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Showing posts from December, 2015

Lentils (Lenticchie) A Sign of Good Luck

The year is nearing the end and we are all preoccupied with how to lose those few gained pounds and perhaps some new year resolutions. Those amazing sweets are slowly disappearing from our festive daily consumption, or perhaps not!  Never the less, we are beginning to wind down.

Not all Italian festivities revolve around sweets. There are many significant savoury dishes such as Lenticchie Stufate di Capodanno.  It is an Italian tradition to eat a stew of lentils on the eve of the new year for good luck.  It is said that their coin like shape will ensure wealth and prosperity for the coming year - I think richer in terms of nutrition perhaps! The lentils are probably not commonly served here in Australia as part of New Years Eve festivities being summer and all, but I am sure there are families who have incorporated the lentils in a dish or two for good luck.
As it is not a common tradition here in Australia, I first learnt and experienced this tradition when I spent my first Capodanno (…

Panforte & Siena - Part 1

Christmas is literally around the corner and in these past few days I have been busy baking sweets for family and friends. Panforte is one that is very popular in my family and a sweet that lends itself well to variations depending on what ingredients I have at home.  I like to start with a base recipe that has been fail proof over the years and have varied the dried/candied fruits, trialed different nuts and added or deleted the chocolate and spices.  There are many great recipes to follow depending on your tastes.
This year I made some Lisborn orange marmalade and decided that instead of using honey and sugar, I would substitute and use my marmalade.  I also like to add chocolate or cocoa with cinnamon and nutmeg.  If you like a jaffer taste, then this recipe is a must.
My visit to Siena inspired me to look further into the making of Panforte that is typical of this medieval town in Tuscany.

Sinatti is a well known name both in Italy and around the world.   Panforte Ricciarelli Artigin…

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscuits & My Visit to Domodossola

Another Christmas is fast approaching and it seems like yesterday when I wrote about my longing to visit my birth town in Italy here. Little did I know then that my dream would be realized so soon and that I would be fortunate to return to this quaint place that I have very little recollections of; to find a part of myself  I had left behind at the age of two. 

This journey was taken with my cousin Vincenzo, who also has an attachment to Domodossola.  Although not born there, he spent most of his childhood years there and often visits his extended family and friends.  Vincenzo wrote a book titled Identita` in which he incorporates many of his childhood recollections within short stories. 
These selected photos are of Sacro Monte Calvario that overlooks Domodossola. Here I felt a sense of peace, connection and at home. Read more here about this beautiful place.  My parents first home in Domodossola was on the summit of this mountain.
Piemonte is a region of Italy that makes world class wi…