Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 6 June 2015
Someone mentioned Florence today, and I started to dream of a little holiday again. Although - if I had my time over again - I threaten to name any girl-child of mine, 'Fanny', I think I would actually be tempted to call her Florence.
If you go to Firenze, visit the little lunchtime restaurant that a friend of mine told me about, called 'La Casalinga', tucked down a back street on the other side of the river, very close to the bridge you need to cross to get there - assuming you start off in the wrong place. It is packed full of locals, run by a few elderly woman, has disposable table-cloths and offers a choice of one meal per lunchtime - every one being delicious and cheap. If I ran a restaurant, I would only have one dish on the menu every night - take it or leave it. It is a refreshing change to not have to choose these days.
The best fish I have ever eaten was in a tiny restaurant hidden in the thick walls of the old market of Istanbul. It was a block of cod, simply baked in butter and wrapped in a paper parcel before being put in the oven. It took us three days to find that restaurant.
The second-best fish I have ever eaten was deep-fried squid on a beachside restaurant in Southern Crete. We would watch the fishermen beat the whole squid against a rock in the early morning - as if they were washing their smalls - then eat it the same night. No need for a kiwi-juice marinade to soften these ones.
The third best was a massive, wild salmon, caught in Scotland the day before and also baked in butter.
A Thai restaurant here used to keep live crabs in a tank downstairs, and when you ordered one as a starter, the took it out, killed it, then did something Thai to it with chillies and ginger before dishing it up. Very good.
I like fish, but only if someone else cooks it.
The reason I am food-fixated in this post is because I am hungry. Most mornings when I don't have to get up early (which is most mornings) I wrench myself out of bed by imagining a breakfast made with whatever I know to be in stock.
This morning, I lay there, dreaming of thick, white toast with butter and Marmite, and that was the catalyst for putting my feet on the ground.
Sadly, I had a lot of dreams last night, and one of them was of buying a large, white, fluffy loaf. We had no bread of any sort other than that which would scratch your throat if toasted, and I have a sore throat today. My actual breakfast is going to be Strepsils.
In looking for the above image of La Casalinga, I find that it has qute a large presence on the interweb these days. Apparently, it was the inspiration for Hannibal Lecter. No wonder I am hungry.