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The book is out….

I’m still pinching myself….

Ouch…. It’s not a dream!

My book Pane, Vino e Peperoncino is out on Amazon – hurry and get your copy now!!!



Nonna’s shoes

loving our history would give us an understanding of our present

What a pair of old fashion shoes got to do with this blog?
I must say a lot, especially when memories and fantasy come alive.
I been staring at this photo all morning and the only thing I could think was my Nonna Rosaria Caia and the way she used to cook for us with love. Then I remembered how in the open chimney she used to cook the beans in a terracotta pot. She would sing or tell us stories of her childhood with her mother Maria Concetta and her mother’s mother which off course I never met.

La Nonna Rosaria Caia e la zia Annunziata Caia

I just imagined them cooking around the old chimney wearing similar shoes and singing some folk song. I could almost see what was inside the big pot and that’s when I remembered …… theMorseddu……

La famiglia Martino zio Rocco, nonna Carmela, zia Framcesca, zia Anna e zio Nicola

The legend says that a poor widower was asked to clean an alley where there was a butcher shop. When she started cleaning she noticed all the pieces of meat that were left in the rubbish bin. She decided to get everything and prepare a meal for her children. She cleaned them, boiled them in water and she added many spices.



500 g. Tripe
500 g. of heart, liver and lung, small and large intestines
3 fresh chillies
200 g. Tomato concentrate
fat of veal
bay leaf
Red wine
oil and salt

Clean, wash and then blanch tripe in salted water with the addition of a bay leaf; then cut into strips. Clean and cut the heart, liver and lung in pieces. Cut the fat into small pieces, put it in a pan on the stove and let it melt, add the tripe and offal, fry together for a few minutes; Then, pour the red wine, stir and let it evaporate.
Dilute the tomato paste with hot water and pour it into the pan, add the peppers, bay leaf and a pinch of oregano. Add salt and cook for about an hour, add hot water if necessary. When it’s ready, remove pan from heat and let rest. Meanwhile, take the pitta (Flat homemade bread), cut in half. Add to Morseddu another sprinkling of oregano, serve.
Photo and recipe of Morseddu from

Let’s break Bread

Fresh Bread

Fresh Bread

Bread recipe

Ingredients: 1/2 liter of water 1/2 kilo of wheat flour 1/2 kilo of flour type 0 25 grams of yeast 2 teaspoons of salt

Yeast (Maida) Dissolve the yeast in warm water and salt, pour in wheat flour gradually and mix with a fork until the mixture becomes a cream. Cover the dough with a towel and let rest for half an hour, so the dough swells and doubles.



The dough for the bread Add the flour type 0 and continue stirring with a fork, at this point the dough deflates but it is just what needs to happen. Knead the dough for 15 minutes, making sure that the dough is a little humid. It doesn’t have to become too dry. Add flour if the dough is too sticky.



When the dough is ready, spread flour on a baking sheet and make a round shapedloaf.

With a knife, cuta cross on top of the loaf and let it rest for 1 hour and half covered with a towel.

The oven Preheat the oven to 200c and bake the loaf for 30 minutes, without opening the oven door, then lower the temperature to 180c and cook for another 30 minutes.

Bread in the oven

Bread in the oven

Fresh bread

Fresh bread

pane e vino

pane e vino

The Bergamot

Bergamot massage oils

Bergamot massage oils

The Bergamot was imported from the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus.

Bergamot tree

Bergamot tree

The Bergamot is the Calabrese treasure known everywhere in the world.

The Bergamot Perfume

Bergamot Perfume

Bergamot Perfume

The oil of Bergamot is essential, but they are using everything from peel to dried flowers, and the result are all products from perfumes, lotions, bath salts, drugs, dermatological products and also liquor and many others products.

Marmalade of Bergamot

Marmalade of Bergamot

Marmalade of Bergamot

ingredients 1 kg of bergamot 600g sugar method Debarked the Bergamot and blend well, add the sugar. Put everything in a pot and cook for 30 minutes. When the jam is still warm pour into jars and seal

The Magic of Christmas

Children playing with the snow

Children playing with the snow

I remember a white Christmas from many moons ago……………….. I remember when my nose was red and my fingers were frosty because the wind was strong and it was very cold outside, but it didn’t stop my cousins and I trying to build a snowman.

Fresh Pine Christmas Tree

Fresh Pine Christmas Tree

Our family would have a real Christmas tree;

the smell of new pine was fresh around the room.

Nativity photo of Caterina Longo

photo of Caterina Longo

Also our nativity set as big as the writing desk we had. Each statue was placed with care, bring them closer to the stable each day.

Music around town photo of Giuseppe Barbaro

Music around town
photo of Giuseppe Barbaro

The celebrations would start nine mornings before Christmas, by five AM the music of the Christmas carols would be around town, waking everyone in time to be in church before daylight. The air of celebration was felt all over the small town of Messignadi.

The Joy of Christmas

The Joy of Christmas

I never asked Father Christmas for anything in particular. Thought I never asked every single year I would find a nice present under the tree.  I remember Christmas morning the first thing I would do was running to have a look under the Christmas tree with my little sister tagging along. The magic of knowing Father Christmas come to my house was thrilling.

After breakfast mamma would get me ready for church, I then wait for my cousins to come over and together we would make our way to church for the Christmas mass. Our mothers would go to Nonna’s house and get the Christmas lunch ready.

family celebration

family celebration

Lunch was the most exciting part for us kids.

We would place a letter under our father’s plates and after lunch they would notice the letter and each child would have to read it aloud and as a thank you every man in the room would give us some money.

No one was in a rush, no one had other plans, and the day was spent together by eating, drinking and telling stories. In the late afternoon the men would play a game of cards while the women and children would play bingo.

Christmas food pignolata - nzudi- pasta asciutta - carciofi-  zippole

Christmas food
pignolata – nzudi- pasta asciutta – carciofi- zippole

Yes Christmas is a time for family, though the snow is a far away memory replaced by the hot weather and the beach, the rest is the same, a day to spend with our family and be thankful of the good things we have in life.





2 cups flour
3 eggs
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup honey
1 tablespoon of butter
1 cup toasted almonds


Mix together;  flour, baking powder and salt.
Beat in the softened butter, add the eggs one at a time and beat.
Add the vanilla extract.

knead the dough well until it’s firm.

Pinch off in small pieces and roll them into little balls and deep fry them.

Warm the honey in a pan.

Mix the fried pieces and the toasted almonds in the honey.

The Bride & Groom – Oggi Sposi


The most important day

The most important day

One of the most important day in the life of Calabresi is the day when a daughter or son marries. No savings are spared; they will want the best of the best to make sure that that this particular day is special.

The wedding tradition is something that goes on for generations.

In the past was a more intimate and simple affair.

Serenata Serenata

Everything started the night before the wedding, when the groom would serenade the bride from under the balcony singing a love song.

The next day the bride dressed in white walked by her father she would go to church to meet her future husband.

The bride
The bride

The page boy and page girl walked in front carrying the rings and behind the bride, all the wedding party. On leaving the church once married, usually the father of the bride would throw sugar lollies or money in the air and the children would ran down the street to pick them.

The Bride & Groom
The Bride & Groom

The real party began when all the guest would arrived at the reception, usually was a church room where they could eat the bridal lunch, Maccheroni with Goat sauce”, and wine in quantities

I Fratelli Gattuso
I Fratelli Gattuso

Maccheroni with goat sauce


Ingredients for Sauce 1 onion, 1 liter of tomato sauce, 1 pound of goat meat, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, ½ glass of wine, 1 bay leaf Ingredients for Maccheroni 500 grams of flour, 5 eggs, oil, salt

Method for the Sauce Fry the onion in the oil when golden add the meat, once golden add the wine and cook so that the wine is dry, after add bay leaf and tomatoes and salt and cook over low heat at least 2 hours .

Method for Maccheroni

In a bowl put the flour to form a vacuum inside. In the empty place the eggs, salt and oil. Beat with a fork when the dough together with your hands and begin to add flour a little at a time, mix it well to get a soft dough. Begin to spin threads of 12 cm and 1 cm in circumference, turn them around a small stick or a 10mm needle knit gently turn them on flour, pull them out and leave them on a napkin to dry. Boil water, put salt and a tablespoon of oil to cook the maccheroni and put the desired time.

Bride & Groom
Bride & Groom
Bridal cake
Bridal cake

The magic of Nonna coco’


nonna coco

nonna coco

Every time I see a chicken I smile. You might ask yourself why? Well it reminds me of my maternal Nonna Rosa.

When I was growing up in Messignadi  in Calabria, my family had a piece of land in the heart of the village.

We used to call it “Darretu e lavari” (Behind the olive tree). Nonno Rocco would have his cute vegie patch ( but this will be a blog on it’s on) and Nonna had her small chicken farm.

First thing every morning she would go to look after her chickens.

On school holidays she would bring us kids with her. I remember the first job was picking the fresh eggs, or what we would call it COCO’.

Let’s not forget it was 11 of us from the age of 12 to the age of 2, so this meant we would have to take turns in picking the eggs and place them in the cane basket (u panaru made by Nonno   ) that she would hold .



Once the eggs were picked she would take them into the small farm house (a casetta) and give us one each to drink. We would wait excited as she would make two holes one on each end of the egg and we would drink it.

She then would return to her chickens to give them fresh food and fresh water while we would play in the swings that nonno had installed for us from a few huge olive trees.

Every time after the chickens had finished their meals, Nonna would open the gate to let them free for a few hours. And this was where the magic would happen.

Chicken and chicks would form a line and would follow Nonna around the farm.

We were too young to realise that what we were witnessing wasn’t a normal thing.

At the end of the day she would call back her chickens and one by one they would return inside their domain.


Taj Mahal of the chicken world


Something similar is happening with the new generation. My mother has four chickens, and my dad built them the Taj Mahal of the chicken world.

Though I am pretty sure my mum doesn’t walk with her chicken following her, I know that every morning she visit them with my niece, little Ariana picks the eggs then they go back into the kitchen and the little one has a fresh egg….. but don’t tell my sister.

the new generation of Nonna Coco'

the new generation of Nonna Coco’



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