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El Greco

El Greco

I have just re-watched the extraordinary 2007 movie El Greco, the story of the Greek painter of the Spanish Renaissance, Domenicos Theotokopolous. What a sumptuous feast for the eyes! El Greco, as he became known was born in Fodele, Crete, a beautiful valley full of olive and orange trees....

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Arcimboldo

Arcimboldo

Vertumnus   Guiseppe Arcimboldo (1527-93) was a Milanese artist who was employed as a portrait painter at the court of the Hapsburg emperors in Prague. He was noted for painting a type of ‘capriccio’  – a form of painting which looks like heads or figures when seen from a distance but, upon...

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Giuseppe Maria Mitelli

Giuseppe Maria Mitelli

Here is a little, probably obscure side note in the world of Mediterranean food. In 1691, Giuseppe Maria Mitelli was Baroque Bologna’s great designer of board games. A failed artist, he became an engraver, and in all engraved some 33 board games, including the fascinating Game of Cocknaige. This...

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Balzac’s Omelette

Balzac's Omelette

Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) was a prolific French author who both indulged and abstained from food in equal measures.  Indeed, his love of food at mealtimes was described by his friend Léon Gozlan: “is lips quivered, his eyes lit up with delight, his hands shook with pleasure on seeing a pyramid of...

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Spearmint

Spearmint

Spearmint (Mentha spicata  or Mentha viridis) is the traditional and most favoured mint of Mediterranean cooking in both fresh and dried form. It is widely used in Middle Eastern Cooking to flavour meat and vegetable dishes, fried with butter or ghee and is used as a final touch to...

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