Posts from November 2015

Nuns make the Wine, Coenobium Lazio White Blend and Essential French Rose Wine, Tasted at Amanti Vino

A holy white blend from Lazio, Coenobium (Vendemmia 2013), 45% Trebbiano, 35 % Malvasia, 20% Verdicchio...from the nuns at Monastero Suore Cistercensi in Lazio...


and Essential French Rose Wine (Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Mourvedre)

Tasted this afternoon at Amanti Vino

Quinoa Sweet Potato and Walnut Veggie Burger, Before or after Turkey Binge Recipe from 'The Quinoa CookBook'

A timely recipe for before or after turkey binge Recipe, from The Quinoa [Keen-Wah] CookBook (Harper Wave, July 2015) by Maria del Mar Sacasa...

Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Walnut Veggie Burgers



Textural balance and difference is important to every recipe, but especially with veggie burgers. Have you ever had one that’s just plain mushy? If so, it was probably your last until now. This recipe, with sweet potatoes as a lightly sweet binder and base, meaty mushrooms, toothsome walnuts, and al dente quinoa, will change the way you think about veggie burgers.

14 ounces/300 grams sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch/2.5-centimeter dice

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed

8 ounces/225 grams cremini or shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, tops cleaned and coarsely chopped

½ cup (2 ounces/60 grams) walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 large shallots, finely chopped

2 teaspoons soy sauce, plus more to taste

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar, plus more to taste

1 cup (6 ounces/180 grams) Basic Quinoa (pages 12–13) or Pilaf-Style Quinoa (page 14)

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup cilantro and flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


Barbecue sauce

Crisp lettuce

Dijon mustard

Hamburger buns


Picked Pink Onions (page 33)

Sweet and Tangy Roasted Tomatoes (page 27)

Teriyaki sauce


  1. Place the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water. Add the salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, weigh out 10 ounces (about 1 cup) and reserve.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms, walnuts, shallots, and soy sauce and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are golden brown and the shallots are softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sherry vinegar and cook 1 more minute. Stir in the quinoa. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning with soy sauce, vinegar, and pepper.
  3. Place the cooked sweet potatoes in a large bowl and mash them with a fork. Stir in the mushroom mixture, cilantro, and parsley.
  4. Divide the mixture into 4 portions and shape them into 5-inch/12.5-centimeter patties.
  5. Wipe out the skillet and coat it lightly with oil. Heat the skillet over medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Cook the patties until deep golden brown on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Serve with any of the suggested accompaniments

(* Reproduced with permission from 'The Quinoa [Keen-Wah] CookBook' by Maria del Mar Sacasa - Published by Harper Wave, July 2015- All rights reserved- Photography by Zach deSart

One for the Party Girls, Marocha Papaya Cocktail from 'Hartwood' Cookbook

Not every American will go for their 'Fish Head Soup' recipe yet I am sure every one of them will find something to be awed by in Hartwood 'Bright, Wild Flavors from the Edge of the Yucatan' (Artisan Books, Fall 2015) by Eric Werner and Mya Henry.

The couple decided to leave their New York restaurant jobs and pack up their bags for Tulum (Yucatan, Mexico) to build their dream restaurant open to the skies.

Here's a cocktail from the book to make you thirsty for more.


Makes 1 drink

A marocha is a woman with dark hair and smoky coloring; it’s also slang for a party girl, the one who’s always going out and hitting the dance floor. This drink tastes how a marocha looks: earthy papaya (which becomes buttery when pureed) paired with smoky mezcal and brightened with orange juice. It’s also what a marocha might drink to get the night going. 

2 shots papaya puree

1 shot smoky mezcal

¼ cup fresh orange juice


Pour the papaya puree into a glass, then fill the glass with ice. Add the mezcal and orange juice and stir well.

(*Excerpted from Hartwood by Eric Werner and Mya Henry -Artisan Books- Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers)

Pork Snow Balls, Time for One Pot Japanese Clay Cooking, Shiro-Mushi Dango from 'Donabe'

Time for one pot cooking the Japanese way with Donabe, Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking (Ten Speed Press, October 2015) by Kyle Connoughton and Naoko Moore

Pork Snow Balls Shiro-mushi Dango

Serves 6 to 8 as part of a multicourse meal

Equipment: 1 large (3-quart/3 l) donabe steamer

These heart dumplings look like shiny snowballs, and they make me feel festive every time I make them. Pork meatballs are covered in sweet rice and steamed until the rice is perfectly sticky and the meat is fluffy. I like it with a tiny dab of yuzu-kosho for accent. Or you can serve them the more classic way, with soy sauce mixed with karashi (Japanese mustard) or ponzu. – Naoko

1 rice cup (3/4 cup/180 ml) sweet rice, rinsed

1 tablespoon sake

1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 pound (450 g) ground pork

1 large egg

3 medium-size dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated, trimmed, and diced small

1/4 cup (60 ml) finely minced yellow or sweet onion

1 small clove garlic, finely grated

1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger

2 1/2 tablespoons katakuriko (potato starch)

2 tablespoons sake

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Yuzu-kosho, for serving

Donabe_Pork Snow Balls

In a medium bowl, soak the sweet rice with enough water to cover the rice completely for 2 hours. Drain well and transfer it back to the bowl. Add the sake and salt and mix thoroughly.

To make the pork meatballs: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Knead by hand until the mixture is shiny and smooth. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Divide the pork mixture into 16 portions and shape them into balls (about 1 1/2 inches/3.5 cm in diameter) by hand. Dip each ball into the sweet rice and, using your hands, coat it completely with rice. Press down lightly on the rice so that it sticks.

Prepare the donabe according to the basic steaming instructions below, lining the steam grate with one of the suggested liners. Arrange the dumplings on the lining. Cover and steam over upper medium-high heat for about 20 minutes, or until the meat and rice are cooked through. Serve with yuzu-kosho at the table.

Basic Steaming

Fill about 70 percent of the donabe body with water.

Set the steam grate in place and cover with the lid. Bring to a boil over medium-high to high heat.

3. Once the donabe steamer is ready, simply place the ingredients either directly atop the grate or on a plate or a bed of napa cabbage, green leaf lettuce, green cabbage, or bean sprouts. (This will help prevent the ingredients from sticking to the grate without clogging the holes, thus easier cleaning after use, and you can eat the bed, too!) Cover and cook until done. Other options for holding the ingredients are a bowl, a sheet of parchment paper punched with holes, or a mat of bamboo leaves.

Rolling with it for Tokyo Thursdays #308

(*Reprinted with permission from Donabe, by Kyle Connoughton and Naoko Moore, copyright 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography copyright 2015 by Eric Wolfinger)

Airing Clean Laundry Outdoors, Books as Cosmology, 'Art Place Japan' Connects Art, People, Nature

Fresh off the press, Art Place Japan 'The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale and the Vision to Reconnect Art and Nature' (Princeton Architectural Press, November 3, 2015)  opens a window to  all of us who are not part of the 500.000 people who were lucky to participate in Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale since 2000.

How does event reconnect art and nature as illustrated in book?

In Guided by Art through the Satoyama Landscape, the playful Tsumari in Bloom (page 34-35) wags its tale over the fields while House of Birds (page 37) stands in snowy landscape.

Yes, Human Beings Are Part of Nature and Terraced Rice Fields (page 58) can be the artist's canvas.

Featuring the snow notes that 'In the 1950's Tokamachi adopted the attitude of rather than antagonize. let's befriend the snow'. Gift for Frozen Village (page 76) illustrates that, 'participants planted 10,000 led lights in snow which they called 'seeds of light'

Old cooking pots and pans become art in Akiya (page 114)...

White Project

In Collaborations, I thought of airing clean laundry outdoors with White Project (page 181, pictured above), 'the white cloth made by members of the community was joined to represent the connection between the spirits of people, the world, and generations'.

The Art of Daily Life can come from the snail shell like formation of cars in parking lot (page 221).

As for Incorporating Art into Life, the family of late art critic Yusuke Nakahara donated his collection of 20,000 books which became part of installation The Cosmology of Yusuke Nakahara (page 223, pictured below) by Tadashi Kawamata.


'Art Place Japan' is authored by Fram Kitagawa, the general director of the event, with contributions from Lynne Breslin and Adrian Favell.

To learn more about Fram Kitagawa read Echigo-Tsumari: The Fram Kitagawa Philosophy interview by Adrian Favell (July 2009) on ART iT.

Connecting art, people and nature for Tokyo Thursdays # 307

(* Images reproduced with permission from Art Place Japan 'The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale and the Vision to Reconnect Art and Nature' -Princeton Architectural Press, November 3, 2015- by Fram Kitagawa)

Ghosts Tours, Extinct Volcano, Brew Popcorn Pilsner at Stewart Brewing, Edinburgh 10 Do's and Don'ts by Danielle Ellis

10 Do's and Don'ts are back, after a hiatus with Edinburgh in the picture.
Thanks to Danielle  Ellis of Edinburgh Foody for sharing. "Edinburgh Foody is Edinburgh's longest running food blog written by Danielle, Caroline and Slaine. We are always happiest when tucking into a good meal made from Scotland's finest ingredients with a wee cocktail on the side!"

Edinburgh 10 Do's and Don'ts


-Dine at the very best at a reasonable price

We have 4 Michelin starred restaurants in the city., the Kitchin, 21212, Restaurant Martin Wishart (below) and Number One (at Balmoral Hotel) , Go for lunch and you can eat Michelin starred cuisine for less than £30 


-Use public transport (Lothian Buses), free WiFi  on all buses

We have an amazing transport system of buses and a tram. You can go all over the city for just £4 a day. There are night buses to most areas too. Download the app to buy tickets (so you don't need to find change) and discover bus routes and timetables. It's one of the very best of its type. 

-Take an Edinburgh Tour bus

It's a great way to get a flavor of the city. Choose one that has a live guide and you'll get lots of great stories including spooky ones!  

-Explore Edinburgh's drinks

Gins and beer made in the city? There are many. Head for One Square that has 60 gins to try or Edinburgh Gin Distillery.  And if you're here for a longer stay, you can even brew your own beer at Stewart Brewing, say a Popcorn Pilsner! The mixologists in our bars love nothing better than creating unique cocktails with ingredients created in the bar itself.

Edinburgh gin

 Go to the dark side

Edinburgh has some very dark secrets. Go on a ghost tour with The Cadies & Witchery Tours  or visit Mary King's Close, the underground streets frozen in time since the 17th Century.  and the Surgeon's Hall Museum [] has fascinating and some gruesome exhibits, includes Pathology Museum and Dental Collection.

Take in the culture

Hop on and off the museum bus to discover our two Modern Art galleries, the National Portrait Gallery and National Galleries. Fascinating exhibitions inside and out and renowned cafes in each one. "Starting at the Scottish National Gallery the bus runs a circular route to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. A voluntary donation of £1 is requested." Current exhibit at Gallery of Modern Art is Modern Scottish Women | Painters and Sculptors 1885-1965 which opened on November 7 and runs until June 26, 2016.


Climb Arthur's Seat

Our very own extinct volcano Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park is worth a climb. The views from the top are astonishing and if you look hard you might see where the sea once lapped. 

Try haggis, neeps and tatties

If you like sausages, I assure you, you will love haggis. It's even better with a dram of whisky! 

Come prepared

Don't assume it will be warm or dry in summer. Always bring layers and good walking shoes – we have lots of hills! 

Bring the kids

Edinburgh is great for Kids. You can even entertain them for free! Pay a visit to Gorgie City Farm. The animals will keep youngsters amused for hours. Visit the Museum of Childhood on the Royal Mile and show the little ones toys from years ago. Ever seen a million pounds?  You can at the Museum on the Mound.


Don't just visit in August.

We have amazing events all round including a Science Festival (March 26 to April 10, 2016) and Christmas and Hogmanay  (New Year Festival) in addition to the Festivals during August. Check the list on Edinburgh Festival City in addition to the Festivals during August

Science festival

Don't delay booking accommodation

The population of the city swells by a million during the August Edinburgh Festivals. Book your accommodation long in advance – unfortunately it will be pricey.

Don't miss the outdoors

We're the only European capital that has a park on one side of its main street. It's a leafy city, greenery everywhere you go. The Royal Botanical Gardens are a true oasis of peace.  And when it's chilly pop into the palm house to warm up!

Royal lights

Don't park in the city

Parking is extremely expensive and limited. You don't need a car to get around town. If you do, download the RingGo app so that you can park without needing cash. 

Don't rely on printed guides to eating out

We have more restaurants per head than any other city (allegedly). Follow some of the local bloggers from 2 The Kitchen via Jelly & Gin to The Usual Saucepans... to see which restaurants are up and coming. Fantastic ones open every week and the guides will be out of date. 

Don't assume you can always get a table

Edinburgh is a small city and we love eating out. Always book the restaurant of your fancy as far in advance as possible. Often you'll find the best restaurants just off centre or down in Leith.

Don't skip the markets

A great place to find street food and the finest local produce, Markets listed on This is Edinburgh are held across the city, mostly on the weekend with special ones at Christmas and during August.   

Don't think that whisky isn't for you

The story goes that there is a whisky for everyone and it's true! Visit the Scotch Whisky Experience as a starting point and you will be surprised.

Don't forget we have different money in Scotland

You'll find that bank notes can look very different to those found in England. Although they are legal tender in England, sometimes you may encounter difficulty. 


Don't wait to come back!

Once you've visited you'll be smitten. We'll see you soon.

(* Photo credits: Restaurant Martin Wishart dining room (top) from their website, Modern Scottish Women from Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Scottish Bills from Visit Scotland website, all others from their respective Facebook page's photo album)

Pizza for Tea Time, Wild Mushroom and Tea Smoked Cheese Pizza from 'Artisan Pizza', to Make at Home

Pizza for Tea Time, Wild Mushroom and Tea Smoked Cheese Pizza from Artisan Pizza, To Make Perfectly at Home (Kyle Books, November 2015) by Giuseppe Mascoli and Bridget Hugo.

Giuseppe Mascoli is the man who started Franco Manca in Brixton in 2008...

Wild Mushroom & Tea-Smoked Cheese Pizza

Smoked cheese makes an interesting alternative to mozzarella on pizzas, and you can purchase great smoked cheeses from

many producers. If you want to try smoking cheese yourself, and you do not have a wood smoker, try tea-smoking in an

ordinary domestic oven. We have suggested a way to do this, on page 23.


1 dough ball (see page 16),

left to rise for

11⁄2 to 2 hours OR

dough 2 for sheet pizzas

flour, for dusting

For the Wild Mushrooms (Makes enough for 4 baked pizzas)

6 ounces wild mushrooms

1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

pinch of sea salt

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 ounce tea-smoked cheese (see page 23)

2 ounces mozzarella fior di latte, torn into 5 chunks

4 basil leaves, torn

Wild Mushroom & Tea Smoked Cheese

Prepare the wild mushrooms: Rub the mushrooms with a damp towel to remove any dirt. Do not soak them in water or they

become slimy.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan over low heat and sear the mushrooms for about 3 minutes, seasoning with a pinch

of salt.

Place a rack on the highest shelf of the oven and turn the broiler to its highest setting. When hot, place a greased 10-inch cast-

iron pan on the stove, set to medium heat.

Sprinkle a little flour over your hands and on the work surface and open the dough ball by flattening and stretching the dough

with your fingers, or by rolling the dough with a rolling pin.

Pick the pizza base up and gently stretch it a little more over your fists without tearing it. Drop this onto the hot pan, and allow

it to start rising.

As soon as the dough firms up, drizzle the olive oil over the base.

Add a quarter of the mushrooms, then scatter the smoked cheese, mozzarella, and basil on top.

Cook the pizza on top of the stove for about 3 minutes, then transfer the pan to the broiler for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve whole or in slice.

For the Sheet Method

Follow the recipe instructions on page 19. The whole process will take about 90 minutes. Heat the oven to 500°F and stretch

the dough to the edges of the sheet. Be sure to spread your sauce right to the edges before adding toppings. The sheet pizza

dough serves 4, so quadruple the ingredient quantities. Bake for no less than 10 minutes.

(* Recipe excerpted with permission from Artisan Pizza, To Make Perfectly at Home -Kyle Books, November 2015- by Giuseppe Mascoli and Bridget Hugo,  Photography by Philip Webb)