It’s Friday!

Hello everyone! Aside from the fact that today is the last day of a working week for me and in the past days, here in the province of Treviso, it has been raining since the time we planted the crops (27th of April) for our vegetable garden and I thought of how companion planting helped us to have a good harvest every year without using pesticides. The following are my favorite plant combinations:

1.) Tomatoes + Onions + Basil + marigolds

2.) Beans + Eggplants + Celery + Marigolds

3.) Bell peppers + Spinach + Marigolds

4.) Beans + Cucumbers + Nasturtiums

And…flowers everywhere!

Wishing everyone a restful and happy weekend!

Pinza or “Pinsa” in Veneto

There are certain delicacies that remind me of a tradition of a certain region of a certain country but it often brings me back memories of certain significant persons in my life who have taught me the value of what it is like to be a part of a family, a social group or simply, the essence of what life is all about. For me, it’s the beauty of a flower, a hug, a simple “hello!”, a smile…feelings that continue to evoke heartwarming memories that the passing years can never erase.

This recipe is one of those beautiful memories of how simple it truly is to share a part of ourselves to others. Thank you Ciso because through you, I have learned another important tradition of a Region, in a country who in all these years, have given me so much.

These are the ingredients:

A liter of milk

400 grams breadcrumbs

A pinch of salt

250 grams dried figs, cut in small pieces

250 grams raisins

100 grams fennel seeds

2 eggs

1/4 glass of corn oil

1 apple, in thin slices

1/2 glass of Grappa (Grappa is an alcoholic beverage produced in Italy)

16 grams baking powder, sifted

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of sifted flour

150 grams of walnuts ( 50 grams for the topping, the rest in the cake mixture. Oh! This is optional since I just added this ingredient to see if it will add a more interesting taste to the recipe).

Breadcrumbs + milk. Soak for 30 minutes

After 30 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients except 50 grams of walnuts (to be placed on top of the cake before baking it).

Mix well.

Line with wax paper a rectangular baking tin (I’ved always seen this cake baked on a rectangular baking tin. Tradition?)

Preheat oven for 15 minutes at 200°C

Bake this special and traditional cake at 200°C/1 hour and 10 minutes.

Serve this with Vin brulè (aromatic wine – white wine/red wine, a piece of apple, a stick of cinnamon and 2 or 3 cloves. Some would add even a piece of orange. You can find the recipe in the web)

Tonight will be a special night for most living here in the Veneto region. A very big bonfire will be lighted in Arcade, a town in the province of Treviso, and a lot of persons will be celebrating “Panevin”. They believe that the direction of the smoke will indicate whether the new year will be prosperous or not. I really hope it will be an abundant year for all.

This is what was left after distributing a piece to some friends. 😊

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

Buon San Martino

One of the things that I learned from living in one of the towns here in Italy is that sometimes they prepare a particular cake to celebrate the feast day of the Saint. Today, is the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours and it has been and still is a family tradition to prepare this special sweet. It is called “il Dolce di San Martino”. I use a shortbread “pasta frolla” recipe given to me by an officemate while the decoration of the pastry varies every year. All you need is a good shortbread recipe, dark chocolate for glazing and a handful of “smarties or M&M’s” and candies to decorate the sweet and of course, the special mold “St. Martin of Tours”.

Oh! Saint Martin of Tours is remembered as the Saint who cut his red cloak in two with his sword to give half of it to a beggar clad only in rags in the depth of winter.

And I thought, this is the essence of compassion, generosity, peace and love. An act of kindness, even a smile can do miracles.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Sunday!

Gardening…

Thanks to some YouTubers who found time to share their knowledge to someone like me who is interested in cultivating vegetables, this is my third year of what I can say, a successful and satisfying way of growing vegetables using a way which is nature friendly. Companion planting. I just hope that this year’s harvest will be as satisfying as it was in these last two years! By planting together plants who benefit each other I can harvest fresh vegetables for the whole summer. Oh! Suddenly a thought came to me, it seems like even in the plant world the theory of having a group of plants that benefit each other means a good harvest and this, I believe, is also true in our world as individuals. If we are circled with the right/positive persons we can create good things. We can have access to true happiness.

I planted marigolds, zinnias and calendulas. In the end, I think I have a vegetable-flower garden!

Seeing different plants growing together in perfect harmony gives me that profound joy, it’s like seeing and touching the essence of life. After all, for me, true happiness is often found in simple things.

Oh! What about these fairy gardens? They also attract bees, butterflies and useful insects

The joy of harvesting vegetables from my vegetable garden and realizing that companion planting is an effective way of growing vegetables. Who really needs pesticides?

Brownies – M&M’s with peanut butter

During my trip to America, I bought a pack of M&M with peanut butter and at the back of the pack there was a recipe for Brownies with M&M with peanut butter. I was really curious to try the recipe since it is a family tradition to prepare brownies during the Christmas season at home. I thought, I like this new version of M&M’s with peanut butter so I decided to try this recipe for this holiday season…

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So…

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And finally…

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Very delicious and as for calories …🙀 but what counts is the fact that I was able to prepare this recipe and learned that I could adapt it to my needs like: put 1/3 less sugar, 1 egg less, 1 cup less of M&M’s with peanut butter and 50 grams more of melted dark chocolate. 🤔

Happy holidays everyone!!!

New Basil plants out of ….

I thought it was easier to buy Basil plants rather than reproducing new plants out of a mother plant…

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A mother Basil plant – I cut the top part (10 cm) – put them in a transparent glass jar for a week and….Voila! New Basil plants!

I was able to reproduce new plants + saved money and I was able to share/give Basil plants to my friends