Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Florence - here I come

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
bouillon cubes
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 :-)


VeggieGirl said...

"One of the perks of living in Europe..." There are SOOOO many perks, haha - take advantage of them all for me, please! :0)

Florence is among my favorite cities to visit, in Italy - enjoy it immensely!!

Jennifer said...

How fun is that! That IS a great thing about Europe, you can experience all sorts of different countries and cultures, here in the States we have Canada and Mexico. I'd really like to go to Mexico one day (Oaxaca to be exact).

I bet you guy will have a blast. Take lots of pictures!

Vaishali said...

Lovely, lovely soup, Anke. Florence sounds wonderful- have fun!

BitterSweet said...

Hope you have a great trip, it sounds wonderful! :)

Cookiemouse said...

Florence is a beautiful city with great food and wine. Hope you have a great time there.

Liz² said...

ooh, that is lucky, being able to pop over to Florence anytime! And that soup sounds *really* good, I could see it with peasant bread and wine on a warm afternoon.. mmmm!

Vegan_Noodle said...

A proposal in Rome... how romantic!! (especially considering that mine was in our kitchen)
Can't wait to hear about your trip! Italy is very high on my list of places to visit, plus my hubby is half Italian (2nd generation American) so hopefully he'll take me someday.

jd said...

Have a wonderful time in Florence - it's truly beautiful!

Oh, & thanks for sharing that adorable story about your former-boyfriend's proposal - talk about sweet!

Enjoy the rest of Italy :)

Anonymous said...

how wonderful! have a beautiful time in Florence!

jasmine.celion said...

nice post i like your blog too

jasmine celion

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Toni said...

That soup sounds sooooo delish. I'm going to save the recipe and try it on my family in the fall. I'm considering moving my family to an all vegetarian (strongly considering vegan at that) diet, trying many recipes on them as I learn and offering them much encouragement along the way. I think they would enjoy this one.

Tigerblood79 said...

I just discovered your blog, you are neat!

LK Sisters said...

Thanks for the split pea soup recipe - I like how it's unique with ginger, oregano, potatoes, and tomatoes!