In these hot days of summer, I enjoy wandering around the quieter and almost deserted areas of my city. From 12 pm to about 5 pm, the sun hits so hard that it honestly takes courage and a lot of good will to even try to photograph Venice without a proper filter. There is hardly any air, but while most of the people complain and suffer our very traditional humidity, I am happy it's finally so hot, as it took so long this year for this season to arrive. Besides, I am a lagoon amphibious and I bask quite comfortably in this climate.
When I'm not teaching, I take advantage of the mornings to do shopping, cooking and photo shooting, and after lunch, when the rest of the world is locked at home with the air conditioning on, I dawdle around town and hop in and out of beautiful palaces to see the external exhibitions of Biennale d'Arte. I am super fond of this event and every year, I cannot help but consider how lucky I am to live in a city so rich in art. Of course, Venice has many problems (too many airbnbs, the impossibility to find a house for residents, cruise-ships, huge masses of day trippers, just to mention a few), yet I feel so grateful to have grown up here and I have faith things will improve at some point.
After all, if we think about it, in the 70s the lagoon was a lot more polluted than today as Marghera -which at the time was the biggest chemical plant in Europe- discharged hot water full of metals and chemical sludge in it, provoking eutrophication, but when it came out measures were taken and the quality of the water gradually improved. In the same years, unfortunately, we started having cruise ships and now it is evident to the entire world that those ships must stay out. A survey carried out by the university showed how in the last 6 years the passage of these monsters has provoked the backing of 18 meters of coast... And even though the president of the port never wanted to meet the researchers, they can't keep exploiting the territory and stealing money with the world watching.
Maybe I'm feeling optimistic because work wise, this year has been unexpectedly positive for me. Or maybe I'm just happy because it's sunny and warm. Anyway, in today's post I am sharing a super easy recipe for cherry plum clafoutis and a few pics of the empty streets of Cannaregio. Yes, because a couple of afternoons ago I was so lucky to have Vittorio with me (the man is working really hard!), so we visited Palazzo Mora and Palazzo Michiel del Brusa' and concluded our stroll buying lots of fruit and veg at the stall in Rio Tera' Barba Frutariol.
As soon as he saw cherry plums he got so excited that we asked for a kilo. Years ago he used to have a bookshop and from the back door he had access to a garden where there was a beautiful cherry plum tree, so in summer he would just laze about out there with his friends and customers speaking about books and life, and whenever they felt hungry they would just stretch out their arm and grab a cherry plum (hey honey, no wonder you closed ... Why weren't you inside selling books?!😜😜😜).
Anyway, my fear of having bought too many plums disappeared the moment we arrived home, as we ate some raw immediately, added a couple to our evening salad and with the rest I made a clafoutis (which was meant for breakfast but finished the same evening) and a sauce to go with it.
Allow me say 'God bless clafoutis'! So easy, yet so delicious. My recipe is really basic, as I only used eggs, sugar, milk and flour. Still... superb! The traditional French recipe uses cherries, but any fruit will do the job. The cherry plums released all their sweetness, which I balanced with the soft acidity of the sauce. Hope you will like it and please let me know!
Bye for now and talk soon!
CHERRY PLUM CLAFOUTIS
- For the clafoutis:
8 cherry plums
100 gr brown sugar
200 ml milk
100 gr 00 flour
a knob butter
- For the sauce:
6 cherry plums
2 Tbsp brown sugar
pink pepper (optional)
1.Pre-heat oven at 180°
2. Wash the cherry plums. Slice about 8 in half, remove pitch, and place on a previously greased baking pan with a sprinkle of brown sugar. Keep aside.
3. In a bowl, whisk eggs with sugar until you get a foamy mixture, then add the milk and finally the flour.
4. Amalgamate well, pour over the plums and bake at 180° for about 40 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, roughly chop the remaining cherry plums, heat a pan, add 2 Tbsp brown sugar, some water, grind some pink pepper (optional) and cook the fruit at medium heat for about 5/6 minutes, stirring continuously.
6. When the clafoutis is ready, serve hot and accompany with the cherry plum sauce.