Calabria, wilderness and beaches

Pff, raining again and all I can do is thinking about is the holiday I spent deep South a couple of weeks ago.

Last year I published a post a lot of people liked and commented. Totally unexpected. I mean, I love South of Italy and in particular the area my dad is from, but I never thought I would get all those positive feedback. I am just a girl who posts pictures of her travels and stuff she loves to bake, I don’t get any money out of this blog and honestly I love to spend time and “efforts” without getting anything back. This is part of the fun. I already have a job, I want my spare time to be used on priceless stuff like baking, hanging out with people I love and enjoying books, nature, good music, movies, walking around my beloved city and, obviously, travelling.

Receiving all those thumbs up made me pretty happy: Italy is not only a bunch of beautiful and chaotic places. Though packed with problems (huge ones most of the time), my country is worthy a long and accurate visit. Many, actually. I see tourists coming to Venice just for a couple of hours or a day, thinking Venice is just Rialto Bridge and Saint Mark’s square. I know, the city could be expensive and not everybody has time (or feel like) to properly visit it, but as Roald Dahl said “those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”; same for Venice: wandering aimlessly at night is magical and so charming (plus, nobody’s around). Take the time to give a look at all that surrounds you and give the city a chance.

As you seen, I take pride in my cultural heritage and all the history leaking out of buildings, monuments and even landscapes. Though our social and political situation is tragicly leading the country to a non-return death point, I still love living here. We’ll see what the future has in store.

Calabria is my second home. Though my grandparents are long gone, I still have some cousins there and I feel I belong to that place too.
Calabria is a problematic area. Local mob controls the local population in an invisible yet perceivable cobweb. Normal services like hospitals and public offices are not efficient at all, money gets wasted and bribes are a rule. It breaks my heart to see how those places are totally ignored by political leaders and kept uncared. I can only imagine how the locals would feel about this.
I love how wild and deserted those places can be, but I am aware of the many issues the population has to face daily.

Calabria Calabria Calabria Calabria Calabria Calabria Calabria Calabria Calabria Calabria Calabria WP_20140731_015


Going Southward, again – Staiti

So, last year I wrote about my holidays in South of Italy and lot of people told me about they loved the picture and how amazing that area seems to be. Well, it is.
This year I spent another 2 weeks there since, as I wrote before, my dad was born and raised there, so we both feel the urge to reconnect with our roots at least once a year.
I took tons of pictures with my new phone, some aren’t the best quality, my bad.
I decided to split the post in different ones: the first (this one) is about the little village my dad is from, Staiti.
Once home in Venice, I tried to explain my friends how small and lovely Staiti is. It’s kind of difficult for people living in my area to utterly understand how really small villages can be down there: no banks, no restaurants, no fancy shops; just a bar, two small shops where people buy milk or bread, a post office and a pharmacy. Nothing else. I ran out of contact lens cleaner while there and had to drive for 15 km to find a shop where I could buy some. The closest cinema is more than 30 km far from our house and the mall is around 25. Totally different from the Northern Italy reality I live in and almost impossible for people up here to understand.

Staiti, view from our top terrace.Staiti - Calabria

Staiti, view from the cemetery


Staiti - Calabria


Staiti, narrow lane

Staiti - Calabria

Walking around

Staiti - Calabria

View from our kitchen window

Staiti - Calabria

View from our top terrace, you can see the sea in the distance


Staiti - Calabria

The Tridetti fountainStaiti - Calabria


Home wanderings

Finally, that time of year has arrived. When temperature raises, sun warms our skin and staying out until late is appalling and full of magic. Especially if this is the view.Venice Lagoon

I already wrote about our boat trips last year (here all my posts about Venice). A friend’s family of our owns a boat and is kind enough to let us use it, once in a while. Venice LagoonI will never get tired of all this: how clouds combine and change the sky, how light reflects upon water, the St. Mark’s steeple in the distance, the smell of salty water and weeds while having a beer amid the islands, the seagulls’ crying and tohousands of flamingos (yes, we have flamingos as well!) gathered all together. Venice Lagoon Venice Lagoon Venice LagoonI took all these pictures with my phone and unfortunately a couple of them are out of focus. As I watch them for the 10th time, I realize they just give an idea of how these places are. The real beauty of our lagoon cannot be fully expressed by simple pictures.Venice Lagoon Venice Lagoon Venice Lagoon Venice Lagoon Venice Lagoon Venice Lagoon Venice Lagoon


A sweet summer cake

Carrot CakeAnother weekend has passed and here I am, sitting at the desk on a rainy Monday morning.
Monday, already.
I can’t complain, though. I feel relaxed and looking back I can see how many things I managed to stuff on my weekend: a birthday party, a quiet drink with a couple of friends I hadn’t seen in weeks, a bike riding through the city for my Saturday errands, a dinner with some friends an their newborn babies, a shopping afternoon (well, more windows shopping!) and still, I had time to clean my whole place, bake a cake and a batch of cookies. Plus, despite the bad weather forecast, it rained just on Saturday night. Yeah!
Real Summer hasn’t arrived yet, with its damp, sunny, hot and sticky days and long, oppressive and mosquito-packed nights, but I am trying to make the best of the not-rainy days.

The cake, I was saying. A simple, plain and delicate carrot one. With no frosting, no decorations, nothing at all. I wanted its taste to speak for it, nothing else.
So, as usual, I turned to Pinterest. It never lets me down. Neither does Sally.
Her blog is packed with amazing recipes that never fail and I am a big fan of hers. You can feel the happiness and love for baking and good ingredients behind every post of hers.

This her recipe for this amazing Carrot Cake.
I used 2 egg whites and 2 whole eggs and left out the nuts, a friend is allergic. Apart from that, I didn’t change anything.
The cake is moist and tender as she promises, you can count on it. The cinnamon adds a surprising aftertaste that really takes the cake to another level and the brown sugar matches perfectly with the carrot sweetness.

So, I prepared the cake and no frosting, but yesterday wanted to add something special on a side while enoying a slice on the couch, so I added some vegan icecream I made in seconds: just blend a frozen banana (I have a couple of them in my freezer all the time) with a handful of nuts,1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and some agave syrup. I love how good it tastes. It’s totally guilt free and fat free. It’s my usual Sunday treat, with chocolate chips or (homemade and natural) peanut butter and really satisfies my sweet tooth.

Here my pictures (no filter used)

Carrot Cake Carrot Cake Carrot Cake



Well played

I have a lot to say and post… but this picture wins by far!
Went to a mall last week and while visiting the kitchen department of a well known shop here in Italy, I bumped into this.
I had to take a picture.
It was labeled as “Banana bunker”. Sold for 10 €.
Like, for real? Hasn’t anyone of the commercial or marketing department realized they had gone a bit too far? Either they wanted a laugh and did that on purpose, or they are really naive.
In any case, I think will buy a couple of them, still a perfect present for friends! ;)

banana bunker??


A special day

Coffe, Cinnamon and Walnut Muffin*I ran out of birthday candles so I had to use a toothpick. Sorry Stevie. I couldn’t stop laughing though. All alone. Like a crazy, drunk old man.

Yesterday, May 26th, Stevie Nicks turned 66. To me she is such an inspiration; a strong, rocking woman who happens to be one of the best songwriter and performer ever (my opinion, obviously).
Though her past is kind of heavy (drug abuse and a tainted love life), I see her as a positive model for a nowaday girl. She admits making mistakes and taking a wrong turn in her life and I feel like she made up for everything bad she may have done to herself. She pours all her feeling in some heartbreaking songs like Landslide, Silver Springs, Beautiful Child, that really talk to my soul.
I just can’t help weeping a little when she is involved. Don’t even make me start on her relationship with Lindsey Buckingham, such both a question mark and an exclamation point stitched together.
Last October I spent the whole concert singing and sobbing, feeling blessed to be in the same building with her and the Macs. It may seem a bit too much, but we all have those people we love unconditionally, no matter what.
A good witch, though she just plays with that fairy image she found herself into.
Happy birthday, dear Stevie. I so wish I could meet you, one day.

To celebrate this special day, I baked a few Coffee, Cinnamon and Walnut Muffins.
Actually I had printed the recipes a couple of weeks ago and it was on the to bake list.

Coffe, Cinnamon and Walnut Muffin

As usual, I found the recipe on Pinterest (I mean, why even repeat myself?). Credits: The Organized Housewife. Here her recipe.

I scrupolously followed all her indications but one: instead of olive oil I used rice milk.

These my results. I had one of them for breakfast this morning.. another way to take in my daily amount of coffee ;)

Coffe, Cinnamon and Walnut Muffin Coffe, Cinnamon and Walnut Muffin On the inside: soft and moistCoffe, Cinnamon and Walnut Muffin



Fudgy and moist? I’m in!

Spoiler ;)

No carbs muffins

I have been quite busy lately. I actually don’t recall much about the last few weeks, but I know I have been busy. Job stuff and, most of all, friend stuff. Nights out, dinner at somebody’s place.. I love this time of year, weather starts to be kind and it’s not too hot yet.
Lately I attended a pastry course which was quite good: the teacher rocked and made everything look super easy; we would eat the results at the end of every lesson and god only knows how many cannoli I ate. Well, just two but they were big and I actually licked the piping bag before trashing it (No, I don’t feel ashamed about myself). We learned basic recipes for short pastry and puff paste and baked Meringue Lemon Pie, Sachertorte, Cannoli, Croquembouche… wow!
I have tried a couple of those recipes at home and they came out perfectly, yeah!
Still, I can’t give up all the amazing recipes only Pinterest can provide and yesterday I tried a must do and copycat one:
No-carbs Chocolate Chips Muffins.

No carbs muffins
I was looking for something good to have for breakfast and before working out in the evening, and those seemed perfect. Plus, a lovely colleague of mine is celiac and I wanted to bake something for her too, since she can’t eat anything we usually bring to the office, poor honey.
This the original link; I made a couple changes: instead of honey I put scarcely a spoonful brown sugar and used half homemade peanut butter and half homemade almond butter of the requested amount.

I can tell you, I swear, these muffins are rich, extremely moist and fudgy. Have them just warm and you will be unable to stop eating them (that’s why yesterday I ate one and then hid the rest :D ).

No carbs muffins

This my versione of  the recipe; you are gonna need:
1 ripe banana
3/4 cup peanut butter + almond butter (both homemade)
1 egg
1 level tablespoon brown sugar
1 level tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Blend all the ingredients but the chocolate chips in a mixer. Add the chips, pour into the muffins moulds.
Bake for 10 minutes at 180°.
Enjoy while still warm :)
By the way, my colleague loved them!

Just out of the oven (the above written amount was enough for 5 muffins only… I’ll make more next time!)No carbs muffins A close viewNo carbs muffinsOn the inside… yummie!
No carbs muffins