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Sun dried Tomatoes

Tomato Passata sauce, part 1

Tomato Passata sauce, part 2

The stars will begin to shine again..

Bruschetta tomatoes and mozzarella cheese


We are experiencing a bit of a culture shock here In Umbria at the moment in the last 23 days we have only had about 3 days of sunshine. In fact the whole of July has been an incredibly wet month,  even as I write it’s raining outside ! I am beginning to wonder if summer will ever arrive and perhaps we should bring some of our many still green hard tomatoes indoors and put them in brown paper bags to ripen in the kitchen ( Nick says his mum told him this )

However, in this wet and grey environment we have been  touched by a much welcomed unexpected ray of sunshine and invited by some friends to join them for a few days break on the island of Ponza.  Two nights on an island we have never been to before , sunshine (?), sea, a chance to catch up with good friends and definitely good food and wine … how could we say no?

We closed the shutters, organized the feeding of the animals, watered the garden (just in case  during the next few days a shy summer sun should look in on Umbria), filled our backpacks and we were ready to go. Destination THE ISLAND OF PONZA.  A pleasant ride on the ferry for an hour and a half and our destination was in front of us looking absolutely beautiful.
Our friend Dylan was waiting for us when we got off the ferry in the pretty little port, loaded with plenty of shopping bags filled with food and wine for dinner, he looked relaxed and tanned. A lovely promising welcome to the holiday.
We quickly popped into the local fish shop and bought some fresh swordfish, then straight from there we boarded a small taxi boat. The house they had rented  was on the other side of the harbor, perched on the mountain. Dylan explained to us that the  quickest way to get to the house was to cross the lagoon by boat , then from the beach walk about 15 minutes up the hill. `We are a bit isolated but the place is in a amazing spot`, he  kept assuring us. So there we were surrounded by a crystal clear sea, with a backpack, chardonnay wine, sword fish and vegetables for dinner.  What can I say…. so far so good !


Seems that it's not only Nick who forgets to put the hand brake on !

The house was fantastic, a small sweet white house built inside the rocks with a huge outdoor space and just  amazing views.
In spite of our friends kind offer of a bed inside the house, Nick and I couldn`t wait to set up our belongings outside in the open space on the terrace. A hammock and a camp bed, the smell of the sea and the stars. Fantastico !
Unfortunately, the reality is not always as romantic as you expect: with lots and lots of mosquitoes, rain at night and waking up early in the morning,  but we loved it anyway.

Nick and My self picture by Alice Dunhill

The second day, unfortunately the rain and the grey skies followed us from Umbria. But luckily for us on that side of the island there was an adorable restaurant which only opened for lunches. The owners gave us such a warm welcome and served a simple beautiful menu , all homemade with high quality ingredients . We ordered a selection of appetizers and even homemade wine.  I loved every dish but for me the delicious bruschetta made with red juicy ripe fresh tomatoes, high quality oil,  basil and mozzarella.…MAMMA MIA it was so GOOD ! Simplicity most of the time  is the king of the most delicious dishes.
Even the sun decide to came back in the afternoon, so we were able to spend time in the fantastic

sea and have a second night under the stars to bring our beautiful little vacation to an end. Thank you again to Alice , Dylan , Olivia and Juliet for inviting us and making it possible, we loved it.
Now here we are back in Umbria and the rain still continues to fall in this years strange month of July.  IT MUST STOP SOON !!! So , trying to feel in a more summery frame of mind , Nick and I  decided to eat a good fresh  summery bruschetta. This time using some of our own tomatoes (which by some miracle had managed to ripen without the brown paper bag ) and our own extra virgin olive oil , perhaps not such a good idea to sleep outside yet, but who knows, summer must arrive in Umbria one day …… and sooner or later the stars will begin to shine again.

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