To continue from the last post, here is how we spend the weekend!
It was a saturday, and one of the things that Cart and I tend to do today is to go grocery shopping. We like to go for fresh produce at Mercato Piazza San Giovanni di Dio. This is a farmers market where you could get vegetables, fruits and flowers.
One could also get freshly made foodstuff such as bread, pizza and cakes, as well as cheese. This is like the original supermarket!
While a wet market isn’t a new concept in Singapore, there were several variants in the produce – such European fruits and vegetables compared to it’s Asian counterparts.
Nevertheless, you could find a lot of Asian items (and a large amount of fresh vegetables) that were available here. So I didn’t really that much issues when I do want to cook Malay food.
Like Kangkong. I was most surprised to see them around the first time. They weren’t the best quality (and probably not the freshest) due to it being imported from far away, but it was acceptable. I stir fried it to make it as an accompaniment with Nasi Lemak.
As expected, my family was quite excited to be here, looking around and grabbing anything that interests them, especially the fruits.
Mum was most intrigued by the peaches exclaiming that she’s only eaten them pretty much only in cans and was excited at the thought of being able to eat them in their natural state. While my dad kept buying grapes … like 5kg (on top of the grapes he already previously bought just two days prior) … I … err … don’t know what to say.
As we happened to go past this area on our way home, we headed to the marcelleria (butchery) that I normally go to. As we are Muslims, we could only consume meats which was halal.
And this one was the nearest one from home, that I know of. Not walking distance, but relatively easy for me to reach there as it’s just a 10 minutes scooter ride from home. The other Halal butchery that I know of is in Mercato Esquillino, but it’s in the central area and too much of a hassle to go to on a regular basis.
I took the chance to get some meat while my family took a look around the shop. By chance, they spotted a pack of dried Moroccan mint and they loved drinking mint tea ever since our trip to the mosque the day before, so they got for themselves several packs (even when the shopkeeper said that one stalk was enough for a pot! And there were many fistfuls of stalks in one pack)
By the way on our way back, we noticed this :
My family seems amused that there is a shop called upim in Italy as there is a Malay cartoon series called Upin & Ipim.
And at length, we reached back home! And it was just the right time for lunch, so we cooked lunch! Doh! We had so much fresh food that on the spot, I decided to make pollo alla cacciatora with the chicken that I just bought.
While Cart made some pasta cacio pepe and fried some mushrooms with the mushrooms that my mum bought from the market. We’re a husband and wife tag team baby!
As we are approaching autumn, there were plenty of mushroom being sold. And my mum got some as she loved them, especially after our trip to Cameron Highlands together.
At first I was worried that it was a lot. A kilo worth of mushroom looks really fluffy! Thankfully it shrunked while being cooked. This was pretty easy to cook by the way! Just pretend it was aglio olio peperoncino with mushrooms instead of pasta!
And while it doesn’t look really appetizing, believe me, it was really yummy!
We rested a while after lunch and while everyone’s resting/napping/goofing off on the computer, I decided to put some pandan leaves and wrap them for the freezer. Super precious thing! I can never find them in Italy!
Now I can make Nasi Lemak and Kaya Jam and … and .. and …!!
My sister in law Paola, as well as my inlaws were there too, so we had dinner together as an extended family.
It was such an interesting evening. As my parents weren’t able to speak Italian and neither were my in-laws fluent in English, I had to try the best I could in trying to bridge the language gap.
My mum presented some gifts to them, a Songket. This is a handwoven garment which is traditionally worn by Malays for special occasions. While, my mum left the songket as it is, so that they could have it sewn as how they like it to be, Paola seemed intruiged on wearing it as a Kebaya.
As always, we had a lovely food at the restaurant. And here was what we ate. I don’t remember which is what though …
I think my family liked everything! All except for one item which is the pasta with squid ink. For me, I personally do not care for squid ink pasta. And my family don’t seem to enjoy the artichoke sauce.
I think it’s an acquired taste.
I have to admit that it was a little awkward trying to translate (with how little I know italian) to my parents and in my inlaws. But all in all, It was a lovely night getting together.
The next day, we went to Porta Portese. This is Rome’s biggest flea market and it’s open only during Sunday mornings. Passable on other days, the roads will be closed to vehicles and there will be loads of things see and buy to your heart’s desire.
I think that it’s something interesting to see. Just keep your valuables with you to a minimum and close to you though! Porta Portese is a rough area, and if you’re not careful, you might have your pocket picked!
Sidenote : I JUST noticed this giraffe scarf while editing this picture below. URGH! How could I have missed seeing it for sale?!
You could find clothes, be it new or second hand, jewellery, trinkets, bags, furniture, mekap, mops …. even pets. I think my FIL bought some love birds here.
My parents as always were looking for souvenirs they could get for the family back home, thus they took a bit of time looking at the souvenir tshirts. They of course, started to bargain and go crazy picking like 10 tshirts at once. I’ve never seen anyone that we’ve hosted be so WILD over touristy tshirts … Hahaha!
While Nazry and Cart went off quite a distance away.
While on the other side, you could find old and odd and curious trinkets. Things that you don’t normally see. I got cheap Milo Manara comic here one time (don’t judge me) While Nazry found some very old and very vintage postcards of Rome.
To be honest, I’m not sure if these people are selling the items that they do not want anymore or are selling stolen items.
It was said that if you lost something, a big chance that you could find it here for sale. So … did anyone lose anything in Rome lately? :p
After several hours being on our feet, we made a stopover to Pasticceria di cecere. One of my favourite pastry shop! Here you could find plentiful kinds of pastries to eat. But the one thing that I love the most here is, their cream puff …
Their Maritozzo is to DIE for. WONDERFUL! JUST WONDERFUL! It’s fattening, but WHO CARES! The cream tastes so fluffy rich and the puff tastes so light … UDGHLDGJLJSLGJLDJ *homer drool*
AND NO! I AM NOT SHARING IT WITH YOU!
Anyway, after our quick stop we walked to the nearest tram stop. This is the Ministry of Education in the background by the way.
And since we happened to be here, on a whim we decided to go to Largo Argentina as the numero otto takes us straight there. While there is a protected Roman ruins here, we were more interested in the Cat Sanctuary below.
So we could look at cats!
There were so many cats that you could
molest play with, to your heart’s content! Long hair, short hair, playful, calm cats … so many different type of cats.
My dad was really tired at this point of time, so he decided to stay outside and bothered the cats there. Cart on the other hand, ran far away as he couldn’t take the smell. It was very strong … think of Janet the cat‘s toilet box, but multiply it by 50.
After we played with the cats to our heart’s content, from here, it was just a walking distance to Piazza Campigdoglio. This is the place where you could see a church (inside, it’s very beautiful by the way) with super multiple staircase leading to it. My mum was teasing my dad (who was feeling exhausted) if he wanted to climb up.
Interestingly, he answered yes! We didn’t do it in the end. It’ll be too exhausting for all of us. Especially when there is a much more comfortable path to use.
Like for Porta Portese, we had to be careful here as it was filled with tourists and a spot where pickpockets like to go to. And just so happened that as we were walking up the steps to the campidoglio, two gypsy women were hassling our family. I was walking behind to keep an eye what was going on.
Somehow as we were walking up, one of the women picked up a wallet and handed it to my dad saying that he dropped it. But it didn’t make sense to me as you drop your wallet behind, instead she picked it up IN FRONT of him and I didn’t see any shadow if it falling down.
Luckily my dad just bought the wallet from Porta Portese, and it was empty. But … I’m not sure if he’s just saying that to cover up something …
Anyway we hanged around the piazza for a bit and sit down and chilled out with the rest of the tourists. My brother and mom went to roam around nearby. When they came back to us, they told us that they were horrified when they noticed a woman wiping her hair with water in the fountain. While nasone are fine to drink from, this particular fountain had bird droppings in them and was a tad dirty.
They didn’t tell her, so as to not freak her out.
From this point on, we could make a turn and take a view of the Foro Romano. It was extremely crowded! There were so many tourists, that it was hard to move around.
Just trying to look at this particular view below for example, took a full 5 minute of waiting for a group of tourists to move away (as they hogged and crowded around the start of the staircase)
And then we took a stroll around …
And we reached to Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. Near here, is a monument which was locally called “The typewriter” – as the steps makes it look like one. This was the monument for the fallen soldiers during the world war 2. I explained to my parents that there was a pair of soldiers here guarding a fire, but they didn’t seem interested in seeing them
After we took some pictures, we walked down and noticed a crowd and …. HOT GIRLS!
Initially I thought that it was the cast for Miss Italia (which was going on during that time) but I found out later that it was an international competition for motorcycle showgirls. So many hot girls from around the world! I was looking around and finally asked one of the contestants, but there wasn’t a Singaporean competitor by the way
Anyway, it was such a long day. By nightfall, we were all exhausted and we took the tram back home.
I wanted to head straight to bed, but as dinner is very important to Cart, he decided to cook the tomatoes that we bought the day before. And we make Pomodoro col riso! So yummy! I might make a video blog on how to make this. Plus this is probably the few VEGAN food that I genuinely love. So good!
The only thing is that, this dish is time consuming. Prepping time takes a while, especially when you have a perfectionist husband. Every seed had to be removed from the tomato, every spot had to be scooped off. The lids has to match the exact tomato … Bla bla bla.
After all the cooking, I think we had dinner close to 11pm! After that we were all tired and went to bed! I think we all slept very soundly that night!
Our adventure continues in the next post!
Sidenote : My new Samsung Galaxy Nexus cannot be be charged anymore! Urgh! I’m back to using my Nokia E72.