Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye – THE KITCHEN IS FINISHED almost!!

Everything is in it’s place but nothing is working, I have to wait for an electrician to change all the Italian electrics and that electrician would be my father but he is off in Chicago on a 3 week holiday so it’s going to be another couple of weeks before it is operational but at least it looks good and all the boxes are gone so it looks more like a house now.
I’ve learnt a few things in this house purchase that I thought I would share with you:

1. never try to be a property developer and buy a house at the height of a property boom(sept 2006 off the plan) as you then end up living on a building site while the builders have downed tools waiting for the bubble to return and your view to the front is scaffolding and to the side is the builder’s own unfinished house but it’s all going to be OK by 2010, I believe everything I read, I have to:)

2. never buy off the plan UNLESS you understand them, I had notions of putting an island cooker in the middle of the kitchen, you would see how funny this is if you saw the size of my kitchen.

3. to avoid unnecessary stress do not decide to open a 3000sq ft restaurant the week you are trying to move house.

4. never believe a chain smoking Italian when he says he will be back in 10 days, multiply that by four.

5. DO NOT put solid walnut floors in the hall when above chain smoking Italian is using it as his base for putting your kitchen together. Hiding the scratches under a rug does not hide them from your mind.

6. re the walnut, there are many shades of this colour. Just because the Italian bedroom suite says walnut in the brochure don’t be surprised when it arrives from Italy and it is more like cherry and soooooo does not match the walnut wooden floors you paid a fortune for and now you have to think about putting down a cream carpet in the future because nothing matches AT ALL!

7. do believe your house will look nice painted “country white” inside and smugly smile at the non-believers when the oohs and ahhs are being delivered and saying “wow the white is really nice, I thought it was going to look like a hospital”!

8. NEVER think you will have enough money for everything, be happy to have the basics, the toilet roll holders and bathroom mirrors can come at a later stage, be happy you have your 42″ t.v. even if the man of the house is using your bronzing compact mirror to shave, hey he wanted the big t.v!

9. do not believe the gardener when he says 2 weeks and “don’t worry the summer hasn’t started yet” when you are looking out at a jungle dreaming of drinking a glass of wine on the deck and admiring your Italian themed haven.

10. lastly enjoy your new “casa” as it’s not long before it becomes old and the smell of new is gone and the novelty of keeping it perfectly organised and clean will wear off and it becomes “home”:)

Back to the food and this month’s special in La Cucina is one of my favourite recipes from the Amalfi coast in the south of Italy. It is so quick and easy to make and bursting with flavour. I have to come clean and say we don’t make our own gnocchi all the time in La Cucina but we use a really good brand called Cordelia which is a small family company who are actually based in the next village to Atina where the FIL is from. If you don’t live in Limerick and can’t make it to La Cucina, here’s the recipe.

what you need

 – tomato sauce or passata. If you are using passata you will need one onion finely chopped and olive oil.

 – 1 buffalo mozzarella ball

 – handful basil leaves

 – grated parmesan cheese

 – 250g gnocchi

what to do

 – if you are using passata, fry your onion in some olive oil until soft, add the passata, some basil leaves, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 10 mins.

 – bring a pot of water to the boil, add salt and your gnocchi and cook until they rise to the top. Drain and add to your sauce.

 – add some parmesan and tear up your mozzarella and add to the pan, leave to cook for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese.

 – serve with some parmesan and basil on top. You can also finish this off in the oven for about 20 mins which is even more delicious.


buon appetito!!

p.s. my “lil sis” in the UK has branched out on her own and started a company specialising in wedding chair covers, stationary etc, check her site out here