Category Archives: Language and vocabulary

The Inheritance – A Book Review

Standard

The Inheritance by Marianne Perry[1]

Marianne Perry has successfully written a wonderful book set in my favorite place, Italy. This story of love and betrayal follows the Marino Family during the early 1900’s when lines were clearly drawn in Italian society between the wealthy and powerful, and the servants and the laborers. It’s the story of good versus evil : the goodness of Anna Marino, the matriarch of the family, with her beautiful eyes which revealed her kindness towards all those who knew her; and the evil and cold heart of her husband, Santo, who sold his soul to that devil called organized crime.  Power was all consuming to him and the ultimate means to an end.  He didn’t care who he betrayed, killed or harmed if it was to his benefit.  Lorenzo, their son, inherited his mother’s kind eyes and that same good heart. He was an artist and looked at the world through different eyes.  His mother was the only one who encouraged him to follow his passions and from her he learned to love, even if it meant he would love someone that his father disapproved of.  Unfortunately, his brothers followed in their father’s footsteps and ultimately would make life unbearable for Lorenzo

The storyline was great and kept me enthralled throughout.  This could have been a GREAT book except for a few distractions that got in the way.  My first criticism was the over abundance of characters – there were way too many presented to keep them all straight and to remember how they all related to each other.  Many were irrelevant and only created a distraction to the real story. In fact, at times, I couldn’t remember who a certain character was after they became important because they had been originally presented quickly and without much more than just their name.  The other distraction was the incorrect use of Italian.  In my humble opinion, if the author was going to use Italian to give her story more depth and credibility, perhaps it would have been best to consult someone proficient in Italian and who would guide her in using the correct words.  It was almost as if she used google translate for the translations (and we all know what happens when we rely solely on that….)  It may have been safer to leave out those Italian words altogether – the book would have been just as good!

Despite these small criticisms, the author had a good story to tell and she made this time in Italy’s past come alive.  We were able to feel the pain, hardship, and passions of the main characters and their lives.  I would highly recommend this book, even knowing that some real Italophiles may flinch at the incorrect use of those Italian words!

Here is an interesting interview with Marianne Perry, the author of The Inheritance –

and I’ll be looking forward to her new books!

Why did you write The Inheritance?

Family mysteries intrigue me. I wanted to understand why my paternal grandmother, Nana Caterina left Calabria, southern Italy in 1913 as a young woman; sailed on a steamship across the Atlantic Ocean; landed at Ellis Island, New York; settled in Canada and never returned to her homeland. Our large family knew scant about Nana’s early life so I started genealogical research to investigate her history, which eventually inspired The Inheritance.

Why did you select “Caterina” as the protagonist’s name?

The Inheritance is set in Calabria, southern Italy from 1897 to 1913.Names help create authenticity and I reviewed Italian genealogical documents to determine those appropriate for this era. As a result, I chose Mafalda, Fortunata and Armida for minor characters. St. Catherine of Siena is a joint Patron Saint of Italy along with Saint Francis of Assisi. The name is a perennial favourite in Italian families plus honours my late Nana Caterina and Catherine Rose, an older sister who died in infancy.

Tell me about the cameo brooch Caterina inherits.

My mother has long suffered from dementia and I cherish a cameo brooch that I inherited from her. It belonged to her Sicilian-born father but she knows nothing about its origin. The clasp is broken and the brooch, fragile. I have long been haunted by the milky carving of the elegant lady depicted and it seemed the perfect gift to symbolize the ailing Anna Marino’s quasi-maternal affection for Caterina.

What is the significance of the crumbling stone cottage on the cover of The Inheritance?

In order to research The Inheritance, I traveled to Calabria in 2004 where I snapped this photograph. The crumbling stone cottage was located in the mountains near my Nana Caterina’s ancestral village. It typified the poverty of my grandmother’s family and is intrinsic to Caterina’s life as a peasant in this novel. I value authenticity as a writer and felt a personal photograph would illustrate this to the reader.

Will your next book be set in Italy?

Yes. To date, I have traveled to Italy seven times. In May 2013, I returned to Calabria for an intensive two week genealogical and writing research trip geared to my next book. It will be set in Calabria with chapters in Rome and Zurich, Switzerland. The time period is modern and the protagonist a Canadian woman of Italian ancestry who inherits a century old deed to property in Calabria plus a holograph will from her deceased godfather under strange circumstances. She travels to Calabria to solve their mysteries but forces attempt to thwart her along the way. My third book will be a sequel to The Inheritance.

The Other Woman….

Standard

Recently, I’ve been listening to some old music by the Italian group, Pooh!

i-pooh[1]

This group has been around since the mid 1960’s, and their songs always seem to tell a story.  I know that lots of people listen to music for the pure joy of the melody, while others listen carefully to the words.  I am one who always listens to the lyrics, and many times I try to figure out what the song is trying to say!  Most of the times, I can figure out the hidden meaning, if there is one, but other times, my imagination probably gets the best of me!  One of their songs that always makes me wonder is L’Altra Donna (The Other Woman).  When I listen to the lyrics, I’m touched in conflicting ways.  The song is a type of beautiful love letter to someone they can’t have, but also to someone that they don’t want to have. The singer is obviously married but is singing the song to his mistress.  I can’t help but get angry at the singer – he seems to want his cake and eat it, too.  He is getting all the benefits of having a wife and a mistress, but yet is being unfair to both of them.  I know that infidelity is rampant everywhere, but it seems to me that this song rationalizes its merits because the man is singing about love for his mistress (which proves he’s not a total cad) but yet, he won’t leave his wife for her.  In Italy, and not just in Italy but lots of other places too, I feel that the institution of marriage is sacred, but the vow of infidelity is often times ignored.  Therefore, men and women have lovers but yet, they will not leave their families for that lover.  That’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong, but I often wonder where that leaves the lover, especially if they don’t have a spouse.  And it seems to me that the only one who wins, is the one who is doing the cheating!  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the song – what do you think they’re trying to say and how does it make you feel?

L’Altra Donna

È ancora tutto all’aria da ieri sera,
è più comodo in albergo,
paghi il conto e te ne vai;
ma in certe cose tu ci credi ancora,
far l’amore nel tuo letto,
prepararmi il tuo caffè;
è poi mi lasci andare via, quando è ora,
perché ognuno ha la sua vita,
e la mia non è con te.
Sei l’altra donna,
la libertà,
quella che sa e non può dir niente,
quella che all’alba rimane sola,
e che non può mai lasciare impronte,
con me non puoi cercare casa,
o uscire insieme a far la spesa,
sei l’altra donna,
quella importante,
quella che ha tutto e non ha niente, di me.
Mio figlio è un’altra storia, un altro amore,
tu non puoi partecipare, Dio lo sa se io vorrei.
Tu in macchina con me non puoi fumare,
mozziconi col rossetto. parlerebbero di te;
ma in fondo tu che colpa hai del mio cuore,
delle ore che mi manchi, dei problemi che mi dai.
Sei l’altra donna,
la libertà,
quella che sa perché ritorno,
e quanta pace tu mi sai dare,
io dirò tutto a lei un giorno,
faremo insieme un’altra casa,
io e te che siamo un’altra cosa.
Io e te che siamo la stessa cosa,
faremo insieme la nostra casa;
prima dell’alba c’è ancora un’ora,
stringimi forte e sogna ancora,
di noi.

****************************************************************************************************************

The Other Woman

Everything’s still in the air from last night,

it’s more comfortable in the hotel,

you pay the bill and then you leave;

but you still believe in certain things,

making love in your bed,

preparing me your coffee;

and then you let me leave, when it’s time,

because we each have our own lives,

and mine is not with you.

You are the other woman,

my liberty,

the one who knows and can’t say anything,

the one who remains alone at sunrise,

and who can never leave traces,

you can’t look for a home with me

or go out together to go shopping,

you’re the other woman,

the important one,

the one who has everything and who has nothing of me.

My son is a different story, another love,

you cannot participate, God knows if I would want it.

In the car, you cannot smoke

leave lipstick marks, they’d speak of you;

but in the end you are not to blame for my heart

or the hours when I miss you, all the problems that you give me.

You’re the other woman,

my liberty,

the one who knows why I return,

and how much peace you know how to give me,

I’ll tell her everything one day,

and we’ll build another home together,

You and I are another thing.

You and I are the same thing,

we’ll build our own home together,

before sunrise there’s another hour,

hold me tight and dream again

of us.

Oh To Speak Like an Italian….

Standard

FullSizeRenderWhen I hear people speaking in Italy, I’m always amazed at how beautifully the words fall off their tongues.  I love the eloquence and the melody of their phrases.  Their words are so expressive and beautiful and I’ve decided that I  want to sound like that, too!  Even though I am pretty fluent in Italian (it was my first language and one I still speak all the time), I still have so much to learn in order to pull it off authentically.  I have hurdles to overcome, but hopefully with some diligence, I’ll be able to fit in like a native! Well, at least, a native once removed!

My first hurdle is learning the art of speaking formally!  My parents taught me Italian, but it was the Italian spoken between family and friends – not the Italian that I would use if speaking to the Prime Minister or the Pope!  (Even though, I don’t think Papa Francesco would mind if I spoke the familiar with him – he’s so cool that way!!)

Pope-Francis-waves-to-cro-011-255x153[1]

In Italian, when differentiating between the formal and the informal, they use the terms “dare del lei” or “dare del tu” – where “lei” is the formal form of you, and of course, “tu” is the informal.  My mom always said she loved English because “you” was “you” and it didn’t matter who you were addressing, it was the same either way!  That is so true, and therefore, we English speaking folk don’t have to change our pronouns!  For me, this is a very difficult thing to handle in Italian.  I find that my speech is stunted because I’m afraid off offending someone because I am not giving them the “lei”.  It’s not natural to me, whereas the “tu” has no problem coming out of my mouth!  I’ve decided that my only solution for this is to practice and practice until it becomes second nature to me.  I will be speaking all my Italian in the formal from now on (at least until I have it mastered).  I’ve already begun speaking to my Italian cousin this way, and at first, he thought I was speaking about someone else instead of addressing him formally!  Ha! Ha!  But when I explained what I was trying to accomplish, he understood but said that he found it hard to address me with the “lei”.  I just told him to pretend he was speaking to the Queen 🙂

AP_queen_and_pope_mar_140403_16x9_992[1]

My second hurdle comes from some certain verb tenses – don’t ask me which ones because I have absolutely no clue what they’re called!  (All this business of linguistic terms like passato remoto, futuro anteriore, etc. mean absolutely nothing to me – heck, I don’t even know what they’re called in English!)  But they’re the ones which deal with the plural (we, they, them) of “should have”, “should be”, “could have”, and “could be”. I’m sure there are others, but right now those are the ones that come to mind.  I find myself getting stuck on those words and end up modifying my sentences to make it work!  A good recovery, but again, not spoken like a true Italian!

italian-verbs-conjugation[1]

And finally, my last hurdle (again, probably not really the last one) is the pronunciation!  I’ve been told that my American accent is charming, but I think people say that to be nice – what they’re really thinking is “who is this hick trying to speak our language”?  Sadly, I think this all stems back to the fact that I was embarrassed that I spoke Italian when I was growing up . I felt like I was different and I didn’t want to be different.  Therefore, I toned down my pronunciation and Americanized it.  I didn’t want to stand out in any way, and so I got sloppy with the “r’s” and the enunciation of all the syllables.  I also learned to speak rapidly, which I believe doesn’t allow you to say the words in all their eloquence.  So….I…. am… going… to… try…. to… slow… down… my…. speech…. and pay more attention to those “r’s”!

670px-Roll-Your-_R_s-Step-6Bullet1[1]

 

Beautiful Love Song by Eros Ramazzotti and Il Volo

Standard

Another romantic love song by the great Eros Ramazzotti, this time with the help of Il Volo!  Beautiful as always….

Cosí

 

Cosí cosí
L’amore a volte ci dimentica
Ci lascia solo un pugno di ricordi
Come farfalle libere

Cosí cosí
L’amore píano se ne va cosí
In cerca di nuovi sorrisi altrove
Nei cuori di questa cittá

Aíutami a capire cosa sento
Ora nel mio petto c’é un rimpianto
Cosí grande
cosí grande

Il cuore é come un mare senza vento
Muore sulle labbra quell’istante
Che era grande
Cosí grande

Cosí cosí
L’amore piano ci dimentica
Lo fa cosí in modo naturale
Come é arrivato se ne va da me.

Autami a capíre cosa sento
Ora nel mio petto c’e’ un tramonto
Cosí grande
cosí grande

E non so piu’ che cosa sento dentro
Il cuore ha le rughe di un deserto
Che e’ troppo grande
Così grande

Per noi
Che non vogliamo ancora smettere
L’amore e’ un bimbo da rincorrere
Ma come l’alba tornera’

Da noi
L’amore e’ come un uragano
Ma se lo guardi da lontano
Lo vedi anche da qui che e’ grande
Cosí grande
Autami a capire cosa sento
Ti accorgi di un rumore se si e’spento
Quanto e’grande
Cosí grande

Ascolta la tua mano sul mio petto
Quanto fa paura un cielo aperto

Cosí grande
Cosí grande
Cosí grande

Cosí cosi
L’amore adesso ti ha lasciato qui

Ma senti l’aria arriva un temporale
Chi l’avrebbe detto mai

***********************************************************************

So

So, so
love sometimes forgets about us
it leaves us a handful of memories
like butterflies liberated

So, so
love quietly goes away
to search for new smiles elsewhere
in the hearts of this city

Help me understand what I´m feeling
now in my chest there is a yearning
so big
so big

The heart is like a sea without the wind
it dies on the lips of that moment
it was big
so big

So, so
love silently forgets about us
it does it like this so naturally
like it came it goes away from me

Help me understand what I´m feeling
now in my chest there is a sunset
so big
so big

I don´t know anymore what I feel inside
my heart is dry like a desert
which is too big
so big

For us
who don´t want to stop yet
love is like a child to chase after
but like the dawn it will return

To us

Love is like a hurricane
but if you look at it from afar
you will see also from here, that it is big
so big

Help me understand what I´m feeling
you realize a noise if it is silent
It’s so big
so big

Listen to your hand on my chest
How much fright is an open sky
so big
so big

So big

So, so
love has left you here

But you can feel in the air a storm arriving
who could ever have imagined

Book Review and Giveaway: The Supreme Macaroni Company

Standard

 

I am honored in having been chosen by Laura Fabiani from Italy Book Tours to review the newest book by the bestselling author, Adriana Trigiani – The Supreme Macaroni Company.

17888950[1]

Adriana has a way of writing that is both natural and funny at the same time, and she keeps you glued to her stories.

This story revolves around Valentine, an Italian-American young woman who creates beautiful shoes – how very Italian of her 🙂  The shoe company has been in her family since her grandparents brought the craft over from Italy when they immigrated.  She has big dreams for her shoe company and she brings to it lots of love and creativity.  Of course, she also falls head over heels (haha) for a beautiful Italian man and the book tells their love story.  They jet set between the East Coast and beautiful Italy and the description of their home in Santa Margarita Ligure makes you feel like you are there, breathing in the warm sea air and revelling in the dazzling blue of the Mediterranean Sea.  Aaahh…it reminds me of my time in the Cinque Terre and makes me smile every time I think of it.

Valentine is part of a crazy Italian family, complete with loud explosive arguments coupled with the love and warmth of a close family.  Everyone is part of everyone else’s business and there is no hiding!  But when push comes to shove, they are there for each other in all regards!   There’s even a crazy aunt who is opinionated, stubborn, and down right rude (isn’t there always one in every family?)

On the whole, this book is very good – I read almost all of it during a plane ride back from Italy and it kept me entertained (at least, I wasn’t falling asleep every few seconds – that came on the second leg of the trip when I’d already finished the book!) But in comparison to her other book, The Shoemaker’s Wife (you can read my review here), I think I liked that one better.  Adriana has a great way to bring everyday life to the forefront, but in a couple of instances, it was a bit too much normal life ( for instance, when she was going on and on about a typical evening at home eating dinner and conversing – I felt like I was eavesdropping on a normal family conversation – there was nothing exciting going on, just the mundane chatter of everyday life).  I think I know why she was describing this very normal evening because of subsequent events that were about to occur, but even still, it was a little boring.  The other criticism I have is that I think the title of the book (being the name of company she built) is disconnected.  It doesn’t seem to fit…again, it’s my opinion, but I think something a bit more creative could have been chosen.  Despite these few stabs of criticism, I did enjoy the book and would recommend it for an easy and entertaining read!

******************************************************************************

If you would like a chance to have your very own copy of this book, autographed by Adriana herself, here are a few ways to win it: leave a comment below, become a follower of my blog, or share this review on your blog or Facebook page!  I will randomly choose a winner on August 25th and the publisher will send out the book to the lucky recipient (once I get all the pertinent info through a private email)!

Buona Fortuna!

 

 

image

Adriana Trigiani is an award-winning playwright, television writer, and documentary filmmaker. Her books include the New York Times bestseller The Shoemaker’s Wife; the Big Stone Gap series; Very Valentine; Brava, Valentine; Lucia, Lucia; and the bestselling memoir Don’t Sing at the Table, as well as the young adult novels Viola in Reel Life and Viola in the Spotlight. She wrote the screenplay for Big Stone Gap, which she also directed. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Adriana here: adrianatrigiani.com
Twitter: @adrianatrigiani
Facebook: facebook.com/adrianatrigiani

5c5ec-italybooktourslogojpeg225pixels

Everyday Celebrations – A Guest Post

Standard

I am pleased to introduce you to this new Italian cookbook as well as the author, Maria Loggia!  Enjoy….e Buon Apettito!

Maria Loggia’s kitchen door is always open. Her home and garden are a gathering place for friends and family, who come to share her easygoing enthusiasm and generosity – and her inspired Italian cuisine. In this, her second book, Loggia celebrates the seasons with 16 sumptuous menus – from a spontaneous al fresco garden party to a slow-simmered midwinter feast and a traditional Sunday family lunch.

Everyday Celebrations with Maria Loggia is on a spotlight tour from July 14 to 18.

Author & Chef: Maria Loggia

Category: Non-fiction

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine, 176 pages

Publisher: Cardinal Publishing

Published: Oct 1, 2012

Amazon.ca * Cardinal Publishing * Amazon.com

 

Try One of the Recipes!

 

Petto di Pollo Farcito con Uva e Noci

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Grapes and Walnuts

 

 

Ingredienti

For filling:

1 tbsp (15 ml) unsalted butter

2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

¾ cup (180 ml) walnuts, coarsely chopped

½ cup (125 ml) red seedless grapes, quartered

2 tbsp (30 ml) finely chopped fresh chives

2 tbsp (30 ml) bread crumbs

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

7 oz (200 g) soft goat cheese, cut in 6 slices

 

For chicken:

6 tbsp (90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

6 bone-in chicken breasts, skin on

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 tbsp (45 ml) unsalted butter, softened

1 orange, cut into wedges

3 sprigs fresh rosemary, each cut in half

5 bay leaves

To serve:

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 orange

Preparazione

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

To prepare filling: Heat butter and oil in a large skillet and sauté shallots until soft, 1 to 2 minutes, and remove from heat. Stir in walnuts, grapes, chives and bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool slightly. Leave goat cheese aside for now.

To prepare chicken: Oil a 14-inch (35 cm) round earthenware tiella or roasting pan with 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the olive oil and set aside. On a baking sheet, season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Make a lengthwise slit in each chicken breast, being careful not to cut all the way through. (This will form the pocket for the stuffing.) Rub remaining 4 tbsp (60 ml) olive oil into the chicken (including in the pockets). Divide stuffing equally among chicken breasts, stuffing it into the slit in each breast, and top with a slice of goat cheese. Pull the chicken skin over the filling and secure with toothpicks. Smear butter over the skin and season again to taste with salt and pepper.

Gently transfer chicken to prepared tiella. Scatter orange wedges, rosemary and bay leaves around chicken. Roast 35 to 40 minutes, or until juices run clear when the thickest part of the breast is pierced. Then broil 2 to 3 minutes, or until skin is crisp and golden. Drizzle with orange juice and serve warm with pan juices.

Serves 6

Tips from Maria:

Consigli di cucina (kitchen tips)

The chicken breasts can be assembled the day before, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. When ready to serve, bring chicken to room temperature and cook as instructed. Doing it this way allows the flavours time to meld together beautifully.

Che cos’è? (what is it?)

I’m convinced food tastes better when cooked in a shallow, glazed earthenware dish known in Italian as a tiella. I find earthenware dishes distribute heat slowly and evenly as the food cooks. Aromas and flavours are intensified and casseroles never stick or dry out.

To season a tiella: Before using your tiella the first time, immerse the dish in cold water to soak overnight. The next day, empty the tiella and wipe it dry. Rub the inside with olive oil and place in a preheated 300°F (150°C) oven for 1½ hours. Remove seasoned tiella from oven and place on a wooden board or thick tablecloth to cool. (If placed on a surface like granite or a cold stovetop, it will crack.) To clean a tiella, soak it in warm, soapy water, then scrub with a soft sponge.

 

Meet the Author

 

Maria Loggia is one of Montreal’s best-loved Italian cooking teachers. Her Tavola Mia cooking school in the village of Hudson is a warm, inviting place to learn about Italian cuisine. She also appears regularly on television, is featured in newspapers and magazines, and leads culinary tours in Italy.

Maria finds inspiration in her Italian heritage and draws on family recipes that go back generations. She founded Tavola Mia, her at-home cooking school in 1999. Through her study of Italy’s regional cuisines, which has included numerous sojourns back to her native country, she has acquired great expertise in the art of Italian cooking. Her passion, humor and dedication to excellence have made her an inspiring teacher. Using fresh local ingredients, Tavola Mia celebrates the seasons in authentic, irrepressible Italian style.

 

An Interview with Maria Loggia

 

Maria Loggia from Pierre Blais on Vimeo.

Enter the Giveaway!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank you for supporting our authors!

 

Melanzane al Ripieno ~ Stuffed Eggplant

Standard

Yummy and healthy – that’s the perfect combination for a delicious dinner which can be prepared ahead and thrown into the oven when you come home from work!

 

1520793_10151998668787924_7896373042617011709_n[1]

Melanzane al Ripieno (serves 4)

2 medium sized eggplants, sliced lengthwise

4 small zucchini – chopped

2 sausages – remove the case on one of them and chop it up.  Slice up the other one into thin slices

100 g shredded mozzarella cheese (reserve some for the end)

50 g sliced bread

50 g grated parmesan cheese

50 g grated pecorino

100 ml milk

1 red onion, finely chopped

6 basil leaves

olive oil

broth

salt & pepper

Trim the eggplants, wash them, slice them, and then hollow out the inside leaving the shell and saving the pulp(making a sort of “boat” which will hold the filling).

Cut the pulp into small pieces and set aside.

Salt the inside of the eggplant boats and turn them upside down on a paper towel until they release their water.  Dry the inside of these boats and set aside, awaiting the filling.

Mix the chopped eggplant pulp, zucchini and chopped sausage. 

Soak the bread in the milk and then squeeze it to remove as much milk as possible.  Chop this bread finely and set aside.

Saute the chopped onion in some olive oil.  Add the eggplant/zucchini combo.  Add some chopped basil and some broth.  Cook slowly for about 15 minutes until the vegetables and sausage are cooked and the broth has been absorbed.  Season with salt and pepper. 

10371383_10151998629192924_7565274685963672651_n[1]

Transfer this to a bowl and add the chopped bread and the cheeses.  Mix it all up (I use my hands as it’s more efficient for me!). 

Brush some olive oil inside the eggplant boats and puncture them with a toothpick.  Fill the boats with the filling.  Add a couple of sliced sausages to each half and sprinkle with some of the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Place them on an oiled oven proof dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake them at 375 degrees F for about 50 minutes.  Remove the aluminum foil and bake them for a bit more until they are browned and the cheese is melted. 

Enjoy!  Let me know if you try this and how you liked it 🙂

Pollo alla Cacciatore al Tesoro

Standard

There is always so much one can do with chicken – it is one of the most versatile of all meats and I cook with it often!  I always buy the best chicken I can find, and lately that has been the organic chicken they sell at Costco in the refrigerated section.  They carry boneless skinless thighs and breasts, and drumsticks.  They come in 3 packages connected together- with each package containing several pieces of chicken that are just the right size for a meal for my family of 4.

0066e326acba768ef7d52827d28f16af[1]

For last night’s dinner, I used the drumsticks, but you can use a cut up whole chicken if you prefer.

Pollo alla Cacciatore

Chicken alla Cacciatore (Hunter’s Chicken)

6 drumsticks, skin removed

Flour for dredging

1/2 onion, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1/2 lb. mushrooms, chopped (you can use any kind, even dried porcinis if you want)

2 tomatoes, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup white wine

1 cup chicken broth (or mushroom soaking water if you use dry mushrooms)

1/2 cup tomato sauce

Herbs you like such as rosemary, sage, oregano or thyme – chopped fine

Salt & pepper to taste

Olive oil for cooking

***************************************

Salt and pepper the chicken and dredge it in some flour, shaking off the excess.

Brown the chicken in some olive oil until it is browned on all sides.  Remove and set aside.

10011186_10151940235682924_8852293250151065343_n[1]

Saute the onions, garlic, celery, carrots and mushrooms in some additional olive oil until the vegetables are soft.

Add the tomatoes and herbs and cook for a couple of minutes.

Increase the heat and add the white wine.  Boil it all together for a few minutes until some of the wine has evaporated.

Dissolve a spoonful of flour in about 3 T. of water and add it to the vegetable mixture.  Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the broth (or mushroom water) and tomato sauce and cook for a few minutes. 

10155626_10151940235687924_4803555618009858694_n[1]

Return the chicken to the pan and spoon some of the vegetables on top of it.  Turn the heat down, cover and cook for about 15 minutes, then turn the chicken over and cook until done – around 15 more minutes.  Be careful not to burn the chicken or vegetables. 

10258083_10151940235677924_4867436763520624674_n[1]

Buon appetito!

 

 

Nutella Has English Roots?

Standard

photo[1]

I bet you never equated Nutella with anything English, right?  After all, it is made in Italy and many Italian children have been raised on Nutella and bread sandwiches as an after school snack!  Nutella was created in Italy, back in the 1940’s, by a Piemontese pastry maker named Pietro Ferrero.

Capture1

He had the ingenious idea to incorporate hazelnuts with cocoa beans to extend the chocolate, which was in short supply because of World War II rations.  His original recipe mixed toasted hazelnuts (which are abundant in Piemonte, Italy) with cocoa butter and vegetable oils.  He called this delicious concoction “Pasta Gianduja” (gianduja is hazelnut in Italian).  Then in 1949, he changed the original recipe to make it easier to spread on bread.  This became known as “Supercrema Gianduja.”

Capture

So, I know you’re just dying to find out where this English connection comes in?  Well, in 1964, because hazelnuts were becoming so popular, the Ferrero company decided to change the name to “Nutella”…a combination of the English word “nut” and “ella”.  “Nut” was used to make it clear that it was made of nuts (and not just chocolate), and the ending “ella” to give it a softer ending.   So there you have it – an Italian product with an English name!  I guess they knew that English would one day be the international language and they were tapping into a whole new population to sell their product to!  Now that’s what I call SMART MARKETING!

nutella[1]

Girl Power

Standard

giorgiaandalicia[1]

Two great female voices come together in this beautiful song. Both Giorgia and Alicia Keys are powerhouses and their combined talents make this song incredible. Both the Italian and English words meld together into a perfect blend. This song can be found on Giorgia’s Senza Paura (Without Fear) album. The entire album is great and I can highly recommend it for anyone that loves Italian pop!

Ora che ti guardo,
vedo solo il buono,
che rimane quando sai
che tutto è perso tutto è rotto ormai,
considerando noi soli in queste circostanze nuove, lasciamoci così
perchè un legame sempre resterà

Pregherò, piangerò, per desiderarti tanto, per lasciare ogni rimpianto
e no
non lo so che farò quando avrò finito il tempo e sarà tardi per l’inverno che nel cuore ho per te io pregherò

You never believed
the reason we are here
Is to make a better change for we can
see the world the best that we know how
But now i’m left alone
left without a word
i’m so breathless
now i’m with this
never ever been so burned before

I will pray
i will cry
’cause I want you so bad
’cause I have no regrets and no
I don’t know (non lo so) what to do
quando avrò finito il tempo e sarà tardi per l’inverno e nel cuore io per te io pregherò

Io non ti aspetto più
non hai coraggio tu
come un pugno in faccia adesso sei, oh ohhh
sarà possibile tornare a vincere contro il disincanto che mi dai
ma tu come fai
ma tu come fai

Pregherò, piangerò per desiderarti per lasciare ogni rimpianto,
non lo so (non lo so) che farò quando avrò finito il tempo sarà tardi per l’inverno e nel cuore per te io pregherò
per te io pregherò amore!

**************************************

Now that I look at you,

I only see the good

that remains when you know

that everything is lost, everything is already broken.

Considering only ourselves in this new circumstance, let’s leave each other like this

Because a tie will always remain.

I will pray, I will cry, to desire you so much, to leave every regret

And no

I won’t know what I’ll do when the time is finished and it will late for the winter that in my heart I have for you, I will pray.

I won’t wait for you anymore

You don’t have any courage

Like a punch to the face, you are now, oh ohh

It will be possible to return and win against the disenchantment that you give me

But how do you do it

But how do you do it

I will pray, I will cry for desiring you, to leave every regret

I don’t know, I don’t know, what I’ll do when I’ve finished the time and it will be late for the winter is in my heart for you, I will pray

For you I will pray, my love.