Eccoci qua. Un altro anno piano pianino (si fa per dire) fa la sua uscita e mi riporterà presto in Italia dove passerò le feste con la famiglia.
Il relax da divano e le mangiate però vengono generalmente precedute da ciò che definiamo shopping natalizio, il quale può generare emozioni contrastanti, ma certamente a Londra non mancano luoghi dove trovare idee o angoli dove ammirare una delle cose natale-mente fondamentali, anche quando si fanno compere: le lucine! Che nel caso di Regent Street diventano lucione giganti con tema cinematografico che cambia ogni anno.
Ma torniamo alle compere… Ho fatto un giretto da Selfridges alla ricerca di ispirazione e quest’anno mi è piaciuta molto una sezione al piano terra dedicata al tema White Christmas o Bianco Natale che dir si voglia. Insomma, c’è questo spazio tutto bianco con solo oggetti bianchissimi! E tra questi, candido come la neve, un paio di Doc Martens bianche! Mah… Non le avevo mai viste bianche! Nemmeno nel negozio in Covent Garden! Oh stupore! Oh meraviglia! Ed eccomi a ricordare i miei 15 anni quando comprare una paio di Doc Martens era una specie di conquista del pianeta ‘giovanedonnaalternativaancheunpocogrungechelemettocontuttoanchelegonne!’. Ah che bello!
Vorrei condividere questa foto e dedicarla a tutti coloro che si emozionano per un paio di scarpe, di qualsiasi tipo! Anche sotto Natale!
E tra luminarie, scarpe color neve e biglietti d’aereo per tornare a casa-patria, eccovi i miei più sentiti auguri di Buone Feste e, soprattutto, Felice 2012!
In September I joined a Latin course. I thought it would be a good thing to refresh my rusty Latin now that I teach Italian. I have to say, it’s funny to discover how in your adult life you can enjoy a subject that used to be your worst nightmare at 13!
One of the highlights of this experience was definitely to be reminded of how English is so close to Latin too: not so much in the grammar, but in its vocabulary. English displays a wonderful mix of Latin and Germanic terms thanks to its history, and this is for sure one if its beauties.
Following the end of the Roman rule in Britain, Latin remained as the language of the church, partially interacting with Anglo-Saxon. Then, when the Duke of Normandy, aka William the Conqueror took England in 1066, he introduced French as the language of royalty. French-speaking kings ruled the country for 350 years and their language blended into Middle English giving it a vast portion of its Latin-related terms and making it a very enriched language. It is through Germanic Middle English that we have words like kingly, and it is through Latin and French that we have words like royal or sovereign. How fascinating is this?
Sometimes the stories behind words are just amazing, you just need to uncover the layers. For example: the words duke, duce (Italian), duchy, duchess, doge (ruler of the Republic of Venice), ducat, viaduct, conductor (ecc.) all have something in common and yes, it has to do with Latin: all these terms contain the root of the verb dūco, dūcere meaning ‘to lead’, you may also think of the word dux meaning ‘leader’ in Latin.
Learning about these connections is a great way to see how two seemingly separate cultures are actually sharing more than one would normally think: it’s in the words we use everyday.
When it comes to cooking, I really like to improvise and create my own recipes. At home, I try to follow a few principles:
- be healthy, because eating out is not always so, and we eat out a lot;
- keep it simple;
- use seasonal and local food as much as possible. I always check UK food seasonality here (wonderful blog);
- use as little meat as possible (we get plenty of it in London’s restaurants);
- be creative.
I recently prepared this nice little salad for my own pleasure. It’s quick and easy and very crunchy.
fennel & red chicory salad
Ingredients: fennel, red chicory, extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper.
With salads, proportions and quantities really depend on your taste; in the picture above you can see half a fennel and a whole bunch of red chicory (which is quite small compared to other salads). When you choose your fennel, pick fresh and round ones as they taste better in salads. Make sure you cut you veggies thinly, this helps blending their flavour with the dressing’s.
Dressing: in Italy there is a motto that says that you need a wise man to dress the salad and a mad man to mix it, so you can go schizophrenic for a little while and make sure that you add a little salt, then a little vinegar (balsamic is always great as well), a little more olive oil and some pepper to give it a great final touch and taste!
This is a delicious autumn salad, I had it with warm bread and goat cheese, but it’s going to be delicious with any strong flavoured cheese or as a light side to chicken.
Buon appetito and see you soon for more anglo-italian recipes!