Wednesday, 26 March 2008

When they speak in English...

I was wondering how our politicians speak in English and by surfing the web I came across some
videos... what a naff example ! :(

For the left party: Rutelli

and Prodi (our current prime minister)

For the right party: Berlusconi (this man was also our prime minister and could become again I hope he has improved his English..)

For who doesn't suffer from heart diseases

Monday, 24 March 2008

Easter foods II: Pastiera

Hi folks,

I gave you my word to speak about Pastiera...

Pastiera is a Neapolitan dessert and there are many tales around this delight.
One of them says that this sweet was born in the quiet of a nunnery. An unknown nun wanted to make a dessert which was able to bring the scent of the orange trees planted in the garden of the nunnery to the people.
She mixed the white and soft sheep milk cheese with a bit of brown seed corn which grows from the ground and points toward the sky, then added the eggs, symbol of a new life and in the end some orange flower water and eastern spices.
In Naples there is a funny challenge among the housewives, every one wants to be the best and thinks to have the unique and original Pastiera recipe !!
I like it very much and these days have been literally fattening days I have been eating loads of things from tortano, through the chocolate eggs to the Pastiera...
I'm scared to check my weight :-) but How can I resist ?

Thanks to Zsofia for her corrections

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Easter foods I: Casatiello and Tortano

We make a very tasty food called in our lingo "casatiello" or "tortano", it is a ring shaped salt pie, heavily filled with pieces of salami, boiled eggs, sheep milk cheese and bacon.
It is a delicious salt pie but I suppose you'll get fat easily if you eat it every day because its dough is based on lard !!
The rumour says its name comes from the word "caso", which means in our lingo "cheese" that you can find in a huge amount in it.

This type of food carries out different Easter symbols, indeed among its ingredients there are sheep milk cheese and eggs, the first is made of sheep milk as its name suggests but the sheep milk also is the primary nutriment of lamb which is an Easter sign at least for Catholics.
The eggs are the symbol of birth, and Jesus after his death is born again.
In the end, there is the shape, I said like a ring because the ring should remind us of the torn crown which tied Jesus' head.
Between casatiello and tortano there is a delicious difference the first has some eggs upon it covered with a cross (as you can see in the picture) made of the same pie's dough, these crosses reminde again of Jesus' cross.

Next time I'm going to speak about the casatiello counter part : Pastiera

Thanks to my dear Zsofia for correcting me

Friday, 21 March 2008

English Podcasts

Hi guys,
I was looking for some English podcasts to listen to when I drive my car or go to university by bus or tube.
I found English as a second language website and I think it provides a useful archive of podcasts.
Every podcast is categorized thus you can choose among five categories the best one that fits your needs and download it for free, there also is a learning guide concerning the podcast, unfortunately they aren't free :(
Anyway I honestly suggest them.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Neapolitan lifestyle: A cup of coffee

Do you know the widespread habit of drinking a cup of coffee in Naples?
It's rather ritual than a simple habit, indeed we consider a cup of coffee like a clock which ticks our main daily moments.
We drink it at least twice in the morning and other cups in the afternoon, some Neapolitans are so
addicted to it that they sip the last daily coffee drop at night, before sleeping.
Yet, the first thing we offer when someone visits us is a cup of coffee, for us it is very easy to get together in front of a cup of coffee.
I could say as the British are tea lovers and the Irish beer lovers we are coffee lovers !

The first step to make a flavoured and tasty coffee is to use the proper coffee machine, like the one in the picture (my grandmother's), fill it with water and
coffee (not too much) put the machine over middle heat.
In the meanwhile take a little piece of paper and shape it like a small cone, what is it for?
Now you'll discover, when the coffee starts to boil you should cover the machine's spout with it in order to avoid spreading of the coffee's aroma coming up from the spout.
Then leave the machine on the fire for a while.
This is the traditional recipe but this method to prepare the coffee is no longer used and
the modern coffee machines have replaced the old ones,
new recipes have come into usage that enrich other ingredients like chocolate flakes, liquor, cacao...

After these loads of words I have to confess ... I feel like a black sheep because I don't like it at
all :D
Thanks to Zsofia for her corrections

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Near my roots

I can feel in the air the people's fear,
in this land you can die because
you want to speak out,
make your voice clear and loud,
find the Justice.

We die before in our heart and then with our body,
a silent shout comes from my soul's depth and become a sob upon my face,
unable to move my lips.
It's impossible to accept the murders perpetrated by the black mafia's hand.
Oppressed, frightened... what are we?
From the dry mountains the mafia victims' blood flows,
a stream without end,
a river that wets our hearts' shores,
like trees on the both sides of this river....
...we are.
Stuck in our fear, we see this river and unconsciously we let it grow,
a day it'll flood our roots.

I would not believe but it is so real.
I already feel their blood near my roots.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Giants in my garden

Now I'm going to speak about one of our typical

Amalfi is renowned for its outstanding lemon variety called Stufato, but there also grows another kind of lemon which isn't as famous as Stufato.
These lemons, whose name is unknown to me even after loads of researches on the web, have an odd feature which makes them really different from the Stufato, indeed their size is very large as you can understand by looking at their pictures.
One of these lemons can reach the extraordinary weight of 1.5 kg, I'm not teasing you ! trust me.
For example the one in the pictures weights about 1.1kg.
Besides their size, other characteristics are: a strong bitter taste and a very rough skin.

Unlike Stufato, you can't use this type of lemons for the flavored Limoncello and to tell the truth I don't know any recipe for using them, some say that you can serve them seasoned with oil and oregano like a "lemon salad" or you can dust some sugar over the cloves.
Where did I take those pictures? try to guess....
I took them in my garden though I don't live in Amalfi but in Naples !
My grandfather planted them many years ago, hopefully to yield another kind of lemon sometimes the destiny of the plants, like the people's, is unpredictable :)

Thanks to Zsofia for correcting me

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Discover Naples with Tom & Jerry

With this blog I've always wanted to make you discover my city: Naples.
Sometimes, I write some short topics but this time I don't want to bore you with my words and I'll let Tom and Jerry take you for a brief trip in my city.
Enjoy movie

Thanks to my "Swedish" friend Nunzio for this link

Monday, 3 March 2008

Italian Ping Pong

In these recent years, to be more precise since 1994, we have been seeing a continuous alternation between governments headed by right and left parties.
In 1994 Berlusconi (leader of center- right coalition) was the prime minister who barely won power for about 8 months, next followed a government made up of "experts" with Dini as premier.
From 1994 to 2000 was the turn of the left coalition which was, at the beginning, led by Romano Prodi, then followed by D'Alema (twice) and Amato.
Then we arrived at the XIV legislation (June 2001), Berlusconi, again, who was able to govern for the entire legislation.
In 2006 we were called for the elections and you can try to guess which party won, it was left coalition whose leader was... Romano Prodi !
I hope to have made you understand why I entitled this post "Italian ping pong" because it is really what happens here: left, right, left, right and so on like a ping pong ball which bounces from one side to another.
We will go to vote next April and if the game keeps alive it will be Berslusconi's turn.
What do I want to say?
Simply, our country needs a steady and stable government because it'll take a long time to improve Italy and the Italian conditions.
Be careful, I'm not saying that a legislation, which takes 5 years according to our constitution, is too short, but we need an able government that gets the country out of the current demeaning situation in which Italy still lives.
In the best case, in five years, it is quite impossible for our slowest government to give the necessary reforms that Italy needs now more than ever, Italy has bottomed out and something must be changed.
At the next election, Berlusconi is likely to win because the people, reasonably, will no longer trust the left party.
What will it happen if Berlusconi wins the election once again ?
Like in the past, at the beginning he will change and tear down the things done by the former government and then he'll start with his own electoral program.

The consequences of this ping pong are a waste of money and time, and a country which is still stuck in the same frustrating situation.
it 's like to play ping pong having a mirror as opponent... you will see only and always the same image.

Thanks to Nadia for her corrections

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