunset all over the castle. Fantastic.

The show, which last around one and a half hour, is a series of military parades performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands, and it is held every year in August as part of the Edinburgh Festival.

Here you can see a short video I made. I wish I recorded more, but I was getting too distracted holding my camera and making sure I was recording properly, and I certainly didn’t want to miss any bit of the show.

Fantastic, brilliant, sensational. The whole performance was a continuous surprise; it would be very hard to decide which was the best part.

The etymology of the word “tattoo” is also interesting. It comes from the Dutch “tap toe” which literally means “close the tap”.  Back in the centuries the regiment’s corps of drums used to play a signal every night to alert the taverns owners and “remind” them to turn off the taps of their ale kegs so that the soldiers would retire at a decent hour.
However, in the 18th century the term “tattoo” was also used to describe a form of evening entertainment performed by military bands. For more info, click here.

If you have the chance, you should definitely go!

How to save a wet smartphone and iPad!

First of all, you should never ever put a bottle of water in the same bag as your smartphone and iPad! Even worse if it’s a water resistant leather bag, as the water will never get in, but will never completely go out either and your beloved electronic devices will start swimming…then eventually drowning! 😦

If you are in a hurry and want to know how I saved them, scroll down towards the end of the post…if you have time and you are up for some drama…keep reading! 🙂

I was in a shop, trying to decide what to buy…at some point I saw the floor a bit wet and some drops falling down. “What kind of shop is this? There is water dropping from the ceiling…and what’s even worse is that the staff seems not to care about it”…I was a bit confused but I kept looking around (ehm..I was in  a bakery and was totally carried away by all those cakes!).

I eventually made my choice, opened my bag to take my purse and…OMG there was water everywhere! At that point I understood where that water was coming from…not from the ceiling, but from my bag!!! Sh*t!

I was panicking, especially because right before leaving home my boyfriend warned me: “careful, you shouldn’t put that bottle of water in the bag”…and the idea of having to face the “I told you so” look was making me panic even more!

So basically I came back, made the quickest run ever to the bathroom, locked the door and started removing the cover, the battery and the sim card from the phone, and the cover from the iPad, and tried to dry them with a towel.

There was water everywhere, it seemed like the more I was drying them, the more they were getting wet. Alas, there was only one thing left to do: tell the truth and ask for help!

Fortunately the reaction was much better than what I was expecting and here it is how we saved both the phone and the iPad:

  • we took a big bowl, poured in around two kilos of uncooked rice and left the devices there, all covered by the rice, for about 24 hrs.

Easy as it sounds! The rice will absorb all the humidity and your devices will start working properly again!  It is really important that you remove the battery and the sim card (you can keep the sim in a safe place, but the battery needs to go in the rice as well), and most of all that you don’t try to turn the device on or to use it when it is still wet, as this might cause a short circuit.

So don’t panic, 90% of the times the damage is not that big as you can think and you can easily sort it out!

Good luck! 🙂

 

 

Sunday lunch in Brick Lane

Brick Lane is one of my favourite London’s area: vintage shops, street markets, trendy people, food markets, clubs, bars…the list could go on and on.
You can literally go there at any time of the day and find something cool to do, or something tasty to eat.

It’s famous for its delicious Indian restaurants (which are really nice, although so far my super uber favourite one is Tayyabs, which is not exactly in Brick Lane, but not far away either), however if you go there during the weekend (especially on Sunday) you will also have a wide range of ethnic delicacies to choose in the food markets.

Last Sunday we woke up late, still feeling slightly knackered from the night before…we were hungry but couldn’t be bothered to cook…we were tired and wanted to stay home, but it was sunny and hey, we all know this is not something usual in London, so Brick Lane suddenly sounded like the place to go.

We met with some friends, walked a bit around the food stalls just to have a look and try to decide what to get (you have so much choice that it is really hard to pick one thing!), and once we made our minds we sat outside and enjoyed our meals.

Needless to say that it was lovely…the food, the company and just the possibility to sit outside in the sun (after such a rainy summer we do deserve some sun!). 🙂

This time I gave Ethiopian food a try…despite all those curries, burritos and tempura were so appealing, I really felt like having something light and healthy and those Ethiopian dishes were just what I was looking for: injera (Ethiopian soft pancake) with three sauces, chick peas, beet root salad, olives, and those little bright green pearls whose name I don’t remember (help me if you know it!). 🙂

Ethiopian meal

Ethiopian meal

Here below you can find a few other pictures from the food market.

Aren’t you hungry now? 😉

Snickers muffins

Easy and tasty!

After a lot of unsuccessful attempts, I have finally learned how to make muffins. I love muffins and I had tried to make them a lot of times in the past, but for one reason or another, the results were always very disappointing.

Things changed when I tried the recipe suggested on this blog (if you understand Italian, have a look at it, it is fab!). I have just modified a few small things (as I always do!) and the result was great.

For about 12-14 muffins you will need:
Butter 180 gr
Self raising flour 380 gr
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Sugar 200 gr
1 teaspoon of baking powder (I like to use Pane degli Angeli brand, as I find it is the best one!)
3-4 bars of Snickers (the more the merrier!)

Preparation:
Combine the softened butter and the sugar and whisk until you get a smooth texture.
Add the vanilla extract and the eggs and keep mixing.
Cut the snickers bars and add them t the mix (tip: if you leave the bars in the fridge for about 15-30 minutes it will be much easier to cut them).
Add the flour and keep mixing to avoid lumps and make sure than all the flour is well blended. If the mix appears too dry, you can add some milk.
Once ready, scoop the dough into the muffins tins and bake for 20 minutes at 180°C.

Et voilà…

Notting Hill Carnival

It started about 50 years ago and it became bigger and bigger: the Notting Hill Carnival is a huge street festival organised by the Caribbean community in London, and is now one of the most exciting events in town!
If you happen to be in London during the last weekend of August, you’d better not to miss this. With some jerk chicken in one hand and a nice cold beer in the other one, get ready for two days of complete madness and fun!

We all know Notting Hill and its quiet, posh, residential lovely streets, if you have watched the movie you know what I am talking about. Well, forget about that! You will hardly recognize the area: it will be completely transformed in a huge open air disco. I used to live there and I had the best time when they set a huge sound system right in front of my flat. OK, when the floor started trembling for the music it was a bit strange and I was not feeling too safe, but after I got used to that, I just started enjoying the atmosphere…OMG that weekend was epic!!!

I went again this year and it was just how I remembered it: music, big smiles, fun, wild dancers and rivers of alcohol! 🙂

Just to have an idea of how busy and mad it gets, have a look here:

 

Easy and tasty lunch idea!

This weekend has been pretty hardcore in terms of partying, so today I really feel like doing nothing. So, what’s the best way to spend a nice and relaxing Sunday? For me it is cooking something easy, then relaxing either watching a movie or doing some nice DIY…still have to decide which of the two I am going to do 🙂

I didn’t have much in the fridge, but after a quick look I came up with some ideas and this is the result:

Wheat with mushrooms and leak, and asparagus with egg.
It might look plain and boring, but it all tastes very nice and it will leave you full but not heavily full, if you know what I mean (you don’t want to eat too much, since you are most probably going to spend the rest of the day on the sofa!). 🙂

I have just boiled some wheat, and once it was done I mixed it with some leaks and mushrooms that I cooked separately in a pan with some olive oil.
The asparagus just need to boil for no more than 3-4 mins, then you can put them in a pan and cook the egg on top of them. Add some salt and pepper as per your taste and enjoy!

I think that some green salad on the side would have finished the dish nicely, but I didn’t have any…and the supermarket if faaaaaar awaaaaaaay! (HelloLazySunday!) 🙂

What about you? How are you spending your Sunday afternoon?

Homemade Pretzels recipe!

We all love Pretzels, don’t we?
You will be happy to hear that it is super easy to bake them at home, you only need to follow a few easy steps.

This is a recipe I tried a few months ago after a trip to Germany, and it made me very happy with the final results.

All you need is:

  • One cup of warm water
  • a pinch of salt (the amount really depends on how salty you want them!)
  • 1 package of dry yeast
  • around 4/5 cups of plain white flour (just see how sticky is the dough and if needed add some more flour)
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • sesame, poppy flowers seed, salt (to decorate the top of your pretzels)

How to make the dough:

Sprinkle the yeast in the warm water cup and stir to dissolve.
Add the mixture to the flour, add the salt and start kneading until you get a smooth and elastic dough. Let it rise for about 1 hour.

When the dough is ready divide it into bits and roll into a long rope and shape. When done, prepare the boiling water and baking soda solution and deep one pretzel at time for about 30 secs. Place the pretzel on a tray, sprinkle them with your favourite toppers (I used sesame, poppy flowers seeds and salt) and they are now ready for the oven!

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden et voilà:

Pretzel

OpenShot and how to add text balloons to a video

The weather is being miserable these days, so what’s better than some video editing to feed my geek-wannabe side? 🙂
I am so attracted by technology, in all forms and shapes…I would love to be able to code! I have tried to read something, but even just trying to understand where to start is too difficult!  So after a few, unsuccessful attempts to figure out how to start learning to code, I have decided that for the time being this is a too big step for me…so I decided to learn something about video editing instead!

I am a Ubuntu user, so the editor choice was quite easy: OpenShot!
I am starting to move my first steps in this world, and I am still far far far away from being a pro, so if you think that my videos suck…try to say that nicely and at least appreciate my willing to learn! 🙂

I think it is great, especially if you are a self taught like me: it is easy to use and very straightforward, so once you learn to do something, it will also be very easy to remember how to do it.

The other day I was reading something about Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call me maybe” video and all its parodies and re-makes that have turned viral in the last weeks and I thought: “it would be great to add one more video to that long list!”…I suddenly remembered that I had a video of three pigeons running after each others (don’t ask me why I recorded it…I probably thought it was funny at that time!), and of course the idea of editing the video on the notes of “Call me maybe” came shortly after! I know it’s not a genius idea, and probably it’s not even funny, but at least it was a good excuse to do some practice with OpenShot.

Cutting the video and adding the music was easy, but I really wanted to add some balloons with some lyrics.
I had no idea how to do that, but this is what I have figured out:

  1. Open Gimp (or any other photo editor) and create a new image. As far as the size is concerned, you have to check what is your video resolution. If you don’t know about it, just google: “NameOfYourPhone video resolution” and you will find it out.
  2. Go to color -> color to alfa -> translucid to your entire image.
  3. Draw your text balloon with some drawing software (I used LibreOffice Draw) and paste it on Gimp.
  4. Save the image as png format.
  5. Go to OpenShot -> create a new track -> add the png image in the new track and adjust the duration as you like (to adjust the duration: right click on the file -> properties -> duration)

Now the thing is…I have learnt to add text balloons, but I still can’t figure out how to position them in different places on the screen. How can I do this? Any tips would be very very much welcomed!

Ah! Btw this is the result:

Crystallized nail art with salt!

Lately I have been reading a lot about “caviar manicure” and 3 dimensional nail art, and today I was thinking: “how can I reproduce a similar effect with something that I already have at home?”…Salt was the first thing that came to my mind (and according to Google, I am not the first one to come up with such idea!).

Anyway, the process is really simple, and considering what you need, it is very cheap as well!

You just need a nail polish (any colour can do, however I think that the brighter it is, the better result you will get. For my first attempt I have used two fluo polishes bought  a while ago in Primark), some fine salt and a transparent nail polish topper (which will give the crystallized effect).

I was a bit concerned with its resistance to water, but noticed that if you cover all the salt with a generous amount of topper, it is 100% water proof!

crystallized nail art!