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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

 

 

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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

 

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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

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Father-The-Assassin-Finnigan/dp/1481904396/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358800225&sr=8-1

 

 

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