Posts Tagged ‘Lemons’

Welcome to all my Lovely Loyal and New Followers

“The bins have gone!  I knew it would happen, these silly new door to door plastic bin collection systems are spreading through the communities like an itchy rash!”  My man groans.  We had driven, as we have been doing for years, to ditch our rubbish in the big roadside bins.  But the community that still had the bins, had finally succumbed to this idiotic new system.  So, I decide to go to the Town Hall  and enquire about getting the silly little plastic coded bins to put outside our door.  As usual, I fail to get what I want, as I should have gone on Thursday or Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to a refuse site on the outskirts of town!  Nothing is straight forward or simplistic in Italy.

Georgio the Fiano's village cat. Photo J Finnigan

Georgio Fiano’s village cat.
Photo J Finnigan

Back in the relaxing environment of Laura’s Alimentare/bar in Fiano, we enjoy our morning coffee and watch Giorgio the big village male cat licking his chops outside the door, and waiting for a ungaurded moment when he can dash in.  He will have already visited the local butcher on his way here and downed a view stomach fulls of meaty bits.  Laura shouts ‘Giorgio’ in a mock angry voice as he sneaks in between a customer’s legs and makes for the gap between the counters.  He has the desired effect though, as Laura encourages him back out rattling a box of cat biscuits to a bowl that has a permanent place outside the door.  We all know that he would rather be up under the glass of the delicatessen counter where all the meats and cheeses are.  Then we see Laura sneaking back out with a hand full of ham!

Our lovely Thanks Giving host, Judy Witts Francini. Photo J Finnigan

Our lovely Thanks Giving host, Judy Witts Francini.
Photo J Finnigan

Fast forward to last Saturday evening when our social life went up a notch, as we joined our lovely host Judy Witts Francini, http://www.devinacucina.com, and new friends, for our very first Thanks Giving Supper, at Ristorante Latini near Certaldo.  Visit http://www.ristorantelatini.com   Of course, the traditional fare is stuffed Turkey with all the trimmings, however, we were really delighted when Chiara served up specially prepared and fabulous vegetarian dishes to myself and my man.  The food just kept coming and the wine bottles kept refilling themselves.  We were even given a doggy bag full of the vegi stuffing mix, which I have frozen to use at Christmas!  We were so impressed with the food we are going to pop back for lunch this week, and the next, and the next…… Thank you again to Judy and Chiara as we know they spent two days preparing the feast for a understandibly packed restaurant.

Back at the villa, you may recall that we discovered a lemon tree full of fruit, at the end of the orange grove.  Well, it seems that our local contadino (country worker) had expected to harvest them for the landlady, and found them gone.  She sent me an email you see, to make sure they had not been stolen by hunters, so I confessed to having picked them.  We always pick the oranges and she hadn’t complained before.  We had to snigger though, when we first arrived here, the same contadino secretly sneaked into our garden and took a huge quantity of Mimosa flowers from our tree.  It was only when I cornered him, that he confessed to it.  So one in the eye to him!

Silvio rising to the occasion again. AFP Photo/Tiziana

Silvio rising to the occasion again.
AFP Photo/Tiziana

And finally, what has the handsome Silvio Berlusconi been up to?  Would you believe it?  SB is proposing a new currency to tackle the economic crisis!  This is not to replace the Euro, but to exist alongside, thus restoring its monetary sovereignty.  SB announced his idea on “No Tax Day” which took place last Saturday.  I have no idea what the day actually achieved, but then we are constantly scratching our heads in wonderment here in Italy and carrying on regardless.  The notion of rejecting the Euro has become very popular in Italy, so SB is definitely re-building his popularity.  Our ladies’ man rises to the occasion yet again!

Well, enough of that.  I have a big work load this week so must crack on.  Buon Lavoro to you all.

Do drop me a line, and below is a direct link for an excellent Christmas present for you readers.

Ciao June x


You can also visit http://www.amazon.com and http://www.amazon.eu to view ‘My Father, The Assassin by J W Finnigan

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Ciao and Welcome to all my Loyal and new followers,

“I hadn’t got rid of the last one and now I’ve caught another one!”  My man is hunched in the passenger seat of the car, having just been collected by my good self from Certaldo Station.  The poor thing had just flown back to Pisa from London and an English cold virus had got him again .  “I already had some antibiotics, now I’ll have to go back and see Flavio again for some more.”  His face was as long as could be.  “Don’t worry, lovely man,” I smiled, “the forecast is for a sunny weekend, you’ll be as right as rain by Monday!”  “Humph.” He groaned.

Freshly harvested oranges and lemons. Photo P Finnigan

Freshly harvested oranges and lemons.
Photo P Finnigan

Farty Barty on the frame over the orange grove wondering what the fuss is all about. Photo P Finnigan

Farty Barty on the frame over the orange grove wondering what the fuss is all about.
Photo P Finnigan

By the end of a lovely warm sunny Sunday, he was cheerfully enjoying an aperitivo in glorious sunshine, having also had lunch outside on the upper terrace earlier on.  “Ah this is the life.” He sighed.  And he was quite right.  Just when we were beginning to think that the cold damp weather was here forever, the hot mediterranean sun broke through, bathing us in that all important vitamin D.  In the garden, much work was needed, in particular the ground was covered in dead leaves including the big floppy fig leaves that make a plopping sound as they hit the ground.  Alessandro, the local contadino, who looks after the land below the house, arrived unexpectedly and started violently pruning the fruit trees.  My man was rather annoyed, as he had planned to do this himself, and he is very experienced at it.  The workers also cut down the beautiful row of Firethorn, which bordered our garden with the orchard, unfortunately we were out having our morning coffee when this happened!  I guess it will all grow back again.  The good news, however, is that our view has been dramatically opened out and this morning the man is really happy as he has found a mature lemon tree in full fruit, in what we had thought was only an orange grove!

Back in the countryside we are seeing whole olive trees being cut down.  This follows the disastrous olive harvest due to blight and insects.  Lets hope that new saplings will be planted to replace them.  On the other hand, the grape harvest was really good.  My man went down to our friend and vineyard owner with all our empty Chianti bottles for refills.  My man liked to do the corking with a hand-operated corking machine, but this time he was impressed to find that this was now automated!  There was a new narrow metal conveyor belt on which the empty bottles traveled along and when they reached a certain point, a cork was automatically punched in.  He just had to wait at the end, take off the corked bottles and put them in a box!  Then horror of horrors, he had a box under each arm and spotted our friend’s Smart Phone traveling along the conveyor and could only shout a warning.  The thing only just escaped being corked!

Siena Cake Photo J Finnigan

Siena Cake
Photo J Finnigan

Last weekend, I bought my first annual piece of Siena Cake.  Now this is a close as I can get to the taste of a typical English Christmas Cake.  It is made with figs, nuts and chocolate powder, and some other secret ingredients, crushed under a press.  All cooks have their own recipes, however, this one was purchased at Osteria La Gramola, in Tavernelle who use the original one from Siena.  Now some of you clever foodies out there will probably put me right, or at least explain the other ingredients.  Speaking of which, and I’m sure she won’t mind my mentioning it, my good neighbour and celebrity cook, Judy Witts Francini, knows everything there is to know about Tuscan cooking.  You should visit her website and go along to one of her residential cooking classes, or at least buy her books.  Fantastic!  Visit http://www.divinacucina.com

Well, I think enough said for now.  I’ll endeavour to bring you some good news about Silvio Berlusconi next week.

Amore June x

PS Here is the direct link for an ideal Christmas present.




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