I told you that I love going over a friend’s house to eat, and it is true. Yesterday we went to Castiglion Fiorentino, a whole bunch of us, with three languages between us, for an amazing spread of delicious food: chicken skewers, hummus with mint, cannellini and string bean salad with tomatoes, cous cous, sausages, hamburgers, new potatoes with butter, and a salad of greens with toasted walnuts. For dessert we had brownies and fresh fruit with beautiful cheeses. And although I was put to shame by what the woman accomplishes in a day–things like maintaining her own grapevines, mowing a massive lawn, caring for the kitchen garden and all of the lovely flowers and plants and regular (paying) guests and a five year old son–I did have a great time. It is really nice to roll around in the grass and pick cherries from the trees and just generally be lazy. I even came away with a very valuable piece of information about a recipe from the cookbook called Italian Country Cooking. In there is a recipe for chocolate nemesis, and I have failed I don’t know how many times trying to make it. It falls flat into a big chocolate puddle. Jonty just happened to have a chocolate nemesis in her fridge, in perfect form, and said the secret is not to follow the directions. (always a good idea when things are not working out to have faith in yourself and what you know makes sense). Instead, melt the chocolate with the butter in a double boiler. In another bowl, whip the eggs with the sugar for about five minutes. Forget about making a sugar syrup. Combine the two, and bake in pan surrounded by a larger pan that has about an inch of hot water in it. Bake until just set, and refrigerate once it cools, until you need it. Let it sit for about an hour at room temperature before serving. There are times when rules get you nowhere.