It’s a pie! It’s a loaf! It’s…I have no idea…

If you can take a wild guess what this dish is I’ll give you a million dollars. If you can even tell me whether it’s a meat, vegetarian, or a fruit dish, whether it’s pie, bread, or some kind of meatloaf I’ll give you $10. But you need to come to England to collect it.

I know I’ve kept you in suspense long enough. This dish, according to the recipe I followed, is a rhubarb bread and butter pudding. M’s grandma gave me a huge bunch of rhubarb the last time we went for a visit and with only 2 days left to go before leaving the country for 2 weeks I knew I needed to do something with them FAST. She had recommended boiling them in sugar and just eating them like that but I wanted to get a little creative so I looked up a recipe. While I didn’t have the EXACT ingredients they called for I figured tiny adjustments and substitutions would be alright.

Except that it didn’t turn out to be alright…

Here is the original recipe:

This is how I strayed…

I started baking at 1AM because I wanted to bring in something nice to work and I knew we wouldn’t be able to finish off a whole loaf on our own.

I checked on my loaf 45 minutes after I’d put it in the oven, as the recipe called for. Imagine my surprise when I saw it was still a liquid mess. “That’s alright, just let it bake a little longer…at some point it will solidify” was my thinking. I think I left the loaf in the oven for double the amount of time as requested but when it came out, it came out looking BEAUTIFUL. Really! Fluffy, golden, and it smelled pretty decent as well. Even M wanted a bite of it. So at 3AM I went to bed feeling pretty satisfied and happy about the fact that I’d have something good to bring into work the next morning.

So just imagine the look of disappointment on my face when I saw that my lovely masterpiece had completely deflated overnight. When I went to pack up my dish to bring to work I found my loaf had completely fallen in and what had appeared to be golden the night before now just looked burnt.

To avoid any embarrassment I decided not to bring anything in to work. To punish myself I had the whole loaf for dinner, dessert that night and breakfast and dinner the next day. M played no part in helping me finish the loaf I refused to throw away…jerk.

Oh mio Dio…

So in my last post I stated how important it is to stay on The Nonna’s good side. So I’m sure you can appreciate the irony I’m now about to tell you…

I think my snail collection brought me up a few points but as of yesterday I believe I did something that will keep me in the negatives for many many many years to come. Possibly an eternity…

The whole family was out yesterday but I stayed back to do some work and to also keep The Nonna company. I took a wee little break from doing work and started “chatting” to The Nonna…i.e. sputtered out some words that seemed coherent at times, but also involved a lot of hand movements to demonstrate what I was trying to say. I’ll be totally honest here, I did go to my computer to have Google Translate come to my aid as well.

Everything was going fine and dandy for a while…I told her how my sisters are doing, she asked about my parents, she told me about life in Rome and everything was all great and pleasant. Then somehow the topic of religion came up. Next thing I knew I was asked what religion I was…

*oh shit* is what went through my mind. “Non sono religioso…” was my answer. I thought it’d be better to be honest (when I told M later he told me I should have lied and that I’m basically done for). The shock (disgust?? horror??) on her face was almost more than I could take. She asked if I was baptized…I told her no. Oh if looks could kill…

The Nonna- “Catholic? Christian? Anglican? But don’t you believe in God? That there’s something above?”

Me- “Um…I’m not sure…I don’t know!”

Then I may have gone into panic mode…”my parents aren’t religious! I didn’t grow up going to church!” How I managed to say all this I have no idea. Maybe there is something divine out there. I would’ve started believing right then and there if there had been some kind of divine intervention to help with my struggle.

I can’t recall exactly how I managed to wriggle my way out of the’s all become a vague and hazy memory. I think I mumbled something about needing to prepare dinner and scurried away.

The Nonna came by today and I had actually forgotten about the whole situation. But I knew immediately the conversation was still fresh in her mind when after M and I dropped her back off at her apartment M told me his nonna had said “tell Hazel to brush her hair”. She would’ve never said anything like that two days ago. I think my angelic image has been forever tarnished.

So I beg of you, please give me some advice. What is a girl in my situation to do? Convert? Pretend to convert? Or just accept the fact that I’m no longer the portrait of perfection I’d so gotten used to being?




Sono arrivata in Sardegna

It’s been 3 days since I stepped foot onto Italian soil. I’ve been meaning to post the latest updates and while I apologize for the delay I can’t say I regret putting off being on the computer in replacement of eating, sight-seeing, eating, hanging out with friends, and…eating.

The trip didn’t start off in the ideal manner, but I guess it was fitting of an Italian vacation. i.e. Our easyJet flight was delayed by an hour, but meh- “c’est la vie”. Oh wait…that’s French. By the time we arrived the remnants of the day’s brilliant sun was already saying good-bye but what greeted us at home made me forget all about that. M and I left Bath while it was in a pretty miserable state. Rainy…cold…windy…and we arrived in Olbia with weather fit for an evening BBQ. Can you take a wild guess what we spent our first night doing? If you guessed eating, you’re only slightly correct. If, however, you guessed FEASTING then you are bang-on.  I’m used to one course meals. When I come to Italy I know to expect the full Italian treatment. You know what I’m talking about! Antipasti, Primi, Secondi…I had to suffer my typical “first-night-Italian-belly” (because apparently I’m “non resisto” i.e. I can’t resist food) and had a nice fill of wild asparagus/gorgonzola pasta, sausage, steak, bacon, pork chops, and strawberry tiramisu with whipped cream to prove it. I’d show you pictures of my stomach but I want you to continue to read and the pictures may put you off from doing so.

Sunday proved to be slightly unfortunate weather-wise but you gotta make the best of opportunities, right? After the morning rainfall I noticed a lot of snails making their way around the house and garden. Now I happen to know “The Nonna” (M’s Italian grandma) is a huge lover of snails so I made it a mission to collect as many snails as possible to give to The Nonna. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumours of making sure to stay on The Nonna’s good side because if you make one wrong move you can bet your balls that everything will be done possible to oust you out of the family. Fortunately for me, The Nonna likes me. I think my big cheeks make me irresistibly adorable and since I’m hardly capable of speaking the language there isn’t much I can say wrong (and we all know my big mouth has gotten me in trouble more times than I’d like to remember).

I knew my snail collection mission would make me go up the ranks even more and I know I scored big based on the widespread smile of delight on The Nonna’s face when I presented her with the efforts of my morning collection. For the animal rights activists out there I’ll spare you the details of how she prepares them.

The weather improved later on in the afternoon so we went for a walk around one of Sardinia’s nicest parks, Capo Figari. The walk to get to Capo Figari is one of my favourites since you get to admire beautiful water and the chances of spotting dolphins bobbing out of the water are pretty high since it’s close to a fish farm. I have yet to capture a really good picture of these dolphins, but I’d be more than happy to go snap-happy and provide you with photographic evidence…on the condition that you donate to the “raise funds to help Hazel buy a great zoom lens”. M’s grown up on the water and is a self-proclaimed island beach bum. He knows all the different types of fish and other aqua-marine species, gets more excited than I think is normal about finding a crab or starfish, can spot when wild hogs have been in the vicinity, and really wants to take me porcini mushroom picking.

So…like I said I’ve been here 3 days and have had pasta/pizza every single day. I’m going into carb overdrive and have a bridesmaid’s dress to fit into in 1.5 months. Should I be worried?