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Updates – September

Another busy one….it started the first day of the month with mom’s birthday…..my daughter boyfriend contributed to the celebration dinner with this sooooo good appetizer, canapes with cannellini beans and bacon

my daughter with her famous zucchini and speck pie

I baked some mini pizzas….

a lasagna pan….

and some tasty asparagus

My mom baked her favourite cake, with pineapple and rhum.

One of my collegue, after years of partnership, decided to marry, so one day we had lunch all together to celebrate her…..for once, no problems, no resentment, no hierarchy, just happy faces….

The second-last day of this so very beautiful, unusual and interesting exhibition, my daughter and I hurried to visit, and I’m so glad we did! “A tea with Queen Elizabeth II” at the Glauco Lombardi Museum in Parma, is an idea of Marina Minelli, journalist and historian, with a true passion for crowned heads around the world. In the two ground floor halls of the Riserva Palace, more than three hundred pieces of ceramics (created by companies such as Wedgwood, Spode, Burleigh, Royal Albert, Mason’s, Churchill, Royal Doulton, Aynsley) tell the story of the royal family starting with Queen Victoria, Elizabeth II’s great-grandmother, whose long reign not only coincides with the exponential growth of manufactories in the famous Staffordshire district, but it also paves the way for the great celebrations both political and familiar of an ever-popular and beloved dynasty.
Memorials, or as they call it overseas, ceramic commemoratives are one of the key elements of this relationship. Mugs, cups and teapots decorated with symbols of the monarchy or with the faces of real royal characters favor the popular sharing of events related to the dynasty because through these objects the subjects can symbolically take part in a celebration and do it through the English rite for excellence: the afternoon tea.

On display there are objects dedicated to Edoardo VII, Prince of Wales for all his life, but king only for nine years, and then to his son Giorgio V, celebrated in potteries along with his very royal wife Mary, at the coronation in 1911 and later for the Silver Jubilee in 1935. By the end of 1936 his heir Edward VIII decided to abdicate to marry the woman who has been dating for years and abdication not only deeply marks British history but also risks sending the ceramic factories to bankruptcy. The production of coronation items has already begun and hundreds of manufactures must suddenly head back, store mugs and cups with the face of the former king and create new ones with the reassuring image of George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

(below, Marina, exceptionally present for the day, explaining to us what we were admiring)

Young Elizabeth II continues the heritage of the royal family after his father’s death on February 6, 1952, and his coronation on June 2, 1953 represents not only the beginning of a new kingdom, but the rebirth of a country that bravely endured Hitler’s bombs but still carries the heavy signs of a devastating war. The amount of memorabilia produced for the occasion is directly proportional to the popular enthusiasm for the new kingdom and it attests not only to the importance of the Westminster ceremony, whose ritual is unchanged from the Middle Ages, but also to the economic and social recovery of England and its industries after the nightmare of the conflict and the restrictions on rationing. Other items will be produced in the years to come for the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981, for the birth of their children and grandchildren, for the jubilees of the queen and for her nineteenth birthday celebrated in 2016.

There are also postcards, newspapers and magazines in English, French and Italian from the 1950s to the present, which help to rebuild the events of the period. In addition, some special services for the Coronation of 1953 and the Silver Jubilee of 1977 have been used to set up vintage tea tables and dining tables.
For this event – notes Francesca Sandrini, the museum curator – there is also some contribution coming from the collections of the Museo Lombardi, that made available two of its pieces, never exposed to the public and yet consistent with the exhibition proposed, such as a beautiful desk service decorated with jasperware medallions and a great print of Queen Victoria’s crowning in 1838.

(below, Marina explaining how to set up a true english tea table)

After the visit, all the presents were invited to have a real english tea, equipped with all the options….cakes, muffins, scones, biscuits and two classics, battenberg cake and clotted cream….

It really was an amazing experience, loving all that’s english as we do!

And then it was my birthday…..I celebrated it first having lunch with two of my collegues/friends at our favourite vegan restaurant…..

That night I had dinner with my family….and I got some gifts…..

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Posted by on October 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Updates – Six – June

June, where summer really begins….

Near the river Po, there’s a village called Zibello, known all around the world for a culinary excellence, culatello….every year, the first week-end of june all the area celebrates it with dinner, concerts, games, markets and debates with italian top chefs…….could we miss the chance to eat something so good?

However, the best part of the dinner was the company, as always…….

The village was full of people, all the shops and tourists’ attractions were open………

and I just couldn’t pass the chance to visit the local main church…….

Following the foundation of the marquisate of Zibello, Giovan Francesco Pallavicino, the first gentleman of the small state, before his death expressed the desire to complete the construction of the Dominican convent, which he started in 1494, and a church in the village that served as a family chapel; it was only in the middle of the sixteenth century that the work for the church was started, on the initiative of the Marquis Uberto Pallavicino, before he was forced to surrender the marquisate to the Rangoni of Modena.

The work was concluded around 1580 but the church was consecrated only in 1620; elevated to parish, assumed the functions of the church of the Blessed Virgin of Graces , until then it was dedicated to the saints Gervasio and Protasio. In 1673 the rectory was erected attached to the church, while the bell tower was built in 1677, at the wish of the parish priest don Gardini.

The imposing church develops on a three-nave plant, with three chapels in the absidial area and a baptistery beside the entrance. The symmetrical salient facade , made of red brick in Gothic-Lombard style, is marked in three parts by buttresses surmounted by high tented roofs; in the middle there is a large rose window framed by terracotta tiles made by Jacopo de Stavolis around 1484. On the left side of the façade, the baptistery rises with Renaissance tracts, on which an octagonal dome rises. 

Inside, the three aisles are subdivided by a high colonnade whose decorated capitals support elegant arched bows, whose solemnity is accentuated by ornamental motifs that frame them, and from high vaulted ceiling, repeated in the same shapes even in the lower aisles.

To the left is the baptistery, covered by an octagonal, featuring 19th century decorations by Girolamo Magnani, a scenographer.

The left chapel houses a particular relic of the patron saint of the country, Saint Carlo Borromeo, a piece of the robe he wore on the day when he was extraordinarily saved by an attack. 

The next day we had another culinary date in the city center…..the second edition of Gola Gola Festival, the first after Parma was nominated Unesco City of Gastronomy, so this year the foods stands were even more…

our friend A with two new friends….lol…

For dinner we opted for a very much loved abruzzo excellence, arrosticini

and obviously a little dancing was mandatory!

The night of June 23 is the magic night for excellence. There are, in fact, very ancient popular traditions and profound esoteric and religious meanings that Saint John’s recurrence is linked to the summer solstice that corresponds to the winter one that is remembered at Christmas. In conjunction with the summer solstice, when the sun reaches its maximum positive declination and then resumes the winter walk, begins the summer, so St. John is the supreme solar festival, the overwhelming victory of light on darkness, good on bad. But the most clear and eloquent explanation on the important and significant astral situation is provided by Maria Castelli Zanzucchi, a writer, a scholar of traditions and author of interesting publications: “The sun reaches the highest point on 23 June: it is common knowledge that the night of St. John is the best time for planets and zodiacal signs to give stones and herbs their virtues. It is a magical night, the night of the impossible, of wonders, deceit, evil influences and witches. “

In Parma and around, the traditions of the “rozáda äd San Zvan” (dialect for dew of Saint John) are countless: from the best known, such as the gastronomic dish “tortelli di erbetta” (chard ravioli), to those less well-known, whose origins are lost in the night of time. Preferably the “tortelli” are made to be enjoyed with the feet under the outdoor table, but inside is allowed too, as long as you leave the door and windows open to favor the benefits of dewy influences……better if with dear friends and surrounded by flowers and herbs collected the year before…

Another month gone, leaving great memories of food, places and dear faces……..

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Mushroom Pie

  • ½ lb short pastry
  • lb mushrooms
  • 3 oz butter
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup bechamel
  • 1 ¾ oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • onion
  • garlic
  • pepper
Butter a metal oven-dish with wavy edges of about 8 inches in diameter; line with the sheet of dough to a thickness of about 0,2 inch, prick all over, cover with some thin white paper, fill with dried peas, and put into a moderate oven. Remove after 15-20 minutes (it should be barely colored), remove the peas and the sheet of paper, leaving the crust in the oven-dish. Brush with beaten egg and leave in the oven doorway for a couple of minutes to dry the pastry. After this procedure, the crust may be filled. Cut the mushrooms into thick slices, sauté them in the butter for some seconds, add the chopped mixture of onion and garlic, mix, and as soon as the mixture is lightly golden, douse with Marsala wine. Allow to evaporate and reduce the mixture. At this point, pour in the cream, season with salt and pepper, continue cooking over high heat for 5 minutes, taking care to mix often, and then mix in the light béchamel. Cook for some seconds, then fill the crust with this mixture, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan and melted butter. Put into a hot oven. Serve when the surface has become nicely golden.
 
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Posted by on September 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Two cheeses

Per 4 servings:

  • ¾ lb ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz Provolone cheese
  • 3 ½ oz ham
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
  • frying oil
  • salt and pepper

FOR PASTA

  • 1 lb all-purpose flour
  • 3 ½ oz lard
  • egg
  • 1 lemon
  • salt
Prepare the filling by mixing together the ricotta, egg yolks, prosciutto and cubed provolone in a bowl. Add chopped parsley, salt and a pinch of pepper. Mix well, until smooth. On a cutting board, form a well with the flour. Add the eggs, lard, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Mix together with a fork, and then knead by hand for 15 minutes until you have a smooth, firm dough. Stretch our the dough, making a thin sheet. Place balls of filling across half of the dough. Make sure that they are not too close together. Cover with the other half of the sheet of dough and press down around each ball to seal. Cut out the “fritters” using a round pasta-cutter. Fry in boiling oil, then place on paper towels to drain. Serve hot. (My personal variation is adding some smoked ham….a touch of taste more spicy)…
 
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Posted by on August 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Leek? Yes, better than onions….

INGREDIENTS (per 4 servings)
  • ¾ lb reginette pasta
  • ¾ lb prosciutto cotto (cooked ham), cut into 2 slices
  • 2 leeks
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup bechamel
  • 1 ½ oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
PREPARATION:

Clean the leeks by removing the green part.
Cut them in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/10-inch strips.
Then, cut the ham into ½-inch cubes. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a fairly large pan and saute the leeks for a minute.
Add the diced ham and fry for 3 minutes, stirring. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the wine and let evaporate over high heat for 3 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce is smooth.

Reduce heat and cook for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente: reserve a cup of cooking water.
Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce pan. Also add a couple tbsp of cooking water.
Cook over medium heat: add the beschamel, stirring for a few moments, and finally add the Parmigiano Reggiano.

Serve hot.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Tuna for summer

Serving 4:

  • ¾ lb spaghetti
  • lb fresh tuna fillets
  • salt to taste
  • 2 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Fry the fresh tuna fish in olive oil until it becomes golden, then drain it and salt it. Prepare a tomato sauce and when it is cooked to perfection, add the fried tuna cut into small pieces, along with a generous helping of chopped parsley. Cook together for 10 minutes, over a low heat, and then dress the spaghetti taking care to put on every plate some sauce and tuna fish.

To make it more “siclian style” you can add on top of each plate some chopeed pistacchio….

FOOD HISTORY

Tuna is one of the most characteristic fish of the Mediterranean. Fished for thousands of years, the methods for catching the fish have developed over the centuries. The traditional “tonnara”, of tuna hunting with large nets, has been repaced with museums, restaurants and tourist attractions.
In Sicily, however, there are still two tuna hunts near Trapani: one in Bonagia and the other in Favignana.
Here, you can witness the “mattanza”,  the ancient passage of the large from the Atlantic to the Mediteranean at the end of spring.
Over 300 kilos of fish are caught in the large nets attached to boats with out motors. The chief, or “rais”, sings ancient Sicilian songs, giving the fishermen his orders. Leftover from an archaic world, the tuna hunts are almost impossible to understand. They are a combination of tradition and superstition, a fight for survival and desire for wealth. A tragic, one-of-a-kind show.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Spring salad

Per 8 servings:

  • ½ lb potatoes, boiled
  • ½ lb lentils
  • ½ lb chickpeas
  • 1 spring cabbage
  • mustard
  • white wine vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt
  • ground pepper

Preparation: Thinly slice the cabbage. Wash and dry well. Place on a serving dish. Rinse the chickpeas and lentils of their soaking liquid. Drain beans well and place them on top of the cabbage. Peal and cube the boiled potatoes, then toss with the rest of the salad. Puree at high speed, 1 tbsp white wine, 1 tsp mustard, a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup oil. Pour the emulsified sauce on the salad and finish with a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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