It was very, very hot, but that added to the feeling of being in the south of Europe in the middle of summer. I loved it.
I enjoyed walking around with my son, seeing all the historic sites, which I only knew from art history and books and films. The great thing is that you can walk in Rome, once in a while take a tram or bus but walking gets you to all the attractions and foremost to enjoy (normal)daily life which is on the street . Although it’s not normal at all that you have to visit the Vatican with 1000’s of others, shuffling in a row to see the Piéta behind a thick glass wall.
In Trastevere, where we stayed, there are so many small churches which contain beautiful sculptures and frescos, also from renowned artists, for me the small discoveries were my favorite.
As a person with celiac disease Rome is great too. Wherever you go to eat something, everybody knows what you mean. Although they don’t have a gluten-free menu they understand and propose something. That was my biggest surprise in Rome. Whereas in Holland celiac disease is still very unknown and I have so many encounters, also in restaurants, where people ask me: “Oh is that a new diet, but you don’t need that” or “so you cannot eat rice then or potatoes?”, in Rome you can go in any bar where they sell paninos and pizza slices for lunch, and they make you a salad filled with mozzarella, tuna, tomatoes, grilled aubergine and artichokes or what they have in the kitchen.
And after that a very good espresso
I did go to eat in 2 gluten-free restaurants (they are neighbors !) at the Piazza San Cosimato,the food and the atmosphere were great, also a lot of Italian diners came to eat there too and that is always a good sign. We were there when Italy won the soccer match against Germany so that was a bonus too!
Near my hotel I discovered a gluten-free bakery: LE Ben, in summer it’s best to call them in advance and order what you want, because thebaker doesn’t bake so much bread every day. In the afternoon the owner makes a daily dish and you can order pizza and hamburgers on a gluten free roll. That was one more amazing thing in Rome, I didn't see any McDonald's but 100's of small bars and restaurants where you can eat at any time and for every budget.
I saw some gluten-free items in pharmacies and supermarkets or organic stores, there is not a lot to find and the prices are very high, compared to the Dutch stores.
I recommend to take some crackers with you and I always take some gluten free granola or cruesli with me, so you can buy a can of yoghurt and a banana and start your day with a fruity summery breakfast.
After coming back we had a lot of things to do and to celebrate my sons graduation. I did a lot of cooking, of course, but was not in the mood for blogging or sitting behind my computer.
I want to make it up to you by giving some summer inspiration.
I made these lovely filled small sweet pepperoni
Just put them on an oven tray and bake them for 10 minutes in a 180 ˚C oven. Let them cool, make a slice in the middle and fill them with some feta cheese, drizzle with good olive oil and some pepper. Enjoy as a snack or side dish.
Cook a portion of polenta and at the end of the cooking process add some chopped dried tomatoes with a tablespoon of fried oregano, stir it in well. Pour the polenta on a wet plate and let it cool completely with a sheet of cling film on top. Cut the polenta in squares or slices and bake them in olive oil, till golden, sprinkle with some Parmesan.
Or serve with this gorgeous salsa verde:
20g basil leaves
20g flat parsley leaves
20g mint leaves
1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed and drained
1 anchovy filet
2 tsp good vinegar
2 tsp Dyon mustard
125ml extra vergine olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
You can make the salsa in a kitchen machine but the fun is making it with your knife and slice all ingredients as fine as you can on your cutting board. Then put them in a bowl and season with vinegar, mustard, oil and salt and pepper.
I filled and baked bell peppers
click for recipe
I made apricot marmalade from a kilo of fresh and juicy apricots from the market.
Wash them, de-pit them, slice in 6 and cook slowly with 50-100 g of cane sugar and a splash of water, till soft, about 20 minutes. Cool and store in a glass jar for about 1 week.
Did you know you can crack the pits and eat the core!