Sunday, January 31, 2010


The lamb available here does not have a lot of meat on it so is best enjoyed in spezzatini or in dishes such as this one. To serve 6 people generously you need:

About a kilo of lamb pieces or very small chops
3 tablesp olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red pepper & 1 yellow pepper, chopped
4 courgettes, thinly sliced
1 aubergine, thinly sliced
250 gr sliced mushrooms
500 gr tomatoes, sliced [peeled and deseeded if you like]
3 - 4 medium potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled, thinly sliced
a handful of chopped parsley
coarse seasalt & freshly ground black pepper

In a wok or very large pan heat the olive oil and brown the lamb. Then take it out and put it on kitchen paper on a plate. Add all the vegetables to the pan and stir well. You want them all to become tender at the same time and the only way you are going to get the potatoes to behave is to slice them as thinly as the courgettes and aubergine - best done in a food processor. The tomatoes will go mushy anyway, so it doesn't matter so much and I don't peel and deseed them if I'm not entertaining. Give everything a good stir, season to taste, then stir again. Put the lid on and cook over a low flame for about half an hour. Then add the lamb, mixing it in well. Cook for another half an hour, then stir in the parsley.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


The film with the same title was released in Italy yesterday. Enjoy:

Jovanotti - Baciami ancora

Friday, January 29, 2010


This is an article of mine which was published in Italy Magazine on Monday and Simi the dog insists I share it with all of you!

It’s been a very long road home for Rocky, a five-year old German Shepherd dog who was stolen while on holiday with his owner when he was two. His owner, a Syrian man named Ibrahim Fwal who lives in Carrara [Tuscany] was distraught for he and Rocky had been inseparable. Rocky had been particularly fond of riding with his master on his scooter. Over the past three years, Mr Fwal had never stopped looking for Rocky.

Rocky was later either abandoned by his dognappers or escaped from them and was then taken in by a family in Salerno [Campania]. But he kept trying to run away and succeeded in November last year. By following the coast, Rocky walked as far as Pisa where a man found him and contacted the Salerno family. Poor Rocky was in a pitiful state: he was thin and dirty and his paws were blistered.He was taken to a vet who, through a tattoo on Rocky, was able to contact Mr Fwal.

Dog and master had a joyful and emotional reunion with Rocky nearly knocking Mr Fwal down. After walking 600 kilometres up Italy, Rocky travelled the last 100 in style, back on Mr Fwal’s scooter.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


We haven't had a proverbs quiz for a while so here's a mixed bag for you tonight. Match the proverbs 1 - 6 with their meanings a - f and then you can check your answers at the end of the post.

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1. Amuri, tussi e fumu nun si ponnu tèneri cilati.

2. Tinta dda casa unni canta la gaddina.

3. Figghia di gatta, si nun mùzzica, gratta.

4. Anni e piccati su' cchiù di quantu si dicinu.

5. La saluti veni di l'alligrizza di lu cori.

6. Cui perde l'onuri, perdi assai, ma cui perdi la fidi, perdi tuttu.

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a. He who loses his honour loses enough but he who loses his faith loses everything.

b. A man's years and sins are always more than he tells you.

c. Love, coughs and smoke cannot be kept hidden.

d. Health is the result of a happy heart.

e. Dark is the house where the hen sings [ie., instead of the rooster].

f. If a cat's daughter doesn't bite, she scratches [ie., the daughter of a bad woman is not to be trusted].

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Highlight the space below to check your answers:
1c, 2e, 3f, 4b, 5d, 6a.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Image of cattle car at Auschwitz from The Legacy of Hope.

"We knew these men in black shirts. They had come at night, otherwise they wouldn't have had the courage. Most of then stank of wine, and if you looked them in the eyes they didn't like it and looked away. They were poor folk, too, but a special kind of poor folk; landless, not brought up to any trade, or knowing too many trades, which is the same thing. They were the type that dislike hard work and live from hand to mouth from one week to the next, always having to find new dodges to earn their daily bread. Too weak and servile to rebel against the authorities and the rich, they preferred cringing to them in return for the privilege of robbing and oppressing other poor folk - peasants and the poorer landowners and tenant-farmers. If you met them in the street in daylight they would be humble and fawning. By night and in numbers they were wicked and evil. They have always been at the disposal of anyone who gives orders, and they always will be. But recruiting them into a special army, giving them a special uniform and special arms is something new and peculiar to the last few years. Such are the so-called fascists."

- Ignazio Silone: Fontamara.

"It is man who kills, man who creates or suffers injustice; it is no longer man who, having lost all restraint, shares his bed with a corpse. Whoever waits for his neighbour to die in order to take his piece of bread is, albeit guileless, further from the model of thinking man than the most primitive pigmy or most vicious sadist.

Part of our existence lies in the feeling of those near to us. This is why the experience of someone who has lived for days during which man was merely a thing in the eyes of man is non-human."

- Primo Levi: If This Is a Man

"People sometimes ask me, 'Where was God in Auschwitz?' I believe that God was there Himself - violated and blasphemed. The real question is, 'Where was man in Auschwitz?' "

- Rabbi Hugo Gryn: Chasing Shadows

"I often wonder if when you start to burn books and scrolls and holy places, it becomes thinkable and emotionally and politically feasible to burn men, women and children as well, because you are in fact setting fire to civilization and you are creating spiritual anarchy."

- Ibid

" No one is safe when religious or ethnic prejudice is tolerated, when racism is rife and when decent, well-meaning people keep quiet because it is prudent."

- Ibid

"Who did it? Evil men and women who looked so much like ordinary men and women."

- Ibid

".... I know that you can only be safe and secure in a society that practises tolerance, cherishes harmony and can celebrate difference."

- Ibid

The Holocaust was often spoken about when I was a child. I was born only five years after the evil perpetrated by man upon man became fully known and I believe that my parents' generation never got over the shock of the revelations. As Rabbi Gryn wrote, these crimes against humanity had been committed not by a race of barbarians from some distant and unknown land but by people who looked like us, spoke a language akin to our own and who, like us, had provided the west with some of its greatest artists, composers and writers.

My parents did not realise how much I could understand of those whispered conversations and I lay awake at night fearing separation from them at the hands of some cruel and arbitrary authority. I was reassured and loved and I got over those fears but I grew up to understand one thing: that all it takes, particularly in economically uncertain times, is one persuasive leader and a flock of unquestioning fools to follow that person or - and this is perhaps worse - to be silent. In the words of Edmund Burke,

"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing."
You may also like to read about this Italian memorial to Jews and others who died in the Holocaust.


Here is the great Dorothy Parker's Inventory:

Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.

Four be the things I'd been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.

Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.

Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.
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And here is mine:

Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Italy, internet, doggies, bons mots.

Four be the things I’d been better without:
Alcohol, credit cards, Welshmen, my pout.

Three be the things I shall never attain:
Motherhood, sense, a numerical brain.

Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Friendship, rebellion and pies in the sky.

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Monday, January 25, 2010


I was lucky enough to taste this dish of Katia's when the Italy Magazine team gathered for a Christmas meal and it was delicious. Now Katia has published the recipe here so last night I decided to make it myself. My version isn't as neat as Katia's as I am a bit of a slapdash cook but I can tell you this is easy to prepare, unusual in its blend of flavours and a success. Grazie per la ricetta, Katia.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


The last but one weekend in the month is one I look forward to because that's when Corriere della Sera publishes its excellent cookbook. This month's is the fifth edition and, like the others, it contains interesting foodie articles as well as recipes. I might have to get yet another bookcase, though!

And what better way to spend an hour on a Saturday afternoon than to buy your paper and cookbook, then browse through them over a tea and a slice of Bar Edicolè's lightest mandarin cake?


I had to delete the post with Adriana singing again as the audio was causing the blog to lock. Apologies to Adriana and to those of you who commented. Does anyone know why this is happening? I uploaded the tracks first to Google Groups and then to the blog. I'd be really grateful if someone could help!

Friday, January 22, 2010


This is an article of mine that was published in Italy Magazine today:

British football hero David Beckham was just telling an Italian reporter how nice the people of Milan had been to him when all of a sudden his genitalia were grabbed by Elena Di Cioccio, star of the comedy and reportage TV show “Le Iene” [“The Hyenas”].

Di Cioccio had reminded her TV audience that Beckham had been the – er – organ of Armani underwear advertisements until recently when he was replaced by Cristiano Ronaldo. She said that she wanted to find out for herself whether Beckham really was well endowed in that area and joked that his wife, Victoria, had compared her husband’s reproductive anatomy to an exhaust pipe.

Then a glove-clad Di Cioccio went in search of her prey. Beckham looked surprised and puzzled when the deed was done – as well he might – and was quickly hustled away by his security men. Di Cioccio ran after Beckham’s car, shouting,

È piccolo, David! Ci hai presi in giro!” [“It’s small, David! You’ve been kidding us!” ]

A security man who seemed to be rather amused stopped Di Cioccio from reaching the car.

British newspapers reporting the story on Thursday night are expressing outrage.

What do you think - outrage or a bit of fun? And if the assailant had been a man and the target a woman?



This is an article of mine which was published in Italy Magazine on Wednesday. I've posted about the bamboccioni ["big babies"] before and, as you will see from the article, now they are in the news again:

With the second lowest birth rate in Western Europe Italy may have fewer little babies than it would like but it has more than its share of big babies or bamboccioni, according to a government minister. “Bamboccione” was a coinage of former Minister of Economy and Finance Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa in 2007. The word is now commonly used to describe young adults who continue to live with their parents.

In 2008 Isae [Istituto di studi e analisi economici] estimated that 71.9% of Italians aged 20 – 30 still lived with their parents while in 2009 Istat reported that 48% of those aged between 18 and 39 were still living in the parental home from 2003 – 2007. 53% of these were men as opposed to 42% of women. The reasons for this are partly economic and partly due to the importance of family life in Italy but it cannot be denied that some young adults are reluctant to leave the comfort of the parental home.

Now Civil Service Minister Renato Brunetta has provoked fierce debate by suggesting that the government approve a law which would force young adults to live independently. This proposal has not been exactly welcomed, even among members of Mr Brunetta’s own party and Legislative Simplification Minister Roberto Calderoli has accused his colleague [not very politely] of acting inappropriately.Minister of Defence Ignazio La Russa has admitted that he left home at the age of 27 and Mr Brunetta himself did not flee the parental nest until he was 30. In a jibe that was – well, babyish – Senator Giuliana Carlino [Pd – IdV] asked whether Mr Brunetta, who is small in stature, “lives in Smurfland”.

The bamboccioni issue has excited the media again following a case in Bergamo in which a father was ordered to maintain his 32-year-old daughter at a cost of 350 euros per month while she continues working on a thesis eight years after graduating.

However, Italy may not be the only country with a surfeit of bamboccioni: two years ago an Italian magazine suggested that the biggest bamboccione of them all is none other than the heir to the British throne.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010


There's nothing like focaccia on a cold evening, especially when it has come straight out of a wood-fired oven, has a crunchy crust and you cut it to reveal perfectly formed layers of the lightest bread pastry, with a filling of tomatoes and onion ready to ooze out....


After all your lovely comments on the previous post, I just have to post this song again. I love this version:


Rosa and I were strolling along with Simi this morning when a car behind us beeped us to get out of the way. Admittedly we were not using the pavement as it is slippery and I've fallen on it before.

"Siete mal educate!" ["You've been badly brought up!"] yelled the driver.

Oh, well, once a naughty girl.....

Later I went to buy fruit from one of the roadside lorries and my conversation with the seller went like this:

Seller: Hello, bambina, how's the dog?
Me: She's fine, thank you. 2 kilos of mandarini, please.
Seller: You can have the crateful for 10 euros, bambina.
Me: Thank you but it's too heavy.
Seller [flexing his muscles]: I will carry it to your home, bambina.
Me: OK, then, and half a dozen apples, please.
Seller [putting 12 in the bag but only charging for 6]: For you, bambina.

Then he gestured to his mate to look after the lorry, loaded the crate onto his shoulder and followed me home.

"Always ready to help, bambina", he said as he took his leave.

It's at times like this that I remember how much I love Italy.

Can you tell from a glance at my kitchen table that I'm a British woman living in Sicily?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


This is an article of mine published in Italy Magazine today:

“The most horrible news to come out of Italy since World War II”, said the twitter feeds over the weekend, as the Italian government’s intention to force anyone uploading videos onto the internet to obtain a licence became clear. The comparison with World War II was an exaggeration, of course, but it does reflect how worried people are by the Berlusconi government’s repeated attempts to control what Italians see and do on the internet.

In 2007 there was an attempt to control bloggers, then, last year, in the wake of the attack on Mr Berlusconi, a proposal [later dropped] to impose tighter controls on social networking sites. Now, as part of a package of measures also affecting television, Paolo Romani, the Deputy Economic Development Minister and Communications Undersecretary, has drafted a bill which would effectively give the government control over what is uploaded onto the internet in video form. Websites such as You Tube would be unable to operate in Italy.

Google, which owns You Tube, has pointed out that the website, rather than creating video content, only makes it available to internet users. Marco Pancini, Google’s European Public Policy Counsel and Director of Institutional Relations of Google Italia has requested an urgent meeting with Mr Romani.

The government is claiming that the new law is necessary because of EU rules on product placement in videos. The draft law’s many opponents – from Constitutionalists to newspaper editors, actors and ordinary bloggers – all say that this is a ridiculous interpretation. The Articolo 21 Group, which defends freedom of speech in Italy, has launched a “Giù le mani dalla rete” [“Hands off the Net”] campaign.

What, then, is the real reason for this draft law? Some opponents of the government claim that it is part of a wider attempt to stifle free speech; others that its purpose is to serve the business interests of Mr Berlusconi by creating obstacles for his competitors in the television industry; still others that the government simply does not understand how the internet works. One thing is certain: if this law is passed Italy will be the only country in Western Europe to require private citizens to obtain government consent to upload video onto the internet. In the international press Italy is already being compared to Iran and China.


Not a post about Italy but a tribute to one of my favourite singers and songwriters, Kate McGarrigle, who died from cancer yesterday. She wrote this beautiful song in honour of Lena Spencer, the owner and inspiration of Caffè Lena in Saratoga, New York.

Thanks for the songs, Kate.

Monday, January 18, 2010


My 60th birthday is fast approaching and, as I can't stop it from happening, I've decided I might as well celebrate. So over the next few weeks I am going to share with you some thoughts, some things learned, some things I should have learned and anything else that comes into my head. As you will see, these thoughts are of a profound nature. Here's the first one for your edification:

Men want to play
women are nice
If I were that way
I wouldn't think twice.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I love this clip from Sabato, domenica e lunedi [1990] in which Sofia Loren, as Rosa Priore, argues with other women about the best recipe for a ragù. It is not so far removed from what could happen in an Italian butcher's today....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010


"In Sicily a promise is a debt" said a student of mine today as he handed me an enormous bag of fruit and vegetables. He is an agronomist and had said on Monday that he wanted me to taste some of his products. Now I am looking forward to a lovely, culinary weekend and I hope all of you have a good one, too.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Not a bottle of Amaretto [sorry, DD] but a bottle of Lucia's new olive oil, which she so kindly brought me today. It tastes divine!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


The image about Alzheimer's in the sidebar and above is explained in the last paragraph of this article of mine which was published in Italy Magazine today. Long-term readers of this blog will know that helping victims of this cruel disease and their families is a cause close to my heart.
From the negative image of the Italian South generated worldwide by the events reported in Monday’s story, we move to a positive and hopefully far-reaching discovery made by scientists there: Giovanni Scapagnini, a biochemist at the Medical Faculty of the Università degli Studi in Molise, has found that a molecule present in seaweed may help to protect the brain from developing Alzheimer’s disease. It may also be effective in the treatment of the disease.

The molecule, homotaurine, may, according to Dr Scapagnini’s research, help preserve the hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with memory. In trials carried out in Europe and the USA brain toxins were reduced in patients treated with a drug containing the molecule. These toxins are believed to be a factor in the development of the disease. The patients’ reasoning also improved.

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative form of dementia for which there is no cure at present and memory loss is only one of its many distressing symptoms. It is most often associated with ageing but it can strike younger people too, although this is rare.Often the family of a sufferer also become victims of the disease because its effects can be heartbreaking to witness. Over 35 million people are affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in the world and 7.3 million of them are in Europe. Over 1 million Italians are affected and it is estimated that there are 97,000 new cases in Italy every year. This amounts to a new case in Italy every 71 seconds. Dr Scapagnini estimates that by 2050 Alzheimer’s will affect three times as many people as it does today.

If you are in Italy between now and 31st January you can help Pronto Alzheimer, a helpline for sufferers and their families, by sending a text message to 48544 from any personal mobile phone connected to Wind, 3, Tim, Vodafone or Telecom Italia or by calling the same number from a Telecom Italia landline within Italy. Pronto Alzheimer will receive 2 euros for every message sent or call made.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


The aroma of these arancini mignon was too tempting for me to resist when I stopped to buy some meat on the way home. From left to right, they are filled with spinach, saffron, aubergine [front] and ragù [back].

And this morning Rosa brought me Albanian bakllava. She said it takes her and her sister-in-law nine hours to make bakllava. It was worth it, Rosa!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Just when I thought the feasting was over my friends Marco and Giovanna invited me to join them and their family of "little gentlemen" for pizza at a rather special restaurant in Frigintini [a village near Modica which is famous for its olive oil]. So off we all went on Saturday night to Il Valentino, which is in a converted masseria [farmhouse]:

Original features have been carefully preserved outside

and used to clever effect inside:

Now to the food. I had this pizza with fried pumpkin, sausage and ricotta

while Marco's sons each enjoyed a capricciosa

and Marco had a pizza with prawns and tomatoes:

For dessert there was semifreddo of almonds, which was to die for

or of ricotta, which the boys had:

At one point Marco looked around and remarked that, at 9pm, the room was full of families with their children and his own eight-year-old was enjoying a half-glass of beer, whereas in Britain the children would probably be in the care of a babysitter. He was right, of course, and I much prefer the Italian way of eating out.

I must also share with you a funny tale that Marco told me of an old, Sicilian countryside New Year's Eve tradition: he said that, at midnight, people celebrated by throwing all the old objects they didn't want out of the windows and if you happened to be in the street and got hit by one, well, that was your fault for being there!

Both food and service were excellent so we all had a lovely evening in a very pleasant atmosphere.


There have been some ugly scenes in Italy during the past week and this is my reaction:

First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer [1906 - 45].

Only this time, Italy and the world cannot plead ignorance as an excuse.

Update - 14.1.10: Thanks to jams at The Poor Mouth, who corrected the attribution of this quote. It is, in fact, by Martin Niemoller. Apologies.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I was delighted to receive this award from Bev of Romancing Italy last week. Do take a look at Bev's blog - she always has fascinating stories to tell and she takes great photos.

A condition of the award is that I have to tell you 7 things you may not know about me. As I've done this kind of post before and am fairly open about myself on my blog, that's not easy to do but let's see....

1. I was scared of dogs till I was 9, when my Dad bought me one.
2. I got medals for tap-dancing as a child.
3. I never learnt to skip. My coordination just wouldn't let me!
4. I can't sew to save my life.
5. I can't remember my natural hair colour - mousy-blond I think - as I've been "helping" it since I was 14. And I'm sure not going to look at what colour it is now!
6. One of my favourite films is La Dentellière because I can identify with the main character.
7. I hate money, am scared of it and am hopeless at managing it.

OK, now I have to pass the award on to 7 bloggers and I thought you'd like to meet some new friends of mine:

Carmen's Chronicles - Carmen's poetry will cheer you up.

A Welshie in Italy - read about Nerys's adventures.

Keeping Time - raising 2 girls in Italy.

Holly Berry's World - great photos of Sicily and of food!

Blografando - this is where I get those pretty Italian widgets in the sidebar.

The Garden Cat Cottage - a very creative lady.

Rochambeau - for the sheer beauty of her blog.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


Catania-born singer and songwriter Carmen Consoli is currently enjoying huge success on tour in North America. Enjoy this, from her new album Elettra:

Friday, January 08, 2010


This is an article of mine which was published in Italy Magazine this week. I have mentioned Adriana before on this blog and I thought that all of you would like to learn more about her, too:

Pat interviewed Adriana Iozzia, a 23-year-old soprano from Modica, who gave her first interview to Italy Magazine.

Pat: Adri, I’ve known you since you were 6 years old but it wasn’t until I heard you sing in a church choir when you were 9 that I realised you had the voice of an angel. When did you begin to sing?
Adriana: I’ve always sung, around the house or in church.

Pat: When did you take up singing seriously?
Adriana: When I was 17 a teacher from my school heard me sing and he suggested I take some private lessons, so I did, in Catania.

Pat: Where else have you studied music?
Adriana: At the Conservatorio in Parma and at l’Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome under Renata Scotto. I also studied at the Accademia Vignola in Modena under Mirella Freni.

Pat: Are you still studying?
Adriana: Yes, at the Conservatorio in Ferrara. I’m studying for the Biennio superiore in musica vocale di camera and I’ll finish in March. But you never stop studying music if you are a singer.

Pat: You’ve won several competitions, haven’t you? Can you tell us about a recent one?
Adriana: Yes, a few weeks ago I won the Premio Internazionale Vincenzo Bellini at Caltanissetta. I sang O Caro Nome from Rigoletto.
Pat: I’ve heard you sing that on your demo CD. It’s lovely.

Pat: Do you have any favourite composers?
Adriana: Bellini as he was Sicilian but I’m always interested in discovering new music.

Pat: What about favourite singers?
Adriana: Again, I always like to find new singers but I do follow Renata Scotto and Daniela Dessi, especially if I’m preparing a role. Renata Scotto always sings the first phrase absolutely right and it helps me interpret my role.

Pat: What is your repertoire?
Adriana: Lirico leggero and bel canto. Bellini, Verdi, Rossini and Donizetti suit my voice best.

Pat: Do you sing in languages other than Italian?
Adriana: Yes, I sing in French, Spanish, German, Russian and Welsh.
Pat: Do you have a language coach?
Adriana: No, I learnt by listening to other singers though I did study the phonetics of German.
Pat: And when did you have a chance to sing in Welsh?
Adriana: At a concert in Parma in 2007. I sang Beethoven’s Walische Lieder.

Pat: I have no idea what an opera singer has to study altogether and I imagine many of our readers would like to know what your life is like.
Adriana: I can tell you it’s not all about arias! We have to do physical work on our voices, vocal exercises and so on. Then, if I’m rehearsing a particular role, I have to prepare like an athlete, working on my breathing muscles, for instance. My teachers help me with technical difficulties and then I spend a lot of time working out how I want to interpret the role. I listen to singers from the past, like Rosa Ponselle. There are so many steps in preparing a role and of course I have to be a good actress, too.

Pat: I’ve read that an opera singer’s voice has to mature. Is this true?
Adriana: Yes, the voice is enriched as you get older. My voice has characteristics that I want it to keep but I want to add to them. The trick is to do this without losing anything. It’s like adding layers to the voice.
Pat: This didn’t happen for Callas, whom I know you admire, did it?
Adriana: Callas is a special case because by losing so much weight so drastically she became weak and strained her voice. It was a tragedy.

Pat: Do you have to follow any special diet?
Adriana: No. I just make sure that I eat healthily.

Pat: You have to watch the weather, don’t you?
Adriana: I have to be careful when it’s cold because if I get a sore throat I can’t sing. But I don’t make a fuss about it.

Pat: Do you suffer from stage fright?
Adriana: No, I 'm never afraid to go on stage – I just feel a little anxious because I want to do my best. But once I’m on stage it’s a great feeling.

Pat: Who chooses your stage clothes?
Adriana: If it’s a role, the director. If it’s a concert, I do.

Pat: What are your ambitions now?
Adriana: To sing opera as a soloist in theatres and to travel to sing. There aren’t many chances to sing in Sicily. There’s the Bellini Theatre in Catania and the Teatro Massimo in Palermo but that’s all, so I’ll have to travel.

Pat: Has your family encouraged you?
Adriana: Oh, yes, they’ve always supported me, both emotionally and in practical ways.

Pat: Adri, we hope that you achieve all your ambitions. Thank you so much for giving your first interview to Italy Magazine.
Adriana: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


The last of the Christmas feasts was a jolly lunch with Gino the artist, Linda and fourteen other lucky friends today. Gino had designed the table centre, using yellow winter jasmine and roses from his garden:

He had also made some pretty arrangements with pine cones:

This is Gino's 2009 presepe [crib] which he made with artist's clay:

Gino's elderly uncle remembered making crib figurines from natural clay because that was all he and his brothers had.

Now to the food. First of all there was spaghetti, which Gino is serving from this enormous bowl:

Then there was pork served with spinach, peppers and cauliflower:

Afterwards there was fresh fruit and desserts made by some of the guests. There was this yummy apple strudel,

this perfect, light fruit cake flavoured with chocolate

and I took along another batch of my white chocolate salame plus my standby semifreddo of marrons glacés:

Finally there was Stilton which Linda had bought in Britain at Christmas, with port and various homemade liqueurs.

No more feasting till my - aaargh! - sixtieth birthday, by which time I'll look like this:

But she's rather a nice befana, isn't she?


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