Archive for February, 2012
is always a rather interesting concept. Exactly what can you give a popolo (aka population) that believes they have the market cornered when it comes to food?
1) ohh, that looks so beautiful, too good to eat
2) oh I can’t eat it all right now, I will save it for later…whenever that is
3) they will look at it and decide that there are way too many calories ( they call it a bomba) so they can only taste a little tiny bit . . . which is probably the most annoying because most of the sweets and cakes we make are caloric bombs! but we don’t need to be reminded of that . . . (and what about Tiramisù, that is not a diet friendly dessert).
Well today we celebrated a B-day in the office and I spent all evening be-bopping around the kitchen making cupcakes. I found this recipe on foodgawker.com which looked absolutely divine, and the author promised that I would scream with delight over the chocolat-y-ness of these cupcakes. And you know what, she was absolutely RIGHT! From the batter, the ganache (an idea that I have been just dying to try ever since I saw the war of the cupcakes with my nieces and nephew while on vacation) and the creamy icing (essentially a NON-existent concept for most Italians) – I was in heaven even before I slipped a tray into the oven.
So here I am working around the kitchen, waiting for DH to get home so we can try the cooked version together … Well, it wasn’t worth the wait. Since he is Italian (as we say here Fiorentino D.O.C. which essentially means Italian through and through) his only comment was 1) is it supposed to be this hard…I couldn’t respond because my taste buds were exploding with pleasure. After I finally swallowed down mine, I asked ” yours is hard, here let me taste.” It didn’t work, he didn’t let me taste his. His second comment was this stuff on top is too sweet… um duhhh! It’s icing, it’s supposed to be sweet. Only to follow up “well, they’re OK.” It’s a good thing my colleagues at work are a mixed bunch (Brit, Swede, Japanese and a Ital-American) who gave food satisfaction.
We wanted to include a picture….but alas crumbs do not make impressive photos.
Italians give absolutely no satisfaction when it comes to food that doesn’t originate in Italy!!
If you want to check out the recipe, which is incredibly easy to follow: here it is
Mini bags normally have two very distinct characteristics (aside from the obvious…size) they have a long crossbody strap which is adjustable and many times removable and they are being see all at every Fashion Week we peek into. Other than being a fashion statement, these designer petite bags make a women’s life a little bit easier with a bag just a little smaller than 20 cm x 20 cm, the headaches of what to take and what not to take is cut not in half – but to a quarter of its normal size. We can get a credit card holder – complete with a photo ID and a few big bills , our favorite lipstick, eyeshadow and liner, our iPhone and a bottle of our favorite scent so we can tantalize those men around us at all hours of the day (and night).
RE Blog from our guest blogger:
You know its carnevale in Florence when every time you wander around the city center you find tiny pieces of colored confetti scattered in the streets.
The Italians throw these brightly colored streamers and little pieces of wrapped candy in the crowds from the colorful, playful floats that they painstakingly prepare. Though many might think that this is just a type of Halloween in February they would be mistaken, because the outfits that are selected normally have nothing to do with warding off the evil spirits as in the tradition for All Hallow’s Eve. In fact when you mention Carnival, the image of scantily dressed Brazilians come to mind or maybe even the artistic and mysterious figures from Venice. However, for many regions it is simply a moment where the young and old are encouraged to have fun, laugh and be playful behind the anonymity of a mask.
We are featuring a delicious guest blogger today, we hope you enjoy their ideas – we will be looking forward to reading your comments! Dress Italian is a trend setting brand that has created higher standards for innovation and quality in the manufacture of readymade pasta sauces. Our approach to manufacturing is simple! To bring out the full natural flavour of the best quality ingredients by adapting traditional skills in a modern context.
Perfect Basil Pesto
The colour is light green. Why?
The more you blend basil leaf with other ingredients such as cheese and pine nuts, the lighter the shade of green. The reason that so many fresh Basil pesto sauces are darker in colour is because you can still see the light white particles of cheese in the sauce. They have not been properly fused.
The ingredients are blended together into a uniform ‘paste before oil is added.’ Why?
Doing so allows you to then dilute the blend of Basil, Pine nuts and Cheese with Oil to taste without risking a separation of oil from the other ingredients. There is nothing worse than finding the bottom of your plate of pasta awash with oil.
Homemade Basil Pesto in Liguria often contains a little ricotta cheese.
It might not be what the guides to ‘Pesto alla Genovese’ recommend but we prefer to go by results. The fresh pesto we tasted when on a trip to Liguria that have a touch of Ricotta are to die for. That’s good enough to convince us!
Now savour the results.
The pesto coats the pasta perfectly, achieving maximum impact on your palette with little if any oil separating and remaining on the bottom of the plate. You will still feel little fragments of Basil leaf and nut between your teeth while experiencing the full impact of the natural pungent sweet aroma of Basil itself.
coda di rospo bardata al prosciutto
monkfish wrapped in prosciutto with a basil pesto dressing
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes
1 kg loin of monkfish
4 slices of prosciutto
salt and black pepper
grated rind of 1 lemon
60 ml, 4 tbsp, 2fl oz extra virgin olive oil
4 bay leaves
50g, 4 tbsp Dress Italian Classic Basil Pesto
Preheat the oven to 200c, 400f, Gas mark 6
Slice the monkfish into four pieces. Season each piece with salt and black pepper. Spread a teaspoon of Classic Basil Pesto on each piece of fish and sprinkle with lemon rind. Place 1 bay leaf on each. Wrap each piece of fish with prosciutto and place on a piece of grease proof paper on a baking tray. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until the monkfish is cooked through.
Serve drizzled with the oven juices.
We are very happy to welcome our Guest Blogger: Print and Pattern, a blog that was born as a project to discuss everything related to art, focusing on fashion, cinema and photography. since we opened the site in September, we had a great reception and we are very grateful. We love so much photography so most of out photos are taken by us or at least edited by us to give them our personal touch. You can visit our site entering; printandpattern.wordpress.com or follow us on twitter; @Print_Pattern.
V F W
The XII Valencia Fashion Week (VFW), the more austere since her inauguration, has been held from 15 to 18 February. With a reduced budget of 200,000 euros, has drawn over 25,000 attendees, representing a record in this Winter edition of the famous runaway.
This has been ensured in a press communicate from the Fashion Week Association, who believe that this fact “confirms the positioning of the runway and endorsed as one of the most important platforms of spanish designers, specializing in presentations of local designers and emerging artist on the national scene “
The parade of Gabriel Segui opened on Wednesday the current edition with the assistance of eminent personalities from political, business and social, closed on Friday, by Higinio Mateu. Saturday, became the day of solidarity with four names as protagonists and the revenue from the sale of tickets to the benefit of NGOs. In total, 38 artists raised their collections to the whole runway.
The promoters of the event say that, “despite the institutional cuts, this issue is growing in the number of participating designers, collaborating firms and number of media, maintaining consolidated the event as one of the strongest alternative design has to to present their collections to national level. “
Thus, more than 25,000 participants have followed in the Agora (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias de Valencia) and the Off runway (celebrated in the Umbracle) the evolution of the parades, with incalculable people who have passed through the city. As for media, over 300 journalists were accredited.
Print and Pattern were there and actually saw and documented some of the parades, our favorite was Dragomir Krasimirov, a new designer, who presented a very minimal collection that showed that sometimes less is more. All the photos taken by us are form his catwalk.
It is a simple item but it can turn an informal or casual outfit into something just one step beyond.
Handcrafted in genuine Italian leather, these unlined driving gloves for men are feather light and long lasting. The perforated leather allows for comfortable wearing in warmer temps while still offering protection in the chillier weather. Just as interesting are the unlined driving gloves for women in Italian leather.
The carefully tanned Italian leather is ideal for maintaining a firm grip on the steering wheel, briefcase, iPad or Smartphone. However we don’t think the Alexander McQueen collection is showing them just for their practical use, these gloves in either black or cognac combine with each one of the the outfits below beautifully. We especially like the use of the coganc colored gloves with the gray jacket and pants – the striking contrast is very appealing.
I live on the outskirts of Florence, in an area that is called Colle Fiorentina This translates into the Florentine hills, well known for its DOCG Chianti wine and the fact that it is the gateway to the area called Chianti Classical. The hills are covered with rolling vineyards, olive green groves and Mediterranean pines in lush dark forest. It is a picture postcard panorama. You are probably thinking nice to read about but does it really exist, or is this yet another fanatic raving about the Tuscan countryside? I guess it’s a little of both. If you can imagine, I have a 2 km stretch right outside my front door that plunges through the middle of olive groves and vineyards and in the distance there is a silhouette of the Apennines on the left and that of a Tuscan hilltop town on the right. If I hit it right when I go for my morning walk, I get a brilliant sky flushed with early morning color going up the road and on the way back, the sun is warming my behind and splashing buckets of yellow light on the trees. So you see, how can I not be one of those raving fanatics?
In my 20 years of living abroad, about 19.5 of them have been involved with tourism. And even though I am a do-it-yourself kind of gal, I always tell visitors, if you can swing it, get a tour guide. A good one will fill you up with fun little details like why you can find roses at the end of the vineyards, the value of the Tuscan cypress tree as a landmark, point out the orchids that grow alongside the road and my personal favorite, tell you where to find THE best extra virgin olive oil. However, I know that not everyone’s budget can afford the cost…(therefore if you want to know any of those little facts I mentioned before, just drop me a note)
So instead of telling you my tale, I am here to tell you that it is completely possible (and safe) to venture outside of the city center, the art museums, historic monuments far from street vendors and yet another gelato shop, to find the Tuscan scenery described – on your own – without a guide, on a budget and without a lot of hassle.
If you have a car, then you are already finding out about another kind of hassle – Italian driving. However, I am assuming that you are not daunted by this, so believe me, finding rolling hills covered with vineyards is truly as easy as driving into Chianti. The scenery is award winning, like this image below.
So this is where my years of experience come into play. I wholeheartedly suggest that you take a deviation when you get to Grassina which is the first little town you will encounter when leaving Florence to go towards Chianti. Simply follow the sign for S. Polo in Chianti. The first 3-4 km may seem like a disappointment – but you must persevere and you will find yourself taking a trip into an unadulterated piece of countryside.
If you don’t have a car then I say -> do like the locals, TAKE a BUS! Contrary to popular belief, the Italian public transport is a great way to enjoy a slice of authentic Italian-ness! You have two options. Option number one is low on the fatigue scale. Catch a SITA bus (they are blue) for Greve a/o Panzano – but look for the one that goes “via S. Polo” , it will actually say that on the bus destination sign above the driver. You will find it right next to the sign that tells you NOT to talk to the driver or you may disturb his/her concentration…like I ever saw that happen! The further the buses go from the city center is directly proportional to how many passenger names, family problems, political stances and weekend activities of said passenger that the driver knows.
If you are like me, then the second option is for you. Personally I am a walker. My boyfriend, he wants action; he’s got to run, bike or go hiking (hiking implies sweating, huffing and puffing) . . . he doesn’t see the value of walking, daydreaming and absorbing the scenery. Second option: catch the ATAF (the orange bus) number 31 from Piazza S. Marco to Grassina (go till you find capo linea – means go to the end of the bus route, like in the very last stop). Then get out and walk from Grassina to S. Polo. This is 11 km of ups and downs. A point of interest, as long as you aren’t doing this on a Saturday or Sunday, you can stop at a sweet little place called Tommasina about 5 km in and munch down just like the locals. Once in S. Polo you can opt to catch a bus and proceed to Greve or turn around and go back home to Florence.
Now if you are a biker… Well this category should be divided into a sometime biker and a real biker. Listen up sometime bikers, you have to keep in mind that the trip from the city center of Florence is not a piece of cake (20km) – nor are the ups and downs if you want to make Greve your final destination. I can’t tell you how many times going to work at Pierotucci Leather Factory I have seen failed attempts to bike Chianti on a rental city bike. They get as far as Grassina (hitting only main roads, car fumes and traffic) and are too tired to go forward. If you are a vigilant biker, then you will probably laugh in my face – but I tell you that 222 is loaded with dodgy cars, hills, fast Italian drivers, hills, slow foreign drivers, hills, honking horns, hills, traffic and hills. If you think I am exaggerating with the hills that’s only because repetition helps the “sometime bikers” remember who they really are. In any case, the deviation mentioned above, helps you avoid all of the dodgy points except for the hills, yet still be blessed by scenery and a more pleasant type of traffic (tractors?)
If you are thinking about getting crafty (I know I said that the public transport system is great) but they have yet to install buses from Florence to Greve that include the bike racks on them…
PS if any of you car people, have the urge to walk a little bit. Count off 6 KM from the turn in Grassina, and on the right will be my 2 km stretch of Tuscany. Park your car on the dirt road and stroll it – it is well worth it. Don’t forget your camera and a picnic lunch.
Before setting off on my Seabourn Cruise, we spent a night in wonderful Singapore. We went down to Marina Bay and looked in awe at this incredible feat of architecture, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It is the fuselage of a plane perched on top of three sections of hotel. A jazz band was playing, the evening was warm and balmy and my trip of a lifetime had well and truly begun. I only wish I would have gone to the top of this amazing hotel. There is a swimming pool up there and can you just imagine the view? Ah well, next time ……
Mirroring the sparkling metallic colors out on the catwalks for SPRING 2012, Pierotucci has brought out their Limited Edition Spring Bag with genuine leather accents and a glitzy sequin design on the front. A mix of styles with a woven straw body and colored leather accents, like we saw in the D & G Spring Collection with a hand sewn glittery design as seen with Michael Kors. There is a shoulder tote with a comfortable long handle which almost has a beachy feel to it, but the sequin give it an elegance that will have it move easily from casual daytime to night time with no problem. The smaller version, is the ideal accent for moving from daytime fun time to evening and elegance. These bags have been brought out in a limited edition and are available on line. The shoulder tote is large and roomy, allowing for all your personal items and even a light sweater to make an easy transition of daytime daydreaming to a romantic evening.
Both are lined in a lightweight, neutral colored cotton and have interior organizing pockets. Genuine leather top handles and side accents, which help to maintain the sturdiness of these handmade designer handbags. The shoulder bag has a magnetic snap closure and a interior zip pocket.