Thursday, August 30, 2007

Friday Feature

Two Sicilian bloggers were interviewed this week on the Sicily Guide blog and one of them was me. The other Sicilian blogger interviewed was Welshcakes/Limoncello. It was an interesting thing to do and most interesting to compare my answers to blogger Patrizia Eggleton's interview. By the way, she has a well read and visited site on Sicily.

Sicily Guide is updated daily with loads of Sicilian information. Check out both interviews on this site.

If you take the time to read both, I would be interested to know if you think we live on the same Island. I think she has a city life and I have the small town life. The population in Oliveri is around 2000. I think Modica is more like 50, 000. I'd like to visit there someday.

Monday, August 27, 2007


This is a picture of what I did with figs yesterday, but the recipe below is nicer. I did not have the ingredients.

Fichi Antipasto

10 to 12 figs

Gorgonzola cheese


prosciutto crudo

olive oil

Wash and cut an X into the top of the figs. Push up gently from the bottom to expose the pulp. Add one small teaspoon of Gorgonzola cheese into the center of each fig and follow with a drop of honey. Place prosciutto crudo onto a small platter and surround with figs. Drizzle with olive oil.

We used some delish honey given to me at the Vasari Winery. It is biological honey.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Feature

Mmmm...good! I have been wanting to feature the Bialetti Brikka espresso coffee pot for sometime. No better day than the coffee man's birthday. He so loves this coffee pot and the coffee he brews in it. He will show you just how to make it and then show off the creamy top that he gets in his cup. "Can you get any better than this in a bar?" he will ask.

Here is what the Bialetti site has to say about this Brikka coffee pot:

Bialetti Brikka is a unique stove top espresso maker that makes it possible to prepare espresso with “cream”. Bialetti Brikka revolutionizes the espresso making and drinking experience. Thanks to a special pressure-controlled valve you can now enjoy the rich and intense flavor of a creamy coffee. With the Brikka, you can enjoy a special coffee every day without leaving the comfort of your kitchen. The Brikka system is the product of intense technological and qualitative research by Bialetti and is patented worldwide. Carefully follow the instructions and enjoy an authentic espresso with a frothy cream just like one from the Italian bar. Bialetti Brikka is yet another great product brought to you by the ever present “little man with the moustache”.

The coffee man has a new step in his coffee making. We read that in Naples (and we all know Naples is the King of espresso coffee), the sugar is put into the cup first. Then the hot espresso is poured in and you drink. No stirring. It is a caffeine and glucose experience. If you make your coffee at home the sugar is added to the pot before it is put on the burner. He has tried this step and it is now included in the morning coffee making ritual.

Auguri and Buon Compleanno to Andy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pericoloso (Dangerous)

The past two days have been hot, extremely hot with high winds. Fires have started from the city of Messina thru to Cefal├╣. This afternoon I took these pictures of fires in the mountains above our town. The air has been filled with smoke and residual from the fires can be seen on the pavement. Because of severe fires in Cefal├╣, the firemen were slow to arrive. We had been without electricity for two hours due to fire near power lines and approaching the Q8 gas station on the autostrada. Electric has returned but the fires are still raging.

This happens every year but this year seems especially prone to spontaneous fires. Three deaths have been reported due to these fires.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Good Deeds...Good Eating

Andy has been giving the guy next door free shaves. He is ill and we have been neighbors for fifteen years. Yesterday, the neighbor's son shows up with two fresh caught squid. Better than gold jewelery (local humor).

Squid with Tomatoes and Wine

2 pounds whole squid, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 cups canned tomatoes

1/4 cup sherry or wine



hot red pepper

(Andy added one potato cubed)

Clean squid..cut into 1/2 inch rings. Cut tentacles into 1 inch pieces. Wash and drain thoroughly on absorbent paper.

Cook onion in hot oil until tender(add potato at this time). Add squid and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, wine and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 1 & 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Eat over liguine or spaghetti. (Serves 3 to 4 ...but not me!)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Summer on Ice

It might be over 100°F outside, but there is a portable ice rink set up inside the soccer field this year. The cost is 6€ for both rental skates and 1/2 hour of rink time. This father and daughter duo got there as the door was opening and have the rink to themselves. I love the look of shorts with ice.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Feature

After 40 years my friend met up with a childhood playmate at his Azienda Agricola In San Lucia del Mela and I was invited along. I like playing the side kick as I am getting to see lots of Sicily this year. These two friends grew up in Pistunina, a small village outside of Messina. One went to the USA and the other has worked building a wine business. In 1990 organic cultivation was introduced into his wine business. You can read about this winery at the following site Click on the British flag in the upper right hand corner for English translation.

While we were there we watched wine being bottled for shipment to Japan. We met the client along with representatives of this winery. Lucky us we got an invitation to lunch. Of course we had some Vino Mamertino. We enjoyed the company, the lunch and especially the wine.

My friend sat inside the old farmhouse remembering the old days and talking about the new ones with the two Vasari brothers. I got to take photos of the grounds and relax.

Besides grapes there was plenty of other fruit and vegetables growing there.

The town sits above this vineyard and is very picturesque.

We shall have to make another visit. Here's to old & new friends!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's a PLANE....

We were back at the Naval Air Station in Sigonella this week to celebrate our friend Lucille's birthday. We ate at Applebees and we were all happy.

I wonder if Applebees in the USA have Sicilian Sirloin on the menu? Andy had the ribs, Lucille the chicken basket and I had a bacon cheeseburger. There is nothing like an American burger! To top it all off, the birthday girl shared her *FREE* dessert with me. She ordered a triple chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. Delicious hot chocolate covered both the plate and the cake.

We all had a great American style day. It was a party!

Outside in the parking lot there was a great view of Mt Etna. The weather was perfect and even the drive was fun. We shall be missing this couple. They are heading back to New York next week.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


My new favorite friends. I shudda known ....they keep me sane!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Feature

You have all seen this stuff. Ceramic dishes from Caleca. It is featured in stores in the USA and in the Williams- Sonoma catalog. The factory is minutes from my house. You can buy from their store both second and first quality ceramic dishware.

I have a pattern with grapes painted on them. This pattern is no longer available but they will make it on request. Each year they present a new pattern. This year's looks very bold with red design on white sitting on a black dish.

Each time I go to this factory outlet I must purchase at least one plate...or bowl. I now choose solid colors preferring white for serving dishes.

There is so much to choose from. You could spend a good part of your day here and possibly a good part of your wallet.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

America's Finest

Wednesday, I had a chance to accompany two friends to the Naval Air Station here in Sigonella. It was fun to be around Americans. I took this photo of two Navy fellas at the check in gate. One said he was from Georgia and the other is from Alabama. They have a huge fan somehow hooked up to water keeping them cool. I didn't take many pictures on the base as I did not know if it was against regulations. I may have another opportunity this month to visit there so I will ask about pictures. My friend is retired military. I am really posting this for Carol..who is an expat like me! And for my Italian Blogger friends...I ate at Kentucky Fried Chicken! If I get to go another time it will be at Applebees.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


August is a busy birthday month in my family and today is my daughter's birthday. So everybody sing..

Happy Birthday to You!

Happy Birthday to You!

Happy Birthday to Jillane..

Happy Birthday to You!!

Happy Birthday ...dear daughter!

...and the winner is!!!!!

The contest on guessing the amount of pasta that was in this house on July 17th closed midnight last night and we have a winner. We had 55 pounds of pasta stored on the pasta shelf. The question is why?? Why do we have all this pasta?? The answer is *you never know*! *You never know when you will need it*...*you never know when this brand will go on sale*...etc. There are lots never knows...but someone here really likes pasta.

From day one sognatrice had the winning guess, but someone slipped in during the final days and cancelled out her win. GoodThomas gave the largest guess and Frank the lowest. I guess GoodThomas must be a pasta lover and Frank, who I happen to know personally.. hates pasta!!

Thank you for all the entries. Annika's family, la cubancgringa (who gave me a contest idea), Cindy-co (no pasta in the dog house), dm, Matthew, Muchachaistmo, Dot, Micheal (sorry no socks this time), Shelley (how about 10 reasons why we have so much pasta?), motherhoward, sonyaustralians, megan, jessica, rach, Cindy's friend, Marlene, HappyDays, Susan and Jillane.

The winner with a guess of 51 pounds is :


I congratulate you and will contact you soon on how to send the prize your way.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Clothes Line

I must have a clothesline fetish as I love to see the ingenuity of line drying clothes.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Birthday Today

I know it is Obama's birthday today, but more important to me is my grandson's birthday. He is 14 today. I have three grandkids who are 14 and he is the youngest of the three. He is also the youngest in his family having two older brothers. You older two look out 'cause he just might grow up to be bigger than both of you!

Happy Birthday Jake!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday Feature

Does this picture get your attention?? Not many comments about my Palermo trip and this will be the last. A little of the naughty and some of the nice. The above is a water fountain with a bit of art work. I had to maneuver a bit to get the photo.

While I was in one church we were in the middle of a wedding ceremony. It did not seem to matter to anyone that we were there. Later we were in the Garibaldi garden and two couples were being photographed with their wedding parties. It did seem strange to see three wedding couples on a Monday morning.

Later while on the bus we were shown a couple theaters including the Massimo Theater where scenes were filmed for The Godfather film. It is the third largest theater in Europe. Outside this theater was a guy dressed in Sicilian costume selling souvenirs.

I must have learned something snapping the theater picture as I don't see reflections in the second one. Both were taken from inside the bus.

I shall end with the naughty *Fontana delle Vergogne* (Fountain of the Shame). It stands between two churches and has sculptures of pagan statues, figures and animals evoking a suggestive atmosphere.

And finally here I am ....nothing suggestive here. I had a great time.