Sunday, February 22, 2009

Carnevale 2009, almost...

Everyone was all dressed for the event! But, unfortunately, the weather didn't want to cooperate... We'll have to wait till tomorrow for the big parade.

Here is Mario looking very sharp in his costume...

Some little guys were very unhappy that the Carnevale was postponed till tomorrow, while others enjoyed themselves the same under the raindrops.

Apple trees do need their rain... Wonderful work Mandi!

A little Bumble Bee and an Apple Tree stopped over at my house for a slice of chocolate cake since the parade was put on hold. They were very polite guests!

Enjoying their Hershey's Kisses sent over from the states...
Till tomorrow...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

fa freddo...

Last night, after class, there was nothing better than a warm cup of green tea.

We have been hit with some chilly days here in Sicily. However, sitting back in a warm bar, with good company, takes your mind off it!

Lunch in Linguaglossa

This past Sunday my good friends from Linguaglossa, Debra and Carmelo, invited me for lunch. On the drive over I was shocked as the rain quickly changed over to snow and made it quite difficult to see the road. You'll have to use your imagination with this one, the camera didn't capture the same feeling. But, for someone who never sees snow around these parts, it was very exciting. However, as soon as the sun came out, about an hour later, all the snow was gone...

We all shared a great meal together!

Carmelo is the author of English for Italians an online English program. He has created a great resource tool for anyone interested in learning English, or for those teaching English to Italian students. Check out his site and have a look around! In the near future I plan to help Carmelo create recordings of his dialogs... Stay tuned...

Debra and Carmelo also offer two rental properties in their peaceful Sicilian town.
Sicilian Vacation Rental Property
Maybe this might be the place for your next sojourn?

Non è Vero Ma Ci Credo

A night at the theatre...

Valentines Baking with Chiara

Last week Chiara came over and we prepared Valentines strawberry cheesecake brownies. I always enjoy time in the kitchen together!!

Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2-oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup preserves/jam

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease. In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and prepare cheesecake mixture. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Drop dollops of preserves into the cheesecake batter. Gently swirl batters with a butter knife. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. Makes 20 brownies (or 25 small brownies).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Karaoke Night!

I had the pleasure of singing with Enzo , our local butcher, a few days back at his place. He has all the equipment for a night of music! A bunch of us sang the night away...

I must add that this summer our town hall hosted a Karaoke Competition. Well, Enzo asked me to sing the song "I Belong To You" - by Eros Ramazzotti and Anastacia. We walked away winners that night!! ;)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

biscotti di pasta frolla

When ever I make a torta di ricotta or a crostata, I always make extra pasta frolla and freeze it. So, when that unexpected visitor passes by, I am always ready to bake up something sweet on the spot.

Once thawed, I just made little round balls of dough and placed an almond in the center. I then rolled the balls in sugar and placed them on the cookie sheet. When cooking, they flattened out and were perfect. I find that the stutto makes the cookies very delicate and breakable... Let's just say that on the night of the Madonnina, all the cookies were finished and everyone wanted the recipe! Even the priest said that I should open up a bakery...

Pasta Frolla

350 g flour
100 g strutto (You could use butter, but the strutto gives it a nice crumbly texture)
100 g sugar
3 eggs
half pack levito for sweets ( half tsp baking powder)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Coniglio ripieno al forno

We had always wanted to try this recipe and it turned out to be a very impressive meal...

If you can't find a boned rabbit, the deboning of a rabbit can be watchd here on YouTube
We wanted to do everything, so we found the video very helpful!

Place the boned rabbit on your cutting board, pressing the flesh of the legs into the cavity so as to obtain what looks like a slab of meat. Sprinkle on the meat the rosemary, several leaves of sage, red pepper, black pepper, and salt.

Layer the filling over the herbs, then roll the rabbit up around the filling lengthwise. Roll as tight as possible, taking care that the filling remain within the rabbit. Finally, tie the roll with string as you would any roast.
Place in an oven set to 180°C for about 20 minutes, then add the skinned potaotes covered with rosmary and olive oil. Bake for another 20-30 minutes.

Not only an impressive presentation, but also a rich blending of flavors.

Stuffed Rabbit
1 young rabbit
Herbs: bay leaf, rosmary, red pepper
salt and pepper
100g ground beef
100g ground pork
100g sausage
Chopped up chunks of hard cheese, I used pepato stagionato

Sunday, February 08, 2009

la madonnina a casa mia

I had a very unique house guest this past week... The Madonnina has been traveling the streets of our little town, visiting each house for one night as she passes through. She has been traveling for over 30 years now.
It was a magical night when she arrived. A parade of townspeople gathered her and her flowers at my neighbor’s house and escorted her down the street, up the stairs of my house, and into my guest room. My house was full of people! Our priest began to pray and informed us of the prayers we were to make as a family later that evening. She then stayed in our house for the night. There was such a peace in the air...
In the morning, my house was open to visitors who wanted to spend time with her and those who wanted to pray by her side. Around 7pm, my neighbors arrived to recite the rosary and sing songs together. The priest then arrived shortly after and blessed my house. Once he was finished the parade of people began again. Each guest gathered the flowers and candles and escorted the Madonnina out of my house and across the street to my neighbor's house...
The little experiences in a small Sicilian village...

A walk on Lungo Mare...

One of the many beauties of Sicily is that we can enjoy the snow of Etna one day and then a peaceful walk by the sea another day!

Along the Lungo Mare between Riposto and Torre Archirafi we often enjoy an early morning walk, watching the sun rise. The Regional Province of Catania has also created a Cycling Route that goes along the seaside road for 12,5 km. Starting from the village of Torre Archirafi to the mouth of the Alcantara river. Along the path you pass through the harbour town of Riposto and the Fiumefreddo river nature reserve. Bring along your bike and enjoy the view!

Fresh fruits, vegetables and fish can be bought every working day in the morning at the fish market in Riposto. This is located just in front of the harbour, at the corner of Corso Italia. Riposto is still one of the most important fishing harbours on the east coast of Sicily: fish are brought here directly from boats every morning at dawn.

Winter on the mountain...

Today is a great day! Not only is it a beautiful day on the island of Sicily, with the warm sun shining through my window, but I am also happy to announce that my computer is up and running again!!

What an experience, skiing on an active volcano! An amazing panoramic backdrop, the contrast of the blue Ionian Sea and the white snow of Mount Etna.

Piano Provenzana is located on the north side of Mt. Etna, passing through the town of Linguglossa. There are so many winter activities to enjoy!

Plan your winter sports on the Volcano with the help of