Lunch with Vera

First a report on the lunch last Friday. The chicken stew was good. The panna cotta was just the right consistency using two sheets of gelatin and the cranberry sauce was perfect with it. Hah!

On Sunday we were invited to lunch with Vera, who cleans our house. Apparently she invites all her clients once a year for pranzo (lunch, the Italian main meal). She is a jack-of-all trades type person. A real survivor who lived through the war in Bosnia. She was born muslim and once the war was essentially over and her family could move they went to Slovenia where her father was. He had arranged a marriage for her which she objected to. Her only real choice was to run away.

She came to Italy and was a nanny. Not sure the rest of the story but she now is married to an Italian with two of the prettiest little girls I’ve ever seen. They both have gorgeous red curly hair. I think they are 6 and 8 years old. Anyway, Vera does anything. She manages houses for people who live part time in other parts of the world, cleans and manages swimming pools, cleans houses and cooks. She even converses with Luther in Italian!

Her house is a shared place that is four stories tall. The bottom floor is the construction business that her husband has. The whole property is full of equipment and supplies, like bricks and stones, etc. The next floor is her in-laws. Vera and her family have the top two floors.

It is a cozy house and there were 12 of us. Vera and her husband and 10 clients. Gary, Joseph and Paul came as well as me and Luther. That was the American contingent. The rest were British and had lived in Italy for 30 years or more. They were fluent in Italian, well after thirty years you should be, and very eccentric.

We had bruschetta, one liver, one truffles. Then the primi was wide pasta with cinghiale ragu (wild boar). The secondi was the boar roasted with tomatoes and olives along with roasted potatoes. Finally the dolce was a Carnivale sweet which was puffed pastry with powdered sugar and two other cakes. The whole meal was really good. The boar had been shot in the hills near their house by her father-in-law.

Today, Wednesday, is market day. I went to get some fish for dinner. It is a cold clear day. The market is mostly limited to winter vegetables if you buy from local producers. The Wednesday market is not only local produce so you can get other things like bananas and lemons which are obviously not local! The lemons could be from Sicily perhaps. We got salmon trout, salad greens, potatoes, pears, a cross between cauliflower and broccoli thing and eggs. The eggs are sold by a man who brings in animals in a truck. Ducks, chickens, guinea hens, geese, little chicks etc. all alive. I guess the adults are eaten. A lady bought a bunch of chicks. They also have eggs and I asked for 10. He piled them all in a bag. Huh! a bag of eggs! Another thing here is that eggs are not refrigerated. I remember it from when we lived in Germany.


A while back I mentioned that I couldn’t find vanilla extract. They do have the beans though so I got some vodka and made my own. I used some in the panna cotta last week and it was good. Here it is!


Tomorrow we will do something fun. I have ordered a small platter from a ceramic place in Deruta and it is ready for pickup. So we’ll pop down there and pick it up. We will probably visit a winery as is our norm and then have lunch somewhere, maybe in our favorite Deruta place. Looking forward to a little fun.