The Mint Shop

The Mint Shop

Monday, 23 April 2012

Torta Pasqualina for my secret guests

It is always interesting to see that what we might consider a banal or unexciting dish turns out to be a real revelation for others.

Last Thursday I was drawing up the menu for Friday Saucepan&Suitcase secret supper and I lingered for quite some time over the recipe of this savoury tart - I was not sure whether my guests would have found it that appealing, after all it is simply a pastry case filled with ricotta and spinach and stuck in it a few hard boiled eggs that appear now and then.

But I am glad I went ahead with this idea. Easter was not such a long time ago and it is after all one of the most popular dishes we make in Italy for this kind of celebrations, particularly if the weather is good enough to let us have a picnic.

Torta Pasqualina, "Easter pie", is originally from Liguria, the horn shape region next to France, but can now be found anywhere in Italy. Almost every table features one of these simple pies which carry strong symbolic ingredients, like eggs, together with local springtime produce, like spinach and beets. It is perfect the day after and that is why it suits un "pranzo al sacco", lunch in a bag, i.e. picnic.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

German poppies

I would warmly recommend a weekend in Berlin if you have a bit of time in your hands. The city burst with life and changes. The last time I went it was a huge building site with a neat demarcation between West and East. Today cafes, art galleries, and bars are dotted everywhere. I walked and walked (and walked) all day long zig-zagging the main historical buildings and museums and stopping at the most attractive bakeries for a deserved rest.


East is probably the most charming area with its corners of forgotten history and sleepy buildings. The Ampelmann (literally "traffic light man") gives you the ok to cross the busy roads and grab your Berliner wurst or  the traditional but southern Pretzerl that appear at every corner lurking passers-by.