Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Sipping Tea with a Blog Round Up

Some light bite reading is perfect when you're on your lunch break or when you need to get away from the general hoo-hah of daily life. If all goes to plan, this should take you from the first sip of a beloved beverage to the last. 

General Interest 

Language learners, students, teachers, and those who love words should all gain something from this article: 
Could a new phonetic alphabet promote world peace? 

'In a country polarized in every possible way - from disparities in wealth and education to differing views on politics and extremism - tea is the great social equalizer' in Tea in Karachi (via @NamHameed) 


Craft Blogger Spoonpirate shares recipes for Tuscan Ricciarelli: The Almond Tuscan Treat and Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies or read as she explains her Newly Discovered Addiction.  

Hethr shares her thoughts on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (below) - A great introduction to the series if you haven't already discovered this wonderful adaptation of Pride and Prejudice for the Twitter age. English Teachers & Students take note! 

Italy: Culture, Cuisine and Politics

Firstly, in one of the funniest articles of the week, @lizinrome reveals how Italian Translations of American Film Titles are Often Unintentionally Funny 

Kristi Ricchi at Alla Fiorentina shows you How to Fake a Cappuccino so you can make it at home and drink it after noon without fear of looking like a tourist to the native Italian. 

I previously suggested that this collection of posts would help to lift the gloom of Monday morning blues but if you are Italian or living in Italy, these following articles may plunge you further into depression. So consider yourself duly warned. 

  • Lizzy Davies travels around Italy listening to ordinary people's election stories. In Emilia Romagna, she finds a previously solid and affluent city now feeling the strain in Italy Votes
  • And now to remind you Why You Love Italy (in case these articles momentarily made you forget) 

As a side note, I'd also really recommend @ItalianNotes for anyone interested in Italy, Art, Cooking and travel.  She posts great articles on diverse topics and provides a round up of up-to-date links from other bloggers and news agencies. 

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Have you read any interesting articles this week? 
Just pop them in the comments below! 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Slathering Gold onto Hot Toast

Receiving post is one of life's loveliest little pleasures. And unexpected post from back home in the UK is even better. So imagine my delight when, within the space of two days, I received two parcels from the UK. Although they were from unconnected senders in two different countries, but they were both united in their theme: Marmite!

The first contained a special edition Gold Marmite. Fabulous gilded packaging aside, it's particularly marvellous due to the sprinkling of gold flecks within the Marmite itself. I was also touched because the lovely sender isn't herself a fan of this 'brown sludge' (as she calls it) and so I appreciated this gesture even more. Having such an iconic jar, there's no doubt in my mind that it'll be adorning my desk as an ornament once it's been dutifully slathered over hot buttered toast


Two days later a second mysterious package landed on my door step. Nestled inside was The Ultimate Marmite Cookbook! As well as being full of unusual recipes including Spinach, Marmite and Mozzarella Muffins, Prawn and Marmite Sesame Toast and a rather quizzically named Marmite Steam Train, it is also chockablock with adorable vintage illustrations (see above).


My love goes back a long way, from taking sneaky bites out of my Dad's hot toast when his head was turned, to my Mum bundling me off to primary school with little square of Marmite sandwichesThe love affair continued through my teenage years and I must confess that during my final year of uni, I basically lived on Nigella Lawson's silkily smooth Marmite pasta recipe. For the adventurous among you or those in Italy who are strong enough to brave the scorn of Italians, here's the recipe: 

(Serves 4-6)

Credit: Recipe from Nigella Kitchen
- 375g dried spaghetti
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp Marmite, to taste
- freshly grated parmesan, to serve
1. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling, salted water, according to the packet instructions.
2. When the pasta is almost cooked, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the Marmite and one tablespoon of the pasta water, mixing thoroughly to dissolve.
3. Reserve half a cup of the pasta water; then drain the pasta and pour the Marmite mixture over the drained spaghetti, adding a little of the reserved pasta water to amalgamate if required. Serve with plenty of grated parmesan.

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From my own experience and observations of other Brits abroad, as an expat you tend to become obsessed with seemingly trivial things from back home. For me, it's Marmite, biscuits, and irreplaceable cheddar. So, if you're currently away from the UK, here's a homage to the little pleasures from home.

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What do you miss when you're away from home?
Are you ever surprised by what you miss?

Monday, 11 February 2013

Blog Round Up: If You Fancy Some Quick Reads

Life is a bit hectic over here at the moment. Having just moved apartment, I'm surrounded by unopened boxes, new bins being used as make shift tables and IKEA furniture in various states of undress (so to speak). I have however, managed to smuggle in some light reading into those free snatches of time, such as that awkward period while you wait for the kitchen timer to go off. 

So I've put together a round up of the various articles and diverse blog posts which have caught my eye over the last week. So, if like me, you only have a few minutes to spare here and there, you can always pop back here and have a browse through these short posts. There should be something here to tickle your fancy.

Sarah Mastroiani from Not Just Another "Dolce Vita" Braves the Italian Coffee Bar and while on this caffeinated topic, here's a gorgeous video by La Tavola Marche which beautifully shows how to make proper Italian coffee using a moka on the stove. 

@John1954Moi (A Christian Minister who also happens to be my Dad) poses the thought-provoking Question Who Can We Trust in 2013? and embarks on a Mosque Visit in Derby


Amy Lucinda Jones (@BritinItaly) betrays her native Blighty in her post Tea Traitor


Amena Khan (aka Amenakin) discusses the twists and turns in her career path in Aquila Style: My Career Calling

Rachel Pieh Jones (@RachelPiehJones) explores Islam and culture in Djibouti in What the Headscarf Reveals

And finally, here's an informative compilation by Girl in Florence (@GgnItaly84) for those considering moving abroad 10 Mistakes that Expats Make and A Foreigner in Italy presents an amusing list in You Know You're A Foreigner in Italy When...

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