One of the perks of living in Europe is that Tuscany is just around the corner. Well, not exactly, but close enough for a weekend trip. Thursday is a holiday and we took Friday off and booked a get-away weekend in Florence. I can hardly wait for tomorrow morning. Ever since my first school trip to Italy I have been a fan of this country. Well, the school trip then was more about drinking and who goes with whom, but still, the country's charm got me.
Then last winter my then-boyfriend "kidnapped" me and took me on a surprise trip to Rome where he proposed to me. Hmmmm, romantic - and one more reason to love Italy.
And now Florence. They say it has the most cultural treasures of all of Italy. I've googled a bit and read that they also have nice rich vegetable stews such as pappa pomodoro and ribollita. And as I've noticed last year in Rome, in Italy pizzas are not necessarily drowned in cheese. It was totally normal ordering pizza without cheese in restaurants, every street vendor had some. And all those yummy grilled antipasti veggies... Coming from Germany, Italy is vegan heaven.
And the weather is supposed to be really nice for the weekend - I'm excited as a six year old on Christmas Eve :-)
To end with a recipe I'll present you with one of my favorite soups: green split pea soup. Easy as pea pie :-) To get me into this Italy mood we had it with fresh oregano and some extra virgin olive oil drizzled over it.
1/2 cup split green peas
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 small piece of ginger, minced
1 carrot, grated
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large leek, sliced
handful of dried tomatoes, sliced
the best extra virgin olive oil you can afford
some fresh oregano
Place the peas in a large pot together with the onion, the garlic, the ginger and carrot, cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil and cook until tender - 30 min to 1 hour (or longer, depending on the water in your area) Soaking the peas for a couple of hours before cooking will considerably speed things up. Do not add any salt to the water or the peas will take forever.
Once the peas are tender add bouillon cubes to taste (depending on how much water you've used), the potatoes, the dried tomatoes and the leek. Cook until the potatoes are tender - 10-20 minutes. By now the peas should have totally disintegrated, making for a nice, rich, creamy, hearty, stew-like consistency. Serve with fresh oregano and some olive oil drizzled over it. For complete protein serve with a slice of toasted sour-dough bread (or regular bread, we had it with sour-dough - the usual bread in Germany).
Without the olive oil this is a naturally fat-free dish.
And with this I'm off to Florence :-)