Thursday, December 31, 2015


Here is what Santa Claus ... or should I say, my daughter:) ... gave  me for Christmas. 

Wouldn't you know it?  Hats!

A gorgeous 1950s style Marsala colored turban

The traditional Sicilian coppola... with a modern touch 

A warm and stylish shoulder and neck warmer

....and the latest book by my favorite author!

Sunday, December 27, 2015


Together with Panettone, the Pandoro is the traditional  Italian Christmas cake. Making it is very complicated and requires two days' work.  I loosely adapted this recipe

Mix 15 grams of fresh yeast with 60 ml warm milk, add a tablespoon of sugar and an egg yolk. Then add 50 grams of flour and mix well.

When the mixture has doubled, add 3 grams of yeast dissolved in 3 tbs of warm milk, add 100 g sugar, 1 egg, e mix well with 200 grams of flour. Add 30grams soft butter. Mix again and let rise for one hour.

Add 200 grams flour, the eggs, 25 grams sugar, salt, vanilla and mix well. Let it rise for about 12 hours in the refrigerator.

Take it out of the refrigerator, roll it out and add 140 grams of soft butter. Fold it and roll it into a rectangle. Fold the rectangle in three and let it rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Repeat this procedure two more time.

After the third time in the refrigerator, form a ball and put it in the Pandoro mould. Let it rise for about 4/5 hours.

Heat the oven to 170°C, put the cake in the oven for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 160° C and let it cook for about 50 minutes. Take it out of the oven, when it has cooled, sprinkle powder sugar over the cake.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My new FIRMOO glasses

By now you probably know that I am super in love with FIRMOO. In 2013   I wrote  a review of their gorgeous glasses  and I also did  a giveaway in  October of this year. 

Firmoo is the most popular online eyeglass store. They have fabulous eyeglasses and sunglasses and the prices are attractive and competitive.  When you visit their website you will be amazed by the huge amount of choices you will find.

Here are my latest glasses. They are so classy and elegant, look how they sparkle!


Le mie amiche Italiane conoscono già FIRMOO,  il  grande negozio online di occhiali  quindi dirò soltanto che questo è il mio nuovo paio. Questi occhiali mi piacciono tantissimo, sono di ottima qualità a prezzi economici, e arrivano velocemente.  Firmoo spedisce in ogni parte del mondo.

They arrive in a strong eyeglass case with a carrying pouch.

Look at the colorful eyeglass cleaning cloth!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

An Italian Christmas icon: the PANETTONE

The classic Italian Christmas cake is the Panettone. It is not so easy to make at home, but with a bit of patience and determination, I finally managed to create a Panettone that can compete with the standard Motta or Alemagna sold in shops at Christmas time.  

I got the recipe from Ricette della Nonna and I will now share with you the whole procedure. 

Mix 10 grams of yeast,  75 grams of flour and a little warm milk into a ball and let it rise for 30 minutes. 

When it has risen, add 250 g. flour, 2 eggs, 2 grams of yeast. Mix well, then add 100 grams of sugar. Mix again, then add 60 g. of soft butter. 

After about 2-3 hours it should look like this 

Now put it in the mixer and add 2 whole eggs, and 3 egg yolks, together with about 250 grams of flour. Mix well, then add 100 grams of sugar, mix again then add 100 grams of butter. Finally add 150 grams of raisins and about 100 grams candied peel, a teaspoon of grated lemon rind and a pinch of vanilla.  Let it rise for 2 or 3 more hours.

It should then look like this. 

Now place it in the paper container and let it rise again for 2 or 3 hours. 

When it has risen well, bake it at 200° C for 5 minutes, make a cross on top, add a tablespoon of butter and cook for 10 more minutes. Then lower the temperature to 180°C and cook for 45 minutes

A classic Italian breakfast....cappuccino and panettone!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Some like it hot: cook delicious spicy meals with RawSpiceBar

Wouldn't you love to have freshly ground spice kits delivered directly to your front door? This is exactly what you will get with RawSpiceBar. Every month they will send you 3 freshly ground flavor kits with a regional theme, together with recipes and spice stories. The kits include different spices every month i.e. Japanese, Jamaican, Punjabi, Malaysian etc. November was the month for Ethiopian spices, and that's what I got. Three packets...berbere, Ethiopian Mitmita, and Pumpkin Pie Spice. One more fragrant than the other.

Here is a recipe I received along with the spices. I followed the instructions with one variation...instead of beef I used chicken.

Chi non vorrebbe ricevere ogni mese direttamente a casa delle spezie da ogni parte del mondo? Potete averli con RawSpiceBar. Ogni mese vi manderanno tre bustine di spezie appena macinate, con ricette e storie delle spezie. Se vi piace la cucina speziata, RawSpiceBar fa per voi, ed è sempre una sorpresa perchè le spezie variano mensilmente. 

Ecco una ricetta che mi hanno inviato con le mie spezie. Il mio pacco era di novembre, il mese delle spezie dell'Etiopia:  Berbere, Mitmita and le spezie per la torta di zucca. Ho fatto solo una variazione, invece di manzo ho usato il pollo.

You need:  chicken, garlic, onion, tomato sauce, salt, sugar, water and the spices.

Fry the onion and garlic. 

Add the berbere and mitmika spices and sugar.

Add tomatoes and chicken.

When the chicken is cooked, shred it and put it back in the pan. Cook for about 15 minutes and serve. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Be surprised with DEGUSTABOX

DEGUSTABOX is an Italian monthly subscription box. Every month you will be surprised with 9 to 14 products, many of which are new in the market. You will find an exciting selection of food products by known brands at prices much lower than the ones you would pay in the shops.

I received my box last week, it's the November box and here below  are pictures of all the goodies that were inside the box. 

Con DEGUSTABOX ogni mese riceverete da 9 a 14 prodotti sorpresa, molti dei quali sono nuovi sul mercato. Tutto per molto meno di quanto paghereste al supermercato.  
La settimana scorsa ho ricevuto la mia Degustabox,  quella di Novembre, ed ecco qui le prelibatezze che ho trovato quando l'ho aperta. 

Notice the size of the's almost bigger than I:)

Da notare la misura della box...è quasi più grande di me:)

A box full of delights!

Quante delizie!

Here is the list of the products contained in my  November box. 

Ecco la lista dei prodotti nella mia scatola di novembre. 

Delicious CAPRICE by Papadopoulos, wafer rolls with hazelnuts and chocolate cream.
UNICO a natural tonic, a very healthy fruit drink.
LUNA DI MIELE wildflower honey, in a very practical container.
Polenghi LEMONDOR, the best lemon juice, enriched with essential oil.

KNORR meat broth, without monosodium glutammate

Do I need to say anything?  My very favorite chocolates... LINDT LINDOR

 KETTLE CHIPS...if you looked at the box, you will notice that the white bag is missing.  It was stolen and eaten by my daughter before I had a chance to take its picture.

Se guardate nella scatola, noterete che la busta bianca di questi chips qui non c'è.  E' stata rubata e mangiata da mia figlia prima che io potessi scattare la foto.

PASQUIER MILK ROLLS, similar to the French brioche.
LIGUORI spaghetti.

BJORG Rice Drink:   sugar-free and lactose free.
BJORG Soya Drink:   low in fat and high in calcium, full of vegetable protein and fiber.

Last but not least,  MUSETTI  Mio Espresso. Come to think of it, I will now go and make myself a cup!

DEGUSTABOX is on Facebook 

Here is the  video of my DEGUSTABOX Unboxing 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A La Carte Italy Tours

Did you try to plan your ideal holiday for ages? Are you looking for the perfect get-away? Does the location, you are looking for, need to be exotic? Would you believe me if I say the answer to all such questions is this one tour company offering you privateluxury Italy tours? Read on to find out why I declare so!

A La Carte Italy Tours offer you a customized, luxurious private tour of Italy. They have a lot to boast about including experienced driver- historian-guides, minimum 10 day tours, tailor-made tour itineraries, discovering authentic Italian cuisines and sights among many others. For starters, they offer you the ease of browsing through and choosing any of the 11 tours or choose the option 'Tour by Interest' where you may list your interests and a tour-guide will contact you to design your tour accordingly. They also promise to keep your tour group private, that is your group may only contain people you know and not any strangers you might be forced to make small talk with! They prefer keeping a small group as it is easier to manage, to fulfil all expectations and leaves little room for us tourists to complain. This also means that you can make as many stops along the way and for as long as you want without having to think about other people on the tour. It is after all your tours and you should be free to do as you please.

Another plus is that the package cost is inclusive of your hotel stay, sight-seeing tickets among others. You do not have to worry about your luggage, finding a comfortable accommodation, parking issues as they are all taken care of in the best way possible. The other part I liked the most was the availability of a driver-historian guide complemented by a local specialist guide. They make sure you are able to live the everyday Italy experience genuinely. You do not have to carry maps, ask around for the best sights when you have their private guides. They introduce the authentic Italian cuisine to you so you are sure to have treated your taste buds the Italian way indeed. Italy is also very famous for its historic sights and culture, and you are shown the most important and famous sights with a thorough history of the heritage too. You are this bound to not miss out any of these must-see locations.  Also, you get the chance to explore some of the lesser known beautiful areas only known to the natives. It is exactly as though you are discovering Italy like a local rather than an outsider. You are also introduced to friendly Italians along the way and get to experience their popular hospitality.

Among all this, these private luxury Italy tours also include best wine recommendations with wine sampling of the most famous Italian wines along winery visits. I can feel my throat sigh achingly at the very thought of those exotic wines!

All in all, this is an exclusive experience that guarantees satisfaction. I cannot think of a better way to discover Italy than through the A La Carte Tours!