BOAVISTA: THE SOUTH TOUR

From time to time, I often look at my photos of Cabo Verde: they just make me dream. Today I’ll show you some rare seascape of the south-west coast of Boavista, which presents the most beautiful and neverending beaches.

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We made this adventurous excursion on a quad, which is quite the only way, together with an off-road vehicle, to visit this part of the island.The most famous beach in the south is Praia Santa Monica, about 18 km lenght, at 6 km from a small village named Provoacao Velha. We arrived here from a dirt patch of red sand, crossing the montainous up-country, which reminds me the limitless spaces of California.The panorama deserved all the long curvy way done to reach it.

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Driving again on the uneven road, we stopped close to the ruins of Curral Velho, an ancient fishermen village, where you can visit the old salinas: if you have the chance to be alone in this place, you could really hear the “sound of silence”, interrupted only by the wind and the breaking waves.

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The south of this island offers really some suggestive glimpses: don’t miss the opportunity to observing wild birds living in the marshlands near the ocean; and last but not least, to drive on a pick-up throughout the ancient volcano craters (today extinguished): quite a lunar landscape.

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On the way back, we often stopped to take some shots of the beaches in the nearby, like Curral Velho and Ervatao, with a declining ocean bottom: places like these are ideal habitat for sea turtles (Caretta Caretta), which punctually every summer return here to lay the eggs under the careful look of the volunteers of the environmental associations.

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Another great beach where you could stopping by, returning toward Sal Rei, is Varadihna: its peculiarity are high rocks on the oceanfront, that the water has eroded, shaping many caves. In this area of the island, in the late afternoon, is possible to sight some sharks swimming next to the seaside.

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Next time I’ll tell you more about a night excursion to see turtles laying eggs on the beach, and about the people we met in Boavista.

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: POLPETTE DI PATATE E GAMBERI

Hello! Last week I was so busy that i couldn’t cook a bit even on Friday and make it in time for Fiesta Friday…so sad! This week I made a super easy and delicious second course, polpette (balls) with potatoes and shrimps, just ideal if you have few time.

INGREDIENTS: (4 PERSONS)

– 4 potatoes
– shrimps, already cleaned;
– 1 egg
– 2 or 3 milk spoon
– bread crumbs
– parsley
– garlic, salt & pepper
– nutmeg

PREPARATION:

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Fisrt of all, peel the potatoes and wash them under the water. Put the potatoes in a pot and let them boil for 30-40 minutes. When they’re ready, you’ll squash them with a fork (you could use also a vegetable mill) to obtain a purée. In the meanwhile, wash the shrimps under the water and cook them with steam for 10 minutes. Whip them a little in the mixer, paying attention not to make a too refined mixture. Put together the whipped shrimps with the potatoes, add garlic and parsley chopped finely. Finally, add nutmeg, salt and pepper.

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The final step is to shape the polpette: then let them pass first into the beaten egg together with 2 spoon of milk, then into the bread crumbs. Fry them in lot of seed oil. When they became golden on the surface, you’ll drip them on the blotting paper to eliminate the oil in excess. Polpette are now ready to be served hot.

UPDATE OF THE SATURDAY MORNING
Yesterday I cooked really a lot! I would like to share another dish I made, a soup with spelt, cannellini beans and shrimps. Here the recipe:

INGREDIENTS: (4 PERSONS)

– 250/300 gr spelt (already precooked)
– tomato sauce
– parsley –
– a can of cannellini beans;
– 20/25 shrimps tail
– vegetable broth
– salt&pepper

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PREPARATION:

In a pot, make a sauté with extra-virgin olive oil, onion and garlic, if you like it; then add the tomato sauce and let it go on a low heat. You add first the vegetable broth, then, when the broth has been well absorbed, the spelt: cook it for 15-20 minutes. In the meanwhile, in a frypan, cook the cannellini beans with extra-virgin olive and garlic. Add the shrimps, already cleaned, and add some chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Put the cannellini beans and the shrimps into the pot with the tomato sauce and the spelt. Let the spelt take the flavour of the shrimps for some minutes, then you could serve the soup. Buon Appetito!Cris

DISCOVERING CABOVERDE

In August we planned a trip to Boavista Island, located in Cabo Verde archipelago. The island is in the middle of Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Western Africa. Capo Verde, (in Portuguese Cabo Verde, in Creole Cabu Verde, Cábu Vêrdi o Kabu Verde) is composed by ten volcanic islands, and it’s located at 500 km from Senegalese oceanfront.

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The archipelago has a great environmental heritage , only recently discovered by tourism operators.”Capo Verde” is so called because of the place of Cap-Vert, Senegal, which is the westernmost point of continental Africa. These islands, previously uninhabited, were discovered by Portugal during 15th century. After the discovery, they became center of the commerce of human slaves and later, the place where cargos and whaling ships stopped to supply with coal.
In 1975, Capo Verde gain finally indipendence from Portugal. In this period, Guinea-Bissau and Capo Verde was together under a common government. Both of the countries considered the opportunity of unify theirselves till the 1980, when in Guinea- Bissau took place a coup d’état, after which the inhabitants of Capoverde founded their own faction, called PAICV, (Partido Africano da Independência de Cabo Verde).

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Before visiting Boa Vista, I occasionally watched documentary about this place, and i always thought that it was just a heavenly place. Boa Vista is the nearest island to the African coast, and it’s called the sand island, because of the Viana Desert, created from the Sahara sands brought here from the winds. It is located in the northwestern part of the island, east of the towns Rabil and Sal Rei. Boa Vista is a wild island, with few but welcoming inhabitants, neverending beaches, and dirt patches to explore.

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These are some shots taken at our arrive: we were in a tiny bungalow just in front of the ocean, on Praia de Chavez, a beautiful white sand neverending beach: early in the morning we took promenades on the beach, seing the fishermen coming back from work with their boats, and founding some locals (also senegalese) who sell souvenirs (not too much typical, however). They often stopped us ’cause they were curious about where we came from. I heard too some impressive stories about people who came from abroad and now living and working in Capo Verde.

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Another thing you could notice right away is that the people has music into thier veins: music is all ever, every time of the day: the music of Capo Verde is suggestive, it absorbs african influences, portoguese, caribbean and brasilian ones. The musical genre par excellence is the “morna”, a sort of lyrical and melancholic song, singed in creole. Other popular musics spreaded in the islands are  coladeira, la kizomba, la funaná e il batuque. Among the artists most appreciated abroad there is Cesária Évora, traditional singer of morna e Ildo Lobo.

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Cabo Verde is just fascinating. Most of the people has both portoguese and africain progeny; they speak Portoguese as official language, but everybody uses Creole ( a strange mix of Portuguese and Africain). Sal and Boavista are the most touristic island: here we always found people who spoke currently Italian: my first suggestion is to put yourselves completely in the hands of the locals, they will help you find everything you need and it’s the fastest way to know more about the place you’re visiting. For us this has been a beautiful experience. In the next travel post we’ll explore better the island!Cris

AUTUMN MOOD

Welcome fall again! I must say that I especially love autumn warm shades of colours. This is a period of the years in which furniture companies refresh the textile sample cases, so we’re receiving new fabrics, cushions, curtains, and so on .. Let’s sneak a peek among the new colours for the season!

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These are two of my favourite colours combos (from the book: “Enciclopedia degli schemi di colore” by Anna Starmer): fashionable colours during fall are kakhi, sand, prune, also sage green and blue-grey. These colours add vitality, sense of deep and serenity in the rooms. I noticed that the prevalent choice,afterall, is between shades of hot and warm colours, to warm up the home and also the mood. Really cozy are deep red, yellow, ochre, orange, and also all the colors of the earth.

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I must say that woods (light tones) have the undisputed “main role” in this season, because wood connect us to nature, to the changing of season, and it’s pleasant to surround ourselves with wood elements at home, with its natural shades and organic texture: it’s perfect to confer to the ambience a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere.

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Together with the colours and the materials, the choice of the textiles is even more important for a confortable ambience: between the fabrics, you could choose both the wool and the cotton, mixing them up together.  A new quilt or carpet will be great to renovate your home.

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Finally, returning to the earth and the wooden details, you may also create a new centrepiece and other home decorations with pine cones, branches, barries and dry leaves. Good work! Hoping you’ll be inspired by all these suggestions! Cris