Half a million hits!

The blog has reached half a million hits! The first post was Pasta with courgettes and saffron butter on November the 3rd 2007. Now I’m averaging about 750 hits a day. Still very small, but I’m happy with that.

These are the most popular posts in the last year. A very predictable list 🙂

Thank you all for your support. I wonder how long it will take to reach one million.

Agriturismo Lama S. Giorgio

lama s, gio. 1

lama s. gio. 2

lama s. gio. 3

Agriturismo – a combination of the words for “agriculture” and “tourism” in Italian. An Italian agriturismo will usually serve foods to guests prepared from raw materials produced on the farm or at least locally. Some will allow the guest to actually participate in the activities surrounding the farm. Despite the rural nature of the lodging, one might expect a rustic experience; yet many agriturismi(the plural form of agriturismo) feature rather luxurious accommodation as well as swimming pools.

Starting in the 1950s and continuing through the 1970s, small scale farming in Italy became less profitable, and, as one might predict, farmers abandoned many farms to search for work in larger towns. But Italians value highly the traditions and produce of small scale production of food, and by 1985 a law defined Agriturismo, and many abandoned buildings and estates were restored, some for vacation homes, and many for agritourismo. These agritourismi allowed the small farmer to augment the income from the farm, and for vacationers to sample the bounty of a rural life in Italy.

In the Puglia region these agriturismi are known colloquially as masserie (lit. farms).  They are a popular venue for Sunday lunch, in fact many of them are only open on Sunday.

Some friends and I visited Masseria Lama S. Giorgio, near Rutilgliano, Bari, for lunch earlier today. ‘Lunch’ lasted from 1:30 to 5:30 🙂 The food was superb (more about that later) and the service efficient, but friendly. There was no choice of menu, but they were happy to prepare special dishes for Michael, who has a food intolerance.

 This is an extract from their website. I really should offer my services as a translator 🙂

The Farm/Villa now called “Farm Lama S. Giorgio”, was built at the beginning of the nineteen century and completed in the first decade of the ‘900 from Turi’s family. In 1970 was aquired by Dr. Nicholas Didonna, important figure of Rutigliano. Dr. Giovanni Scianatico, grandson of Dr. Nicholas Didonna, was ableto recover the ancient splendor with a careful restoration, keeping in consideration the original characteristics of the Farm.

With the period furniture and the plain cooking based on an ancient taste recovery, rustic but refined, the Farm Lama S. Giorgio offers to all those people who wishes to visit the Lama and neighbors places, a calm shelter and an optimal restore.

This is how we got on …

me and michael

Michael and I waiting for ‘kickoff’

celery and lemon

First we were served an aperitivo. The specialty of the house in a non alcoholic mix of celery and lemon juice. It sounds horrible, but I can assure you it wasn’t.

Here we go with the antipasti.

ricotta jam focaccia

Very fresh ricotta served with apricot jam and focaccia.

fried veg and bacala

Mixed frittelle including artichokes, fennel, cauliflower and baccala


A kind of strudel stuffed with artichokes and mushrooms

 On to the primi…

K and bean soup bean soup

Katharina digging into a very tasty mixed bean soup, topped with strips of pancake.

pumpkin and mushroom lasagne

Pumpkin and mushroom lasagne

The secondo.

carving pork
roast pork with onion potatoes

Roast leg of pork with onion roasted potatoes


This was a side dish of mixed grains. It wasn’t actually for us, but the chef thought we might be interested in having a look anyway 🙂

We finished the meal with fresh fruit, the ubiquitous (although excellent) tiramisu, coffee and an amaro. The final bill came to €78 for three people, including wine and water.

Probably the best restaurant meal I’ve had in Pulglia 🙂

Orecchiette making in Bari old town

As I have posted quite a few orecchiette recipes in the last few days, I thought you might like to take a look at one of the local ‘mammas’ in the old town. People practically live on the street and it sometimes feels like you are walking through their kitchen 🙂 Many of these women will also sell pasta to passers by. She makes it look so easy, but believe me, it’s not! I’ve tried!

 That clip seems to have disapeared. Here’s another one. She goes much slower though!


Those of you who have seen Jamie Oliver’s Great Italian Escape will have seen oriecchette being prepared in the episode about Puglia. Jamie goes hunting for the ‘pasta mammas’ through the back streets of Altamura.