December 28, 2005
After I moved to Italy, when it comes to December there're always friends asking how Italians celebrate Christmas. It's like forwign friends asking me how Taiwanese celebrate Chinese NewYear... Every family has its own way and it's always slightly different, though some common places do exist.
Most Taiwanese people take Christmas as an excuse for parties, for the reason that the majorities are anyway non-Christians. However, it's anyway a religious holiday. Christmas for Italians is like Chinese New Year for Taiwanese. It's an occasion for family gathering. Take my family as an example, we have Christmas lunch together. Every family member will get together for traditional crusines. After a lunch for more than three hours, we move from dining room to living room to exchange presents and open them one by one. It normally takes two hours only for opening the presents. After that, some will go home and some remains for dinner, chatting or a movie together. Basically, the whole Christmas Day is passed in eating, opening presents and chatting.
So, what do we eat? The most common dishes in the north Italy is bollito (boiled meat) and tortellini. The tortellini is normally served with broth which is the soup prepared by cooking bollito. The bollito is the second dish, normally with potato puree. I once asked Michele if there's special meaning for these dishes. According to what he said, people used to eat meat in important festivals. So meat is a must in Christmas. And Italians eat lots of pasta, so tortellini with meat filling become a traditional Christmas dish. It doesn't seem to be a proper answer for me, but asking around there's no other better explanation and I just had to accept it.
The dessert is something can't be missed. Apart from famous pandoro or panettone that only appear around Christmas, there's also tronchetto (tree trunk), or cakes decorated with Christmas symbols such as snowman or Christmas tree.
Comparing to the past years, it seems to me that Christmas is especially long this year... One of the reasons is because Letizia (Michele's sister) left for Berlin on Christmas day and we decided to do the family gathering on 24. On the Christmas Day, all brothers went to my inlaws'. The next day which is Santo Stefano we were invited to a friend's place for another party. So we basically had three big meals in three consecutive days... and there're also leftovers in my fridge... Christmas is really time for putting on weight!!
這張是2000年我正式搬過來以後的第一個聖誕節. This photo was taken on the first Christmas after I moved to Italy in 2000.
這是我今年的甜點, 大家把蛋糕上的所有裝飾都往我盤子裡放! This is my Christmas cake this year. All the decorations on the cake were put into my plate!
This is the Tronchetto cake I brought to Cristian's party.
十個人的禮物堆起來也是頗壯觀的! 每年聖誕節最期待的就是這個... Presents for ten people~~ the most exciting thing on Christmas Day.
December 21, 2005
It seems that winter has arrived earlier and colder. The cold weather makes me enjoy home-staying rather than going-out (of course I'm also busy for work), so I stay home most of the time. Apart from setting the temperature of the heater higher to keep myself warm, I also enjoy making hot drinks.
I love tea. There're more than twenty kinds of Chinese tea, English tea and herbal tea in my shelve. Hot tea is mostly suitable for cold winter, and that's one of the reasons that I prefer winter to summer. Apart from tea drinking, I also enjoy making hot chocolate.
"After tasting Italian hot chocolate, that of other places becomes chocolate milk." This is my comment about Italian hot chocolate. I still remember the first winter I spent in Italy. I always looked for hot chocolates in the bars when I went out. It was quite a comfort for someone that wasn't used to such cold weather.
"Since you like it so much, why don't you make it at home yourself?" Michele said. So we went to the supermarket to look for it, and found my "winter warm sack". It has become one of my must have in winter.
I didn't try too many brands, only Ciobar and Carraro, for the reason that only these two company carry single pack powder so that I can avoid the problem of conservation and getting fat. Many companies have ready-made hot chocolate to be prepared at home. You only have to add milk and bring it to boil. But most of them come in more than 200g package. There's not only the problem as to where to put it, but also makes me want to have it every time I see it. So when I saw these two single pack products, I put them into the basket immediately.
兩個品牌相比，Ciobar甜了一點，Carraro則因為標榜荷蘭口味，可可含量比較高。兩個牌子都很不錯，不過我個人偏好後者，米奇則把票投給前者，這也是為什麼家裡兩個品牌都有的關係。 Comparing these two brands, Ciobar is slight sweeter than Carraro. The latter is "Dutch flavour" and has higher concentration of cocoa powder. Both brands are nice but I prefer the latter. However Michele likes Ciobar better. So we keep both at home.
Apart from pure hot chocolate, you can also add variation yourself. Of course, I will always look for the "recipe" outside and taste it before I experiment it at home. Lots of flavours can be found in the bar. After trying all of them, Michele and I both found our own favorite. I like orange and cinnamon flavor while Michele enjoys rum. When you prepare it at home, you can add orange peel, cinnamon powder while cooking, or pour in a bit rum after you finish preparing it.
December 20, 2005
We took the bus and arrived the Herb-kan after a few stops. Getting off the bus, I was wondering where the lake is. Turning my head and looking toward the parking space beside me, the legendary Lake Kawaguchi was waiting for us.
We walked toward the lake and saw a passage along the lakeside. So we decided to walk around the lake for a while. It was late afternoon and the color of sunset made it a beautiful view to enjoy. Following the curve, the Fujiyama came into my eyes. We went down to the beach and started photographing. It’s the very first time that I felt it’s worthy of all the efforts to come here.
The colors of the sky kept changing and we’re so afraid to have missed some nice shots. We both took more than thirty photos here. After I photographed to my heart’s content, my attention was then drawn to the quiet garden beside the lake. Autumn in Japan has a very sad but warm color. This park of gingko trees can show it to the fullest. The autumny gingko yellow with maple red and pine green, the statue in the center of the garden seems redundant.
Time flies. The night fell and we couldn’t have any nice photo taken with that dark light. We also started to feel chilly. So we decided to go into the Herb-kan while waiting for the bus, to warm up and kill time.
It’s 6pm that we went back to the Kawaguchiko Station. The Thomas Train was waiting already, though it’d only leave half hour later. We’ve got plenty of time taking photos and videos of the train. Chien was finally satisfied.
December 16, 2005
We left Fujikyu after 3pm. Chien was having a lot of fun and went on many of the facilities twice before she could let go unwillingly. For this reason, we had to change our plan and arrived Lake Kawaguchi Station later than scheduled time.
It took only two minutes to arrive Lake Kawaguchi Station from Fujikyu Station by slow train. The train didn’t even speed up. At least I didn’t feel it. It’s not until we arrived Lake Kawaguchi Station that I surprisingly discovered how expensive this ride is, 180 yen for a distance that I could probably reach the destination by feet.
So what are we going to do at Lake Kawaguchi? Mom said, “Go to the monkey theater.” Monkey theater? All this trip just to see the monkey theater? So it’s another trial to get something that Chien might be interested in after all.
When we arrived the station, we’re all surprised by the scale of the station. It is so small! There’s only a tiny room for purchasing tickets and waiting for train in the station, and nearby there’s another small house of the same size as the bus station. That’s all. “So, where’s the monkey theater? What time is the show? How do we get there?” I asked mom when I collected flyers on the rack (because I didn’t see anything related to the theater). Mom looked around in the room for a while and finally got the information. The last show was 3pm, long passed already.
So the following question is, what are we going to do now? Mom promised Chien that she’d be able to take the Thomas train on the way back. (There’s a train decorated with various trains from the animation running back and forth but the schedule is limited.) We had to wait until 6:30pm. How are we going to pass the two and half hours? Looking at the map, we decided to go to the nearest station where we can at least see the lake by bus. After traveling all this way to arrive here, we can’t leave without seeing the famous lake!
So, the next question is, how do we take the bus?
I went inside the bus station with my mom. But a small town like this one can hardly find anyone that speaks English. And my mom couldn’t understand fully what the bus station staff was saying. Excellent! So the woman picked up a flyer and pointed the one-day pass price 1500 yen, and then pointed out where we should take the bus. I went out of the station with my brain full of question marks. Looking at the flyer, so the bus we should take is the “classical bus” we saw when we got out of the train station. Getting of at Herb-kan we’d be able to see the lake. 1500 yen for a return bus trip? That’s way too much! Isn’t there any single ride ticket? I searched around the station again and eventually I found some English panels… My eyes are just too big to skip those evident signs on the way from train station to bus station. So a single bus ride is less than 200 yen. Finally got an acceptable price.
December 14, 2005
When it comes to winter, it’s quite often that I see stands selling hot red wine on the street, especially common in Christmas market. Get a glass of hot wine, it warms up my body and my heart.
It seems quite a common thing in winter in Europe. In Italy it’s called “Vin Brule” and “Gl?wein” in Germany and Austria. I had quite a few mugs in Austria during the trip because of the cold weather. I even feel that the ones I had in Vienna taste much better than anything I tried in Italy so far. My saying made a friend unhappy…”It’s quite easy. I make it at home very often…” He started to tell me how to prepare it at home. I tried to remember it and decided to try the recipe once I’d be home.
I was looking around my shelves for the spices yesterday, and also took out the bottle that a friend brought me from Germany. He told me that Germans use it specifically for preparing Gl?wein and the ticket on the bottle also says so. By that time I didn’t think to make it, probably because I didn’t really like the ones I tried in Italy and it just didn’t inspire me to do it at home. It’s not until I came back from Austria that I thought to take it out from the shelf.
Get a small pot. Pure in two glasses of wine and a teaspoon of sugar. Use small fire to heat it for a few minutes. Then add some cinnamon, clove, juniper, coriander, orange peel and another teaspoon of sugar. Keep small fire and heat it without boiling for some other few minutes. Then it’s ready to be served.
I also checked recipes from various sources and it seems that the spices used in Germany and Italy are different. In any case, the following task is to try various kind of wines and find out the most suitable one for home-made vin brule!
PS. 也有人在香料裡混入肉豆蔻，橘子皮也可以用檸檬皮代替，加點蘋果進去煮也不錯。Some people also mix nutmeg in the spice. The orange peel can be substituted by lemon peel. It’s also nice if you add some fresh apple pieces while cooking.
December 12, 2005
I got to know “Thomas and Friends” right before I went back to Taiwan. I was trying to look for presents to please the two-year-old and heard of the train from my mother. It is said that Chien is very fond of this little train. Out of curiosity, I went to Google and looked for the official web site. It’s such a boyish thing!! After I went back to Taiwan, I saw with my own eyes how much she likes Thomas and could finally understand why my mom insisted to take her to the ThomasLand in Fujikyu under the Fuji Mountain.
There’re many exciting facilities in Fujikyu Highland, and I even saw the so-called biggest haunted house in the world! However, one needs the right company to go and enjoy this kind of things. On the other hand, Chien also likes to have fun with these exciting stuffs. To avoid the situation “why auntie can and I can’t”, I decided to give up my own pleasure before we left for Japan.
So you can imagine that most of the time we’re taking photos, taking care of the baby carriage and chatting. Three of us took turns to accompany Chine to enjoy more than ten different kinds of facilities with the trains as theme. She’s having great fun and even asked to play some of the facilities twice. We stayed in the theme park for more than three hours!
When I entered the ThomasLand, I can’t help admiring Japanese for the detailed copy of the characters and street scenes. The staff is more devoting to their work and service (comparing to Tokyo Disneyland). Even though the theme park has been opened for quite a while, the maintenances and protections are done nicely so that children can have fun without any security concerns.
To take a roller-coaster ride under the Fuji Mountain must be a special experience.
View of ThomasLand
Children-size Thomas train.
December 07, 2005
「Mi stanno abbandonando tutti!（所有人都在拋棄我）」婆婆邊哭邊說。患病以後屢屢發作的憂鬱，這次似乎特別的嚴重，就如公公說的，「跌在地上起不來了…」以前習以為常的感官，一個個地不管用了，加上久病害怕子女將她置之不理的恐懼，在在折磨著她…
December 03, 2005
Due to the reasons that I’m trapped by work, and the personal driver is not home, I am forced to stay home these days. Apart from working in front of the computer, cooking becomes the greatest enjoyment of the day.
I spent five year to accept radicchio. Why? Because basically I don’t eat anything bitter. I just refuse to eat any bitter vegetable no matter how “good” they may taste. I just can’t fall in love with them.
December 02, 2005
Going to the hair salon before leaving for Taiwan seems to become a habit… however, this time I was way too busy before departure and it’s just impossible to spare an afternoon for a haircut, so I didn’t go until yesterday. Someone might ask, why not have it done in Taiwan since it’s convenient and cheap. Well, the stylist I used to go has moved to I-don’t-know-where and after calculating the cost I almost spend same amount of money no matter having it done in Taiwan or Italy. So I started to go to stylist here since I moved to Europe.
The stylist Lorena is Michele’s friend. When I was studying in UK, one time I was complaining to Michele that the hair salon is very expensive in London and none of my friends had good result out of it. I haven’t been to the stylist for more than six months and I was feeling bad about it… Some time later, I came to Italy for a visit and found that Michele had made an appointment for me with Lorena. It’s an exciting but scary thing to try new stylist, but Michele guaranteed the superiority of Lorena’s technique that she’s even been to Taiwan to give seminars, so I decided to give it a try. In any case, my hair grows very fast and if anything’s wrong with the cut I can have it re-arranged again in a few months.
The very first appointment with Lorena had decided my “destiny”… It’s not easy to find a stylist who knows how to take care of oriental hair in this area, even though it takes more than a half hour to arrive Bassano, I still go there every few months.
It doesn’t take long for Lorena to get my style. We both have kind of adventurous personality. She’s always looking for something new and I’m always willing to take whatever suggestions she gives. I always enjoy watching hair cutting. It’s a miraculous thing to see myself changing. Michele is kind of scared to take me there because he knows it too well that three hours later I’ll overthrow his original thoughts and habits…
I’ve been keeping my hair wavy and long for quite a while. When I went to the appointment I was thinking what to do. The only problem I was eager to solve is the unavoidable crispiness and bifurcate after I have it permed. I only knew I wanted to have it cut… After washing and treatment, a thick stylebook was handed to me. Lorena came to me a few minutes later, one hand with a magazine, the other fingering on her mobile trying to get the image she needed. ‘Do you want to keep the perm? Otherwise we can do this…’ No more words were wasted and we started the magic.
More and more hair was on the ground; I have had another time of delight seeing my hair being cut. Now, my mood is as light as my hair…
Time for work~~~
December 01, 2005
According to my mom’s plan, the destinations for the second day were Fujikyu Highland and Lake Kawaguchi. The former was for the Thomas Land because Chien is very fond of the animation “Thomas and Friends”. As for the latter, it’s for the monkey theater.
During breakfast, I was having a small fight with my mom. Mom used to speak some Japanese, but because she’s not using it often she almost loses it. So after we arrived Tokyo, we’ve decided to test the English level of Japanese people that I should take care of everything with English. The reason for the fight? Well, my mom did look up for information about the trip, but everything was in Japanese. I wasn’t really awake since we got up early and some papers in Japanese were handed to me. My Japanese? Well, I can only guess by listening. As to reading Japanese, I guess with Han characters (which were adopted from the Chinese language) but when it comes to the fifty sounds I can only surrender! I don’t know a single sound of it… So when my mom gave me the papers and said I should go and purchase the train tickets, I was about to “faint”… what train to take, where is the destination, where to change, etc. were all written in Japanese.
So my mom decided to buy the tickets herself. When we arrived the station, she went directly to the green window. I wasn’t feeling sure about it, so two minutes later I went inside as well.
With her papers, mom told the lady where she wanted to go. Everything seemed to go well, until the moment we had to decide which train to take, the one at 9:30 or 10:30. We only had 10 minutes to get to the train if we took the former one, but it’s tiring to wait for another hour in the station. Mom was hesitating and I was trying to hurry her to make a decision, for the reason that taking the 9:30 train we’ve only got 10 minutes to buy the ticket and look for the platform, just don’t mention that we still had a stroller to carry. Mom finally made up her mind to take the 9:30 train, but the following “developments” were kind of funny… The lady thought we’re getting two tickets instead of three, and after the correction she’s trying to provide information with a series of Japanese which none of us could understand. I switched to English to ask for confirmation but she still replied to me in Japanese… Then, I signed two credit card slips but she gave me three while circling on one of them with red pen and explaining what it referred to… I totally had no idea what’s going on, but meanwhile I knew we’re about to lose the train. So we grabbed the tickets and left.
We arrived the platform and got onto the train few minutes before it departed. I was feeling lucky. After we sat down and relaxed a bit, I tried to think over what has happened and took out the credit card slips… the more I looked at them the more I was confused. I couldn’t understand what it meant and the numbers adding together was not multiple of three. I couldn’t help complaining but mom wasn’t too happy about my complaints. So she started to complain as well and the “topics” got further and further, while I was only saying that “don’t give me Japanese info and ask me to do things in English”… My sister-in-law was sitting in front of us hearing all the conversation. Later she told me that she’s about to burst out laughing but at that very moment she knew she couldn’t…
November 29, 2005
說起來也挺感傷, 網路拉近了人的距離, 卻造成了另一種疏離.
仔細看了看活動, 順手貼上來, 也希望看到的人踴躍響應...我也會在稿子堆裡找時間寫的 ^_^
How long haven't you received and opened a handwritten card?
How long haven't you sent a handwritten greeting card to someone?
At end of year 2005 , in such a cold winter season, let's call back the memories of handwriting wishes. Send the deepest wishes to whom you want.
To: those who long for warmth
Date: from now on to 31 Dec 2005. Sure, you may continue forever......
- Forward this message to your friends; or you can post it on your blog, e-paper, or on your website (or just quote by your blog).
- Those who get this message, please forward to others, and open your address book, find someone you want to write to.
- Send your handwriten card before 15 Dec 2005. If you wand to send cards abroad, remember to send them early.
- Finally, if you get any handwritten card before 31 Dec 2005, please do not forget to share your happiness and feeling with us on X'mas eve. You can write down your feeling or quote some phrases on your blog or website.
PS1. Please do not PRINT the address, but WRITE it too.
PS2. Please attach the logo of activity in email or post it on your blog, website.
PS3. If you feel the English version is not so well, you can foward this message by your perfect one.
November 21, 2005
We got up around 6am to catch the flight at 9am to Tokyo. I rarely got up this early since I came back to Taiwan, and the night before I was still struggling with work, so I really couldn’t feel any excitement before leaving for a “pleasure trip”…
It wasn’t Chien’s first flight. A few months ago, my brother took the chance and brought her to Macao when he went for a performance. However, because my mother started telling her that we’re going to see Dumbo, Thomas and take Shinkansen, she was actually quite excited. She was pretty good during the three-hour flight, staying quiet with the gift, the little airplane given by the airline, and also took a nap.
We arrived Narita as scheduled. However, when we saw the lines in front of the passport control, we’re more than surprised… crowds of people… It’s the same situation that I faced when I came to Tokyo last time. But it’s not until the very moment that I remembered we had to face this with a three-year-old. Well, there’s nothing we can do but join the queue. So we did.
We chatted while queuing, and also bumped into a very rude westerner that tried to get into the line. Luckily, a few minutes later there’re some good-hearted passengers telling us about the two windows dedicated to seniors and people traveling with infant. I was suspicious but still went to check. It’s real! So I went back to call my mother and sis-in-law. It was because of Chien that we could save the two-hour line of passport control. We passed shortly and went to pick up the luggage.
Getting onto the airport limousine, we finally could rest a bit. However, the mood went down with the pouring rain… I was thinking to take them to Asakusa, but we arrived the hotel at 5pm and it was too late for any sightseeing. So we took some rest and then left for food hunting.
The Hotel is close to Shinjuku station. I stayed around the very same area during my last trip to Tokyo so I know it pretty well. The rain was pouring and there’s Chien with us, so I gave up the idea to go to my favorite stand-up sushi long ago. We went into a teriyaki place. People don’t speak English and the menu is in Japanese. Luckily there’re some pictures and my mom’s Japanese is good enough to order food for us, we had a great dinner.
After we finished dining, we went to the underground shopping street for a walk. When we’re going around, a Japanese old man came up to me and asked for direction. He was looking for the JR station. I understood what he’s asking but couldn’t really answer him (because I don’t speak Japanese). So I just said “sumimasen” (I’m sorry) and he understood immediately that I’m not Japanese. He said “sorry” and went away immediately. I still can’t stop murmuring… Am I looking so much Japanese?
Because we got up early and were feeling tired, and I was about to meet up with a friend at the hotel lobby, so we went back to the hotel quite early, to prepare ourselves for the next day.
November 17, 2005
My mother started to plan the trip after I decided to come back for a friend’s wedding. My trip back in Taiwan was confirmed in July, but she didn’t make up her mind as to our destination until September. At the end she decided to go to Japan for five days.
However, it’s quite a different trip… because we’re taking a baby girl who is not yet three years old with us.
Her nickname is Chien-Chien. During my last trip in Taiwan, one time I was trying to make her stay back when watching tv. She wasn’t too happy about that and remembered that “gu-gu” (aunt from father’s side in Chinese) was mean to her. Some months later, one day she’s pointing at me in the photo calling me “pingu” continuously instead of “gugu”. My mother decided that she’d take the baby for a trip with me when I’ll be in Taiwan, and try to develop a more friendly relationship between the baby and me.
Since there’s a baby with us, we had to choose places suitable for the baby. So our schedule became as follows:
第一天 First Day
Taipei to Tokyo
第二天 Second Day
The Thomas Land of the Fujikyu Highland.
第三天 Third Day
Go to Tokyo Disneyland in the morning. In the late afternoon take the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) to Nara where my grandparents live.
第四天 Forth Day
Possibly leave the baby with grandparents and mom, and go to Kyoto with my sister-in-law.
第五天 Fifth Day
Go back to Taiwan.
Many friends envied me when they heard that I’d go to Japan again. Probably only Michele was able to imagine what I’d have to face during the trip. Even though I was prepared psychologically, I still felt unprepared when it really happened.
November 02, 2005
DD is our first cat in Taiwan. We used to keep dog at home. When our last dog died a few years ago, my parents decided not to keep pets anymore. After all, it’s quite a troublesome thing to take care of, especially when you have to travel far away from home. So, how come there’s a DD now? Well, it’s actually the work of my brother and sister-in-law. It’s a long story as to how it finally arrived here. Let’s skip it today.
DD arrived when I was in Italy. I was told there’s a new addition at home, and it is said to be a beautiful Chinchilla cat. When I saw the photo, it seemed to be a bit weird. I think it might be a mix… Anyway it’s still a beautiful cat. So furry that makes you want to touch it. He likes to raise his long tail while walking, looking just like a noble prince.
It’s a pity that after a while, something strange started to grow behind his ears. One vet said it’s fungus infection, the other said it’s ear mite. In any case, apart from medical care the best way is to keep it clean as much as possible. DD likes to be clean(ed). Though he doesn’t like being washed, he can’t stand to be dirty. After you say two or three times “you’re smelly” he will run to the door of the bathroom, sometimes even jumps into the bathtub waiting to be washed.
It was during hot summer. DD was suffering heat, and even fighting for the air conditioner. My younger brother decided to take him for some “beauty care”… that is, shave him! Only hair around his head, on tip of the tail and on the feet was kept. It looked just like a little lion with boots. We heard that many cats hide away after shaving because they feel ashamed. To avoid this situation, we made him feel as much as possible that he’s beautiful. Though he’s not used to his new appearance, he felt pretty out of our surprise.
Without its fur, DD became happier in summer. In a short while, my younger brother also discovered that the wounds behind his ears heal much faster with short hair, and they’re much easier to be taken care of. Since then, DD is taken to be shaved periodically. Everyone is happy.
DD was taken for beauty care some days after I arrived Taiwan. Perhaps it was shaved too much this time and he keeps trembling when he comes back home. My younger brother was thinking what to do, and it came to his mind that he could dress him. And he did buy a piece of cat dress when we went out shopping today.
After we came back home, he just can’t wait to dress DD. Then we just saw DD “frozen”. He doesn’t seem to know how to deal with the situation. I think it’ll take a while for him to get used to this new stuff.
October 22, 2005
October 07, 2005
I really started to cook after I moved to Europe. When I was studying in London, due to the high living cost and the fact that I’m not used to Cantonese flavor, I was forced to start cooking.
After moving to Italy, the luxury offered by a variety of Asian restaurants is gone and I just have to start creating whatever I want to eat. At the beginning, I cooked Chinese dishes and Michele prepared Italian dishes. Some years later, my menu is getting rich. Apart from trying foreign dishes taken from various English cookbooks I’ve bought when I was in Taiwan, I started to cook Italian dishes and gradually pick up the habit to watch cooking program at noon time, like many Italian housewives.
除了新聞節目以外，我最常收看的節目大概是從九月開始每天中午播出的La Prova Del Cuoco。和藹可親的女主持人，除了介紹義大利各地的美食特產以外，每天也會動手準備幾道不太複雜的菜色。雖然和她配合的女廚師才是真正表演的人，不過因為主持人的手似乎不甚靈巧，我常笑說，就是因為這樣子，大家在看了節目以後才會想要試試看，因為連她都可以做出來的話，應該不是太困難吧！
Apart from news programs, the tv program that I watch most is “La Prova Del Cuoco” around noon time everyday, starting from September every year. The very friendly hostess of the program introduces various specialties and products in various Italian regions, and prepares some easy dishes every day. Of course, the chef is the one that cooks. However, for the reason that the hostess herself doesn’t seem to be a good cook, people would really try to prepare the dishes after they watch the program. After all, if she can do it, it shouldn’t be too difficult!
The last part of the program is a cooking competition. Two audiences are invited to participate the competition. With the chefs they will have to prepare three dishes with limited ingredients within twenty minutes. (Normally it’ll be two main dishes with a desert or one appetizer, one main dish with a desert.) Together with the juries, the audience in the live program will vote for the winner, who will receive some premium. This is my favorite part of the program. Whenever I have time and mood I’ll get a pen and my cooking note, sit in front of the TV and write down whatever interests me to be experimented afterwards.
Tonight, my kitchen is turned into a laboratory. We didn’t really know what to eat. When I was in the supermarket, I happened to see some ingredients that can be used to prepare a dish that I saw two days ago. After we finished our grocery shopping and came back home, I started cooking… It’s not even 7PM.
Ingredients as follows:
紅生菜一個（拳頭大小） one radicchio (fist size)
紅蔥頭四個 four shallots
綠葡萄一小杯 a small cup of green grapes
豬五花肉三百公克 300g of pork
白葡萄酒 white wine
Chop the shallots roughly and fry it with olive oil and low fire. When the shallots start to change color, add grape (halved and deseeded) and mix. Cook until the grape starts to soften, add radicchio. When radicchio starts to change color, add pork (chopped into thumb size) and mix. When pork turns white, add 30cc of white wine and cover. Simmer with low fire for ten minutes or so, and it’ll be ready to be served.
Although I’ve got lots of notes on my notebook, it’s the very first time that I actually tried to cook this TV recipe. It turned out to be successful and even Michele was amazed. After this successful experience, I’ll probably be more courageous to try new TV recipes.
October 04, 2005
polenta di riso con sopresa veneta
riso integrale con funghi di bosco
糙米飯我是能吃，不過混了牛肝菌菇，那真是對不起了，姑娘我唯一會過敏的就是它。不過這也真是夠不道地了，一般若說是funghi di bosco，出現的菇應該不會是白白胖胖的小蘑菇，而是不包含牛肝菌菇的綜合菇種…就別說大廚只用了小蘑菇，好死不死還加了牛肝菌菇的高湯來熬煮入味，這是哪門子的funghi di bosco…
risotto con pesce di risaia
淡水魚比較腥，這我知道，不過也不至於煮出像是鱈魚乾的味道吧？維琴察的名菜baccala’ alla vicentina就是把鱈魚乾泡水以後，用許多香料和牛奶熬煮出來的，怎麼這道淡水魚燉飯的味道會讓我想起baccala’ alla vicentina？有問題…
torta di riso con salsa vaniglia
September 29, 2005
My blogging speed is slowing down along with the coming of autumn. Comparing to the “production” of the passed few months, September is just slow. The autumn atmosphere makes people lazy? Well, honestly speaking, it’s all because I’m way behind my working schedule. Looking at the book and then the calendar, I really have to speed up, otherwise I won’t be able to hand it in by the end of the month. Besides, there’s a piano to “divide” the very few leisure time I’ve got, I just have to give up something to gain something… So the surfing time and writing time is sacrificed.
Thinking back, I seem to step into hibernation every autumn and winter. Since I moved to Italy, I spent every winter on translating books…
September 22, 2005
In every house, there’s always a rarely touched corner that one cleans once a year or even longer. In our place, it should be the space under the stairs where we use for storing miscellaneous articles.
“Allergic to dust” is a good reason for not doing housekeeping and cleaning job. I always try to avoid anything that will raise the dust. When I’m really forced to do it, I could only take out my N95 mask… I can only choose to suffocate myself or itch to die.
Last week, we discovered that there’re cat fleas at home! We thought that we only needed to get the medicine and apply the drops, but after reading the instructions we found a huge task in front of us. Every corner that the cat could arrive needs to be cleaned… Italians normally do yearly cleaning in spring. We’ve never imagined that we had to do a big cleaning in autumn because of cat fleas. I looked at my delayed work schedule, and then the tiny little red spots on my body left by these little bastards. No matter what we had to do it. So today we took the chance when Michele could take a break from work. My N95 was ready for work.
We started after lunch. I’ve only cleaned the desk in the living room and some shelves, plus cleaning all the cat hair on all the chairs and sofa with vacuum cleaner. It took me four hours to do it and I was exhausted after I finished. Michele was in charge of the garage and stairs. It’s also a must to clean the cat litter and change the cat sand.
There’re two pots of cat sand at home, one in the garage and the other under the stairs. I’ve always wanted to find another place for the one under the stairs. After all, it’s not a nice feeling to smell the cat litter once you enter the house. Taking the chance, Michele decided to find another place for it. It’s also for this reason that he suddenly decided to mess around the forgotten corner.
I’ve moved here for five years and have never touched that corner. So it’s natural that I didn’t know what kind of “collections” lied inside. However, because of Michele’s “selectively forgetful character” and busy work, everything that only he can do has to queue for its chance for months. If he didn’t promise to do something, I can only hope that someday the mission would be completed… Cleaning that forgotten corner, it’s like a present fallen from heaven to me…
It seemed to discover a new world! More than thirty bottles of wine including some twenty-year-old red wine, a box of passata that my in-laws made few years ago, two big bottles of extra-virgin olive oil from Puglia, two boxes of home-made jam, and some boxes of empty bottles for passata and jam.
It took a while to tidy things up. Coming out of the void is five-year quantity of passata bottles, three-year quantity of jam, and bottles of passata enough for the whole winter (if they’re still eatable) and a collection of good wine. It seemed to me that I’ve found a treasure box at home.
I just wish that things like this could happen everyday…
September 20, 2005
We’re so busy as we’ve expected during the past two weeks. There’re weddings and birthday party, so many events that I didn’t even have time to sit down and blog. Luckily everything went smoothly, and I also received a new “toy” by accident.
Everything started at the wedding of Cristian and Silvia.
The day of their wedding started with the ceremony in church, continues with the feast in the restaurant and then the party in a pub. To celebrate with all friends, they booked the pub for the whole night, providing some light foods and “all you can drink” beverages. They’ve got some friends who play some music. There’re some DJs, a drummer and some pianists. Cristian asked them to provide the DJ tools and the set drum, and also went to rent a digital piano so that people can play a jamming session together.
Everything went well and the party continued until 3AM in the morning. The newly wed would leave for honeymoon the next day and didn’t have time to return the instrument. So they asked us to return the piano. Michele knows the owner of the store well and happily said “yes”. So we took the piano home after the party.
We put it in the living room and I got the initiative to try it. Then I discovered that there’s been quite some advancement of digital piano no matter in hardware or software since I last touched it ten years ago. I used to dislike digital piano because the weight of the keys is normally too light for me and my fingers started to hurt in ten minutes or so. That’s why I didn’t accept Michele’s proposal to get one when I just moved to Italy.
I only said “the keys are much heavier than anything I’ve tried before, and maybe it’s playable for me…” Michele was so happy to hear this: “I’ll ask how much it costs tomorrow. It’s a second hand and shouldn’t be too expensive…”
Michele went to return the piano the next day. After he came back, he said, “there’re many models and I think you’d better try before we make any decision… the secondhand one is about 600 euro but the price is negotiable. There’re some new Clavinova models from Yamaha and they sound nice…” He continued to talk and insist that I should spare some time to go there and try them myself.
I was still hesitant about buying a digital piano, but Michele was so enthusiastic that I just didn’t feel like saying no to him. Two days later, we went to visit the shop.
I’ve tried more than ten ditigal pianos in one and half hour. At the end the more acceptable ones are still Yamaha products that I’m used to since I was a kid, and two models remained in the list. Price-wise I prefer the cheaper one. In any case I’ll just use it for moving my fingers… For me, electric pianos cannot replace a real piano. And the decision is made only because we can not afford to get a good piano at the moment.
However, when it came to Michele’s decision he became picky. The cheaper model only uses one kind of sound sample. The expensive one applies three samples and sounds more natural. The latter also has recording function and USB for file transfer between piano and computer. At the end, I followed his decision and chose the more expensive one. The owner is a good friend and gave us really good discount, from the listed price of about 2300 euro down to 1400 euro that we can pay in several installment without interests.
We bought the piano home immediately and there’s one more new “task” now for my life in Italy… Honestly… I still can’t believe that I’ve got a piano now…
September 11, 2005
September 02, 2005
|Your Blogging Type Is the Private Performer|
At least, that's how you write with your witty one liners.
And while you like attention, you value your privacy.
You're likely to have an anonymous blog - or turn off comments.
個人舞台? 粉絲? 機智巧言? 這我倒是不知道, 隨手寫寫自己的經驗而已, 這樣的評語未免言重... 不過享受注意力和注重隱私倒是真的, 一開始也曾經考慮過要匿名. 有關最後一個評語, 我就得大力否認了, 我絕對不會把"評論"的功能關掉, 超喜歡看看路過的網友有些什麼意見, 只是我的讀者們似乎都是沉默的大眾...
September 01, 2005
Venice, a place that I never get tired of.
I’ve moved to Italy for almost five years. Venice is not far from Vicenza and is always one of my favorites if I want to go out for some fresh air. At the first two years, I went there to experience her beauty in various seasons, the romantic spring, the hottish summer, the fascinating autumn and chilly winter. There’s always something new every time I went to Venice. When I started to get to know the city, the must-do list of my Venice visit also started to grow.
I especially enjoy wandering around in Venice. Apart from window-shopping, I fell in love with the get-lost feeling. Every part of Venice brings me a different kind of feeling.
About three years ago, a sunny day around late spring early summer, Michele and I arrived Venice Santa Lucia around 10AM, nothing too different from our usual visit. I remembered that we went on purpose to see a museum. We’ve got plenty of time, so we decided to walk around, find a place for lunch, and then go to the museum in the afternoon. We turned left after we got out of the train station and kept walking along the main street. Passing the first bridge we arrived a small open-air market where locals and tourists do their grocery shopping. Along with the wind came a very nice smell of coffee. “Did you smell it? It smells so nice. Let’s go and check.” So, following our nose, we arrived a tiny and old coffee shop.
For some unknown reason, coffee in Venice tastes nicer than any other place. It’s probably the water, or the feeling induced by one’s emotion. But when I first came to Caf?’ Costarica, the sweet and smooth espresso was just a marvel. Entering the shop, a strong smell of coffee came to my face. Sacks of coffee beans piled in front of the bar. Looking forward, someone was busy toasting coffee at a corner. I thought he must be the owner. We ordered two espressos. A small sip of it, the smoothness and sweetness of the coffee spread in our mouth, much better than Illy. When I was still wondering about the coffee, Michele already started talking to the owner.
這家咖啡店開設於30年代，在威尼斯當地是很有口碑的老店。店主卡米羅對咖啡有著一股熱忱，原本就在咖啡業裡打轉的他，即使在退休以後，仍然靠著之前的人脈關係，從各地篩選、進口咖啡豆，而店裡的咖啡，全部由卡米羅烘培而成，絕對不假外人之手。店裡出售的幾種配方，又以「Caff? della Sposa」這種直譯為「新娘咖啡」，係由八種頂級阿拉比卡豆調配而成的配方最為出名，也是我的最愛；據店主表示，之所以如此命名，乃因為混合各種阿拉比卡豆而呈現的甘甜，就如新嫁娘般地甜美柔順。新娘咖啡無疑是這家店的招牌特色，店裡的某個角落，放著各式各樣的報導與獎狀，慕名而來者不在少數，甚至有人為了她特地從奧地利南下採購。
The caf? was open in the 1930s. It’s quite a famous old caf? in Venice. The owner Camillo is very enthusiastic about coffee that even when he got retired from the coffee industry he makes used of the network he built to select and import coffee beans. He bakes and toasts the coffee beans on his own. There’re several blends in Caf? Costarica, and the “caff? della sposa” is for sure the most famous one (and of course my favorite). It’s a blend of eight different kinds of arabica beans of supreme quality. It was named “the coffee of the bride” to imply its sweet and smooth quality. It is for sure the specialty of Caf? Costarica, and at one corner of the caf? lie various newspaper cuttings and reports from all over the world. Some people even come all the way from Austria just to purchase its coffee.
After that day, Caf? Costarica has become one of my must-go whenever I go to Venice, and the caff? della sposa has become one of our necessities at home. When we’re about to finish coffee, we will always remind each other “it’s time to go to Venice!”
August 31, 2005
Happy Blog Day to ALL!!
From the moment we parked the car we didn’t stop walking. We kept going around until midnight. Though my mood was still high, my physical condition couldn’t really bear it anymore. It’s still crowded and busy in the city center, and the shows seemed to keep going. Thinking that we still had to face the trip home, another one and half hour in the car, we had to give up the wonders in front of us and started moving towards our car.
While walking, I’ve started to look forward to the coming year…
August 27, 2005
There are various fringe artists participating the buskers festival as well, perfect time to see the creativity of the artists.
The balloon artists are indispensable in the buskers. There’re at least four or five artists of this kind every year. Colorful balloons are turned into poodles, helmets of medieval warriors, swards or even cartoon characters. It’s a pity that most of the artists turn to balloon pump for help and don’t blow the balloon by themselves any more…
Of course, there’re certain kinds of performances that seem to be creative but eventually are not too successful. This man is said to be “the slowest man in the world”. At the first sight I didn’t realize what he’s doing, but later when I got to know it, his actions didn’t seem to be too smooth… However, that’s one of the interesting parts of the fringe arts. Sometimes when you walk by you won’t realize what the artists are doing. It’s when you think back that you start to enjoy its flavor.
The most precious thing in busker performances is the interaction (or I should say conversation) between the audience and the performers. The audience cheers when it comes to the spectacular parts of the show, and the performers answer back with a smile or an expression in his eyes. Both pump up energy for the show. Members of the group in the photo are all good puppet theater performers. The marvelous performance of the vulture and crocodiles attract lots of audiences’ attention.
Makers and producers of characteristic products won’t miss the chance to promote their art pieces. The puppets here are made of various colors of sponge, cut and assembled. They look just lovely and I was almost about to bring some home.
Acrobatic performances won’t miss its place in such event. When the night falls, the big square in the center is turned to the major location for various kinds of acrobatic shows. For sure the most attractive one is the fire eating/breathing kind of show.