Pumpkin soup

Just a few days to Christmas, this means lots of food on the way!
I am going back to Italy for a week and I have already given my mum a list of things I want to eat 🙂 …so I am trying to keep myself light these days…

Today is such a rainy and cold day, haven’t done much other than start packing and some online shopping.

Since I am going away for a few days, I am trying to empty my fridge and use all that could go off. Luckily enough I had a beautiful pumpkin, perfect to make some warm soup!

This dish is so incredibly easy, but yet tasty and can make you feel really full even with just a few calories.

All you need is a pumpkin, a little bit of onion, salt, pepper and if you like some nutmeg.
I personally think that pumpkin and nutmeg are a perfect match, but this really depends on your taste.

Cut the pumpkin in small cube and cook them in a pot with some olive oil and water for about 20 minutes.

When it is all tender and you can mash in with a fork, put it in a blender and mix it for a few minutes until you get a smooth creamy mix.
Pour the soup back into the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the grounded nutmeg,pepper and salt.

Mix well, remove from heat and serve immediately.
I have garnished mine with blue cheese croutons (if you don’t like blue cheese you can replace it with some cheddar).

Little tip: if you get a too thick mix, you can add some warm water.

I know some people like to add some cream, but I prefer this lighter version, and I assure you it tastes great!

Image

Image

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

Something you should not miss: the Fringe Festival!

I just came back from an amazing trip to Edinburgh…I had never been there before and I am glad we picked this part of the year to visit it. I really loved the city (and the way Scottish people pronounce Edinburgh!), but what was even better was the great atmosphere created by the Fringe Festival. It was amazing to see the Royal Mile full of all kind of artists: I enjoyed the biggest part of the performances and I was amazed to see so many talented young people at the same time and in the same place.

If you have never been there, I strongly suggest you to go and to spend at least 3-4 days in the city. You should certainly spend sometime visiting the hot spots of the city, but what you really need to do is going for a walk in the Royal Mile, enjoying the street performances, talk to the artists and get as many fliers as possible and then choose the performances you want to watch.

Trust me, there is something for every taste! Just be open minded and ready to fully jump in the festival extravaganza.

Here there are a few videos to give you an idea of what you should expect:

This guy is one of the very best performers of the whole festival. He’s Adam Kadabra, you can also find him on Facebook:

If you are a fan of Britain Got Talent you will certainly recognize them 🙂

Still not convinced? Check this out then! 🙂

Sunny Sunday: Brighton!

Having lived in the darkness and rain for about two months, as soon as we read the unbelievable news, we looked at each other and we said: “let’s go to Brighton on the beach!”.
Sun! Eventually the sun was shining!!! Since it is not something that happens often we had to make most of it…and spend the whole day out.

We have immediately booked a train ticket on First Capital Connect and thanks to a good deal and to the Network Railcard we got a return ticket for about £6.30 each. Needless to say that this was already an extremely good start! 🙂

We left from London Bridge on a super crowded train full of people with flip flops, sun glasses and a good smell of sunscreen. In a bit more than a hour we were walking by the sea side looking for a nice spot to sit down and relax.

We first sat right next to the Pier but we had to move pretty soon because of those killers seagulls! 🙂 A girl sitting next to us was eating her sandwich, when a seagull came and literally stole it from her hands! That’s was scary and I was really loving my lunch to have it stolen by one of those huge birds!

Talking about lunch…I know, it’s not the most appropriate meal to have on the beach, but I was really craving a fish and chips, and I still remembered how good it was the one I had the first time I went to Brighton…so I had to have one! 🙂
There is a small fish&chips shop right at the beginning of the Pier, on the right side and it sells the best battered cod I have ever had! It’s huge, thick and super crunchy…impossible to resist!

We stayed on the beach till around 4pm, then we went for a nice walk in the city centre and once again I loved every single bit. Those nice narrow streets full of nice shops are so nice, and the sun and all that light made everything even more beautiful.

At around 7.30 we jumped on the train to go back to London and I have fallen asleep as soon as I sat down on the train (as usual!).

Eventually I got some sun tan…I think this is the first time in my life I am so pale in July!

SUN, we love you!

Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier

"Brighton Eye"

“Brighton Eye”

my lunch

my lunch

Boutique Hostels: affordable luxury

Hotel Vs. Hostel: there was a time when a simple “s” could make a big difference in terms of comfort, style and services, but this is not the case anymore.

Forget about stereotypes: hostels are not anymore those simple, modest places for skint students and on budget travellers.
It’s been a couple of years now since the first “Boutique Hostels” have started to make their way through the hospitality industry and trust me..they are far away from the common idea we all have about hostels.

As defined by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, boutique hostels are “high end” accommodations for backpapers, offering “high tech” options and all kind of comforts at an affordable price.

If you want to have an idea of this new hostel concept, here it is a list of some of the most famous ones:

  1. The New York Broadway Hotel and Hostel, Manhattan: you will be comfortably sleeping next to Central Park for about 20€ at night.
  2. Plug-Inn Boutique Hostel, Parigi: stylish and modern in the heart of Montmartre. The price per night is slightly higher than the previous one (30€ for a bed, 80€ for a double room) but it includes breakfast, wifi, towels, bed linen and an ensuite bathroom.
  3. YHA London Central, Londra: it has been awarded as the best London hostel for 3 years! 30€ per bed and you will be sleeping in Soho!
  4. Lub D Hostel, Bangkok: very welcoming name (Lub D means “sleep well” in Thai) and ideal for solo female travelers thanks to its ladies only section. Comfy and safe area, equipped with lovely lounge area with screens to enjoy movie nights. Price: only 15€ per night!
  5.  St Kilda Base, Melbourne: colorful and comfy, welcome drinks, disco bar and free pancakes on Mondays! Prices from 24€ per night.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your backpack and start travelling..and relaxing!