Oct 25, 2021 · 1:21 pm
The Italian saying, ‘Prendere due piccioni con una fava’ – catch two pigeons with one fava bean – sounds slightly kinder than ‘kill two birds with one stone’ but its meaning, ‘achieve two aims at once’ is the same. It’s fave (broad bean) time again here and they’re particularly fresh, sweet and earthy tasting at present.
We had ‘two aims’ with this lot – a fave and pancetta risotto, and the next day, making the leftover risotto into fritters. (Roger not me, as my cooking is more southern Italian.) I admit, it’s the first time I’ve tried risotto fritters and they are delicious. Maybe a bit too much! And while I can’t take credit for this lot, I did help shell the fave, broad beans.
Shelling is a bit of work, especially removing the outer peel from each bean but we did so ‘Italian style’, sitting around the kitchen table chatting while the sun was setting. It reminded me of an elderly couple I once saw in Basilicata, sitting outside their door in the lane, shelling and chatting together. I admire how, many older Italians, from lifetimes of hard work, appear to be able to turn even tedious tasks into a time of togetherness and having a chat. Those Nonni always seem to know what’s best. Zoe x
Filed under dishes + recipes
Tagged as broad bean risotto fritters, broad beans, cooking risotto fritters, fava, fave, fave e pancetta risotto fritte, Italian Australian life, italian cooking, Italian fava sayings, Italian life, Italian Nonni, Italian village life, Prendere due piccioni con una fava, rice fritters, risotto, risotto fritters, shelling broad beans
Jan 21, 2021 · 12:48 pm
View from Fossa.
The torre, Fossa’s oldest structure dating back to the 12th century.
I can’t quite believe it’s twenty-five years since the first time I went to Italy… And those who know Mezza Italiana know that, for me, going to see where my family came from was a trip I took with some trepidation and mixed feelings, and yet it turned out to be incredibly life-changing. Little did I know then, I’d one day write a book about it and that the best thing about that would be connecting with so many of you and discovering how you shared either similar experiences about your ancestry and/or a love for Italy. It still amazes me to think that trip became the start of Mezza Italiana, especially as I wrote about something that I’d kept so close inside for my whole life until then.
Monastery on the outskirts of Fossa… Il Convento di Sant’ Angelo d’Ocre, founded in the 13th century.
Rich blue skies in the middle of the day.
Being twenty-five years on, I decided to dig out the photos I took on that first trip to Fossa in Abruzzo. (Some of them certainly look like they’re that old now!) I also had a modest Pentax camera that took rolls of film so some photos mightn’t be the best or as many as I’d take now on a phone camera, considering the cost to get rolls of films developed on a backpacker’s budget then! Still, it’s lovely to look back, especially to see Nanna Francesca and Nonno Anni next to me on the front steps the day I arrived as well as beautiful Fossa when there was no hint of the earthquake to come more than a decade later. And I still can’t get over the rich blueness of the sky some days up there in the Apennine Mountains! No filters or tricks on these photos, just nature at its most exquisite. Thank you for taking the Mezza Italiana journey with me and for sharing your stories too. Grazie infinite cari amici! Zoe xx
Early morning mist over the mountain with the romance of chimneys, terracotta roofs… and a quite tall tv antenna. 👀
Fossa at dusk. Almost timeless.
More photos here …
Filed under inspiration + history, italy
Tagged as 13th century tower Italy, Apennine Mountains, Fossa Abruzzo, Fossa Abruzzo Italy 1996, Fossa Italy, historic buildings Fossa Abruzzo, Italian architecture, Italian migrant stories, Italian migrants, Italian village life, Mezza Italiana, migrant stories, returning to your ancestry, rich blue skies, the place of your ancestors, villages in Abruzzo
Sep 21, 2018 · 11:32 am
Following the photographs of Fossa’s doors, it seems fitting to share some of Fossa’s windows too. So many beautiful and distinctive windows throughout the village (and to me, so much more character than most modern ones these days).
These photos were taken over the past 20 years or more so some are a bit grainy since I had an old Pentax camera with film back then. I could have perhaps photoshopped them but that didn’t seem being true to the era of even 15 or 20 years ago.
I didn’t realise just how many photographs I’d taken of Fossa during my visits, especially windows! (And no, I didn’t peek in any!) But I loved the resonances of village life you’d hear drifting down from them as I walked along the lanes – loud conversations in rapid Italian I mostly couldn’t understand, the aroma of a pasta sauce simmering on a stove, a tv set blaring, someone singing… all lovely. xx
Filed under art + photographs, italy
Tagged as Abruzzo history, Abruzzo village life, Abruzzo villages, finestre italiane, Fossa Abruzzo, Fossa Italy, heritage windows, Italian life, Italian village life, Italian windows, village windows Italy, Vita del villaggio italiano
May 15, 2018 · 4:00 pm
Walking around Fossa, along lanes that become so steep and narrow they merge into steps or descend into tunnels, I began to notice all the different doors I passed. Some with stylised, door furniture of lion heads or dragons and beautifully varnished wood, others crude, weathered timber, or painted mission brown.
Several were fastened with long, draw bolts that looked like from another era, stable doors with cobwebby corners, cat holes cut into the bottom by kind residents looking after the village cats. A few of Fossa’s resident animals managed to get into some of my photographs. I took these in the village four years before the earthquake. Perhaps one of the doors you may recognise as yours! xx
Filed under art + photographs, italy
Tagged as Abruzzo history, Abruzzo village, Abruzzo village life, door furniture, Fossa, Fossa Abruzzo, Fossa Italy, Italian cats, Italian doors, Italian lanes, Italian village life, Lion head, porte del villaggio italiano, porte italiane
Jul 8, 2017 · 6:00 pm
Sometimes it’s those little slivers in a day that you remember and miss most when you are far away… like stepping onto the balcony of my family’s house in Italy in late afternoon to sit overlooking the laneway seeing people stroll by below, hearing a Vespa buzz past and with the only thing to think about perhaps cooking dinner.
Feb 2, 2017 · 12:58 pm
I took this from the tiny balcony of the house in Fossa. As Roger walked along the laneway below on his way to the Boccabella shop and passed someone on their phone, he had no idea I was taking a photograph from above.
It is some years ago now, at a time when we were staying in the family house at the village in Abruzzo for a month and I was starting to write Mezza Italiana. It feels so strange to know that the damaged house now stands empty and the village a ghost town since the earthquake.
But I also feel so fortunate and grateful for the times I got to the experience the village at its happy and lively best, the connection it gave me to family and for the stories it has given, and hopefully will continue to give.
Jan 20, 2015 · 9:20 am
Fossa house, Abruzzo, a decade ago… pecorino cheese made by two women on a farm down in the valley, olives from the L’Aquila market, cerasuolo wine from a nearby vineyard, the paisley tablecloth Nanna Francesca purchased from a travelling merchant who drove from village to village in his small truck full of wares, an Italian folk song blaring from speakers to notify buyers he had arrived.
Filed under italy
Tagged as Abruzzo, cheese, culinary, eating, food, Fossa, Italian food, Italian village life, Italy, L'Aquila, olives, pecorino, wine