Monthly Archives: January 2013

A Wordy Accomplishment

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Oh – there was a new one last week. A new word that is. Teo’ing – the art of posing with an imaginary friend. Named for a footballer called Manti Teo who cooked up a Bollywood-style sob story about a dead girlfriend and a dead grandmother …funny that.

I’m not a linguist but I’ll wager the number of new words that have come up in the last 10 years possibly outnumber those of the last 50 years. The rise and accessibility of new technologies is a major driver – `google it‘, `whatsapped you‘ and `unfriended‘ are  common parlance. Another stimulant of new words is the  general loosening of what used to be called `conventions’ in every area of life – clothing, relationships and even language as we used to know it. So here we have jeggings, mankinis (ewwwww!), metrosexuals, frenemies, LOL and `sup?.

But of course you know all of that already.

In my home, my fount of knowledge is of course the kids. Mom has something new to learn everyday, keeping her young, foolish and full of wide eyed wonder. I can proudly claim that I know what a doofus is, I can laugh at a fail that happened in class, can intelligently pwn someone and OMG is so like totally…I mean just so totally…

But I have to admit I struggle with emo and I took quite some time to figure out BFF (we used to have a BF or a GF, life was that simple) and absolutely forbade my teen from going planking once I understood what it was (or maybe I just didn’t `get’ it).

What I cannot understand is `meme‘ – I have been seeing this word here and there for a year or so, and tried to kind of ignore it for a while. But when I saw it on the Facebook page of a 12 year old, I knew I had to swing into action. My wise teen tried to explain it to me in two different ways but seeing my dim expression, gave up with a shrug. So off I went, googling it. Ah – so here’s what it is – an Internet trend in which people add their own captions onto photos, giving it their own interpretations, and …then… well…that’s all…huh? Bad Luck Brian is a pretty well known example of it…you savvy? Ashamed to say I still don’t.

But I am mom! And I always have a few tricks up my sleeve. I can do a meme in the real world! It came to me when we visited a new restaurant that opened up in my little corner of the world. My village has some 2 1/2 shops so the opening of a very typical Italian pizzeria / trattoria was very welcome indeed.

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A medieval farmhouse stands in the centre of my village

I had a most wonderful fish there one night and decided I was going to do my own interpretation of it – my very own meme! It was light and delicious and cooked with round sliced potatoes and I really enjoyed it. It was only a few weeks later on a trip to the wonderful city of Bologna that I figured out it had been cooked in the Bolognaise style – they serve potatoes with everything! It’s a city with many nicknames-  La Dotta (the Educated – for its ancient universities), La Rossa (the Red – for its red rooftops) and La Grassa (the Fat – for its fantastic food). All true.

But I digress. Sharing with you, my super easy and super delicious Fish Meme.

FISH MEME (Prep time 15 mins, cooking time 30-45 mins, hands-free)

* Fish fillets (any white fish would do) – 1-2  fillets per person

* Potatoes – a few, peeled (or not) and sliced into thin roundels. Not as thin as potato wafers, but not enough to qualify as medium thick…

* Olive oil – 2-3 tbsps (or more, or less if you like)

* Salt, pepper and paprika

* Lemon wedges to serve

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My veggie friends…this is a good time to look away ; )

– Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade.

– Lay out the fillets in an oiled oven dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

– Cover with the potato slices, overlapping the edges. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pop into the oven for 30-45 minutes.

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– Check occasionally to see how the dish is doing. I suspect cooking times would vary quite a bit depending on the potatoes, the thickness, the quantity of oil used and of course the oven itself.

– When the potatoes are done (they’ll be soft in the centre and crispy about the edges), bring it out of the oven, sprinkle some paprika onto it, add on some lemon wedges, and enjoy! Low fat, delicious and easy – how ah-some is that?

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Strengthening my resolve?

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I’m not a great one for New Year Resolutions. I have All Year Round Resolutions instead…little goals that keep me motivated and on my toes…writing a blog was one of them!  Apparently the tradition has roots that are old and deep in the Christian world. The ancient Babylonians made promises to their Gods, as did the Romans and the others that followed. It also links strongly to a tradition of Lenten fasting and sacrifice. A new year is a time to reflect, to cleanse, and work on the inner self (and often on the outer one as well…sigh)

`Statistics’ shows that 88% of New Year Resolutions fail – so I’m not taking any chances. Instead of the ever-popular `lose weight’ I decided to start my new year with an indulgent treat, something I’ve only ever seen in Italy and have never tried before – an ice cream sandwich.

Brings to mind a vanilla rectangle encased in 2 biscuits does it? Aha – in Sicily it does not! It is exactly what it says on the tin – a brioche con gelato IS a sandwich filled with gelato. Italians love to indulge their sweet tooth at breakfast and this really takes the cake..er..sandwich. A bun filled with generous dollops of gelato – eaten at breakfast, or any time of the day. What a mad idea! Wow. Only in the land of the dolce vita.

Typically, this is what it would look like (Pic: http://www.newyork.seriouseats.com)

I tried a hoity toity version of the same – this is Milan remember? We Milanese need to be stylish about everything we do. So a simple brioche con gelato becomes a pannetone con gelato – a mini-pannetone gelato sandwich. You remember my blog about Pannetone, the Italian Christmas bread? No? Ok – here it is.

So – here it was. A mini-pannetone, with a cone artfully scooped out of it, and filled with two flavours of your choice of gelato. In Italy they `look’ at you if you order just one flavour…honest! I am an out-and-out  dark chocolate girl but was in a mood to pander to L&M’s whims that day, so we chose  two fruity-nutty  flavours – clementine and sweet almond gelatos as the filling.

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Divine? Right.

How did it taste? Just absolutely completely divine. Really, a cone does not even come close. It was all about texture and mouthfeel. Cold gelato, room temp pannetone. Melting gelato countered by chewy bread. I have to admit, I’m totally craving it. I don’t know how I’m going to keep myself away from that gelateria the next time I pass by…hmm…now THAT is a New Year’s Resolution worth making and keeping.