Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Heritage trip to l' Aquila on 16 September 2012

First a couple of words to those new to this blog. As you might have noticed, it has been very quiet round here the last couple of years. This is because the earthquake of L' Aquila has taken its toll of mourning from me and I concentrated on other things. Point is, I cannot use my house in Ofena, so visits to Abruzzo have become a bit ackward.

But I have received so much in return: I wrote a book that put me in contact with people feeling very much like myself and connecting has always a wonderful healing power. So from all of these connections I decided to organize the Heritage trip to l' Aquila in October 2011. My idea is that people know very little of the region, very little of L' Aquila and after the earthquake the rich history and anthropology of this interesting area would somehow be overshadowed by the changes occurred the last three years.

You get an idea by looking at the Facebook community here:

So I decided to think of a program to bring people to L' Aquila along the sheperds' track, the current Highway 17. This is a tales-telling road and I am proud to show it to you. It will be my pleasure to repeat it around the pic-nic in Abruzzo.

In October everybody went with its own car and we spent about € 50 per person for the rich lunch, dinner, coffee etc. This time I am thinking of renting again an 9-persons minibus like I usually do during my cooking courses in Abruzzo, but have to check again on the rates. Please let me know which option is OK with you so that we can start counting heads and make a serious price-tag (rental, highway fees, gas etc.) to it.

We leave in the morning at 8.30 from Ofena, go direclty to visit the Abbey, then we stop in Popoli for a short breakfast and a visit to the monuments in the centre, then we head to San Benedetto in Perillis by taking the wonderful svolte di Popoli, with a great view on the Valle Peligna and Piana di Navelli on the other side.

In S. Benedetto in Perillis I will get prof. Giancaterino Gualtieri of the uni of L' Aquila, to tell us a tiny part of what he knows. He is now retired and historian. He just wrote a fantastic book based on the Church and city archives on the economic and demographic evolution of San Benedetto since its foundation in 1200 something. From this on we will be able to look with other eyes to all the things we will se the rest of the day:

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Spring is in the air

Just a few images of spring: above a stazzo
, this is to say a stone wall to keep the sheep inside at night blossoming in full glory.

Wild flowers at Campo Imperatore.

back side at Castelnuovo last June.

The future frogs nursery.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

It is one year today

From the day the earthquake destroyed the city of L'Aquila and the daily lives of my friends.

A prayer for those who left us, a wish of getting back in track to the surviving.

A curse to those who made a mess out of the aftermath just to get richer. To those who sold lies. To their accomplices.

There is a human justice for this, it took long to get proof of their crimes, but it will all get out. Divine justice is for those who believe in it, but honestly, the Church of L'Aquila could have done a little bit more her best in the name of the evangelical message. May their god open their eyes and shel light on their conscience.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

All you can do yourself with (raw) milk

This is my home made cheese. Looks a lot like those made in abruzzo by handy housewives with a farming background, but it is absolutely different. It is no ricotta, as it may seem, but labna. Tastes lots like a stracchino made from yogurth.

The following recipies are as strange to Abruzzo as you can imagine, but it is my village youth in Ofena and Tortoreto, I believe, to get me the feeling for self production. It all started with the discovery that at a 10 minutes drive from my hous in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) there was an organic farm. For all romantic fall pictures please see here.

Had I known of this when my mom found out in Ofena that the lady keeping sheep and goats (and winning every year the contest of most beautyful ram of the region) could provide us with raw, fresh milk. We used to bring her a 1,5 liter recycled ice-tea bottle, as it had a larger opening that regular bottles, and she had a goat who made daily just about that quantity. Back then I was giving my baby goat milk from the supermarket, because I suspected him of being sensitive to cow-milk.

Raw milk is now becoming a trend, and what I love about Italy is that more and more farmers do get a milk-tap machine, and install it in different crowded paces, so you can go day and night to pick up you own milk in your own bottle. They recommend you boil it to about 72 Celsius before drinking, but we don't, and so it tastes so much better.

To make yogurth you need any amount you like of milk (supermarked milk is OK too), a starting colture of yogurth (can be bought the first time, or you can save everytime a cup for the next batch), a pan with a good fitting cover (I use the pressure-pan as the cover can be closed perfectly) and an old blanket, sleeping bag, sweaters, whatever you want to keep the pan warm.

You start by boiling the milk and then let it cool down until you can keep your kand in it and count to 10 without burning yourself (about 45 degrees Celsius).

Than you add the yogurth (about 3-4 cups per gallon), mix, cover the pan, wrap it in the blankets and put it to rest in a quiet place. Usually I put it under my bed so that nobody will be bothered by it. You let it stay for about 12 hours, so I usually start warming up the milk while cooking dinner, and have my yogurth ready for the next breakfast. you might want to mix it when ready.

I know of people making yougurth in a thermos, and thus saving themselves all the trouble with blankets etc. but I use it to make chesse as well, so I need lots.

Take any quantity if yogurth you want to use, considering that the volume of the cheese will be at least 4-5 times less than the volume in yogurth. Add salt to taste (if you use little salt, and Americans usually do that, compared with South-Europeans, add more than you would consider OK). Mix well.

Prepare a strainer, rinse with lots of water a clean white cloth (otherwise your cheese will taste of softener, which you don't want. Ideally you wash your cheese cloth only with hot water), put the cloth inside the colander and pour your salted yogurth in it. Hang the strainer on top of your sink or put it inside a bowl deep enough to collect all the water leaking from the cheese, without having it hanging in it. Consider that lots of water will come out.

My kitchen used to be unheated during the day, so I did it just on a table. you might want to hang the hole thin in th fridge. In this case, don't use the colander, but tie well the cloth and hang it above the bowl. I know someone who bought especially for the cheese a clean white cotton sock (if you can find unbleached cotton, than you deserve the organic-housewife of the year award), as it avoided mess and it hung so much more easily.

After a few hours all the excess water left. ;eaving behing a creamy cheese. I scoop it away from the fabric with a spoon, press it in a small bowl, and keep it in the fridge. Before serving I turn it on a small plate or saucer and serve it. The one in the picture was made with 3 lt. milk and had a diameter of 15 cm at the base.

I eat it spread on bread or crckers, and as a lean alternative to sour cream in soups or other dishes. Keep in mind that it is salty, so the dish should not have much salt on its own. I love it with pumpkin soup, but should try it with corn soup or any other sweet vegetables (how's about sweet potatoes, or carrots?).

Friday, June 26, 2009

Folk-music festival and workshops in Civitella Alfedena

If you are around Abruzzo in August, don't miss the Folk Festival at Civitella Alfedena (AQ), organised by Associazione Mantice Latina

I have no time to translate it completely but I trust you can follow quite well the artist's names and the dates. For info on the workshops you can contact the addrees at the bottom.

Domenica 23 Agosto ore 21,30 Abies alba - Musiche e canti dal Trentino
Lunedì 24 Agosto ore 21,30 Quintetto Martin - dell’Orchestra di tango di Roma
Mercoledì 26 Agosto ore 21,30 Xarnege - musica tradizionale della Vasconia –
Giovedì 27 Agosto ore 19,00 Gruppo giovane emergente selezionato a “laMarca eurofolk 2009”
6° concorso internazionale di musiche e danze della tradizione
Giovedì 27 Agosto ore 21,30 Massimo Ferrante - E JAMU JA
Venerdì 28 Agosto ore 18,00 PULCINELLA MON AMOUR Incubi lazzi e sogni di Cetrulo Pulcinella
Venerdì 28 Agosto ore 21,30 La notte del tamburo
Il tradizionale corteo musicale attraversa le vie del paese
Sabato 23 Agosto ore 21,30 Te l’ho portata la serenata - Serenate e canti d’amore nella piazza del mercato
con la partecipazione dei Fratelli Mancuso e gli allievi del laboratorio sulla voce “Disolavoce”

Ingresso agli spettacoli libero e gratuito.

Martedì 25 e Mercoledì 26 Danza popolare “Saltarello di Amatrice” con Anna Cirigliano
Giovedì 27 e Venerdì 28 Organetto con Massimiliano Morabito
Giovedì 27 e Venerdì 28 Tamburi a cornice con Andrea Piccioni
da Giovedì 27 a Sabato 29 Disolavoce – Laboratorio sulla voce con i Fratelli Mancuso

I corsi sono a numero chiuso. Necessitano della sola iscrizione preventiva (10 Euro).
Orari stage Mattino 10-12 - Pomeriggio 15-18

Ogni forma di divulgazione è gradita

Per informazioni 0773 – 484955 - 339 2327810

Marco Delfino

Monday, April 27, 2009

News from the Charity for Abruzzo in Amsterdam

Last Thursday, 23rd April, we held in Amsterdam a charity evening for the victims of the earthquake in Abruzzo. The University of Amsterdam (UvA) participated in this event in order to collect funds to help the academic life in L'Aquila to start again.

We could use their beautiful Aula Magna, located in the Old Lutheran Church in the centre of Amsterdam, and the president of the University, dr. Karel van der Toorn, held a short speech (starting in an excellent Italian) and one minute silence for the victims.

The first part of the evening was called: A trip to Abruzzo, a short show with literary readings, opened by singer Carla Regina who sang three pieces that talked to everybody's hearth, under the projection of the moon's picture you see above, made by Antonio di Maggio.

Dancer Margherita Bencini followed with an improvisation on the theme of the earthquake, accompanied by the pictures Dario van Houwelingen took in Abruzzo on Easter's day.

Followed a piece I wrote especially for this evening in Dutch (parts of it you read already here and in my Italian blog Mammamsterdam, with a musical intermezzo of Luciano Maio.

Willem Kroonberg ended this trip with three poems of Gabriele D'Annunzio in Dutch.

After the break followed the auction of some of the pictures Antonio di Maggio made (you see here the three that are still available. If you buy one of them, you will bring money to the fund for the earthquake).

But also artists Lidia Palumbi, Roberto Caradonna and Gino Calenda di Tavani generously gave some of their best works for the acution. My husband surprised me with one of the chalkworks of Roberto, an artists I always admired.

I will leave you with this last picture (the first two, you might have recognised them, are the Fountain of the 99 Cannelle', and the Spanish Fort in L'Aquila) which has been taken by Antonio by Fontecchio.

It symbolizes in my eyes that nature will prevail on manswork, always. Either by an earthquake, or by flowers growing on the ruins.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the 49 towns eligible for special earthquake support

Provincia dell'Aquila: Acciano, Barete, Barisciano, Castel del Monte, Campotosto, Capestrano, Caporciano, Carapelle Calvisio, Castel di Ieri, Castelvecchio Calvisio, Castelvecchio Subequeo, Cocullo, Collarmele, Fagnano Alto, Fossa, Gagliano Aterno, Goriano Sicoli, L'Aquila, Lucoli, Navelli, Ocre, Ofena, Ovindoli, Pizzoli, Poggio Picenze, Prata D'Ansidonia, Rocca di Cambio, Rocca di Mezzo, San Demetrio nè Vestini, San Pio delle Camere, Sant'Eusanio Forconese, Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Scoppito, Tione degli Abruzzi, Tornimparte, Villa Sant'Angelo e Villa Santa Lucia degli Abruzzi.
Provincia di Teramo: Arsita, Castelli, Montorio al Vomano, Pitracamela e Tossicia.
Provincia di Pescara: Brittoli, Bussi sul Tirino, Civitella Casanova, Cugnoli, Montebello di Bertona, Popoli e Torre de' Passeri.

This is the list of 49 towns that have been declared eligible for extraordinary subsidies t help reconstruction after the earthquake. They have all suffered damages calculated as more than a degree 6 earthquake according to the Mercalli scale, which is the most used in Italy.

The Mercally scale has for each earthquake a 12 points descriptions scale, which goes from 1 (a quake perceived only by instruments) to 12 (total distruction).

Of course in the past days there were lots of discussions on which towns were eligible for the list. Because towns not included will get no special benefits, but might have still suffered minor damages.