Cantucci with Almonds
Incredible. The feeling of reconquering space and time is just amazing, and the weather too,I mean, it's just perfect right now, warm but not yet scorching hot. After more than two months locked inside our tiny apartment, we can finally enjoy Venice. The city is tranquil, bars and shops have just reopened (with all the due precautions) and people are looking forward to a new beginning. It seems to me that residents are kinder than usual and more willing to help each other and show mutual support, even just by buying a coffee to take away, ordering a delivery meal from a restaurant, or through other small gestures.
As for myself, I am delighted I can be in nature again. Very early in the morning I go for a long jog from my house in Ruga Giuffa to Sant' Elena, and during the day I go out for a walk both morning and afternoon. The other day I just had this urge to see the sea that once back, after my shower I got dressed, left Vito in bed, and went to the Lido... It was beautiful (a little less for him who was woken up by the bin men ringing the doorbell insistently 😂)! Also, I can finally share some new media, as in the last week the hues of the sky were so marvellous that after my run, I simply had to head back to Piazza San Marco to take pictures.
The only not-very-positive fact of this moment is that I am not working (gatherings are still prohibited) and Vito is working a lot less, especially due to the fact that most cultural events like the Venice Boat Show, Biennale Architettura and Homo Faber have been postponed to 2021... But it's a common situation and, anyway, life goes on and I am sure busy days will arrive soon. I am not that worried because my father has taught me that working is a useless activity, because if there is a solution there is no need to worry and if there isn't...well, there's not much to do about it... so I'm following his advice and trying to get the most of this 'unique' time.
In fact, I think I have never frequented San Marco as in this period... it's so incredible to see it almost empty, quite metaphysical I'd say. Also, I have always seen the Piazza as a difficult place for perfect pictures. Yes, it is astonishing, but from 9 to 5 the light is just too harsh, provoking strong shadows and unpleasant colour contrasts. The best (if not only) moments are dawn, sunset and evening/night, when the shades of the sky become soft and kiss its monuments like a watercolour brush. In the rest of the city, in contrast, any time is a good time, as there is always a corner where you can protect yourself from harsh direct light.
Besides, the rest of Venice is more colourful, with narrow calli alternating to shady porticos, bridges with canal views, and normal everyday life scenes that convey a sense of normality and joy... Of course, I'm enjoying those too! I still haven't been everywhere, but I'll make up for the lost time in the coming weeks, especially with regard to farmers markets and islands!
Although, to be honest with you, I don't see the last months as a complete loss of time. We rested, cooked, read, studied, learned new skills and dusted some old ones, and... I am so proud that my mother used this time productively, took the course for accompanist and passed the exam, so when the situation will be calmer she will be ready for new adventures!
Vittorio read an incredible amount of books and participated in a literary tournament promoted by the weekly supplement of La Repubblica called Robinson, and had his review of The Count of Monte Cristo published, which was a small yet big satisfaction. As for myself... I have been cooking and taking pictures almost everyday, and I believe to have improved my use of a couple of softwares I need for work.
Anyway, speaking about cooking, today I am sharing a recipe for Cantucci cookies with almonds and honey. Cantucci are originally from the town of Prato, in Tuscany, and they are normally eaten at the end of a meal dipped in a sweet wine called Vin Santo. This recipe (which I must credit to Loredana, author of the blog Lemillericette) is slightly different from the original one, but it turned out perfect! We don't normally eat dessert after dinner, but the other day we made an exception, so after dinner we opened a bottle of sweet wine and remained at the table longer, planning future visits to local museums and churches. It may seem silly, but that 'cosy' time made my day.
Hope you will like them too and... talk soon! XXX
RECIPE: CANTUCCI COOKIES WITH ALMONDS and HONEY
Ingredients for about 30/32 cookies:
300 gr 00 flour
100 gr icing sugar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon milk
2 free range eggs
80 gr softened butter
150 gr peeled almonds
a pinch of salt
8 gr baking powder
1 yolk for brushing
1.In a bowl, add the previously sifted flour, baking powder, icing sugar and salt and make a hole in the middle.
2. Now add the eggs, softened butter, honey and lemon zests and knead rapidly, until you obtain a soft yet solid dough.
3. Add the roughly chopped almonds, combine, and move the dough to a flat floured surface and knead until the almonds are incorporated.
4. Form a sort of log, divide it in two equal parts and roll into two thinner logs. Place them on a greased piece of parchment paper in your baking pan and brush with milk and yolk.
5. Bake at 180° for about 20 minutes and when ready let cool a couple of minutes. With a knife, cut the log diagonally in order to obtain cookies about 1,5 cm thick.
6. At this point, toast them in the oven at 160° for 5 minutes per side.
7. Let cool and serve!