Tag Archives: Italy

Anyone for Torta di Risa Dolce (Rice Cake!)??

Now if you know what’s good for you- you’ll say yes! I just love risotto and when I found this little gem I was delighted to make it my own.  And this is just perfect to have with a coffee at 11, or with some creamy vanilla ice cream as a dessert.  Warm of cold, it makes no odds.  Just simply divine.

There is no food richer in meaning than rice: life, wealth, and prosperity accompany this grain, a cornerstone of Italian cuisine. It was already a common ingredient in ancient China and India. According to archeologists, rice originated 15,000 years ago on the Indian side of the Himalayas!
Rice is an extremely important ingredient for the populations of the Far East who base their diet on this white cereal. Alexander the Great introduced the grain to Persia and then scientists brought it to the Middle East. Over the centuries, it finally made its way to Europe, first in Greece, then in the Roman lands, where it was never cultivated, rather imported. Rice remained an expense food for the rich Westerners who used it in small doses as a cosmetic or to fight against intestinal disease or fevers!

Risotto Rice, milk, sugar and dried fruit go into this delicious gluten-free cake originally from the city of Bologna.

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Motorway Dreaming & Driving

I have been travelling a lot recently and thankfully most of it has been on the motorway.  And having travelled many a motorway in the UK and Europe, I think we are very lucky.  Granted the M50 can be tragic at times, but to be fair, and completely honest, the rest of our motorways are usually fairly quiet and peaceful to drive.

motorway driving

When I’m alone driving I spend my time wondering why nobody has put horses into that beautiful field, or the other burning question- why isn’t the service station on the M9 finished.

Depending on the time of day, I may- or may not listen to the radio.  I really enjoy most shows during the day.  The gentle easy listening mix of chat, interviews and “popular” music. Sometimes I out on the music on my phone.  What I don’t like is the heavier music in the evening.  It tends- for some completely unknown reason to leave me feeling agitated.

We don’t have really big motorways or intersections like you see in the United States, but this clip from Toy Story makes me realise that I definitely do not want to be driving on them!

We are driving to Switzerland in the next couple of weeks.  And then onto France through Italy.  It will be a looonnnnnggggg road trip, but motorways in Europe seem to be be designed with actual travellers in mind.  There are;

  • Good signage
  • Regular Service station stops
  • Good road surfaces- well most of them anyway!

The tolls on these roads can often mount up, but I’d rather pay a toll, and have access to clean, safe bathrooms and food stops. The toll motorways are outside of the main cities.  In other words you are not penalised for taking a ring road around a city.  Whereas Ireland seem to have done the opposite!

In France especially the first point to note is that full service areas are not the only points at which drivers can stop for a break on the French motorway system. Far more frequent than full-scale service areas are much smaller “aires de repos” which are in essence just off-road parking areas where drivers can pause for a break, a picnic or other essentials. But whatever the type of “aire” that is coming up, the services provided are always clearly indicated in advance, with standard picture signs easily read by locals and visitors alike.