Day 3 choosing bathrooms and kitchens


We knew it will be a 'working holiday'. And today, we spent a few hours in a shop to determine sinks and toilets for 2 1/2 bathrooms and 1 guest toilet. The good thing is, we already have experience and like what we chose last time. So we stick with Duravit and its Stack 3 and Vero line.

More difficult are the tiles for the floors and walls. We still like what we chose last time, but thought not to spend too much money on expensive Sicis mosaic tiles ... and find a cheaper solution instead. Also terra cotta tiles are not the best solution for bathroom flooring since they absorb water. (In our guest residence we used old restored terra cotta tiles.) For the balconies we already ordered the same blue tiles as at our main house. However, we knew we will spend more time on the subject the following days.

The two kitchens we would order from the same local company (Alindar), in white and red, same as last time. Even with the same wall tiles (remember my crazy tile mix?). The only challenge we are facing this time, is to build a kitchen around and above the stairways' arch (see photo). I can't picture it yet and we are still waiting for the company's proposal.

In the evening we had a casual and relaxed dinner with friends at the local fish restaurant 'La Lampara'. I ordered TONNO CON CIPOLLA (fresh tuna fish with red onion from Tropea, cottura media - medium cooked) - and it was awesome! I totally can recommend that restaurant in Pizzo. The owner speaks english, reservation is recommended, unfortunately only tables indside, but nice decor.



Easy things




Pumpkin Soup



Pesto alla Genovese (classic green basil pesto)




Hoaba Datschi (Bavarian Blueberry Cake)


Lebkuchen (Ginger Bread Cookies)

Panna Cotta


Tiroler Nusskuchen (Tyrolean Nut Cake)


Sources for more recipes:




I am not a cook. 

But I like to dine and wine with friends. So I try my best. And I enjoy it more and more. However, I am still better with deserts. That's why I need to write down all what I managed to cook well. And as paper gets messy over time and in the kitchen, I decided to file my favorite recipes here. Along with my favorite recipe websites. Always available online, even when travelling.



Risotto is an Italian rice dish cooked with stock to a creamy consistency. The stock to use depends on the risotto you cook - it can be meat-, fish- or vegetable-based. In every risotto you will need butter, onions and wine. Then you add different ingredients. For a risotto al porcini, you add porcini mushrooms and for a risotto al tartuffo you add truffle (at the end). The classic risotto alla Milanese contains saffron.

A risotto in Italy is a primo piatto (first course) followed by a main course, therefor calculate just 70 - max. 90 gram rice per person if you plan to serve more food. Please note, that you will need to buy a special kind of risotto rice (like "Carnaroli").

photos via pinterest

risotto (ricetta di base)

Ingredients for 4 persons:

300 gr     rice (riso) Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
1 l           vegetable stock (brodo)
200 ml    white wine (vino bianco secco)
50 gr       butter (burro)
1 small   onion (cipolla)
50 gr       Parmesan cheese, grated (parmigiano)
               salt (sale)
               olive oil (olio d'olivo extra vergine)

               garlic, celery (aglio, sedano), and other ingredients for risotto varieties*

phase 1

Heat the stock until boiling.
In a separate pan, heat some olive oil and half of the butter at low temperature, add the onions, (garlic and celery), and glaze slowly for a couple of minutes without colouring. When onions have softened, add the rice (turn up the heat a little bit).

phase 2

The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring - with a wooden spoon - for about one minute only, when the pan seems dry and the rice look slightly translucent, add the wine and keep stirring until the wine is absorbed. The alcohol evaporates and leaves the rice with a tasty essence.

phase 3

Add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt.
Lower the heat to simmer, so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladle of stock to be absorbed before adding the next. - (It is about here to add special ingredients e.g. porcini mushrooms for other varieties of risotto*!) - The whole cooking procedure will take around 15-18 minutes. Taste the rice - is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but "al dente"with a slight bite. Don't forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, use boiling water.

phase 4

Remove from the heat and add the rest of the butter and Parmesan. Stir well.
Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes more creamy - just like it should be.

Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture. Offer at the table more grated Parmesan and black ground pepper.

Sounds easy?  More tips for you to make it a success :

Although risotto is categorised as "soup" in Italy, the consistency should be not too liquid, but creamy. If you shake the pot/pan or plate, the risotto should make a "onda", wave.

The "Arborio" rice is very commonly used, but be careful, it can overcook easily. The "Carnaroli" seems is more robust, and its price is a bit higher. In risotto that has only fine ingredents, like "alla Milanese" or in risotto typical from the Veneto the "Vialone Nano" rice is preferred.

For making risotto you need stock, not broth. See the difference here on Wikipedia.

Make sure the stock is salted enough to add taste to the risotto.

The stock you add should be boiling as otherwise it would stop the cooking process.

If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, use boiling water.

Vegetable stock is great for all sorts of risotto. Instead of making your own stock, you can use an instant "dado", cube from the supermarket.

In general, dry white wine is used for risotto. Red wine is used in Piedmont or for risotto with radicchio di Treviso.

Add wine up to your taste. The alcohol evaporates anyway, so no problem for kids or water drinkers.

If you add a lot and/or heavy ingredients to the risotto, like prawns or peas, then a smaller quantity of rice per person might apply, especially when you serve it as a starter. Calculate roughly 70gr rice per person when risotto is a starter, and 100 gr per (hungry) person for a main course only.

In case you have some risotto left, there are more recipes, like frittate di riso, for the next day.

Only start cooking when all guest have arrived... if your risotto is pronto but the guest late, the rice will not be al dente or warm enough. Stopping the cooking process in between is also not ideal.

Approximate proportion of rice and liquid (depending on the rice quality) :

RICE           WINE                                         STOCK              PERSONS
100 gr           1/4 - 1/2 (50-100ml)                    300 ml                1 p. (hungry, main course)
180 gr           1/2 glass (100 ml)                        550 ml                2 p.   90 gr/pers
250 gr           1/2  glass                                      750 ml                3 p.   83 gr/pers
300 gr           1/2 - 1 glass (100-200ml)           900 ml /1.0 l       4 p.   75 gr/pers
350 gr           1/2 - 1 glass of wine                    1.0 liter               4 p.   88 gr/pers
400 gr           1 glass (200 ml)                           1.2 liter                5 p.   80 gr/pers
600 gr           1 1/2 - 2 (300-400 ml)                 2.0 liter                6 1/2 p. 90 gr (and next day)

* Varieties of Risotto:
Add mushrooms, dried or fresh (funghi, porcini), asparagus (asparagi), peas (piselli), broccoli, prawns (gamberi), saffron (zafferano, 30 gr for 300 gr rice), radicchio salad, or your own creation - but all after adding the wine (and having it evaporated) and about five minutes after adding stock - or even later, depending of the consistency of the ingredients. Truffle, Parmesan, parsley, for example, are added at the very end.

Vegetable Stock homemade :
  • heat olive oil, add veggies, cook for 5-10 minutes
  • add salt and water (a bit more than the quantity of stock you need), lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes
  • discard vegetables
  • veggies and herbs to use: onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, garlic, parsley, thyme, sage (salvia);

If you want to read more about risotto and Italian language is okay for you, then check out this website:

    Buon Apetito !

    What Italians and Thai have in common - Food

    Do Italians and Thai have anything in common? Well, you will be surprised how much!

    When we first came to the land of smile in 1998, we realized, that Thai people love food as much as Italians do. And then, with time, we found more and more common ground.

    We always say, when Singapore is considered to be the Switzerland of Asia, then Thailand is the Italy of Asia.

    pad thai, spaghetti al pomodoro, kao soi soup

    Let's start with Food:

    Eating well, choosing good and healthy food, and having regular meals at a set time, is important to both, Italians and Thai. Both nations always have a variety of dishes to chose from for each meal.  Eating alone is not fun. Especially Thai would go in a group to enjoy together the pleasure of eating. Eating with friends, and with the whole family on weekends, is very common for both nations. Thai people eat even more than three times a day. Sometimes it seems they are always eating. But it is probably five times a day, and mainly small portions, which is very healthy. Also they tent to eat early, lunch around noon and dinner around 7pm.

    Talking about food at any time of the day, is what Italians do, and, well, Thai too. Asking what you ate (when not having eaten together) is a popular topic. Sometimes it is almost like a greeting: "Did you ate yet?". And "Buon Appetito" is what you might hear around lunch time in the streets of an Italian village. However, talking about recipes, knowing where to buy the best ingredients, is maybe slightly more Italian, since working middle class Thai often don't cook themselves. But every Thai is able to tell you where to find their best favorite dish.

    And what is on the menu? Loving all kind of noodle dishes, is typical Italian - and typical Thai. Thai have at least as many different types of noodles as Italians. Egg noodles, rice noodles, short, thin, wide versus spaghetti, linguine, penne, farfalle, orecchiette ... OK, Italians have more shapes. Although Thai love it more spicy than Italians, the most loved foreign food by Thai is the Italian cuisine! That is why Italian restaurants are very popular in the land of smile. And you will see many Italian chefs with a big smile on their face.

    But, when it comes to cooking, there is another slight difference. In Italy, la donno di casa cooks herself. In Thailand, you usually have domestic help and a Thai puying (wife) would have one or even two helpers to prepare a dinner for guests. In Thailand it is also popular to buy ready cooked food in the supermarkets, restaurants or even in street stalls, since it is so cheap - and always yummy. Young, working middle class people who often do not have domestic help would rather go to a restaurant or buy food to take home.

    When it comes to eating food with others, especially eating in restaurants, there is another small difference. Thai would put all the dishes in the middle of the table and everyone can try everything. Even a plate of pasta would be shared. While Italians would only share a mixed appetizer plate, and then everyone orders its own dish(es).

    If you think all Asians eat with chopsticks, you are wrong. Thai eat with spoon and fork. There is no knife. All veggies and meats are cut bite-size in the kitchen. With the fork you would shuffle the food onto the spoon and eat from the spoon. (Since many Chinese have immigrated into Thailand in the past, there are of course dishes and regions where chopsticks are used.)

    This reminds me of a funny observation I made at one of the finest Italian restaurants in Bangkok: There was this very elegant, elderly Thai lady, with a bulky hair style. She was sitting well-mannered and slowly eating a fish. She carefully shuffled with her fork the food onto the fish knife - which, well, had a bit of a spoon shape - and then ate from the fish knife!

    But what the Thai lady has in common with Italians is the love for good (Italian) food!

    +++ this post belongs to the new "Life in Asia" label where I will write about observations on life in Asia +++ we spend time in spring and summer in our house in Italy +++ the rest of the year we live in Thailand +++

    Sweet Memories of Summer

    pesce tabbachiere
    Summer is over. But we have sweet memories. Lots of friends came visiting us in Pizzo. Friends from Bangkok, Stuttgart and Munich. And we met old friends in Pizzo and made new friends.

    We ate great food, fresh fruits, lots of ice cream and went to the beach almost every day. Life in Pizzo is different from life in the big cities. One likes it - or not. I am glad, our visitors seem to have enjoyed the slow life in this little fisher village deep down in the very South of Italy. As I said before, here is not much to do - beside eating and going to the beach. Or eating and sunbathing on the balcony. Or eating and reading a book. Or eating and having a good afternoon sleep. Especially after some glasses of wine.

    During summer, streets are deserted in the afternoon. A few people are still at the beach, but most are resting at home. Only in the evenings, the piazza awakes to life. Tables of the bars and gelateries are getting most crowded around 11pm, when people finish dinner and come for tartuffo icecream. During summer holidays in August, various spectacles are organised for locals and tourists. After a long night, the next day, when the sun invites to the beach again, sunbathers arrive at the Marina around 10.30am or later. The locals all have their favorite spots, and meet up with friends to chat in the crystal clear water and get more suntan. Most Pizzitani would leave the beach between 12.30 and 1.30pm to eat lunch at home. Then rest. Around 7pm you can find kids coming out of the houses and playing in the piazza, maybe having a granita or gelato before dinner. Dinner usually is not before 9pm. Only tourists, not adapted to the rhythm of the South, would feed their kids before 8pm. But not many tourist find their ways to Pizzo. Which is not too bad after all. It keeps the village innocent and at its own pace.

    For us, summer passed smoothly, except for one or two incidents, and before I realized, it was already time to leave. I could have gone on and on with the slow peaceful rhythm of summer in Pizzo. And as there was not much to write about, I did not post anything. But I took a lot of pictures with my new 50mm lens. Since food was the major interest of the day, most close-up pictures are food pictures. I uploaded some today to our facebook page. If you want to stay connected with us via FB just "like" Palazzo Pizzo on FB. Not much posts their either, but I will upload sometimes for Sweet Memories of Summer.
    connect with Palazzo Pizzo on Facebook
    PS: we have a medium long "To Do" list for our guest residence. Although our guests had a good time living in the vaulted ceiling residence, we need to adjust some things before we rent out professionally.

    PPS: I love Calabria runs a photo competition on facebook, just a a few more days.

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