malfatti – and a letter to myself

now that i’m thirty (…) i often think how time flies… how it still feels like i’m 20, but how i’m not (obviously). well, i certainly look like i am (and who am i fooling?). ha-di-fucking-ha. all the experiences i’ve made in the past few years, both good and bad, they’ve shaped me, and i wouldn’t want to miss any of them. but still, some things could be improved. and very inconveniently so, they often start with attitude. like, i’ve always been a worrier… and some phases in my life were really bad. today, i often marvel at that, and think how it would be awesome to tell my 20-year-old-self not to worry too much all the time, about stuff that you can’t change. because why always worry, when you know that by thirty you’ll not only be smarter, but also you’ll lead a good life?
so, if i could write a letter to my 20-year-old-self (once started and all…) here’s what i’d throw in for good measure: 
easy on the hair experiments, cuts, colors and straightening tools… your natural hair is okay, you’ll learn to appreciate it and work with it – not against it. 

select your friends more closely. i know you love people. and fair enough if you like someone spontaneously, but put people to the test before you invest in friendships. people need to be worthy of your love and time. 

also, be prepared to be disappointed by people. it’s part of life to let people go.

keep up the jobs next to uni, and be proud of earning your own living. i know, it’s tough sometimes. but tough never hurt anyone. oh, and that louis bag you got yourself at 19 after a summer of hard (not so hard, but never mind) work? you’ll totally still love it when you’re 30. really good investment!

don’t worry so much about what other people have. because one: you will be able to have more, too. and not just materialistic stuff. and two: it’s more important who you are than what you have. i know, cheesy! but: focus on being. and shape your character. question your habits. in short: work hard, and be nice to people.  

though you shouldn’t always be nice, mind… there are occasions where you’ll need to develop a certain bite. don’t be a people pleaser. say what you want out loud – then get it. and don’t have second thoughts.

always be nice to yourself and enjoy the time alone. you’re your closest friend. when all else fails, you’ve still got you. 

those nights that you spent out partying, trying to fit in? never a waste to stay in instead. do your mani pedis. oh, and stop listening to that tacky, heartbroken, schmaltzy music while you do it. okay, you’ll have a better taste in music when you’re not a heartbroken tween. and isn’t that totally something to look forward to?

you’ll think you love, many times. you’ll break up and be broken up and you’ll cope. there will be meaningful relationship and less meaningful ones. but it’s never mister right (obviously). so don’t stress about the ‘big love’. relax. might turn out you’re still (or again) single at thirty. guess what, the world is still turning and prada is still selling loafers like warm rolls.

that yoga lessons you were laughing about at first? hard work ahead of you. uhm, let’s give it some more time, you might master the headstand in another 10. or you won’t. but keep it up. it’s good for you.

buy a new pair of shoes. and heels? forget them, still not a love story, still the same old walk like a stork on a rollercoaster.

and last but not least: congratulations on your love of life! enjoy the hell out of it. you’re only 20 once. live a little! 

the italians call this sort of ‘dumplings’ malfatti, as in ‘badly done’. because they’re unequally shaped, in a charming way. aka a good excuse to work quickly and not thoroughly, which i like, sometimes. i’ve made them before, several times, but these turned out better than the last ones. more fluffy (still a great word).

malfatti – ricotta spinach dumplings

300 g spinach, thoroughly cleaned
500 g ricotta (dry kind, if it’s not dry enough, drain overnight)
1 bunch basil, finely chopped
1 bunch basil, finely chopped
3 eggs
60 g parmigiano, finely grated
2-6 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. semolina
1 garlic clove, minced
pepper, salt

50 g butter
3 tbsp. olive oil
some sprigs thyme, for serving


put the spinach in a sieve and pour boiling water over it to let it fall together. drain well, then squeeze out the excess water. fold into a clean kitchen towel or kitchen paper to dry thoroughly. chop finely, then combine with the ricotta, eggs, parmigiano, herbs and garlic. season with salt and pepper. add the semolina and flour, adjusting according to the humidity of the mix: you need to be able to shape little balls. 
in a large saucepan heat salted water, then reduce the heat to medium, so that the water is still hot but not boiling / bubbling. shape the dumplings (i use two spoons but you could roll them in your palms, too) then one by one drop them into the hot water. cook for a couple of minutes until the dumplings appear on the surface. remove them with a sieve, then continue with another batch. put the dumplings in an oven-proof pan, greased with olive oil and the butter. put in the warm (not hot) oven to keep warm until you’ve finished all the dumplings. arrange 3-5 dumplings on a plate, drizzle with some of the olive oil and butter mix, decorate with thyme. serve immediately.
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