Robin Maxwell's articles @ Huffington Post
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A page from one of Da Vinci's notebooks, all written in mirror image.
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Grape and Olive Compote
Much is known about Leonardo’s father, but his mother, Caterina, is one of history’s mysteries. Two cryptic entries discovered in Da Vinci’s famous notebooks (all written in mirror image from right to left) may give us a clue.

This woman lived quietly in the Maestro’s household for two years. Later he paid for her funeral. Was this shadowy figure called Caterina really Leonardo’s mother?

Read Signora da Vinci and find out.

Here’s the recipe:

Friend and extraordinary epicurean Susan Jeter created this simple but spectacular recipe that appears several times in Signora da Vinci. It has always made for compulsive consumption, and with its ingredients as common to Italy now as they were five hundred years ago, it cried out to be included in the book.

1 bunch seedless red grapes
1 jar (or equivalent) Kalamata olives, pits removed
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme (optional)

Mix all ingredients in an ovenproof dish and bake uncovered for one hour at 350 degrees, turning the fruit every twenty minutes with a spoon to recoat them with the oil and vinegar. Serve warm or cold with soft goat cheese on crusty bread or with crackers, or use as a side dish with fish or poultry.

"Signora da Vinci is without a doubt the best historical fiction I have read all year. In her most remarkable novel yet, Robin Maxwell takes us back to the Italian Renaissance to give us a beautifully rendered and captivating portrait of Leonardo da Vinci's mother, Caterina. A masterful blend of fact and fiction, Signora da Vinci mesmerizes."


— Michelle Moran, Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen

"Here is a superbly imagined portrait of a woman living in turbulent times who boldly behaved as few dared.  Caterina da Vinci moved in a world that included the glittering Medici and the villainous Savonarola, all of whom are well-limned in this sparkling epic. Set in the sunshine of 15 th century Tuscany, the novel continually delights with intriguing details, from the bottega workshops of the great Italian masters to the minutiae of an alchemist's laboratory."


— Vicki Leon, Uppity Women of the Renaissance, Working IX to V
For Reading Groups - Readers Guide Questions
Bonus Passport to Leonardo and Caterina's World!
15th CENTURY RECIPE: Grape and Olive Compote
What is "The Shadow Renaissance?"
Was the Shroud of Turin the world's first photograph?
Signora da Vinci JANE Augie Appleby NEW! ATLANTOS
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