By and by she found herself sitting on a bench in Parco Sempione in central Milan, on a cold crisp blue day. She spent some time wondering whether to visit the Dead Christ by Mantegna in the Brera, her favourite painting in the whole wide world, or perhaps some shopping in the Via Montenapoleone.
In spite of her father's admonition to never speak to strange men, she soon found herself chatting to a young man from Florence, in Milan on a weekend holiday. They had much in common. Soon they were travelling a little together, to Livorno, Pisa and in Florence and walking everywhere in the cool crisp sunshine. They spoke of books, and the strangeness of language, and philology, the study of historical linguistics and of corruption in Italian politics and the wonderful taste of salty cured meats.
(warm salad of roasted capsicum, onion, garlic and tomatoes)
Like all adventures, it had to end sometime.
Melbourne seemed very boring and pedestrian on her return. A bit sad and lonely, the girl simply had to go back to Europe, this time to Madrid in winter, where the boy was now living, to stay in a little apartment near Calle de Toledo. The days were spent in the crisp blue coldness wandering around the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and shopping in Calle Serrano and the nights were spent dining at 11 pm, drinking gin and tonics and dancing till the sun came up.
(chicken in onion and sherry sauce, saffron rice)
There is a certain time of year in Melbourne, in August, when the sun shines, and the air is sweet, cold and clean. It reminds the girl of that time in Madrid. In memory of that time, the girl sometimes cooks a Spanish feast for lunch.
(sweet lemon doughnuts)
All dishes thanks to this cookbook, which is really growing on me:
(image (1) via La Femme Blog)