Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I loved the sea as a child and I still love it - provided it's warm and once I'm in it, that is. I must admit, though, that the thought of going to a beach fills me with panic: not because I'm afraid of the sea or of showing more of me than is usual, but because of all that applying of strong sun cream, over and over again, changing, worrying about the state of my makeup, trying to get sand out of my sandals and afterwards it's "Oh, my god - my hair!" Indeed, I can never work out why all the hairdressers in Modica do not set up booths right at the top of the beach. Long ago I decided that beaches and vain, non-tanning, city women like me were never meant to mix and it's been years since I went swimming. [Oh, yes, I can swim! My Dad made me have lessons when I was 9. I'm constantly surprised by the fact that, in this sea-loving culture, so many of my friends say that they have never learned this essential skill.]

Despite these reservations I was delighted when friends Gina and Carlo invited me to their house at the Marina on Monday. Bright and early [well, 10 am., which is very early for me] we were sitting under parasols on our little plastic chairs on the Marina di Modica's lovely, clean beach. I say "little plastic chairs" and I mean "little plastic chairs". Everybody takes these along for, although they look like chairs for children, they are very practical for the purpose and there's not an awkward deckchair in sight. Once we'd greeted some mutual and, for me, new friends, Gina and I spent a happy three hours or so doing our improvised version of water aerobics and dancing in the sea to the music blaring from the loudspeakers on the beach. She laughed at me when I exclaimed, "I'm not sure I remember how to swim!" She replied that there was only one way to find out and thus I discovered that the old saying is true and you don't forget how.

A few minutes before 1pm there was a noticeable exodus of women from the beach, for the pasta pan waits for no one. Gina served up tortelloni con panna e funghi freschi [tortelloni with cream and fresh mushrooms]

then veal scaloppine with peas:

There was fruit to follow and later there was ice cream. Gina and I spent the rest of the afternoon gossiping on her lovely, shady terrace.

This is the first time I've posted a picture of Gina on this blog and those of you who have enjoyed her recipes here might like to know that she is the lady in the purple and black bikini. Her husband is standing behind her, on the right.

Thanks for a lovely day, Gina and Carlo.


Michelle said...

The beach looks like so much fun and the tortelloni with that sauce must have been delicious.

Whispering Walls said...

Only the Italians would bring such a picnic to the beach!

Lucia said...

I love Peas and Veal!!! I loved going to the sea everyday when I was in Sicily then we would walk half hour back up the hill to have lunch and a nap. We were at the beach by 9:30 most days!

Trubes said...

Wow Welshcakes what a fab day you had, the food looks wonderful, you and your dear friends look wonderful too!
I do hope you enjoyed your dip, I bet you can't wait to do it again.
Did Simmi go too?

love Di.x

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Michelle. It was great fun and the pasta was lovely. Hi, WW. we didn't eat on the beach but went back to Gina's. Ciao, Lucia. You're a true Sicilian! Hi, Trubes. You're right - can't wait! No, it would have been too hoy down there for Simi.


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