My 2016 Thanksgivings

The first one was a week early. But it’s also the one I have promised my friends in Ravenna to do, every year. And up to now I’ve managed quite well in my commitment!

This post is based on the different sides you can make for a perfect Thanksgiving. Impossible to make them all for one – there are way too many! When you decide to divide them into three separate events…well, then you can do whatever you want ^_*

Our constants:

Mashed Potatoes

  • Made with real potatoes (not the powder, as some people I know do)
  • Boiled in salted water (I learnt this in the Canary Islands)
  • Left in the water, once cooked, for max 20 mins
  • Hand mashed (it’s amazing how much better they taste!) with a huge amount of butter
  • Nutmeg (essential) and milk (as much as the potatoes need to become silky. Just keep adding it)
  • Check for salt (always check for salt)

Cranberry sauce

  • Buy it. Or:
  • Make it, using dried cranberries soaked in warm water or frozen cranberries, warmed and mashed with sugar and lemon zest until thick.

String beans (my mother’s recipe)

  • Olive oil must be heated in a non-stick pan with as many garlic heads as you can handle (you remove them afterwards)
  • The best tomato sauce must be used and left to simmer for 40-50 mins (adding water when/if it starts to dry)
  • The frozen string beans will be added to the cooked and simmering tomato sauce to make them thaw delicately (it’ll take about 5 mins)
  • Check for salt (always check for salt)

Thanksgiving N1 – Ravenna (Italy)


Black rice

  • The Italian Riso Venere
  • Cooked in broth and with a dab of butter added at the end
  • Incredibly crunchy and satisfying to eat, with a wonderful aroma

Red rice

  • Soaked in broth and red onion for 30-60 mins before cooking
  • Cooked in its water (with the onion)

Thanksgiving N2 – London (UK)


Sauteed carrots

Sliced carrots, cooked for about 15 mins or until slightly tender in water

  • Red onion, fried in olive oil in a non-stick pan
  • Carrots added to the cooked onion, just to absorb the taste and the
  • Butter, added at the very end
  • Salt, to taste (and to check!)

Sweet Potatoes

  • Chopped into wedges
  • Tossed with rosemary, salt, pepper, olive oil
  • Roasted in the oven until soft


  • Randomly chopped
  • Cooked on a low fire with garlic heads and olive oil and broth
  • Finished with white wine and, if you need more, butter…!

Thanksgiving N3 – Madrid (Spain)



  • Red onion and olive oil, heated and half-cooked in a non-stick pot
  • Quinoa and Bulgar Wheat, sauteed in the onion
  • Broth, until it’s cooked

Creamy corn

  • Shallots, sliced and half-cooked in a non-stick pan
  • Frozen corn, added still frozen to the pan
  • Butter, added when it all starts to dry
  • Salt, added and checked
  • Heavy cream and fresh cream cheese, added at the very end, heated just enough to melt


What about the stuffing? I can hear you say. Well, the stuffing is a special family dish and I think I’ll wait until I publish my cook book to let you know what goes in it…. Or, you can come over next year and have Thanksgiving with me! 🙂

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