January’s favourites: 5 cheer-myself-up foods and drinks

Time, whatever happens it passes and doesn’t care if you’re late, you can call it bastard, but in the meantime it’s gone already.” says my rough translations of a song from the famous Italian songwriter Lorenzo Jovanotti. Time flies, it ridiculously does, and while I’m trying to figure out the important changes that are occurring in my life at moment, I suddenly find myself realising that an entire month is gone since my last post. It’s been stressful so far, considering everything is going on with my family, so keeping my 2015 resolution to stay positive has been likewise difficult, but I like to think I’m stronger than that, therefore fingers crossed because I don’t want to snap.

What I really like about myself, together with few other personal characteristics, is that my eating habits are not affected at all from the various everyday life circumstances. Even in the darkest of my days I never thought for one second to skip meals, because food is extremely important for me and if I don’t eat, neither my body nor my mood would cooperate to brighten the atmosphere.

During this month I kept myself up with these fabulous foods and drinks that I’d like to share with you guys. Who knows, if they worked for me they could do the same for you.

Almond milk. Ok it’s not technically milk, but more of a drink that resembles milk. Lately I’m having problems with regular English milk (yes, as weird as it sounds, the one I have in Italy is totally fine) so I thought giving almond milk a go, after I found out the soy one and I don’t really get along. I like the toasted flavour that matches my Illy coffee blend, but still, it’s not milk. That’s what, sometimes this January, has led me directly to point n.2.

Credits: Michael Kwan

Matcha latte. The Japanese famous bitter green tea powder exceptionally  combined with warm frothy milk by the skilful Timberyard baristas. A comforting treat which takes me back to the friendly atmosphere of Tokyo’s cafés.

Fresh mango with full fat greek yogurt and desiccated coconut. Ok this breakfast/afternoon snack came up by throwing in a bowl some stuff I had in the fridge, together with that desiccated coconut that was sitting in my pantry for too long. Thick rich yogurt for the creamy texture, coconut adds crunch and mango for a tropical sweet touch.

Talking about ‘Nduja here.

‘Nduja. The Calabrian spreadable spicy salami you can enjoy on your bruschetta or to revive your pasta sauce, or even better, you can melt it on your pizza to give that fiery Southern Italy kick. I also use to add it to soups, because it completely enhances the overall flavour.

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My last visit at Tonkotsu East.

Tsukemen: it was love at first bite when the waitress at Rokurinsha, Tokyo, brought me a big bowl of these thick noodles to dip in their rich pork broth. I never had the chance to eat them since that moment, almost three years ago. However London is always full of wonders, so when I found out that Tonkotsu East was serving tsukemen I had no choice but go trying them. What a joy it was! Perfect homemade noodles with the right porous texture that allows to absorb the broth. I won’t disclose any more details guys, as I’m preparing a review with an another article about my personal ranking of ramen bars in London.

So these are my January’s favourite foods and drinks, but I’m always looking for something new to cheer myself up with, so I can’t wait to hear about your suggestions.

Let me know, guys!

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Speaking of authenticity…

Quick post, as I am back in London for few days before going home for Christmas.

I was wandering around London Bridge the other day, so I went to Borough Market, in other words: the paradise for food tourists.

Suddenly something caught my attention: ‘Nduja from Kent? What?Are you kidding me?

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‘Nduja is a spreadable salami characterised by a very spicy flavour (that red colour has a reason!). This speciality comes from Calabria, the tip of the “Italian boot”, and it is only available in that territory, except for some specialised Deli in big cities.

So as I passed by this stall, I was surprised at first and then a bit annoyed, because I believe in authenticity and this is not the case. Let me be clear, as Italian I am flattered that some trader attempted to produce ‘Nduja with their local pork, but then it is not ‘Nduja, just something similar, we could say a “‘Nduja-style salami”. If that had been written on the label, I would not have said a single word. Because ‘Nduja, as every other product on this planet, has its own history and characteristics connected to precise ingredients and traditions, which frankly, I do not believe it is possible to reproduce in other territories. There is a reason why you will not find any Italian company that produces French cheese, it would be meaningless, because if I want that, I look for a French trader.

You, customer, do you want ‘Nduja? fine then, buy some Italian imported one.

And just for the records, there was a stall from Calabria whose ‘Nduja is imported directly by the trader, who goes back to Calabria every time.

And now in Italian.

Post veloce, perche´ sono a Londra per qualche giorno, prima di tornare a casa per Natale.

L’altro giorno vagavo per l’area di London Bridge, così ho pensato di passare per il Borough Market, il paradiso per i turisti enogastronomici.

All’improvviso, qualcosa ha catturato la mia attenzione: ‘Nduja del Kent? eh? mi prendete in giro?

La ‘Nduja è un salame spalmabile, dal sapore molto piccante (quindi c’è un motivo per tutto quel colore rosso!). Questa specialità viene dalla Calabria e spesso si può trovare solo in quel territorio o in qualche negozio specializzato in prodotti tipici nelle grandi città italiane.

Quindi, quando ho visto questo prodotto, mi sono sentita prima sorpresa e poi seccata, perche´ io credo nell’autenticità dei prodotti ed in questo caso, non ci siamo proprio. Voglio essere chiara, come italiana mi sento lusingata che qualche produttore abbia provato a riprodurre una specialità della mia nazione con la carne locale, ma allora non è ‘Nduja, è qualcosa di simile, un “salame tipo ‘Nduja”. Se sul cartellino fosse stata scritta questa dicitura, non avrei avuto nulla da dire. Perche´ la ‘Nduja, come qualsiasi altro prodotto su questa terra, ha la sua storia e le sue caratteristiche, legate ad ingredienti specifici e tradizioni, che francamente non credo sia posssibile riprodurre in altri posti.

C’è una ragiorne precisa per cui è impossibile trovare un’azienda italiana che produca formaggio francese: non avrebbe senso. Perche´ se volessi questo prodotto, mi andrei a cercare un produttore francese.

Vuoi acquistare della ‘Nduja? allora assicurati di comprare un prodotto importato dall’Italia (o comunuque originale, per i miei lettori italiani).

E tanto per precisare, al mercato c’era anche uno stand di prodotti tipici calabresi, la cui ‘Nduja viene importata direttamente dalla Calabria e personalmente dal titolare, che torna ogni volta al suo paese per controllare la produzione.