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Aubergine tomato pasta

We love cooking and especially simple cooking, when all the ingredients can shine on a plate! That’s basic here in Italy and that is one reason I love cooking here so much. Nothing complicated, but simple things with quality ingredients. 

Right now I’m creating our house recipes. Recipes that will be easy to cook in our kitchen or outdoors. Recipes that will be great for entertaining. Recipes with quality ingredients. Lots of veggies, but local meat and frutti di mare, too.

This aubergine tomato pasta ticks the boxes! Easy peasy and super delicious!

Aubergine tomato pasta 
(For 4 eaters)

2 middle sized aubergines (or 1 big)
200 g cherry tomatoes
5 garlic gloves
grated zest of 1 lemon (only the yellow part!)
pinch of peperonchino
1 tbsp capers
pinch of salt
1 dl olive oil

Heat the oven for 200C. Cut aubergines into cubes (about size of a cherry tomato), peel garlic gloves, halve tomatoes. Mix all the ingredients above in an oven pan. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until everything is well cooked and you have a lovely aroma in your kitchen.

400 g spaghetti

Meanwhile your veggies are cooking in the oven, cook spaghetti al dente as advised in your spaghetti package.

When veggies are done, add:

squeezed juice of 1 lemon
black pepper, freshly ground

Mash veggies with a fork and mix well. There it is, your pasta sauce! (You can add some spaghetti boiling water, if your sauce is too thick) Taste and season with salt if necessary. Mix cooked spaghetti with your sauce in the oven pan. And finally add:

grated parmesan, as much as you like!
(Roasted and chopped hazelnuts or almonds, this is optional, though gives nice crunchy feel!)

Bring pasta pan into table and enjoy with a glass of barbera wine and great conversations.

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New year, new travel plans

We are so happy to set the table for 2021, may it be a good year for everyone.

For us the year 2020 was a year to create Agnes & Albin. Now we really hope this year will be a year to finally share it. We already have some reservations – thank you friends of Agnes & Albin! We are so happy you have thought of us when planning future trips.

Now we have opened our reservation calendar for independent Annex house (sleeps 2 adults + 2 small children) and we are also renting the whole property for private use for limited weeks this summer. 

Annex house reservations via Airbnb https://airbnb.com/h/agnesandalbinatelje

Weeks available for renting the whole property (bookings via email agnesandalbin(at)gmail.com):

26.6-3.7.2021

10-17.7.2021

7-14.8.2021

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Gardening season

This feel so crazy for a finn, but the gardening season is here! Now it’s the moment to cut trees and plant new ones.

We are getting our lawn fixed after the pool construction project and some new plants around the pool. Look, this picture says it all – it will be a green summer next year!

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Figs everywhere

Oh my, we have figs this year! This our first year to harvest figs and we are excited.

We love figs and now we are enjoying them everyday. These sweet treats go so well with yogurt in the morning or with cheeses in the evening, pure love! The best experience is to grab a sweet ripe fig straight from the tree for a snack while you are lounging in the pool – the best kind of natural luxury.

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Ready, steady, swim!

Our pool and it’s surrounding stone pavements are finally ready and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Pool itself feels like an oasis now when we are living the hot summer months. But the thing that makes me most happy is the use of local stone and recycled bricks in the sun deck and walls. With the use of local and old materials it feels like this pool has always been here. It blends with the house beautifully.

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Simple things

Simple & Good – that’s my cooking philosophy. It’s a food philosophy extremely easy to follow here in Italy, where everyone seem to eat what is in season (=at it’s best).

I have noticed that you hardly see ingredients in shops / supermarkets that aren’t in season. Not to mention the outdoor food markets. For example it’s hard to find an avocado when it’s not in season. And that is only a very good thing. Right now the stone fruit season is starting. Don’t you just love the sweet taste of really ripe stone fruits! Apricots are my favourite at the moment.

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Renovation diary

Corona spring, what a spring… Long, tough and also lonely times, but now for 2 months things have moved fast!

We are slightly behind our renovation schedule, but actually situation is not bad at all. North italian efficiency has proved it’s strength and all people are really doing their best to catch up the lost time, when whole country was under lockdown for Corona virus.

What we have done so far:

  • endless hours of cleaning
  • endless hours of sorting out old stuff (furniture, old dishes and vases, paintings etc… there is a lot of stuff in an old house)
  • endless hours spent in the garden
  • endless hours spent painting the walls (and some cabinets)
  • renovation of the heating system
  • replacing a bath tub with modern washing machine + dryer + some cabinets
  • replacing a bath tub with shower
  • installing air conditioning to bedrooms
  • building a pool, cement truck being in the yard as I am writing this 🙂

In two weeks we will be taking our first dip into pool and I know already that it will be worth of this long spring.

In the end our spring has been all right. We have been in good health, starting this new project and enjoying warm weather for months now. And there is one Corona spring winner staying with us – that is our dog. I think Lido has enjoyed the spring since everyone has been at home, every day…

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Our italian journey

Keep dreaming…

Early last year we started to talk about moving to Italy. Once again. Year 2005 we moved to Milan, but it was a short trip in the end and after many steps we returned to Finland just after 4 months. But the love for Italy stayed and the idea, that one day we really would do it!

So here we are now, round two 15 years later. We are spontaneous people in these moving things (a normal question from our friends when seeing after few months is ‘So where do you live NOW?’ :)), so also this time everything happened fast. We found this house on April 2019 and on July we had bought it. On December 2019 we packed our car and moved here with our dog.

We had a clear idea about the house and the concept we were about to create. We wanted to create a holiday house with a story. A house that honours the history of the building and the area, with all the modern comforts of course. And since we are from Finland, we would combine some scandinavian simplicity with the italian country house style. One day we were watching a film A Good Year, starred by Russell Crowe. The film starts with words ‘A few vintages ago…’ So there it was – an idea put into words that had been in our heads!

Agnes & Albin were our grandparents names. Agnes was Johannas grandmother and Albin Villes grandfather. Strong personalities with Finnish attitude called ‘sisu’. Those two names goes together perfectly and we feel that together they create a perfect name to our holiday house concept. Also every house here is Casa something or Villa something and we wanted to find a different kind of approach. So the name for our house was decided.

This blog will be about Agnes & Albin, our life here, our house, our projects. Nice to have you here!