POSTCARDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD: PARIS

“Come artista, un uomo non ha altra patria in Europa che Parigi.” 
“As an artist, a man has no other country in Europe than Paris.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: LASAGNETTA DI PASTA FILLO CON VERDURE

Hello! This Friday for Fiesta Friday I’ll propose to you a “single course” really easy to make. I called it “lasagna” because I made three layers with pasta phillo sheets -instead of using egg pasta-, stuffed with vegetables, prosciutto cotto (boiled ham) and mozzarella. This is my version, but you could add/remove some of the ingredients, I’m sure you’ve a lot of fantasy 🙂

INGREDIENTS (4 persons)

– 250 gr pasta phillo;
– the yolk of an egg;
– two big potatoes;
– two zucchini;
– two carrots;
– 100 gr of prosciutto cotto;
– 1 mozzarella:
– salt, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil
– garlic (if you like it)
– chopped parsley and rosemary

PREPARATION:

Fisrt of all, you need to boil the vegetables: cut the potatoes, the zucchini and the carrots finely in slices, then put it in the hot water on the stove; wait till the vegetables are boiled. Previously, a couple of hours before, you will have taken out the pasta phillo from the refrigerator: the pasta needs to be at room temperature.
Spread out the pasta phillo (two or three sheet together, the lasagnetta must be thicker because of the many ingredients inside) and cut it of the right size. (i cutted it into a rectangular shape, but you could make also some square little lasagnette); brush the pasta on the surface with the egg yolk, then you can start to create the different layers of the lasagnetta.

20140912_121319

I started with the cutted in slices “prosciutto cotto”, which made the base for the vegetables (pay attention to “squeeze” a bit the vegetables to take out the water in excess), otherwise you may rip the pasta phillo underneath)

20140912_121429

Then I added the mozzarella cheese, in tiny bites, to melt the ingredients during the cooking. After this first layer, you can add the vegetables. (I suggest to flavour them before you put them in the lasagnetta: I used salt, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, finely chopped parsley and rosemary to flavour potatoes, carrots and zucchini)

20140912_121751

This is the result of the firsts two layers: then you could restart the filling: two-three sheets of pasta phillo, then again the “prosciutto cotto” with mozzarella cheese, and finally the vegetables. Then put on the top the remaining sheets of pasta phillo and brush with the remaining egg yolk.

20140912_131452

20140912_131458

Put the lasagnetta in the oven at 180° C for 10 minutes. This is the final result: hoping that you’ll try it.I would like to ear from you some other possible versions of the lasagnetta. Buon Appetito!

GUEST POST: DISCOVERING EDIMBURGH

It’s a great peasure for me to introduce you a new topic on the blog: from now on, “The Blog around The Corner” will have some special guests writing about travel&food, photography&interiors! Nice, isn’t it! Of course, every one of you, if you wish,  is invited to make a special post for me, I would be really honoured.
I’ve been contacted by Raffaella, the author, for the first time by mail: she proposed to me to publish a short article about travel on my blog, and in the beginning, I was so surprised! Then I became really proud of this, and I just loved the idea. I don’t know really much Raffaella, but she has some qualities I could’nt ignore: she’s a traveller like me; she makes beautiful photographies (like me?!) and she likes to share with others her travel experiences (like me!) so… for today I leave the blog to Raffaella!

Catching Ghosts in Edimburgh. Scotland is a country that offers travellers beautiful and, at the same time, spiritual surprises: from Medieval castles to secluded beaches, from remote lakes to art cities, first of all its capital Edinburgh. The city lies on a series of gentle hills, on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, a fjord of glacial origin where the River Forth flows into the North Sea.In virtue of its numerous neoclassical monuments, its intellectual atmosphere and its tendency to holding cultural events, Edinburgh is often compared to ancient Athens and even referred to as Athens of the North. The historical parts of the city, namely the Old Town and the New Town, are so rich in monuments that they were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO back in 1995. Let’s start our tour with the most representative building in Edinburgh, that is…

castle

Edinburgh Castle. This is the second most visited building in the United Kingdom, after the Tower of London. In years, it has become an authentic symbol not only for Edinburgh, but for the whole Scotland. Just take a look at it and you will be pervaded by dreamlike suggestions.

edimburgh-castle

The Castle’s origins go really back in time: there is evidence that the rock (the so-called Castle Rock), upon which the Castle sits, was inhabited since the Iron Age or even earlier, although it is difficult to estimate what type of human settlement it was. Starting from the Medieval period, the Rock became a royal seat; from the 15th century onwards, this royal role declined and the Castle was mainly used as a military garrison. What we see today is the result of centuries of changes and restorations according to the tastes and fashions of the different epochs.

The Dark Side of the Castle.Visiting Edinburgh Castle is not only a journey through time: it is also a way to get to know the dark side of this enigmatic city.Perhaps most of people ignore that the soil where the Castle stands is cursed: between the 16th and 18thcentury, at least 300 people accused of witchcraft were burned on the esplanade, just in front of the entrance. Many are the ghosts living in the Castle, according to the legend. I personally was particularly impressed by the story of a bagpiper that was sent underground to explore some secret tunnels leading from the Castle to the Royal Mile and simply vanished with no trace. Sometimes, people say, his music can still be heard. The Edinburgh Castles also has some underground prisons where prisoners were kept to be tortured: many of them never saw the light again and perished in the Castle dungeons. Legend has it that their ghosts are still wandering there. For prices, opening hours and booking online, you can have a look at the official site of the Castle.

-visit_to_Grassmarket

Grass-market Square. It is said to be one of the most macabre places in the city, the market-place where public executions took place. The spirits of the executed people, according to the legend, are still there… I am not sure whether I was only influenced by it, but to be totally honest there was a strange atmosphere in the square. (Have a go if you dare! Then let me know..)

around-royal-mile

The Royal Mile. It is the main street of the Old Town, connecting the Castle to the Palace of Holyrood House. On either side of the road, an intricate system of narrow passages and steep alleys (called closes) opens up; all around, high and grey palaces close the vision. They say the spirits of the people who died during the plague in 1644, when hundreds of men and women were walled up alive in their homes, are still trapped in the area. One of the most famous close is the one of Mary King that was re-opened to the public in 2003. A visit to it is highly recommended.

pub-deacon-brodies

Food in Edinburgh. Where to eat in Edinburgh? The answer is easy: taverns! Along the Royal Mile, you will find plenty of them. Personally, I recommend the Deacon Brodie’s Tavern, an authentic Scottish pub with delicious food and very accessible prices. Have a look at what people say about it here. The last time I have been to Edinburgh, I tried this café-bar called the Pottery Shed where I had a supreme battered haddock. (please read the reviews on Tripadvisor ).

walking-through-the-royal-mile

victoria-street

Sleeping in Edinburgh. When visiting a city, I guess most of tourists opt for a nice hotel in a central position so they can use it as the perfect starting point for their tours. Even better if the hotel’s rooms offer beautiful views on the city and its Castle. Then, if the hotel in question has an indoor pool, free Wi-Fi, a restaurant overlooking a beautiful private garden and a lounge bar for aperitifs and snacks, there is no questioning the choice. Here is my personal choice after a long research on the net: the 4-star Crowne Plaza at 18 Royal Terrace, right in the heart of Edinburgh, at the most convenient price I could find. Also, friends have mentioned to me a website specialized in renting holiday apartments and houses: I guess it could be worth a try if you are not fond of hotels, but actually prefer to enjoy the freedom of an independent accommodation.

crowne-plaza

How to get to Edinburgh. Reaching the Scottish capital is easy and convenient thanks to a good range of economic flights from the main low-cost companies, like Ryanair, Easyjet or Vueling. If you want to be sure to get the most convenient ticket, then you should browse sites like Skyscanner that compares a large numbers of cheap flights from different lines in few seconds. Personally, I have never tried it, but friends that have used it told me it was really easy to find the plane they were looking for.

See?Raffaella sure has the gift to explain things without being boring: she go straight to the point and give to us many practical advices for a fantastic trip in Edimburgh, sharing with us her own great experience. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have more questions for her!

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: FAGOTTINI RIPIENI DI GAMBERI&PATATE

Hello!Finally some time to make “experiments” with cooking!For this Friday I made a very simple appetizer, fagottini filled with shrimps and potatoes. I found a confection of pasta phillo at the fish market, so i had the temptation to try to make this common appetizer on my own. (i never tried before, i only tasted them at the restaurant or watched some recipes somewhere)

INGREDIENTS: (for 10-12 fagottini)

– 1 confection of pasta fillo 250 gr;
– 150-200 gr shrimps (already cleaned)
– 2 big potatoes
– some parsley (important to hold some parsley stem by)
– extra-virgin olive oil
– salt&pepper (or other spices, if you like)

20140905_192844

First of all, take out of the fridge the phillo pasta, a couple of hour before you use it; in the meanwhile, cook the potatoes (without peel) in the salted hot water till they’re boiled; took out the water in excess (squeezing them a bit) and let them cool down; in another frypan, chop finely the shrimps and cook them with extra-virgin olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper.

20140905_193432

When shrimps are ready, spread out the phillo pasta sheets and put the stuffing (shrimps with potatoes) in the center of the sheets, paying attention not to rip up the phillo pasta underlying (my advice is to brush the pasta with an egg yolk); to close the fagottino, took the extremities of the sheet and bring them together towards the center; in the meanwhile, took a parsley stem (without leaves) and tie the fagottino. Cook the fagottini in the oven for 10 minutes at 180° C, till they become golden.

20140905_200204

Buon Appetito!

FUERTEVENTURA: CORRALEJO&ISLA DE LOS LOBOS

This is the third and last appointment before saying “goodbye” to Fuerteventura: after crossing the hinterland, today we’ll explore the north of the island. Are you ready?Let’s go!

THE NORTH TOUR

Corralejo has recovered pretty well in times and nowadays remains one of the most popular resorts on the island. It was once a small fishing village, now growned into a lively colourful small town. Luckily, Corralejo has managed to retain its original charm and atmosphere, and there are still white sandy beaches near the town centre, where you can ‘drop down’ and soak up the Canarian sunshine.

IMG_5453

IMG_5449b

Near Corralejo, more exactly just beyond the town, there is a natural protected reserve of Sahara’s sand dunes. The dunes spread for miles along the east coast and this is what makes Corralejo such a popular resort. No building work is obviously allowed on this area. We suggest, after rolling along the dunes, to stroll around Corralejo streets, where you can still find some of the original houses in Corralejo: these are simple and quaint but most have now been transformed into shops and restaurants.

IMG_5483

Following the road signs in the area you’ll arrive in El Cotillo, (pronounced ‘El Coateeyo’) a small rustic little fishing village, dedicated to the Virgin of good travel (Virgin de Buen Viaje). Situated on the northwest corner of Fuerteventura, El Cotillo is a peaceful place but it offers some good accommodations. If you turn left at the end of the main road in Cotillo, you’ll go ahead towards the cliffs: from here there are several footpaths that lead down to the Playa del Castillo, one of the nicest beaches in this region: here you’ll find nothing but steely blue sky, dark blue ocean with white foam, and fine white sand. This is truly the surfing and windsurfing Mecca of the island.

IMG_5480

IMG_5487

The best advice here is to only enter the water if the waves are reasonably gentle-looking. This is normally during the summer months. If it’s windy, (a lot of the time it is!) there are several nice places for sheltered sunbathing between the lava stones. The area along the cliff tops is really only suited for four-wheel-drive vehicles which can easily travel along the rough roads. Most of these superb white beaches with crystal clear lagoons have pedestrian access. On the cliffs near to the town center, south of the harbor and overlooking the sea, is the Fortaleza del Tostón: this round shaped fort was built in the late 1790’s to defend against invading pirates. The old harbor, with its small bars and restaurants, is the most picturesque part of town and it is here you’ll find most of the bars and restaurants.

20130829_125645

With just a short boatride away from the port of Corralejo you’ll find the Nature Reserve of Lobos almost churchlike in its peace and tranquillity. You’ll have the wonderful view back to Fuerteventura and the chance to spot plants and birds not to be found anywhere else on the planet. Above all, an experience of serenity and privilege awaits those that make the little effort required. To reach it,there are some small boats that do go to Lobos, every thirty minutes.In days gone by, Lobos was home to a dense populations of seals – ‘lobos del mar’ (Sea Wolves) hence the island’s name.Today it’s home to different seabirds that nest in the cliffs and rocks.

IMG_5504

IMG_5507

To end the tour in the heart of the island, we made a short visit in the county seat, Puerto del Rosario: it is a small town with a quiet city center, with graceful houses with coloured walls or windows. This is the commercial center of the island, with the airport and the commercial port.
Despite that, last year we found many shops closed and abandoned by people who move permanently to Spain. We felt sorry for this, because we understood that the economical crisis reached also these islands, even if supported by tourism.