I had the chance to meet all the animals on the farm last night, and had a full tour of the grounds. Stunning. This is a wonderful way to spend a holiday stretch - I highly recommend it. Last night I made an eggplant and chickpea stew using herbs from the kitchen garden, which satisfied me after a longish day of exploring the most brilliant of little towns I have yet to see on our trip.
The town, Riptrasone, has been inhabited since prehistoric time, and has a satchel full of interesting stories about invasions from the Spanish. One of the most interesting tales is of a woman in the 13th century who managed to rally the citizens of the town against an encroaching army of Spanish, getting them to defend their little piece of heaven. They boast, amoung other bits of curiosity, the tiniest lane in all of Italy, measuring a whole of 43 cm. I had a fleeting moment of Niagara Falls fun house type fear as I made my way through the alley, making it out alive to head back to the coast for yet another soy treat.
When we made it home, we sat in the garden for a while, K with his beer and me with my paints. What a great day.
My Eggplant Exegesis:
1 medium eggplant - diced 1 white onion - diced 1 chilli pepper - seeded and slivered 2 cups of chick peas 2 cups of tinned tomatoes fresh rosemary, basil, parsley and oregano 2 tablespoons of olive oil
I simmered the onions for a wee while and added the rest of the ingredients, leaving it all to simmer away for about an hour. Yummy.
For desert I watched 1 episode of my (not so secret) dirty secret - The Tudors. I know, I know. The writing isn't that great, and there have been some ridiculously silly moments, but, hey - give me a break.
I have found some quite well done resources for vegan/Italy - mainly this little search site: VeganHome (which provides links and contact info for a whack of vegan resources by region) and Vegetariani, which is a little heavier on the 'what is a vegan' side of things, but has some useful links as well. Tomorrow night, if all goes to plan, we are hoping to check out a vegan restaurant/house in our district. Today - we head for the ancient city of Urbino, which boasts a number of bio shops - fingers crossed for finding some fu. I was on a real asian spree before I left belgium, and I don't think the desire for stir fry has been quenched by my recent tomato and eggplant binge.
I also want to share my salad from Wednesday night. We used up the rest of the Betolli beans, mixing them up with some fresh parsley, lemon juice and white wine. We had the salad with some oven baked vegetables - a mixture of peppers, eggplants, onions from the markets and the garden.