Italian Style is all about a life of good taste
What cool and elegant person hasn’t admired Italian Style? The homes, the clothes, the shoes, the furniture, the cars, the boats, the food, the wine….. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Versace, Gucci, Giannini, Prada, Ferragamo, Valpolicella, Chianti, Barolo, Pinot Grigo….. I hope that most of you will recognise most of those names and be able to add a few of your own to my list.
I like Italy, I like Italy a lot. But one thing you have to know about Italy and the Italians is that their history was as volatile and complex as they are today, and it wasn’t even a completely unified country until 1918, after the Great War.
Maybe because of this Italian Style, Italian food and wine is very regional, and when we say Italian Food we really mean the Italian food we eat in England, America, Australia, and elsewhere outside of Italy. If you want to know what really great, real Italian food is like then visit Italy. And if you want to know I love Tuscany.
Enough background, first this week we have a Zucchini Lasagna Bolognese with Spicy Basil Breadcrumbs from Jessica at How Sweet Eats.
Zucchini Lasagna Bolognese with Spicy Basil Breadcrumbs
Another zucchini recipe, this one from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; Zucchini Parmesan Chicken Meatballs with Lemon Pasta Carbonara.
Zucchini Parmesan Chicken Meatballs with Lemon Pasta Carbonara
One of my favourite Italian Recipes, best eaten in Tuscany with fresh pasta of course, is Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken, this from Alyssia Rivers at The Recipe Critic.
Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken
Another collection, from bon apetit; 48 Classic Italian Recipes That Make Us Want To Quit Our Jobs…… And from that I’ve chosen something easy that will use up some of those leftovers cluttering up your refrigerator, a Sausage and Broccolini Rabe Frittata. Easy, tasty, great to take for your lunchroom break.
Sausage and Broccolini Rabe Frittata
Finally for this week, and entirely different kind of collection, from a website called Great Italian Chefs, which has a myriad of regional recipes, I’ve chosen this classic Rigatoni Imbottiti ~ Italian-American it isn’t.
A destination is a different way of seeing the world.
England is a green and pleasant land,
royal throne of kings, paradise sceptred isle,
another Eden, a precious stone set in the silver sea,
But, there are places I want to go other than in England.
Big Bear Lake, California
Palm Springs, California
Santa Monica, California
Las Vegas, Nevada
New York City, New York.
San Gimignano, Tuscany
These are all fabulous places I have already seen, but want to go back to very soon. I guess this is my bucket list. Some of these I want to get to this year. If a friend wanted me to go with them somewhere else, then that would be cool to ~ although there are some places in this world I would just not go to under any circumstances.
Most of these are places it would be great to drive to, (except Cyprus and Malta of course, and nobody with even an ounce of sense would drive in New York). On the other hand, I really like taking long road trips, preferably with a cool girl riding shotgun. Cyprus is a big enough island that it’s great to drive around there, and so is Malta. California and Tuscany are both fabulous places to take a road trip. Of course, you should really have a really cool car to take on your long road trips ~ a convertible Mustang is ideal.
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Some say a good road trip is a great way to spend your vacation, or a great way to spend any time you have with your girl, or any time you don’t have to do something else for that matter.
My very first long-distance road trip was from my place in the North of England to a little villa on a vineyard in Tuscany. At it’s very best that’s 24 solid hours driving, assuming no delays, and that you don’t go out of your way sightseeing and driving mountain roads just for the sake of it. All told it’s a drive of around 1,350 miles, each way. Perhaps I was being optimistic to think my Triumph TR6 would make it there and back without breaking down, at least once. (I was younger and better-looking then.)
In my opinion, there are seven essentials for a successful road trip:
- A cool car.
- Enough money.
- The right girl.
- A great driving road.
- Good weather.
- A relaxed attitude to deadlines and commitments.
- Time. Lots and lots of time.
Not necessarily in order of importance ~ however, if you don’t have all seven then your road trip adventure isn’t going to be all you hoped it would be.
If you are using your own car, then you also need to take along a decent tool kit, some spares, and the knowledge to use both.
It is vitally important that the girl riding shotgun is someone who you really like hanging out with, because you are going to be spending a lot of time cooped-up together. That has been my mistake on more than one occasion, because taking a long road trip with the wrong girl can give new meaning to the concept that there are sixty minutes in every hour, and twenty-four hours in every day.
(It helps if she knows how to take a great picture.)
There are three kinds of road trip;
- Where the destination is important. Usually the time is also important. You have to be in say; Tuscany by Tuesday…
- Where you have organised everything in advance, including booking your overnight accommodations.
- Where the destination is immaterial and time is of no pressing importance. Except perhaps, you have to go back to work in a couple of weeks or so.
Guess which type of road trip is the best? But then, you do what you want as long as you stay cool and relaxed.
As an example of organising everything in advance was a road trip I took down the Loire Valley. Because I wanted to stay in a different château each night, this all had to be booked and paid for before I set off. (If the girl riding shotgun is the least bit ‘precious’ don’t make her pack all her luggage in the back of a tiny 7 ~ or she will sulk.)
For my next road trip I want to follow as much as I can of the old Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, ending with dinner at The Lobster. Say 2,200 miles. For something shorter there’s the PCH which runs from Orange County in Southern California to Mendocino County in the North. About 600 miles. What the hell, I have the time and money to do both, preferably in a muscle car.
pictures by jack collier
and the girl riding shotgun