Life in Florence…

Traveling has been a big part of my life since I was a little nugget. Until today it remains one of my greatest passions. So far, I’ve lived in five different countries. One of them was Italy. It all started

a few years back… I used to be in love with a doctor. One day he received an offer to work in Tuscany. He happily accepted, and we packed our bags. We arrived to a simple, old fashioned apartment on a charming, lively, little street in Florence. Via San Gallo… Italy welcomed us with plenty of sunshine, and a bottle of Chianti. This adventure was off to a great start.

The whole country was in a celebratory mood since the soccer world cup had just begun. We quickly learned, that life in Italy was much more carefree, and full of joy.People didn’t constantly stress about their careers, they just lived! It felt great being part of this free, and happy culture.

I loved that the streets were noisy at night, when I went to sleep with my window wide open. This country wasn’t only easy on the eyes it was also easy on the heart. We loved exploring this fabulous city together. I highly recommend visiting Florence, it has so much to offer. If you choose this romantic city as your next travel destination, here are 5 MUST SEE'S:

Duomo di Firenze: This beautiful old cathedral is the highlight of the city. It is absolutely stunning, and it's hard to believe that something as old as this still exist. Construction began in 1296, and it took over 150 years to build this architectural masterpiece. 

Wine tasting: Chianti is a region close to Florence that is famous for its wine. Make sure you don't miss out on this great wine tasting opportunity. The family-owned vineyard Viticco is one of many great places to choose from. Call in advance to make a reservation.

Fiesole: This tiny town on a hill just outside of Florence is so picturesque. It has lots of old charm, and a scenic view that is breathtaking. The roman theater is the highlight of this little town.

Piazza Michelangelo: This is the perfect spot if you appreciate a great view. This place allows you to see the city from above, and it is especially beautiful right before the sun sets. It can get crowded at times, however the view makes up for it.

Rose Garden: Giardino delle rose is one of the most romantic gardens in Florence, and the perfect spot for a cute little picnic. You'll enjoy the spectacular view, and the beautiful flowers. Great spot for a proposal, just saying...

Today I am back in Germany but I took the Italian mentality with me. I try to make a celebration of every day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But great food for sure helps. For example these cute, delicious lentil balls. They are baked, not fried. Often this results in a dry mess. But rolling them in homemade, melted garlic butter after they come out of the oven will do the trick. Here's the recipe:

3/4 cups bulgur

1/2 cup red lentils

A little less than 1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped

A little less than 3/4 cups parsley, chopped finely

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp paprika powder

2 Tbsp olive oil

1,5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Almost 2 tsp salt

Pinch cumin powder

Pinch curry powder

A little water

For the garlic butter

75 g (2,6 oz) butter, soft

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp salt

Pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (355 degrees Fahrenheit). If you are NOT using a convection oven, add about 20 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). Add the bulgur, and the lentils to separate pans, and cook them until they're soft. Then drain them well! Let them cool down until they reach room temperature, and add them to a bowl.

Now combine the remaining ingredients with the lentils, and the bulgur. Mix well. Then form little balls (tightly), and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the garlic butter. Chop the garlic into very fine, little pieces, and mix these with the soft butter. 

Add salt, and pepper, and mix further. Place the butter into the microwave for a few seconds until it has melted. Then set it aside. Once the Lentil balls are done baking, generously roll them in the melted garlic butter. Voila, All done. Tip: Eat them with fresh, spicy salsa, and avocado slices. Sounds like a weird combo, but this tastes fantastic. 

Love, Peppa.