Sunday, 19 November 2017

Hidden Treasure

For people like me that weren't always listening to the teacher or had a limited education, the British system meant that after the age of sixteen you only really study three subjects which in my case were chosen at random and with no great success, the upside of this lack of study is that the world is full of wonder. In Spring the miracle of bulbs that have been dry and brown all winter, when they bloom and blossom in a myriad of colours I am totally in awe. The same in Autumn when the leaves turn such stunning shades of gold, russet, brown, yellow. I am in awe. The sight of a beautiful display of flowers that appear in a pot that I had left in a corner, thinking they were dried up and useless and I really should throw them away, all these things are a constant form of delight and wonder. the sun that moves across the sky with the changing seasons and goes to Australia when it's time for us to go home, never loses its appeal and fascination. the seas and oceans that don't drop of the Earth in a great whoosh. Somewhere in the depths of my head I sort of know the scientific explanations for all these things but they are still everyday miracles for me.

The biggest most wonderful place where miracles happen, where there is real treasure to be found, where shining secrets are kept is the human heart.
No greater way is this mystery displayed than in the heart of a child.
We all know that we can't make people love us, no matter how hard we try, it has to come from them.
We might gain their approval but we know this is different from their affection. So when a small child runs towards you with arms wide open and love shining from their face our own hearts expand and swell in gratitude and joy.

So where is all this waffle leading you might be thinking. Playing with a child is what set off this train of thought.
The other day I was asked many questions by a small child, one that doesn't go to school yet and doesn't know how write apart from the names of the ones she loves.
She set up a little office with a desk and a telephone and everyone was ordered to enter her workplace and she would fill in a questionnaire.
As I answered her questions she bent over a piece of paper, looking thoughtful and with pen to paper wrote my answers.
The questions were all about the secret of happiness, about what makes people happy.
She knows that already, she's known it since she was born, there is no doubt at all about the secret of happiness. It's not a secret really, it's all on the paper below.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

A Recipe from a friend

'Torta salata'  or savoury flan, or quiche, is very popular in Italy. Everyone has their favourite filling, mine is spinach and cheese and I have given the recipe here on my blog. all you need to do is have a roll of ready-made puff pastry in the fridge and you can a make a quick and easy supper that suits everybody.
Yesterday a friend of mine told me she had discovered a new recipe for 'Torta Salata' that it was delicious and I should try it at once. It sounded nice and Autumnal so I went ot get the necessary ingredients straight away.
Here it is

Paola's Torta Salata for Autumn

1 pear, peeled and cored and cut into four slices
2 Belgian endives
300g green cheese like gorgonzola.
3 tablespoons of cream
i packet of ready-made puff pastry
walnuts to scatter

Set the oven to 180
Line a pie dish with the puff pastry and put it in the oven while you prepare the filling
Gently heat the cream and green cheese in a small saucepan until you have a spreading consistency.
Wash and dry the Belgian endives and cut into quarters,
Take the pie dish out of the oven and pour the cheese mixture over the base.
Arrange the endives  and pear slices in a star shape.

bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Scatter over the walnuts and bake for another 5 minutes.

this torta salata is best warm.

Hope you like it

Ready to go

Add caption

Friday, 1 September 2017

Whatever the Weather

The British have always had a reputation for being obsessed by the weather. It's one of our favourite topics of conversation. Well I can tell you that  now so many of us have smart phones, Italians are too. Everyone is constantly checking the weather forecast and planning their lives accordingly.
We had been invited to an end of summer pool party and everyone has been looking forward to it for months, it's an annual event. then two days ago we were told that it is postponed to next year because of the forecast on the host's phone.

This would never have happened once, a long time ago, in my youth. We never trusted the weather forecast and just carried on regardless.

We sang songs that went like this.

'Here we all are, happy as can be
All good friends and jolly good company.
Never mind the weather, never mind the rain,
As long as we're together..
Whoops she goes again.'

We always had a wet plan and a dry plan.

We had tongue twisters like this

Whether the weather be hot
or whether the weather be cold
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not.

The phrase 'Rain stops play' was used for sporting events when the weather was so bad there was no choice, but the play started whatever the sky looked like and however dark the clouds were.
Only in the last few years has Wimbledon given in to having a sliding roof to make sure that the matches can carry on, and only over the Centre Court.

Anyway just to let you know the weather forecast on the phone has changed and it looks like it won't rain after all, but the pool party is still postponed for another year.