Posts filed under venice

Venice and her Birthday Parties

 

Let's just say, I have friends in high places.  What I mean by "high places" is blissfully calm and serenly beautiful places.  And by those places, I just mean place. 

Venice. My second home.  

According to my iphoto albums, all my photos of Venice for the past few years look the same.  The city is identical, as is this photo of the view from l' Accademia, one I've taken many times before, to the point that I could just be fishing through old photographs and pull out a snapshot from previous years.  One thing that changes are the inhabitants that are left in the city.

As well as the cakes that are left on the table! 

 

What I do is I have one base chocolate recipe memorised in my mind.  It's actually the family chocolate cake recipe that my mum made me memorise as a child.  No matter how skilled I am in the chocolate making world, no matter how many cakes I know, I will always stick to this.  It makes me think about baking as a hobby, and not as a job. 

So here it goes:

250g Butter.250g Dark chocolate. 250g Sugar. 7 eggs separated, 120g of flour. Pincha Salt.

Method:

Oven 180 degrees

Melt CHOC and BUTTER (melt, not too hot)

Add Sugar and Egg yolks and Mix.

Meanwhile Beat Egg Whites w/ pincha salt.

Add Flour.

Stir in Egg Whites.

Put in a greaseproof dish with baking parchment or well greased with butter. Cook for 20 mins

This is a cake I have been transforming since my adolescence.  When I first made this cake, I added more chocolate and less butter.  Sometimes, I add more flour and less butter and a sachet of baking powder if I want to make a very airy birthday cake with lots of cream on top.  For example, the cake I made in Venice had more chocolate and less flour, as I wanted it to be dense and rich with softened roasted pears.  

 

If—
BY RUDYARD KIPLING
(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

 


Source: A Choice of Kipling's Verse (1943)

Posted on March 12, 2015 and filed under chocolate, desserts, italy, venice.

My Top Ten in Venice

 Sun set by the Misericordia

Let me tell you about a place.

A place where people travel by boat.  A place where the sun shines three quarters of the year round and its people absorb its sunshine, radiating it back onto you with their kindness, passion and laughter.  A place so beautiful that you leave wondering if it was all just a dream that you were once there.

When I moved to Venice in 2011, I fell straight in love with it.  I skipped every where I went.  I skipped so much that once I actually fell over and cut my knee open.  (So maybe don't skip too much when you go.)

People often tell me how the only place in Italy where they have not eaten well, was Venice.  They tell me that Venice is expensive. 

I have a couple of suggestions as well as my list of favourite places to eat and drink.  

Firstly, It's best to stay away from restaurant-ing in and around San Marks square.  It's a bit like eating in Knightsbridge... it's expensive.  Walk down a couple of "calle" (alley ways) away from the square and you'll be sure to find something better for your hard earned euro.

Secondly, don't carry a map. You can always find your way to the touristic spots without a map by asking locals or following signs.  You will never walk into dangerous outskirts since they do not exist in Venice.  The so called "outskirts" are where its all at, anyway. With a map in your hand you'll just get frustrated.  Instead, walk down little streets that look like dead ends but infact lead you into large piazzas, sit by the canal with a gelato when you get tired of walking, whip the map out to find these places to eat and drink:

1) Pasticceria Rosa Salva:

Best pastry and coffee

This pastry shop is the best place to go if you want a quick coffee or even a long cappuccino outside.  Rosa Salva have a few shops, but my favourite one is in "Campo San Giovanni e Paolo," since there are seats outside and the square is absolutely stunning.  There is also one in San Marco with a wider range of "tramezzini" (small sandwiches) and pastries, however nowhere to sit outside.  Be sure to try the "croccatino", the most incredible small chocolate cake layered with a light, praline cream and a ever so subtle feuilletine biscuit with a "caffe shakerato" (iced coffee.)  Absolute bliss.

Campo San Giovani e Paolo

San Marco 950

2) Casa Bonita: romantic dinner

This restaurant is my favourite for a special dinner at an affordable price.  I think that the fish antipasti is one of the best for its money.  The baccala is to die for (similiar to cod roe- eat with bread and a glass of prosecco).  Their range of pasta is also very good and you can sit outside by the canal.

Cannaregio 492 

3) Gelateria C'a d'oro: Great gelato

I am telling you about this gelateria not only because the gelato is incredible, but because it comes with a second advantage: a secret spot to eat it in. So you buy the gelato (Ricotta and honey is a great choice) and then with your back to the gelateria you turn right, up the Strada Nuova and you take the second right which is a little alley way.  Walk down the alley and there is a little spot looking on to the grand canal which is simply magical.  It makes the gelato experience that much more intense. Trust. 

Strada Nova 4273/b

4) Pizza al Volo: best pizza

In my opinion, this is the best pizza

in Venice.  It is take away only, therefore perfect if you are on a slight budget or if you just want a snack.  It's in Santa Margarita (and yes, they do do Margarita pizza) which is where all the students hang out.  Grab a beer and sit on the ground where international and Venetian students drink spritz until the early hours. 

Santa Margarita 2944/a

5) El Pecador: Best sandwiches

Also known as "la Peca" is a London bus transformed into an incredible sandwich joint.  What could be better? It's in the Lido island, so perfect if you take a day trip to the beach from Venice (boat goes from San Marco and takes 15 minutes). They do all types of filled sandwiches and there is always a long queue of locals waiting for their turn.

Lungomare d'Annunzio

6) Al Timon: Best bar and cichetti

This has been my all time favourite bar in Venice, the cichetti are incredible and go down perfectly with a glass of prosecco. There is a boat attatched next to the bar which you can sit on.  On this last trip to Venice, I noticed that Al Timon was getting even more popular and crowded so get there early to get a good space!

Sestiere Cannaregio 2754

7) Trattoria dalla Marisa: typical italian lunch at an affordable price.  

This is the best lunch spot, especially if you're looking to not spend too much on your trip. Marisa has been feeding the "operai" (manual labourers) for years which means that the portions are generous and the quality is consistent.  You can be ensured a hearty pasta, main course with meat and vegetables as well as wine, water and coffee to help it all go down for 15 euros.  Oh, and it is by a canal as well which means amazing view. Tick, tick, tick. 

Cannaregio 652 

8) La Poppa: Bar and best hangout.

No tourists are at La Poppa.  It is only locals, which means a glass of good wine costs one euro, and the concerts are free.  The decor is delightful and there are books everywhere, although most people hang out outside in the warm evening. 

Sestiere Santa Croce 1539

9) La Vedova: best meatballs (cichetti)

I've read a secret recipe online for the meatballs of La Vedova and it's been on my list of things to make for a while. 

When you go to the bar ask for an "ombra" which is a small glass of wine for one euro. Ask for red wine to have with the meatball.  The meatballs are the best in town and this has got to be one of your Venetian experiences. 

Cannaregio 3912

10) Viziovirtù: Best chocolate and hot chocolate. 

This chocolate shop is the only shop in Venice selling decent chocolates.  They use modern methods and flavour combinations always keeping a slightly Venetian look.  However, it is not at all touristy like many other shops you will find.  They are genuinely authentic, delicious chocolates.  In the summer, they serve more ice-creams that chocolate because obviously the weather does not permit fresh chocolates stay in shape under a 35 degree heat!  In winter they also do really good thick hot chocolate.

San Polo 2898/a 

If you visit any of these recommended places, I would be thrilled to hear about what you think, so hit me up! 

*All photos taken by Abigail Scheuer 

Posted on August 29, 2014 and filed under venice, italy.

Venice Re-visited.

venicerevisited.jpg

Dear Daddy, 

I've faced my fears.

I've come back to Venice after a year. I was so nervous about coming back, worried that I wouldn't be able to accept the fact that I had ever left for good. I often returned, hoping that that way of life could be picked up as easily as it was at the beginning. But then last year broke away a large bond with Venice and I haven't been able to face her until now. 

But I'm okay.  Last year when I was leaving, every street made me nostalgic and churned my stomach up into a sick feeling of sadness and regret of the fact that I wouldn't live here and Venice wasn't right for me.  You told me I didn't belong here right now. You said "darling, Venice is a place to go but not a place to be." I refused to listen to you and couldn't accept the fact that perhaps you were right. 

But now I walk down the streets with a sense of awe and amazement, admiring how the green water reflects the buildings in an incredible way, how that palace is even more beautiful then ever, how those musicians seem even more talented and your glass of wine still only costs 1 euro. 

You told me Venice is a fish, however I see Venice as a huge rich dark chocolate cake. If you had never tried chocolate in your life you would never miss it, but since you know the sweet richness of it you always crave it. So you have a slice and it's amazing.  Your spoon slides neatly into the first mouthful and the inside of your cheeks tingle and make you smile. Once you finished the first slice you want more. So you have another slice and it's still delicious.  But then you start eating it all with a spoon and you can't stop. So you keep going until all the cake is finished.  You feel sick. You hate the cake and you hate yourself for eating it.  If you ate the huge chocolate cake every day you'd be ill and you'd feel terrible.  In order to really appreciate it's goodness, you need to have it once in a while and then leave it until you crave it again. 

When you were my age, you sang a song called "A place to go". I was thinking about that song today and realised that you must have felt the same way as I do now. You were searching for it too, that place "where you'll be free".  Have you found it yet?

I think I've found my place to go.  A place out of this mad world. A place where people aren't elbowing you out of the way but instead inviting you to walk beside them. A place where you can be totally at peace.  A place to go but not to be.  

How good do I feel to finally accept this. 

Your daughter, 

Abigail x

You singing "A place to go"

Posted on July 2, 2014 and filed under venice, italy, favourites.

An Ode To Venice

August 2013

Dear Venice,

I'd like to start off this message by thanking you for choosing me all those years ago when I was coming to Italy to study on my year abroad.  I actually chose Rome, but then you chose me.  And when I insisted on being in Rome by applying as an English teacher with the British Council, you stood right by me and said, "Hey Abi, I'm still here." So when the British Council gave me Milan as my location,  I thought, you know what Venice?  You've already stuck by me.  I'll go with you.

And I went to you.  And I found friends the first night I went.  I phoned a number on a room rental website.  The guy on the phone said, "When you coming, girl? You can stay here until you find a place."

With two suitcases and a couple of bags, I got on a vaporetto boat from the airport.  I phoned the stranger up and on the phone he said "look to your right."  On my right was a topless man in a motorboat, waving and smiling as he called "get off at the next stop!"

And when I got off at the next stop I said to him, "that's incredible! You have your own boat?"

"We have a boat."  He smiled a warm smile. "Wanna drive her?"

So I drove her through your lagoon and into your small canals as tourists looked on and stared.  That is when I met you.

I was the queen of you, Venice.  You looked on and smiled at me.  You said, there are many more adventures to come, my dear. And there were.

You gave me a man who took me to Indonesia and the Caribbean when you provided long winters, Venice.  And you said "Damn, girl, come back soon!  Send me a postcard!"  I didn't leave you too long did I?  I rushed back to have fritelle, those delicious fried donuts you generously hand out in February.

I met the greatest people ever known to walk this earth.  People who greet you with arms wide open when they don't even know who you are.  People who ask you questions and not only genuinely care but are fascinated.  People who shower you with love, kindness and generosity.

But now, I've had to say goodbye to you for a little while.  I thought I'd stay with you for a little longer and that is why I did not write sooner.  But I could not conquer you in the way I would like to one day.  But as the city that conquered my heart, I would like to thank you.

Abi x

Posted on July 2, 2014 and filed under venice, italy.

Dinner on a gondola

Venice, Italy, 2 July 2013

Last night I made dinner on a gondola for an elderly german couple who were touristing in Venice. And they loved it.

It all started when my friend Tiffany and I were mind-mapping quick money ideas at the beach.  It is quite difficult to find a job in Italy, especially when you don't really want one.

"We could do supper clubs," she suggested, to which I nodded enthusiastically.

In the meantime we had a mojito and called our friend to ask if he had any contacts or foodie ideas we could get hold of.  To which, he asked, "would it be possible for you to make dinner for two on a gondola?"

"Of course," I replied, mojito in hand.  Tipsy, we thought of an easy and typically italian meal that could be enjoyed on a moving gondola.

To start with, we made some cichetti, which are typical Venetian bar snacks. (These are great ideas if you're having a dinner party because they keep people entertained and drinking their wine faster.)

Fresh bread sliced with different toppings: ricotta, sun-dried tomato and basil/ cream cheese, prosciutto cotto (ham) with artichoke/ cream cheese, prosciutto cotto (ham) and emental cheese drizzled with balsamic glaze/ ricotta cheese, grilled crushed walnuts and balsamic glaze.

The cichetti with caprese salad: Fresh tomatoes, burrata cheese (but mozarella is great too) and fresh basil leaves.

Figs rolled in prosciutto crudo (parma ham)

Rocket salad with beef carpaccio, lemon dressing and parmesan

Tiramisu for two (recipe to follow)

A tiramisu that will really pick you up..(Tira-mi-su= Pick-me-up)

This recipe is slightly adapted from my mum's tiramisu and the classic italian recipe.  The yoghurt adds a lightness that will bring you right to the clouds.

Tiramisu':

4 Eggs, separated

1 packet Savoiardi (ladies finger biscuits)

1 cup strong Americano coffee (preferably NOT instant coffee)

2 tablespoons rum

2 tablespoons sugar for the coffee

100g icing sugar

20g Cocoa Powder (to powder at the end)

250g Mascarpone Cheese

100g or 1 small plain yoghurt

Pinch of salt

Start by making your coffee.

Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar to the coffee.

Add the rum.

 Put the coffee a large bottomed bowl, large enough that there is enough space to dip the savoiardi biscuits in.

Take two large bowls.

Separate the eggs yolks from the whites, making sure there is absolutely no yolk in the eggs whites. Put the whites in one bowl and the yolks in the other.

With an electric whisk, beat the egg whites until they are firm.

Add the mascarpone, the yoghurt and the icing sugar to the egg yolks and beat with the electric whisk until well combined and fluffy.

With a large spoon, at the beaten egg whites to the mascarpone mixture.

Take the dish you will use for your tiramisu.

Dip the savoiardi biscuits in the coffee until just absorbed (not too mushy but still quite drenched in coffee, that way the tiramisu is not too wet nor too dry) layer on the bottom of the dish.

Layer the mascarpone and egg mixture.

Do another layer of the biscuits and the mascarpone mixture.

Continue until you have no space left.

(If there is any mixture left, it is always nice to make mini tiramisu's for everyones breakfast the next day using glasses or any other container you wish)

Leave to refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Just before serving, thoroughly dust cocoa powder on top.

Posted on July 2, 2013 and filed under venice, italy.

Welcome, April.

Today it rained and snowed at the same time.  It rained and then it snowed and then it did both.  

It snained.  

They say spring is on its way. 

There are better things out there.  The sun does still exist.  As does Ryanair.  And British Airways.  They had a sale on actually, British Airways did.  Extra Cheap Business Class Seats.  They did not advertise it exactly as that, but that was the jist.  I bought one.  I needed to see the sky again and see the italian 'moroso [lover]. 

 On the flight I kindly got asked what  I would like to drink.  "Coffee" I replied.  The air hostess was particularly kind to me since I had given up my seat to a gentleman who wanted to be next to his wife (ah, love,) so I got some delicious shortbread biscuits with the coffee.

  I started to look over the clouds.  "Would you like some tea," the air hostess disturbed.  I had just had some coffee but I said ok anyway.  "A drink with that?"  She persisted.  "Erm, yes what do you--" but she rudely interrupted my question with "white wine, champagne?"  Large grin.  

"Could I have some champagne?"  I awkwardly replied, hesitantly, as if she would say "oh no actually you can't, that was a JOKE!"  ...  Champagne with finger sandwiches of egg & cress and smoked salmon & cream cheese. ...... Warmed scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam ...... chocolate tiffin. 

 I ate everything and then the air hostess returned.  "Would you like some tea?"  She asked again. "Yes please" I said, wondering how on earth the word "tea" could have so many endless possibilities.  I got an actual cup of tea this time, to drink after my champagne. Is it just because we're in the air that its ok to have coffee then champagne then tea,  I wondered.  There are no cultural rules to determine the order, I supposed.

Cichetti [bar snacks] by the canal 

On Return to England.

I came back to the snain and I told a fellow student my opinion on British weather: "I think God is just pouring us with all this weather to tell us to get out of this country and go somewhere else.  "Splash," he's saying, "don't you get it?  IT IS NEVER EVER GOING TO GET ANY BETTER AND YOU'RE JUST GOING TO KEEP TALKING ABOUT IT FOREVER AND EVER AND NEVER TALK ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE APART FROM THE WEATHER SO JUST GET OUT OF HERE.""

 I said that to her. 

 At first she was bewildered by my sudden dramatic outburst of what God is telling us to do.  She did not mind too much since it was a Jew-to-Jew conversation so no religious politics there.  But some historical politics came up instead.  With calmness, she said: "we should just all transfer to the south of Spain where it's nice and warm."

The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly on the Plain.

I remembered colonisation.  The British rule of India.  The British in America, in Australia.  Poor Spanish, surely they've got enough on their plate with the economic crisis.  Obviously not.  Some Brits are thinking of colonising Spain now because the snain is getting too unbearable.  

Lets just have some spaghetti and close the blinds.  

Peppery Carbonara time:

2 Hungry People, 3 Normal

250g Spaghetti

5 Rashers of Streaky Bacon

2 Eggs

100 ml Single Cream

1 Garlic Clove, crushed

30g Parmesan or Grana Padano, finely grated

Little Salt and Pep.

Put a large pan of water to boil and put in the spaghetti (according to times indicated on the spaghetti)

Meanwhile, with a splash of olive oil (2 tablespoons) fry the bacon with the crushed garlic clove.

In a bowl, mix the eggs with the cream, nearly all the parmesan and the salt and pepper.  Add the bacon.

When the spaghetti is cooked, drain the water then put it back in the pan.

Off the heat, add the cream mixture.

Serve with the rest of the parmesan and a grinding of black pepper.

Posted on April 6, 2013 and filed under dinner, italy, london, venice.