In My Kitchen July 2014

Well, I’ve just blown back in to the garden from Rome, with spoils to show for it. Only we demolished a lot of it before it even occurred to me that it was a new month already (the boys have made fast work of a hefty chunk of Parmesan).
Do you enjoy poking around on other people’s kitchens? If so, head over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and join the fun.
So here are a few things that survived the onslaught. In my kitchen there is:

this beautiful slab of pancetta. And there is a bit of a story to it, as it happens.
Months ago, I received an email from my good friend Tuba that I ought to check out a blog called Rachel Eats. I consider her an authority on blogs worth reading, so I immediately complied and was subscribed by the end of the first paragraph. There’s good food, and also great stories and photography in her pages, and I’ve learned some invaluable things by reading her.
When I planned to go to Rome, it was in the back of my mind to write to Rachel. It feels a bit creepy to email someone out of the blue, but I did it once before and had a blast (thanks, Daisy of coolcookstyle!) Anyway, long story short we did manage to meet up over coffee and cornetti (very, very good cornetti, I might add, at Barberini on Via Marmorata). It is an odd feeling to meet up with someone you’ve read – a cross between meeting a pen pal and a matinee idol (dated references, I know). But what’s lovely is that there is so much to talk about. Rachel took me and Kaya on an impromptu tour of her neighborhood, Testaccio, and since everything was closed that day (Sunday), she took me to her butcher’s the following day to buy a bit of cheese and some pancetta to take home. It was a lovely little shop, clean and simple and full of cured meats of every description. I could have gotten carried away if I hadn’t been keeping one eye on Kaya the whole time.
Unwrapping the pancetta at home and slicing it (to be enjoyed alongside some fried liver and onions on Saturday, a.k.a. Liver Night), I felt my trip and my daily life collide, and had to smile.
In my kitchen there is:

a black truffle sitting in a box of eggs. This is also thanks to Rachel. I was flying home on Monday, so I wanted to get a sandwich for the plane. Rachel took me into Volpetti, a pungently scented temple to fine foods. “It’s a bit like a jewellery store,” she said as we entered and she breezily greeted the woman behind the counter and set her to the task of making me a sandwich. As this was happening, pizza bianca sliced and being laden with burrata and prosciutto, I spied a basket of black truffles on the counter. My mother had said she would like to have a truffle, so I plucked one out of the basket and held it to my nose. It smelled like an ambassador from the realm of dirt. Dizzied by the mushrooms hanging above, the rows of olive oil and vinegar, the cheeses and salami, I stumbled out clutching my prizes to find Rachel and Luca playing at the water fountain outside. And the sandwich was an absolute treasure.
Oh yes and about the eggs. My mother wanted the truffle to make scrambled eggs with, and she read that we ought to let it sit among the eggs overnight. Well who are we to argue? We tried it and the eggs, once cracked into a bowl the next morning, did seem to have an earthy perfume. Aided by generous shavings of the truffle itself, we were treated to a plate of eggs that tasted, in my mom’s words, as if they contained “a million mushrooms.”
In my kitchen there is:

this beautiful brick of salt. My friend Jessica, whom I shared the flat in Rome with, presented me with this surprising gift one night. The boys have had their tongues all over it, crazy for salt as they are, so if you come over I wouldn’t advise touching it. But that doesn’t bother me much so I enjoy ritualistically shaving salt off my salt lick and adding it to my food.
So this month I am drinking, with gratitude, to the generosity of friends both old and new.

Chin chin!

26 thoughts on “In My Kitchen July 2014

  1. What a wonderful In My Kitchen post. I love your writing and all the things in your kitchen are outstanding. Off to find Rachel !

  2. Sounds like you had an amazing time in Italy! With some lovely produce to share with us. The salt brick is fine even though the kids have licked it – salt is a great preservative, nothing would penetrate that! Lovely meeting you though IMK

  3. Oh, truffle! Lovely post, Siobhan, and such a nice peek into your kitchen this month. I enjoy meeting up with blog friends when I can, and am glad to hear such a wonderful story from you meeting Rachel.

  4. Siobhan, these are treasures from Rome, better even than the soldiers of old would have looted from it! The pancetta looks amazing, and the photo of your homegrown eggs with a truffle nestled in there is gorgeous. I like truffle, but probably not enough to pay the money for it again, but it was SO nice to be able to smell and taste one just to satisfy my curiosity. They sell big blocks of salt at our deli – apparently they use it for cooking on somehow? I think they heat it up or something? Rachel sounds absolutely lovely! 🙂

  5. rachel

    Hello S, first your description of a truffle as an ambassador from the realm of dirt is brilliant. It was so nice to meet, especially as it turned out to be the very best kind of meeting; easy, warm, with far to much to talk about not least our boys. Luca still talks about Kaya taking his dinosaur. thank you for making contact, it makes me want to do the same more. See you again in Rome or Turkey or London but meanwhile here, Rx

  6. Wonderful treasures from Rome. I am very jealous. Facinated by the block of salt. I am new to what’s in your kitchen, so my post is a bit late. It is up now if you would like to read it. Take care. Emma.

  7. Isn’t it wonderful to finally meet bloggers that you have been following and “chatting” with virtually in person? It is a little strange, but I have met many blogger and twitter friends and have never had a bad experience. Well, I did have one really awkward experience, but he was not *my* blogger friend but a blogger friend of a blogger friend.

    The point is that I had so much fun meeting too and look forward to seeing you again hopefully soon!

    Lovely block of pancetta by the way! And what a gorgeous block of salt! There is a shop here in NewYork (a transplant from Portland) that sells those pink salt blocks as big as plates and platters. You’re supposed to put them in the oven and get them really hot, then cook thin slices of meat or fish on them. The salt “plate” will season the food, no need to add any more salt.

    Love the truffle score too!

  8. You remarked in your latest post about how delinquent you were in posting… Well, I am also delinquent in reading! I have had a most enjoyable visit, Siobhan!

    Might I mention that your most recent posts were a break from your usual form? Your post on getting away was especially rare. It really touched me.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by (and staying a while) Lynda! It is wonderful to receive such a lovely comment – isn’t it something to have been reading one another to notice shifts in tone? I’ll try and keep up with my writing and reading a little better this year!

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