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eG Foodblog: Franci (2012) - From heirloom tomatoes to zucchini blosso

125 posts in this topic

Looks delightful Franci. Just dredged in flour? Are they pan fried in what oil? Just a few inches deep? How do you deal with your frying oil?

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All your food looks so delicious, Franci! Thanks for taking pictures and describing everything. I'm really enjoying reading about Monaco and your cooking.

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everything looks so good. You seem to have a real talent for fish, my favorite! Artichokes might be second!

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Sorry it took me so long to get back, it has been a long day, spent mostly shopping for food and eating.

Today I got up and was out of eggs. Sometimes I treat myself with a middle eastern style breakfast (I loved Hassouni or Nikki beatiful breakfast in Beirut) but let's say that I didn't have much in the fridge. So I got a tomato and cucumber salad and some feta with pain au levain.


Looks delightful Franci. Just dredged in flour? Are they pan fried in what oil? Just a few inches deep? How do you deal with your frying oil?

The red mullets are dredged in a mix of fine cornmeal and flour. The artichokes are dipped in a simple batter of eggs and flour, fairly thick. I use peanut oil for frying. I deep fry (in a wok) first the artichokes and secondly the fish. I don't think there is a particular policy on discarding oil here, when I use a lot of oil once cool I pour back in the bottle and goes in the general garbage, if the oil is not much I admit I drain down the toilet.

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Ventimiglia is a small town at the border, a working class town. Bordighera and Sanremo are closer to people's idea of charming places on the Riviera. Not Ventimiglia. But it is convenient for us to shop for food and wine.

This is the entrance to the market


Saturday morning is very crowded, full of Italian and French shoppers.

One aisle is taken mostly by farmers






wild dandelion



wild fennel


prepared minestrone


fresh beans


Trombetta everywhere, which cost 8 euros in France and Monaco


Edited by Franci (log)

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Next stop was the liquor store.


I don't know how many liquor stores there are in Ventimiglia. Many. Many.

Distribution is set in a way that once you cross the border you cannot find such a variety of Italian wines. We talked about this over lunch my husband and I. He is the one who does the shopping for wine and he has been very impressed with Ventimiglia. He has not seen such a place where you find wines for all over Italy, with such detail, and very good ones.




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The wine looks expensive, if I recall my Euro exchange rates correctly. Is that low, mid or upper range in overall wine prices?

So very much enjoying your blog, especially the markets!

Don't ask. Eat it.


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The wine looks expensive, if I recall my Euro exchange rates correctly. Is that low, mid or upper range in overall wine prices?

So very much enjoying your blog, especially the markets!

Hi Kay!

The wines span between 5 euros to 300 euros, which really represents the range of Italian wines. In Liguria, and for the French consumer, the prestigious Piemontese wines (e.g. Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Nebbiolo, and Docetto) are prominent and take high prices. Some of the super Tuscans are also represented and expensive. Fortunately, there are also some good regional wines, especially whites, that are available. For example, Valpolicella (bad name in the States) are actually excellent, along with its cousin Amarone. There are also wines from where I grew up in Puglia (e.g. Primitivo di Manduria aka Zinfandel, Salice Salentino) that cost 5 euros. The Italian whites deserve special mention. I don't think any other country quite have the variety of whites that still exist in Italia. I can name Roero Arneis in Piemonte, Pigato and Vermentino in Liguria, Vernaccia in Cinque Terre, Lugana and Soave in Veneto, Falanghina and Greco di Tufo in Campania. My husband usually gets 12 bottles at a time from Ventimiglia - 2 barbera d'asti, 2 nebbiolo, 1 dolcetto, 1 primitivo, 1 salice salentino, 1 nobile montepulciano, 1 barolo, 2 lugana, 1 roero arneis.

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When eating in Ventimiglia we are left with two options: pizza or Ristorante Hanbury


We like it for many reasons: we can eat outside so feels less formal, the children can walk around if they are done eating and the food is good. Local food, maily fish, not boring and it tastes great.

We are welcomed with a little pizza plate


She is definitely more interested in the food than her brother


My husband got as antipasto a "crudo di pesce"


and the house antipasto for me. Some warm potato and octopus, saute' scallop and shrimp, baccala' mantecato (very good!) and some fried anchovies. Good seasoning, perfect temperature at the table, delicious.


Then spaghetti with vongole for the husband


And spaghetti with langoustine for me, shared with the children. Well executed.


Edited by Franci (log)

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We got home late in the afternoon. To tell you the truth, left with little energy for cooking...

I'm very grateful to the Italian service: my fishmonger cleaned all the fish for me, included the tiny anchovies I bought! I only had to rinse the fish and fry.


And although I didn't feel like putting much effort into dinner, we cannot go without some vegetables. A plate of cucumber, tomatoes and pepper was good enough for the family.



Thanks everybody for following, I had a lot of fun blogging and I hope you have enjoyed it too :smile:

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What a wonderful blog. I am awed and inspired by all of the pictures and things available to you. I have always wanted to enjoy a just-caught red mullet and have read that they taste somewhat akin to shrimp. Is that true?

Also, my favorite line in this entire blog was, "If I want XXX, then... unless I go to Italy." That tickled me.

You do a great job of juggling the love of cooking, shopping economically but tempering that what is nearby to not overly burden yourself since you want to spend quality time with your children.

Bravo! And thank you so much for blogging and showing us a glimpse of your world.

Now, just to appease the audience, we need a picture of your pretty self driving a convertible around a mountain road with a scarf and sunglasses :biggrin:

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The cheese!

I forgot to mention earlier that I was really taken with your red mullet and pasta dish. I have that method on my "to do soon" list. Also on the list are the small fried fish. I can get them so there is no reason not to indulge :)

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Many Thanks!

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And I must give a big "high five" to the brave Franci who waited to blog pending a camera only to have the camera "dropped and destroyed" by her adorable boy days before the blog start. She pushed on and took great photos with the iPad. I have been inspired. Thank you!

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Thank you for a lovely blog, Franci. I have enjoyed every entry. I have always been curious about Monaco, and to have a blog about my favourite subject by someone who lives there is a real treat. I will second the request of having a picture of yourself in a Ferrari convertible with a pair of sunglasses and a long scarf! :)

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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Thanks for the patisserie pictures! Sorry they didn't taste better. I must admit, my impression of Monaco (where I've never been) has always been much like my impression of Dubai (where I have been)--very pretty, but not much substance. It's nice to see how a "real" person lives there!

Thanks for blogging, and I hope we get to see another blog from you after the move, wherever that may be!

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