Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How to prepare yourself for a meltdown.

Yeah, meltdown not marathon. It isn't a typo, you read right.
After a long time on my to-be-read-list I finally made my mind about one of the most acclaimed book of 2012 and I'm going to read soon The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I've the feeling I'd like this book even if it will make me cry (Tissues ready).

Why did I wait so long? Because you've to be in the right mood to read a story about cancer and teenagers, even if there is love involved. 
So, here I am almost ready to turn TFiOS first page, but not before I read a couple of reassuring (The last novels in two of my favorite series), charming (Cool main charaters), predictable (HEA granted) books. That's my way to prepare to suffer and sympathize with Hazel and Augustus.

If you're interested in "films from books" a couple of days ago in Pittsburgh a troupe started filming the movie. You can catch up with the work in progress through John Green on twitter @realjohngreen or on his web page John Green

No review will follow. Maybe I'll keep trace of the number of tissues I'm going to use. Sniff. sniff.

Update 1st September 2013 - This is not a review.
This book is heartbreakingly marvelous. Mr Green is a freaking genius. And I cried, and sobbed and felt real pain in my chest... Mr Green sucked me in the story, trapped me there letting me suffer with all the living. He'd awakened my biggest fear: seeing one my kids sick. I should hate him for that, instead I admire him. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I simply love Penny's books and crazy ideas!

Reid Romance: Swag Design Time - Ideas for Authors, Fun for Read...: Some authors might be asking themselves: Do I need Swag?   The answer is: Authors need swag. Accept it. Own it. Love it   Now...

Farmers Market and Blueberries

My kids and I love berries, so when we saw wild blueberries at the local farmers' market we couldn't resist them. We ate them au natural or added them to our smoothies, but the real purpose of our purchasing was the Blueberry Tart.

This delicious tart has a fresh taste because it uses raw fruits (It's also very versatile because blueberries could be replaced with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries...)

Let's begin with the crust. The classic Sweet Pastry Crust @ JoyOfBaking is good, but I prefer to use my version (Follow the same procedure except for the ingredients)
250 gr All purpose Flour
125 gr unsalted Butter
125 gr sugar
1 Egg and 1 Yolk  (2 Yolks if the eggs are small)
1/8 teaspoon Salt

The heart of this tart is a luscious pastry cream. I found the recipe in my new "treasure" book written by the Italian Master pastry Chef Maurizio Santin Pasticceria le mie ricette di base)
500 ml whole Milk
130 gr Sugar
40 gr all purpose Flour
100 gr Yolks
1 Vanilla bean - My guys aren't vanilla lovers so I skipped it ;)

In a saucepan bring the milk and the vanilla bean to the boiling point (Just until milk starts to foam up). Remove to the heat and later remove the vanilla bean.
In a medium sauce pan mix sugar and eggs together. Add the flour to the egg mixture, until you get a smooth paste.
Add slowly the warm milk to the paste, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Put the saucepan back over the heat (medium) and cook until the mixture become thick and is boiling, again whisking constantly! When you see the first bubbles remove from the heat and pour the cream into a clean bowl. In order to prevent a crust from forming, cover the cream surface with plastic wrap.
Cool the cream to room temperature.
The last step is the easy one, let's go decorating!
Spread the pastry cream onto the bottom of the pastry shell (3/4 if the empty space). Place the clean fruits on top of the the cream (randomly or in a concentric pattern) and after arranging the fruits gently brush them with some jelly glaze.

Refrigerate the tart for at least a couple of hours (But I prefer to eat it after at least 4-6 hours). Serve it cool or at room temperature.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The summer of lost and found friends

I'm back. My summer thus far has been pretty great. But not because I spent only few days at home ;-) Truth be told we went on holiday and during our trip we visited some amazing places, some old, some new. But what made it a great time was the people I met. People I love.
I'm a lucky girl. I've a family I love, that had spoiled us rotten while we visited them, and I've old friends I love, which I met after a long long time.

Since this post has been inspired by long lasting friendships I'm going to to tell you what make me feel "refueled" in positive energy. Sounds too new-age? Cheesy? Hum, what about happy? Okay. Happy is fine.
Thing 1 that made me happy, the 20 years reunion with my old high school pals.
In the last two decades I met some of them, but lost trace of their lives. I know. I know, Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook for this reason. Actually, he did it to score chicks (according to the movie The Social Network), but nobody can deny FB is great for looking for lost contacts.
So, when one of the guys gathered the old group I went gladly. Truth be told I didn't know what to expect from the party. What I had was a fantastic night spent laughing till we cried, exchanging living and parenting experiences, confiding dreams and watching old pictures. That's why we laughed so much ;-) Think about the early 1990s and you can imagine why (Pictures'll never follow)!
Thing 2, my return trip from my hometown.
 Coming back home I made a couple of stops to see some of my University friends. We try to see each other at least once a year and we're keeping in touch regularly. But even from this bunch of guys came great news! 
Plus, it's so sweet watching our kids playing together. I get mushy all the time :-)
Thing 3, the visit of an old adventure's companion.
We didn't see each other for more than a decade, but with her I spent my most adventurous holiday, evah! Six girls (Four Italians and two Brit) in an old Ford van (I was the designed driver! And I'd never driven on the "wrong side" before) traveling along narrow Galles' roads, camping in an old tent, cooking with only a pan and a pot, drinking stout and ale in suggestive pubs, swimming in the ice cold waters of the Cardigan bay... Crazy ladies, indeed ;-)