Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘olives’

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around The World,

Espresso facts. Do you know precisely how a traditional Italian espresso is made? I found this extract from an article in visittuscany.com wiritten by Flavio Cori. “Un Caffè” is an espresso: only 25 ml of water. A perfect one has an even brown cream on top and must be ready in less than 30 seconds.
“Caffè lungo” is obtained by draining more water than usual. A long coffee, although it is less dense, contains more caffeine than an espresso.” My man and I prefer the Lungo! We always start the day with a due lungi and a chat.

“I’m torn between writing my blog and going down to the sound studio and doing a bit of singing.” I sigh. My man smiled his melting smile across the table, which separated us in Bar Quercetto, formerly known as our sitting room, whilst cupping his second espresso lungo in his right hand. “Well, it is Sunday and executive decisions are difficult to make on a weekend. Why don’t you go down to the sound studio and write your blog there?” He suggests. I think about this, but I know I will be distracted by my music and I cannot write with music playing. I take my bowl of fruit and bufala mozzerella to my study desk and start writing. The decision is made.

Yesterday, Saturday, was a fabulous sunny day. A gentle breeze and hot sunshine. If you have not visited Tuscany in late Autumn and Winter, you should know that the sun is always hot here, that’s when it is shining of course. The air temperature can be very chilly but if you take your folding chair to a sunny sheltered spot you will be lovely and warm and even catch the sun! A wonderful time of year. My man and I enjoyed a bottle of Toscana Bianco before lunch sitting on our favourite bench under the younger oak tree. Acorns were falling like pebbles, bouncing off branches before landing on the grass surrounding us. Any minute we were expecting one to land in our wine or on our heads! Here is a rare picture of my man hiding behind his wine glass, bless him.

Today, we received our first Christmas card from the UK. I hear that festive trees are being bought early as if lockdown is feeding the mind with the need to bring the big day foreward! Not so here, no sign of anything festive in our local village of Fiano yet. My man is not going out at all, whilst I go to the village twice weekly for water refills and groceries. But I am prompted to think about on-line shopping for presents as time is rushing by and at least it’s something fun to do at this time. Last night, my man and I decided on getting any of the latest Bourne Series and Matrix on DVD for ourselves. Foto The Guardian

My man said to me earlier, “You know, you should write more about yourself in the blog, not constantly talking about handbags and shoes. Readers what to know what you are up to here in Tuscany.” “Well, I do actually talk about myself,” I snorted. “I spend a lot of my free time, which is limited, window shopping handbags, shoes and fashion! It’s what I do!” He sighed. So anyway, here is a beautiful outfit for you to drool over, gorgeous cut and quality and made in Italy of course. https://www.luisaspagnoli.it/

What else? Oh yes, I thought you would like to know that the beautiful weather has brought out the olive pickers in ‘droves to the groves.’ We can hear the whining of the mechanical hand held pickers and the shouting and laughing of the contadini. (Country folk) Can’t wait for that first cold pressed tasting of the green nectar.

Well, I must sort out some fotos for you and add them in. Then I must get down to the Sound Studio and do at least a couple of songs before lunch. Phew!

Do drop me a line. I would like to know what you would like to hear from Tuscany and our little bit of Chianti. I know that lots of you are really missing being here, I’m sorry about that.

Thinking of you all, stay safe and well.

Salute June x

Read Full Post »

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Now, we have lived here in our beautiful bit of Tuscany for sixteen years and other than the country sinking below the waves, I will certainly spend the rest of my life living in Italy. So what, you may ask, has got me so rankled? Well, we are asked to complete two Attestazione di Iscrizione Anagrafica (Certificate of Registration) due to Brexit. So my man and I called into the office in Certaldo, were given two forms each and an appointment for the next day at 9.30. We were instructed to get the top of all four forms stamped by a tabacchi (sells Tobacco, stamps and lottery tickets). So off we went for the stamps. After going into two tabacchi we discovered that they no longer sell stamps and we would have to go to the Post Office. I waited in the car until my man came out and he said, “You’ll never believe it, we must go back to a tabacchi and ask for a Marco di Bollo, which is different to a Francobollo (postage stamp) the latter being what used to be used!” He raced back into a tabacchi and returned with his purchase. “The ruddy stamps cost sixteen euros each, so I just spent sixty-four euros for forms that no-one needs!” He groaned. Anyway, the next day at nine-thirty the forms were completed and just when we were about to leave, the embarrassed young man said, “Err, you need to pay us fifty-two cents for each form!” He pointed to the top left hand corner of the forms and there it was in print, another euro and eight cents were handed over and he responded by handing us our two copies. Shall we send an invoice to Boris?

Anyway, on to brighter things and the subject of the Olive Harvest, which is in full flow. Brightly coloured nets stretch out over the grassy slopes under the olive trees and we can hear the strange whining of the hand held electric pickers echoing across the valleys. There are thousands of groves in Tuscany, some so small that hand picking for family consumption is all that is required. Others big and commercialised. We are generally gifted a bottle of the green nectar as soon as it is cold-pressed; fresh bread for dipping or drizzled over toast and garlic is just to die for!

Also, the fruit harvest is producing delicious plums and pears. We have a bowl of chopped fruit every day for breakfast; I confess to adding some Mozzarella di Bufala to mine. Now before we moved to Italy, I had not discovered Mozzarella di Bufala or Burrata, an even creamier verson of the former. If you have not eaten these heavenly cheeses before, please do. The only danger is you could get addicted. But hey, life eeez good, life eeez now!

What else? Well, I don’t have a lot of spare time on my hands, but I am doing a little more on-line window shopping. As you know I love Italian Fashion and try to keep up with what is happening here in Italy. Like the rest of the world, the fashion industry is struggling here, particularly if they have not got a good on-line site. But yesterday, I realised that it’s pointless thinking of buying new clothes when Covid is keeping us at home. But hang on a minute! We need to go out for groceries so window shopping for cuddly coats and boots is OK. And, amongst James Lakeland’s lovely coat selection, made in Italy, I found this gorgous faux fur snuggly look. Hurrah! http://www.jameslakeland.net

So, now it’s time to tuck-in and be grateful for our comfortable home in the Chianti countryside. Good Wine, olives, cheeses, fruit and autumn vegetables, all readily available and of course Amore. Time to light the log fire and enjoy an aperitivo with my man. The next month or so we are returning to plan A and lockdowning by choice. What will you be doing?

Have a great week, stay safe and secure.

Salute June x

Ps. Visit my author site at http://www.junefinnigan.website

Read Full Post »

Welcome and Benvenuto to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

TELEMMGLPICT000213558850_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqN_gmPEf4gh9KGKN0H_DnHzvQzZCz4snK584jwNUNHokBefore I start, I must apologise.  I have spent most of the weekend watching the Rugby World Cup, instead of writing to you.  So I trust you can forgive me for making this blog a little shorter than usual as it is already lunchtime on Sunday!  What a great match yesterday, England played incredibly well, the poor All Blacks couldn’t even get a look in.  So today’s match  between Wales and South Africa was rather an anti-climax.  Anyway, now we know that the final next weekend will be England vs South Africa.  Make sure you diary date to watch it!  Foto UK Telegraph

Ooops, sorry, just realised that I have been waxing lyrical about Rugby and you have tuned in to read about Tuscany.   To make up for this I am posting some gorgeous fotos of the autumn colour that currently surrounds us and hope that you can enjoy it as much as we are.  The vineyards develop lines of colour due to the planting of different grape varieties in one field.  This results in the gorgeous range of colours including yellow, gold, bronze and red.  Driving through the hills this morning we were able to enjoy some autumn canvases that are difficult to photograph and need to be seen here to really appreciate.  Sorry about that. But here are some lovely shots.

 

 

2019-10-21 10.57.41I must also mention that the local farmers are very busy with the olive harvest and brightly coloured nets are spread out under the trees.  The harvest started over a week ago, and whilst this year may be a little less productive due to the nasty fly again, the oil should be very nice indeed.  We also have some lovely productive pomegranate bushes.  I’m never quite sure how best to use the fruits, but I I’m sure you will come up with some ideas.  Drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net or leave a message below.  

2019-10-27 13.24.32Well, must dash off to lunch, but will add a little more to this blog when I return.  OK, I’m back and ready to tidy this blog and get it off to you.  But before I go I thought you might like to enjoy this bottle of Sticciano’s Cantastorie Rosso with me, which my man and I had with lunch at C’era una Volta Ristorante.  Ooops sorry, we finished it off.  Oh well, perhaps next time!

Have a great week and do visit my website at My Site

Salute June x

 

All Fotos, unless otherwise marked, J Finnigan.

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

I’m back, and thank heavens for that.  After a particularly nasty cold virus I went for the best possible way of recuperation and booked a five-star hotel on the coast for a couple of nights.  My man and I popped over to the Hotel Grande Imperiale in Forte dei Marmi, just a two-hour drive from here.  The hotel lived up to its name, lovely fruity cocktails and good food, but the location did not.  So we won’t dwell on that.

20181005_121427Instead, we drove up to the lower regions the spectacular Apennine Mountains and found Pietrasanta,  a lovely historic and arty town, which my artist friend Anne Shingleton Anne’s website had recommended to me.  And, what a great place for wiling the time away and watching the world go by.  Also for strolling around galleries and finding top class restaurants!  Foto J Finnigan

2018-10-05 13.52.02And on the subject of the latter, we took the trouble to walk as far as possible from the main piazza to the very last awning in the Via P.E.Barsanti, which beckoned above an osteria called Barsanta54.  This was a little haven of nice arty furniture, but with a little class and not pretentious.  Lovely waitress, the perfect ambience and delicious food.  I can highly recommend this place to you.  Foto J Finnigan  website

20181012_095451And so, back to our little neck of the woods on the edge of Chianti; morning coffee and newspapers at La Dispensa in Fiano.  I noticed in the paper that U2 is here on tour and Bono, bless his little cotton socks, has quoted “Thank you Italians for your love that you show for the refugees, others would be ashamed…”  Mmmm, not sure if he has the whole picture here, but that is what he obviously believes.  Foto La Repubblica.

20181012_095139In the same newspaper, I was really pleased to find some Rock Chick Fashion in Florence, with models that are happy and smiley, and I love the handbags.  Go to The Bridge’s website

20181010_093245Anyway, In the countryside the grape harvest is all but done and the olive groves will shortly be full of imported workers and enthusiasts to pick the lovely healthy looking olives.  So it is anticipated to be a good year for Extra Virgin Olive Oil this year, unlike 2017.  Whoopee!  Foto La Republica.

Meanwhile, the warm sunny weather is still with us.  Can’t wait for he last of the mosquitos to go, then we can chill out on our terrazza again!  I just love Autumn in Tuscany.

Salute June x

PS Do drop me a line and/or visit my Amazon author site at Amazon

The_Man_in_Black_Cover_for_Kindle   image

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

“It says here that I should not drink alcohol whilst taking my new Opium tablets!”  I groan.  ‘What did you say?’ I hear you all gasp.  Panic ye not, I have just started a course of herbal tablets containing a little Opium, doctor’s orders I hasten to add.  My man grins down at me from his lofty height and says kindly, “Don’t worry June, you’ll cope, it’s not as if you are addicted to wine, after all, you only drink one glass at a time!”  Humph…

2017-11-02 09.03.00Anyway, enough of that, lets look  back at the week, after all, that’s why you are here.  Well, like most other countries in the world, Italy celebrated Halloween.  In fact, the Italians go crazy for it, young and old dress up in the most outrageous costumes and parade around the streets wearing death masks!    The next day is All Soul’s Day, or Day of the Dead, when everyone remembers their dear departed family and friends.   The graveyards here are quite spectacular, always lit by red candles or lights, and masses of flowers both fresh & false, so the effect is a glittering welcoming place.  There is a mix of concrete buildings where the dead are laid one on top of another, family tombs and graves in the ground, all attended regularly and kept bright and cheerful.  I think some of the larger cemeteries should be included in Cultural Tours; I’m not sure if that would be allowed, but you can nip in and walk around anyway.  Foto La Repubblica.

20171031_111427In the run up to Halloween, all the shopkeepers enter into the ‘spirit’ of things, including my man’s favourite Panetteria in Certaldo.  In the picture, you will see the staff behind the counter wearing little hats and the counter loaded up with cakes and goodies for the festivities.  On Saturday mornings, whilst I do the fruit, veg and cheese shopping in the mercato, my man pops down Via Giugno to get bread and sometimes Pizza for supper.  He says, it is the best bakers in the whole area!  Foto P Finnigan.

Olives ready for picking 2Meanwhile, back in our little bit of the Chianti countryside, the last two weeks has been busy with olive picking.  Foreign faces are everywhere; some come for the much-needed work, whilst others treat picking olives as a fun holiday.  Brightly coloured nets are spread out under the trees and not one little olive will be overlooked.  Sadly, the harvest has been rather small this year, following the terrible summer drought.  However, the resulting oil is absolutely delicious.  Foto J Finnigan.

20171103_090819There has also been lots of tree felling.  Mostly small-leaved oak trees, that are now in a big pile a few yards from our front gate.  It’s a sad sight, I always feel a little bereft at the thought of any tree being chopped down, but I guess the woodland does need managing to some degree.  My man bought a new chainsaw last year and he has yet to use it.  The temptation to go out there with his boy’s toy, is eating away at him!  He reckons we could pretend that we thought it was our own log delivery!  O Dio!  Anyway, behind the pile of  logs the vineyard is looking very beautiful and it won’t be long before all the vines are bare.  So we should relax and enjoy it, not think about pinching other people’s logs!  Well,on the other hand…..  Foto P Finnigan

2017-11-05 13.14.17Gosh, it’s nearly lunchtime and I should go and get changed.  It’s currently thundering and raining, so we need to go over to C’era una Volta’ in Lucardo and enjoy the hot food, wine, the company of good friends and forget the weather.  On arrival my man orders some fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil and toast, because he wants to taste the new stuff.  The oil is Paolo’s own and the colour alone tells you how recently it has been cold pressed.  Yummy!  Foto J Finnigan

OK, time to go, have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.  Oh, and keep a watch out for my Christmas Book Promotion, starting soon!  Visit my Official Author Site at June’s Site

Salute June x

cropped-2017-05-07-17-25-58

 

 

Read Full Post »

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers

Rugby victory for Italy! La Nazione

Rugby victory for Italy!
La Nazione

Yesterday evening my man was jubilant!  Many of you know that we are a great Rugby family.  Most of our men have played rugby and our grandson has followed suit.  Why was my man so happy, well Italy had just beaten South Africa, a very strong team, 20-18.  So, Italy goes from strength to strength and considering Rugby is not the country’s first sport, which is football (Calcio), this is very pleasing indeed.  The new coach, Conor O’Shea, seems to be making a big difference and confidence is high.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil senza (without) palm oil. La Reppublica

Extra Virgin Olive Oil senza (without) palm oil.
La Reppublica

Anyway, what about things closer to home in our little bit of Tuscany?  The subject of pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil is on everyone’s lips in the caffè bar.  Are you aware that this beautiful nectar is being sold around the world, some claiming that it is pure when in fact it is ‘watered down’ by palm oil!  Now, this should be shown on the label, so read the very small print and make sure you get the real stuff.  You can always come to Tuscany and buy fresh from the producers if you fancy a little break!

Carlo and son Simone behind a pile of lovely panettone at Bar/pasticeria Fiorentino. La nazione.

Carlo and son Simone behind a pile of lovely panettone at Bar/pasticeria Fiorentino in Montespertoli. La Nazione.

Meanwhile, and in the run-up to Christmas, our part of Tuscany has been running a Panettone making contest, and we were really pleased to read in the paper yesterday that our good friends at Bar Fiorentino in Montespertoli have won the accolade!  This ‘Derby Del Gusto’ is a popular event each year and my man always takes two of the fig and walnut versions to England for friends and associates.

Grilled Porcini caps at Montalbino. Foto J Finnigan

Grilled Porcini caps at Montalbino. Foto J Finnigan

Ah, then there’s the subject of Porcini mushrooms.  Still available in the shops, markets and restaurants the big grilled caps are to die for.  My man and I went out to Trattoria Montalbino for lunch on Thursday.  This tiny family-run place is in the middle of nowhere but not far from Fiano.  They specialise in fungi and the husband goes hunting for fresh porcini and truffles.  When the season is ended they still manage to do some wonderful dishes with the dried varieties.  Visit Trattoria Montalbino, Montespertoli on Trip Advisor.  Table bookings – 0039 339 3695 121

Simple Minds in Tuscany. La Repubblica.

Simple Minds in Tuscany. La Repubblica.

And, not to forget for all you rockers like me, touring bands this week have included Simple Minds and Aerosmith.  Oh, and for all the teeny boppers we are also currently hosting Justin Bieber.  I just popped off to check out Simple Minds on YouTube and there’s some great stuff there.  You may remember their number one hit ‘Don’t you (forget about me)’ in 1985.  The Scottish band was heavily influenced by Roxy Music.  Now Brian Ferry I can watch him perform anytime!  Aerosmith?  Well they are just brilliant in my mind, but tickets seem to be sold out the minute we hear about these bands; hey ho.

OK, time to go, cooking lunch at home today (Sunday) as two-thirds of the local restaurants are closed for winter holidays.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  I love to hear from you!

Salute June x

Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

Read Full Post »

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers,

Well, where to begin?  Ah yes, the olive harvest (Raccolta) is nearing its end, hampered by bad weather including very heavy rains, it is still expected to be a good one if around 30% down on last year due to the olive fly.  New Extra Virgin Olive oil has been in the shops for a few weeks now; the local stuff is to die for.

Lovely local pomegranets. foto J Finnigan

Lovely local pomegranates.
foto J Finnigan

Other harvests include the pomegranate and today our landlord handed us some giant size fruits to indulge in.  I don’t normally buy them so if anyone has any really good ideas for serving them up in a desert or otherwise, I’ll be really pleased to hear from you.  If not, I guess one can slice off the top and scoop the insides out with a spoon and pour over ice cream!

Panatone display at La Dispensa in Fiano. Foto J Finnigan

Panettone display at La Dispensa in Fiano.
Foto J Finnigan

Ah, then there’s the Panettone!  On Friday and over coffee in La Dispensa in Fiano, I noticed lovely table full of Panettone on display.  If you are not already aware, you may like to know that this wonderful cake is hugely popular over the festive season and comes in all sorts of varieties including plain, fruity, chocolate or lemon curd filled and sometimes topped  with crusty sugar or nuts.  My man’s absolute favourite is Fichi e noci, that is Fig and walnut.  Meanwhile, our darling daughter has been busy making the traditional English Christmas cake at her home near Volterra.  She sent her dad a picture of the one with his name on, so to speak!  Bless her. (Sadly, I cannot eat cake!)

The hunky Alberto Angela and his latest DVD collection. La Repubblica

The hunky Alberto Angela and his latest DVD collection.
La Repubblica

Also over coffee, I read about the gorgeous Alberto Angelo.  You may have already heard of him as he is a celebrated Palaeontologist and Scientific popularizer.  He’s a  what? I hear you say.  Anyway, as a journalist and son of a television producer, he has produced some fabulous DVDs.  The very latest is a five-DVD collection of Alla Scoperta Del Rinascimento (the Discovery of the Renaissance) Medici family in Florence.  Now this will make fascinating viewing, particularly over the festive season and can be found on Amazon.  To read more about Alberto go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Angela 

The Pope on Trump. La Reppublica.

The Pope on Trump.
La Reppublica.

OK, even here in Italy it has not been possible to ignore the American election and I note that journalists have been interviewing anybody and sometimes nobodies about their views on Donald Trump as the new President.  A notable interview was with Pope Francis who responded “Trump?  Non-guidico Mi interessa  soltantose se fa soffrire I poveri”  Roughly translated as “I am not driven (in any direction), I am only interested in the future suffering of the poor.”  Some locals in the caffè bar have likened Trump to Berlusconi or vice versa depending on his or her politics.

Le Torre, the towers of Tuscany. La Repubblica.

Le Torre, the towers of Tuscany. La Repubblica.

Then as another reminder of the ongoing worry about the recent and continuous earthquakes in Central Italy, I read an article in the paper about the strength of Le Torri (the towers) of some of our famous landmarks.  These are being checked for any obvious weaknesses.  Of course, once a landmark is destroyed centuries of history goes with it and can never be replaced.

Meanwhile, back in our little bit of Chianti, the central heating is now up and running.   For those of you interested in our lovely inglenook, we will need to put an extraction fan on top of the chimney before we can use it properly.  So we await the arrival of an electrician to put one in.  This being Italy, we may have a long wait.

My pasta with pumpkin and sage sauce and smoked ricotta cheese. Foto J Finnigan

My pasta with pumpkin and sage sauce and smoked ricotta cheese. Foto J Finnigan

Anyway, just to finish on a good note, I have just enjoyed a truly delicious plate of Tagliatelle con Salsa di Zucca Giallo e Salvia con Ricotta Affumicato, at C’era Una Volta ristorante in Lucardo.  In English, Tagliatelle with Yellow Pumpkin & Sage sauce and Smoked Ricotta Cheese.  Now if I was a smoker, and I’m not, I would not need to light up for at least twenty-four hours!

Yes, life eeez good, life eeez now.

Well, must get on, novel to finish!

Have a great week.

Salute June x

Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Before I launch into the subjects in the above title, I do want to let you know that I have not forgotten to mention the Olive Harvest.  Yes it is in full swing, however, I will talk about it next week when I have some more fotos!

The smoking inglenook fireplace. Fot P Finnigan

The smoking inglenook fireplace. Foto P Finnigan

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or should I say at our former monastery/farmhouse here in Chianti, it was time to try out our inglenook fireplace for the first time.  Now we do have a vast experience of open fireplaces, in fact my man actually built one many years ago in Somerset, England, so we knew there was only a 50/50 chance of it not smoking the sitting room out.  So, on Friday we got it lit and yes, as you can see in the foto we had to open the french windows to let the billowing smoke out.  But for just a few minutes it looked beautiful and when it was roaring the smoke went up the chimney, but as soon as it died down a bit, out came the smoke again!  So we will get an expert in to decide how to deal with it.  Watch this space….

Sting at 65. La Repubblica magazine.

Sting at 65. La Repubblica magazine.

Back in Fiano, where we mostly go for our coffee these days, I see in the Sunday magazine that very popular British musician Sting, or Gordon Sumner, is looking pretty good at sixty-five.  The Italians love Sting, and as he has a villa a few valleys away from us, he is also considered a local celebrity; a bit like me in fact, although I’m only famous in Fiano!

Look no hands, or feet! Fot La Nazione

Look no hands or feet! Foto La Nazione

The other thing that the Italian’s love is Calcio or football to you and I.  You may remember that AC Milan was purchased by a Chinese buyer a short while ago.  Now I don’t know what to think of this, but in the paper I see the Chinese Premier Xi Jinping  showing off his skills by playing football without his hands or feet!  Methinks it’s a clever conjuring trick.  What was that you said?  Well, really…..

October fruit and veg in Certaldo. Foto J Finnigan

October fruit and veg in Certaldo. Foto J Finnigan

OK, where was I.  Oh yes, back to yesterday morning and the fruit and veg market.  Whilst, most of the peaches have finished I did find some plums and I bought some lovely fresh broccoli too.  I decided to take a foto of one of my favourite home-grown stands and I think this picture says it all.

Then of course, it’s that time of year for Chestnuts or Castagne as they are called here.  The Italians really go to town making wonderful deserts for this versatile nut, I’ll try to get some fotos for you next time.

My Pasta vegetarina. Foto J Finnigan

My Pasta vegetariana. Foto J Finnigan

And just for a bit of fun, here is a foto of my pasta vegetariana,which I had for supper last night with our lovely family, at a restaurant called Il Merlo, somewhere between Volterra and San Gimignano!  The chef has a sense of humour and obviously so disapproved of my not wanting any sausage with my pasta, he even removed the pumpkin as he thought I might consider it meat, then put this little face in the corner of the plate!  Very Ha Ha, I don’t think.

Anyway, gosh is that the time, I must crack on with my soon to be finished novel ‘The Italian Connection’, which some of you are asking about. My deadline for the first draft is the end of October, which I expect to meet, then another month of infill and editing before I can get it published.  Sorry to say, I won’t make the Christmas shelves but you can happily look forward to a Spring launch at the very latest.

OK, off you go, have a really good week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

 

'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Benvenuti to all my Loyal and New Followers

Well, this last week has been a busy old-time, what with the house hunting, writing, working and eating out, it disappeared in a flash.  So here we are chatting away again and talking about our little bit of Chianti in Tuscany.

Paolo's Chanterelle Harvest. Photo P Finnigan

Paolo’s Chanterelle Harvest.
Photo P Finnigan

Last Sunday my man and I popped into C’era una Volta Ristorante for sunday lunch.  ‘What again?’ I hear you ask.  Well, you know, if one is lucky you might find a local restaurant that ticks most of the boxes and it is so convenient to keep going, especially when the owner treats you like royalty, serves perfect gluten-free pasta and fresh food and herbs straight from his own orto (vegetable garden).  Paolo does all these things and more.  He goes out to the woods to find fresh mushrooms or buys from a local contadino who has beaten him to it!  He and his wife Gaia make the most delicious Tiramasu and a digestivo to die for, Crema di Limoncello.  This last time, Paolo showed us the latest chanterelle harvest and you could still smell the earthy woodland aroma in them.  Heavenly….

Now, you may remember that we have been house hunting, as our landlady wants our little villa back at the end of the four-year contract in February.  She is being a little flexible so we are thinking in terms of the first of April, when the cold weather should be finished.  We have viewed nine properties so far, ranging from awful to beautiful, the latter one that we really like, will need a bit of a compromise on our part, because it is a large apartment in a converted rustic property.  It does have a lovely garden with great views; we must deliberate.

The gorgeous Simon Baker. La Nazione.

The gorgeous Simon Baker. La Nazione.

Anyway, back at Il Solferino bar in Certaldo, we enjoy our coffee and read the papers.  O Dio, not again.  Last week it was Daniel Craig and now it’s that gorgeous blond actor Simon Baker joining us.  There he is, my second choice for playing Dominic in the film version of my books, sporting another expensive watch.  I say second choice, but likely now to be my first choice, as methinks Daniel will probably be too expensive.

Olives and cold pressed oil. La Nazione.

Olives and cold pressed oil.
La Nazione.

Meanwhile, and out there in the real world, the olives have all been picked and we are told it is going to be a good year for olive oil, unlike last year which was a disaster.  We are already enjoying the tangy taste of the cold pressed olives; heavenly drizzled over bread or garlic toast.  Mmmmm.

Then, last but not least, the highlight for many Italians in the Provincia di Firenze, has been the visit by Pope Francis to Florence and surrounding areas.

Pope Francis in Florence. La Nazione

Pope Francis in Florence.
La Nazione

Thousands thronged to every appearance by this popular man, but I have to say that he is looking older and tired.  He is currently having to deal with accusations of fraudulent activity within the Vatican Bank and that’s just the money side of things.  However, his smiling face does seem to lift the spirits of his followers, and whilst terrible acts are occurring elsewhere, like Paris, maybe he will have some influence on the state of mind of our fellow Europeans, christian or otherwise.

Finally, on behalf of all us British expats around the world, may our Parisian friends find peace and the strength to recover from these latest atrocities as soon as possible.

Salute June x

PS Do visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

 

Read Full Post »

Benvenuti to all my Loyal and New Followers

Well, I hardly know where to start, it’s been such a busy week!

The Two Old Broads, taking Italy by Storm! Jane and Nubby.

The Two Old Broads, taking Italy by Storm!
Jane and Nubby.

Last Thursday was the absolute highlight, due to ‘Two Old Broads who were Taking Italy by Storm’ arriving for a visit.  Now these were their words not mine, but don’t you just love that description?  So who were these ladies?  I am delighted to tell you that they were my distant American cousins and this was the first time we had ever met.  Whilst both in their seventies, they were doing a driving tour from north of Venice down to Tuscany and back, and getting thoroughly lost on the way.  The hire car SatNav did not work, so it was luck rather than judgement that got them here!  We had great fun talking about our ancestors.  Theirs went over to the Americas from Plymouth back in the sixteenth or seventeenth Century, whilst mine became landed gentry in Devon.  I will miss you guys and hope you found your way back safely!

Aleesandro and his team collecting the olives next to our villa. Photo J Finnigan

Alessandro and his team collecting the olives next to our villa.
Photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile the local Olive Picking, Raccolta, is in full swing.  Brightly coloured nets are spread out under the trees and with the weather being dry and sunny at present, we expect a good quality crop.  I just love that fresh Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil drizzled on bread and over fettunta, which is old toasted bread rubbed with garlic.  Yummy…!

The lovely Laura and her new blond hair colour. Photo J Finnigan

The lovely Laura and her new blond hair colour.
Photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile, Laura’s bar/alimentary is now very busy due to the Bar Piazzetta in Fiano being closed, after a ‘visit’ by the Carabiniere.  It’s all very hush-hush, but there was definitely something fishy about the owners of that place.  Anyway, happily ensconced at Laura’s enjoying our coffee, I notice something different about her.  She had gone blond!  Then I noticed two more local ladies who had also been at the peroxide; is there some sort of conspiracy going on?

Via San Martino 26 at night. Photo P Finnigan

Via San Martino 26 at night.
Photo P Finnigan

But what about yesterday? Well, my man and I had a really good Saturday evening, returning to that fabulous ristorante I have mentioned before.  I am, of course, talking about Via San Martino 26 Ristorante in San Gimignano. http://www.ristorantesanmartino26.it

Inside Via San Martino 26 Ristorante. Photo J Finnigan

Inside Via San Martino 26 Ristorante.
Photo J Finnigan

This was our first visit for cena (supper/dinner) and to see this ancient city of towers at night is a joy to behold.  Via San Martino is a street dedicated to Artisan shops and the hand-made stuff is to die for.  I could not resist buying a hand-woven woollen scarf from Stefano Stampa at number 8.  My man paid the bill, bless him.  Stefano does not appear to have a website, however, he can be found on Facebook.

Oh yes, I must mention, that earlier and on the way to San Gimingano, we were waved down by the Carabiniere and asked for our identification papers.  The police woman was quite typical; very pretty with dark curly hair tumbling out from under her cap and one hand on her pistol.  My man could not stop grinning and she could not help but smile back.  He has a way with the girlies.  He wasn’t concentrating and he had not registered that she had asked for his driving licence.  He finally managed to get a grip and she was happy to send us on our way.  Phew, thank god for my man and a pretty face.  It’s not always that easy.

Posing Praying Mantis Phoot P Finnigan

Posing Praying Mantis
Photo P Finnigan

Back in our beautiful terraced garden my man spotted a Praying Mantis on our outside table!  Fabulous creatures that move so incredibly slow, you can barely see the movement.  But we fear that it may be towards the end of its little life as we found another one in a poor state of health, so we gently put it out-of-the-way of Farty Barty the cat.  We also have a couple of Locusts starting to nestle in on the window ledge.  They often winter in with us behind the shutters.  No, we do not get swarms, just the odd one or two paying a visit.

But enough of that.  We are now stepping up our search for a new home.  More flyers are going out in all the bars and other places we frequent.  Our landlady came yesterday and said that she would be happy to rent to us for anther one to two years, however, we are already in the mindset of moving to a larger property.  So if anyone in the Commune di Certaldo knows of a large country house (Un grande casa in Campagna) do let me know.  Send an email to june.finnigan@virgin.net.

Well, must get on.  I need to make myself beautiful for lunch at C’era una Volta in Lucardo, after thirty minutes exercise as instructed by my Health and Fitness Coach Alexandra.

Have great week and do visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

Salute June x

'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: