Monday, April 30, 2007

Fish Market

Fish is a big part of the diet in Oliveri. We are right on the coastline and fishing is a big industry.
We buy fish as fresh as we can. Sometimes it is sold fast frozen...frozen right on the fishing vessel.

This morning we stopped at a fish market and bought some fresh salmon and cefalo. Cefalo looks like sea bass but is a distant cousin, according to Andy. They will cut and clean the fish any way you want. We will be eating the salmon tomorrow.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Hair Hair!!

Yesterday, while in Andy's Barber Shop, a young bearded man came in for a shave. I had my camera with me and thought this might be an interesting photo of a before and after look. Sorta a mini makeover. The young man agreed, so I took a picture.

Before the shave was finished another customer walked in. This man was a little older...probably late 60's. When the shave was finished I took the *after* photo and then showed it to both men.
Young man smiles ..pays and leaves.

Older guy says to me..." millenovecentoquarantacinque (1945)...those Americans came in with their spray and got rid of all those insects we had in our heads."

Out of the blue he makes this statement. He added that he never forgot those Americans. That they did alot for this town and Sicily and Italy. "People forget" he added. "But, America is a different culture, creative and fast...gets the job done."

I was waiting for the tie in to the present and he did not fail. He complimented me on taking pictures. Said not many Italians take pictures. My sister had once asked me if I had problems with taking photos of people and adding them to my blog. I have been ready for someone to complain or refuse, when I ask if I might take a photo. No one ever has complained. Many pose or ask if they might have a print. They ask for the site so they could have a look or send the site address to a relative in another city. My favorite is a gentleman making a large print out of one of my pictures that sits framed in his kitchen. "Those Americans get the job done".... the older fella repeated.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Feature

Back to Friday Feature and this time it is Annalisa's Hair Salon. I wear my hair very...and I mean very short and this is the right person to do this haircut. I go every five weeks to get this great haircut. I am not known as a patient person and she gives me the first appointment of the day. In and out...wash&cut ...then go.

The salon was refurbished one year ago. It has several sections. One for washing your hair, another for cutting and blow dry styling, yet another for coloring and lastly seating and business areas. I think the color of the shop is inviting and mood setting. Most shops are great gab places and getting the info on latest styles etc. No different here. The only problem is my not being able to get right into the conversation when I would like. They do give me a chance but mostly I listen.

She has several girls working with her and this photo is of the AM crew.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Flora and Fauna and Boats

A sunny holiday brings everyone outside. While walking along the beach and back roads yesterday we came across fishermen repairing boats, gypsy caravan and beautiful scenery. It was a perfect spring day. The walk along the beach is always a good thing and we met up with several local fishermen painting their boats and untangling fish line. Further up the beach were tourists sunbathing topless. We had to take a good look at ourselves covered head to toe in jeans and sweatshirts. What a contrast in attire.

When turning inland along a back road we saw a gypsy caravan parked. Normally they park on the outskirts of town but beach frontage has advantages. Further up the path Andy spotted a horse show embedded in the ground. Always nice to stumble upon some good luck.

The back road borders a *fiume*...actually a small stream of water that runs down from the mountain into the sea. In the summer this stream will be dry. The wild flowers are beautiful. It almost looks like some other place besides Sicily.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Liberation Day

Today is Liberation Day in Italy. It is a day to celebrate the surrender of German troops occupying Italy and liberating the country with the help of the Allied Forces.

In 1944, with the Allied forces nearby, the partisan resistance in Italy staged an uprising behind German lines, led by the Committee of National Liberation of Upper Italy (CLNAI). This rebellion led to the establishment of a number of provisional partisan governments throughout the mountainous regions of northern Italy, of which Ossola was the most important and received recognition from Switzerland and from Allied consulates in Switzerland. By the end of 1944, German reinforcements and Benito Mussolini's remaining forces had crushed the uprising, and the area's liberation had to wait until the final offensives of 1945.

After a few months of reorganization, another massive uprising was planned. On April 25, 1945, concurrent with the renewal of the Allied offensive, the CLNAI called out a general insurrection. This insurrection ended with the surrender of German forces in Italy and the liberation of most Italian cities.

You can find more information about the Italian resistance movement at this site.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Someone was in veggie heaven today. I made a big mistake this morning, by taking my food shopping husband to a store that a friend showed to me a couple weeks ago. He just can't help himself. ALL vegetables and fruit is priced at €0.79 per kilo. That may round out to less than 50 cents per pound USD. Please believe that I had to threaten him to stop filling the bags or he would have purchased more. On this table are kiwi, bananas, onions, garlic, broccoli, peppers, squash, cukes, tomatoes and carrots. We are only two persons.

I have already roasted the peppers and he is dreaming ...not of what he is going to eat...but, of when he is going back for more!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Knock Knock......

Knock knock!

Who's there?


Red who??

Red Pepper, ain't that a HOT one!!

Not always...sometimes the red pepper can be sweet..dolce and so very good made into a pasta sauce. That joke was one of my mother's favorites and this recipe is my favorite pasta sauce.

Ingredients include...

Three large and *dura* thick red peppers

Two cloves garlic

One large onion

Two cups chicken broth

Olive Oil

Salt and pepper

First thing is to char the red peppers and remove the skin after letting them rest. (I think you may be able to purchase roasted peppers in the jar but never have tried them.)

Cook the coarsely chopped onion and garlic in olive oil till softened. Add the pieces of roasted pepper to coat with oil.

All these ingredients are blended in your food processor and add chicken broth to form desired consistency of your sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Put back into pan to keep warm.

I always use olive oil when cooking. It gives a more robust taste than the Virgin Oil. We save the Virgin Oil for raw food eating. We very rarely ever use black pepper. Red pepper goes into everything...a hot one! If you don't use the entire 2 cups of broth, throw the extra into your water to cook up the pasta. We don't throw anything away.

This pasta is my new favorite. It grabs the sauce. We used grated baked ricotta on the top but granna padanna is also good.

I hope my niece the new vegetarian is taking notes!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Somewhere .....

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.
Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

In Loving Memory of my brother
Peter Allan Duncan

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Piccole cose

When returning to my home this morning, I saw a car decorated for a matrimony. I asked if I could photograph it. "Of course"..was the answer. Look closely and you can see that the door way of the home is also decorated to frame a nice picture of the bridal family.

We were given this bag on Easter. One of our neighbors brought it to the door. I thought it might be more Easter cookies, but I opened the bag and inside were these wrapped eggs. The eggs are from their farm. I took one out of the wrapper so you could see that they were indeed eggs.

On my balcony I have been watching two plants from last year grow leaves. They both are plants from bulbs. Well..peek-a-boo, I have a flower! This is a nice surprise.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Feature

Via Roma is the main street in Oliveri. We are a destination (not a drive thru town) and most all traffic comes into Via Roma. The word *traffic* mostly refers to the months beginning in May and ending in June. This is when Oliveri gets tourist business.

In 2006 work commenced on improving the surface and some drainage pipes beneath the road. It got started late and many of the business owners were concerned about income loss due to this work being done over the summer months. In July the work was halted and began again in Sept thru the Christmas holiday. In mid January a new crew continued the work and just before Easter Sunday the road was opened. This is no small job. Each of the tiles are placed by hand.

My vacationing friends will be happy to see this. They have been following the work while they were here. They should have had a ribbon cutting ceremony. If you are so inclined....have a toast to the new road.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Three three tre

Different cultures have differing customs. One small custom that differs in different countries is how you show the number three using your fingers.

In the USA the three center fingers are the ones that signify three.

In the UK (so a British lady told me) it is the middle finger, ring finger and the pinkie finger.

So how do they show three in Italy...thumb first and then pointer finger and lastly middle finger. I think that makes perfect sense.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Denny Crane

We have an addition to our family. It was time to include a pet in the household. Welcome *Denny Crane*!

I had a Betta Fish in mind but passed the pet shop in the city, when we were there last Monday. On Saturday, I found a tiny shop in the next town and they had only one Betta. He is a beautiful dark blue color. I think he will like it here.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Buona Pasqua

Here are some dolce for you to look at.....don't wanna spoil your dinner.

Everyone enjoy a Happy Easter! And be nice to the Bunny!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Little BIG things!!

Easter isn't (nor are most holidays) a big gushy time for me. I don't know why, but I don't get excited and I don't decorate nor do I get mushy and nostalgia for the day. For some reason this year I decided to send along something to my family in the USA and to give a small treat to my friend's kids. She is from South America and without relatives here and I try to fill in for her mother. ( I hope someone is doing the same for my kids in the USA.)

This morning, I went to my friend's house to give a small gift to her two young kids. Before I could pull them out of the bag the son extended his hand with a piece of bubble gum for me. Now this is a first. Kids usually grab and then play and the mothers give them a nudge ...*what do you say* thing. I have learned that the joy is in the giving. But the getting today was something very special.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


PARENTS STRONGLY CAUTIONED Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13!

That might be overdoing it abit but if you have a squeamish stomach advised.

No this is not Miss Piggy nor Porky Pig. His name was Romeo and after today he will be known as Pancetta, ham hocks, pork chops and sausage. My friend's pig was to be slaughtered this morning and I was invited. I really like learning different things and got myself up early and over to the farm.

Romeo was a young pig and he was purchased last October at an animal market in the town next to Oliveri. I like this market which is held only once per year. He was weighing in at 70 kilos when he met his demise.

The men took care of the slaughter while the women prepared boiling water. The water is poured atop of the pig and then knives are used to scrape away the hair and top layer of skin. It isn't a tough job just takes time. Lots of hot water and lots of scraping. Even the feet are scraped. It looks like the pig is getting a pedicure.

After the skin is cleaned the master butcher begins to carve up the carcass. We are invited tonight for the first phase of eating the former *Romeo* but I think we will take a pass.
Note> No apologies for this. You were all warned. This is the life here and that needs to be noted.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Ricotta al Forno

Ricotta al Forno means ricotta baked in an oven. Sicilians love this stuff. We use it grated over pasta and soups and on an antipasto plate. It can be vacuum sealed and many Italo Americans take it back to the USA. I think you could make something of the same with American ricotta. Just drain it well and bake in an oven. This was lunch today. A nice dish of pasta with fresh tomato sauce topped with grated ricotta al forno. Mangia!