2023: Updates & Plans
What we ate for Christmas as a family in mainland Venice
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Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and were able to spend it with your loved ones.
In this newsletter I share with you:
A very personal update about my health
Future plans for this newsletter
What we ate for Christmas as a family in mainland Venice
New subscriber? This is probably the first time you've heard from me. My name is Sinù, I live in Venice mainland, Italy, and I've been writing about local cuisine, cookbooks and other culinary knick-knacks since Autumn 2021. It’s good to have you here! Please take a moment to browse my archives and recommended newsletters.
Health Updates & Plans for 2023
As you may know, 2022 was a difficult year for me health-wise.
A back injury in the summer meant that I was initially unable to leave my bed and then suffered from chronic pain for months.
Chronic pain robs you of all your energy. Between August and December 2022, my life, except for work, had suddenly disappeared.
There was no more room for dinner with friends, birthday celebrations, Sunday walks, a quiet chat or even getting up to the kitchen counter to bake a cake. Perhaps it was wishful thinking that I'd recover much faster. But while I was waiting to get better, my mental health was suffering.
2022 was a stark reminder that a life well lived takes a lot of care. Now that I'm feeling better - I've been relatively pain free since mid-January! - I've decided to dedicate the next 6 months to strengthening my health and enjoying the things I had to let go of last year: friendships, love, travel, cooking, baking...
So what happens with the newsletter?
The free monthly letter will continue, but it may become a little shorter and there may be less photos.
Paid subscriptions will be paused for a while.
If you’re a paid subscriber, you should know that your subscription has now been converted to a complimentary lifetime subscription - I hope this makes up for the lack of extra content last year! For any queries (refunds etc) you can reply to this email, but I'll be sending you an email with more details soon anyway.
Your support has motivated me to keep writing, even in a difficult time. I owe you big time.
A special guest on Christmas Day
On Christmas Day, we were joined for lunch by my friend Christine from Adelaide, Australia. Christine, whom I met on Twitter last year, is a passionate cook with years of experience in cookery teaching and running a professional kitchen.
Back in November and December, Christine was spending a long holiday in Venice/mainland, and for a while she stayed at a hotel that sits right on my way home from work, in Mestre. (Check out Christine’s newsletter)
After work, I’d pick her up and we’d go for a glass of wine at the bar across the street. Then she’d wave good night and I’d walk home a bit drunk and pleasantly inspired.
Although we only did this twice, I like to think that if she’d stayed longer we would have ended up creating a weekly tradition!
During one of such apertifs, I invited Christine to spend Christmas with us. I'm sharing more about our Christmas meal and other foodie bits and bobs below.
Christmas lunch: What we ate as a family in mainland Venice
Do you write down or save menus from important gatherings? I don't usually do this, but this year Christine, who spent Christmas lunch at my in-laws, asked me to record everything we ate and drank for her. I tried to be meticulous, but I'm afraid I forgot the wines! In hindsight, I appreciate how this little exercise helped me fix a memory cementing details and flavours that would otherwise fade with time. It was also the first time we celebrated without the extended family - there were only five of us, I hope Christine wasn't bored!
Christmas Menu - 2022
Entrée: Crostini bread with two spreads: Ligurian salsa verde and tuna and horseradish spread with mayo, pink pepper and chives.
First course: White lasagna with radicchio di Treviso, béchamel and Grana Padano cheese (my version also has gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, and goat milk béchamel).
Second course: Stewed ligurian stockfish with tomato sauce and olives served with soft yellow polenta (usually the Ligurians eat stockfish with potatoes, not polenta. However "ours is a fusion kind of cuisine" - my FIL’s family was originally from Liguria but he grew up in Mestre/Venice. His cuisine often mixes the two influences.)
Side dishes: Stewed artichokes with potatoes, Pan-fried radicchio di Treviso, Roast potatoes.
Before dessert: Cheeses with more crostini bread (gorgonzola, grana padano), Fruit (oranges, nectarines, kumquats, lychees), Homemade cookies, Candied orange peel dipped in chocolate.
Dessert: Artisanal panettone with dried apricots and dark chocolate.
Liquors: Rum and port served with dark chocolate (Venchi)
Espresso (and more liquors!)
January: Recommended Cookbooks & Movies
Now that my back allows it, I'm slowly getting back into the kitchen. January for me, is all about subdued baking. The two recipe books below fit the brief perfectly. And the film is so good that I watched it twice within a week.
A Good Day to Bake - A cookbook by Benjamina Ebuhei.
I like how the author incorporates dry herbs & spices into recipes; it feels so calming. No need to rush to the supermarket for fancy ingredients - just open the pantry or spice rack and mix in.
Breadsong - A (truly moving) book by Kitty and Al Tait.
Half book, half cookbook, Breadsong is the true story of how baking bread saved a 14-year old from a scary depression and led her to open a bakery with her superhero dad. A lesson in fatherhood/parenthood.
Green Sea - A movie by Angeliki Antoniou, 2020 (Greece).
Fourty-something Anna has lost her memory but she hasn't forgotten how to cook. One night, she arrives at a run-down tavern by the sea and is hired on the spot. Anna is a mystery to herself and to everyone else, her food evoking all sorts of nostalgic feelings among the tavern's patrons. As Anna begins to piece together her past and the events that led to her amnesia, the lives of those around her are changed forever. More foodie movies recommendations.
That's it for now. Take care of yourself, I’ll see you later on in February.
My name is Sinù Fogarizzu and I’m a vegetarian food writer from the mainland of Venice, Italy. In 2021, I launched Dash of Prosecco, a Substack newsletter about learning to cook, identity and Venetian cuisine. Browse my archive and recommended newsletters. Find me on Instagram & Twitter.
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