Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Ventimiglia - Mercato Coperto - May Market Shop in Italy

We popped over the border to Ventimiglia the other day to do a market shop. The produce is generally quite a bit cheaper in Italy than in France and it was nice to get out of town for a little while. It still amazes me that we can take the train for 40 minutes and be in another country!

So here is my contribution to what is currently in season here in Southern Europe in May. All these pictures are taken at the "Mercato Coperto" which is close to the station (basically walk 5 minutes straight down towards the sea) and I think is open every day, and sells fruit, veg, plants and a bit of deli style food and bread/pastries. But Friday is also the day of the weekly market in Ventimiglia which is outside and a bit further down towards the sea from the covered one and sells all sorts of things including shoes and bags and clothes.

There are millions of varieties of courgettes which makes me very happy! Usually around the 2 euro a kilo mark, as low as 1.80 and some a bit higher around 2.50 for these more normal types.



But more than that, trompette courgettes have started to show up!


I don't think you understand just how much I love trombette / trompette courgettes. I love love love them. I went home from JAAN with a couple of courgettes gifted to me by the kind chef after I raved about courgettes! They have an amazing texture, you can even eat them raw in a carpaccio, a place in Nice does this. They retain their shape when you cook them and just have the sweetest nuttiest flavour. LOVE. We bought loads here :D The prices were around the 3.50 to 4 euros a kilo mark in May. 



Monday, 25 May 2015

Meatless Monday - Pesto & Tomato tart

A bit of a change finally for this Meatless Monday, no pasta! Sticking with a kind of Italian theme though so not too far off base. This was such a super easy dish to make, ok it needs some time to cook in the oven but it is really yummy. We went to Italy and came home with fresh pesto (though it could be rather easy if you have the ingredients to make it at home) and we picked up pastry in the supermarket. The pastry I used is kind of not quite puff pastry but similar, just a bit more dense. I collected a whole load of tomatoes from Italy and the Cours Saleya in Nice and I caramelised some onions to give it more intensity of flavour.


You can see the steps above but read on for more detail. Easy and quick enough for a week night. 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Nice can be so beautiful at sunset

Just thought I would share a few pictures I have snapped around town after work this week, as there has been some beautiful light and sunsets.

View towards the old town from Place Garibaldi (drinks at Le 4 - formerly 4 Drinks, a wonderful cheap bar just don't expect fast service)



And the view back to the other side of the square.



View from the Port towards the Castle hill.



Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Nice - just over the border - Liguria recommendations from our Italian friend

Hi, this isn't so much a guest post as a list of recommendations from an Italian friend who left the Nice office of our company and joined us in the Singapore office. When we decided to move back, he shared his favourite spots over the border in Italy with us, around Ventimiglia and San Remo. I hope to try them all out soon and share the results with you! Now over to C:


Note that the places here below are my headquarters, the places where you would very probably find me if I was still living there. It is nothing fancy, but just simple and amazing quality/price ratios.

Ristorante Ca' Mea - Badalucco

http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Restaurant_Review-g2089120-d2317657-Reviews-Ristorante_Ca_Mea-Badalucco_Province_of_Imperia_Liguria.html

The place above has a fixed menu (around 10 courses). Normally you will eat so much that you will roll down the mountain and to the sea. The location is amazing (an old water mill) and price just ridiculous.

Equipe Gabri - Sanremo

http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Restaurant_Review-g194900-d2210421-Reviews-Equipe_Gabri-Sanremo_Italian_Riviera_Liguria.html

The one above is very very popular and cheap. They serve very late so this is the ideal place if you got stuck in SanRremo. Price is very very cheap and the food is very fresh. It is just above the market.

Victory Morgana Bay - Sanremo

http://www.victorymorganabay.it/victory/

I LOVE this place: this one is very classy and they have an amazing list of cocktails. Location is beautiful, especially in summertime when they open the roof. In the evening they have happy hour. You pay 8 Euros for a very will done cocktail + food!

LA TAVERNETTA PIZZERIA - Sanremo

http://www.2spaghi.it/ristoranti/liguria/im/sanremo/la-tavernetta-pizzeria/

This is the historical place where you can buy very nice focaccia. It closes down straight after lunch and it is not a pizzeria. They have a few small tables where you can seat and eat your focaccia. You should go there ~11.30

Gelateria Grom - Sanremo

http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Restaurant_Review-g194900-d3554786-Reviews-Gelateria_Grom-Sanremo_Italian_Riviera_Liguria.html

This is the Sanremo branch of famous Grom gelateria. In case you do not know Grom, give it a try!

Does anyone else have any recommendations for over the border in Liguria?

Monday, 18 May 2015

Meatless Monday - Pea, Mushrooms, Baby Leek Pasta

 Here is a lovely and quite easy pasta to make on a weekday and meaty enough for the non-veggies who do Meatless Monday due to all the mushrooms, which lend a wonderful umami flavour to the dish. This Meatless Monday I opted for mixed wild mushrooms, with peas and baby leeks. It was gorgeous!




Sunday, 17 May 2015

Nice - The Nice Life International concept for healthy vegan food

I went for pizza with a friend at Made in Sud Nice and we fancied dessert afterwards. We had plans to head over to Deli-Bo for some decadent patisseries but we walked past Nice Life and we both wanted to try it out (and our other halves never wanted to go with us!) So we then decided that since the desserts at Nice Life would be healthy, that meant we could have two! So we stopped in for a couple of cakes.



Friday, 15 May 2015

Nice - Hotel Le Negresco - The Jewel of the bay

Le Negresco hotel is really the emblem of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. Everyone recognises its famous pink roof and it is quite the beautiful hotel.


You see this colourful mosaic jazz player out front, so you know you are in the right place.


I went to Le Negresco as part of a Yelp event. We got to visit the hotel and have some cocktails in the bar. It is really an amazing hotel, still at least partly owned by the Augier family who bought it in 1957 from the founder/builder who was a Roumanian called Henri Negrescu/Negresco.

For more info about Le Negresco - check out Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_Negresco Mme Augier still lives in the hotel and decorated the full hotel, each piece of art was selected by her. Each floor is decorated in the theme of a different era which makes it rather eclectic and fascinating.

Le Negresco was named a National Historic Building by the French government in 2003 but it does seem to rankle them that they are not considered a palace as they don't have a spa! It is true that sometimes the rating systems are ridiculous as Le Negresco is truly remarkable, and part of the Leading Hotels of the World and an amazing 5 star hotel.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Nice - Made in Sud Pizzeria in Nice Port

I have been collecting recommendations from everyone around me (and would love to receive yours too! drop me a message below or by email or come join me on Facebook). One that came up from two Italian friends is Made in Sud (they both specified "for takeaway" as they are also Les Amoureux fans).

Made in Sud is a small small pizzeria on Boulevard Stalingrad with room for 4 people to sit down inside plus a couple of high tables for one outside and on request they can open up the upstairs oart it seems. So it is really mainly for takeaway. They do proper decent Neapolitan pizza at a very competitive price. I have been a few times and my husband has now tried it too and also approves (though he thinks Les Amoureux wins on the dough but does of course like the Made in Sud pizza dough too). I also took a foodie friend along for lunch and she appreciated the pizza too (plan was to take it to the beach but it rained so we made use of the small table inside).

Here is a collage of the three different pizzas I have tried so far, from top left you have a filetto I asked for with bufala, then the buffalo mozzarella pizza and down the bottom the vegetarian pizza.

Read on for more....

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