Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Apulia. A Film Tourism Guide
Here's an excerpt from the blurb on the inside of the front cover:
"They are called 'locations,' but in Apulia they are simply life. Not only the most crystal-clear, spectacular sea you have ever seen, extending for 800 kilometres of coastline. Also the dazzling expanses of wheat seen in I'm Not Scared, the centuries-old olive trees and the ravines that 'wound' the land. The deserted villages of the Subapennine area and the candid towns eternally captured 'nel blu dipinto di blu' by Domenico Modugno. The trullos that captivate the English and now seduce Bollywood. The 'western' Murgia and the beaches of past invaders and present immigrants, the place were Lamerica begins. The indolent holiday resorts and the sensual nights that move to the rhythm of the taranta. The castles of Federico II and the Romanesque cathedrals. The mountain of the Angel and the cult of Padre Pio. The Ilva smokestacks and the outskirts of the cities. Bari, the hometown of the enamoured Meryl Streep of Madison County and of the resurrected Petruzzelli where Liz Taylor captivated the young Toscanini. The Felliniesque bands dear to Nino Rota. Castellaneta represents the legend of Rudolph Valentino. In the heart of Baroque Lecce, the nakedness of history and the strength of the light 'in the south of the south of the saints' of Carmelo Bene.
Ten itineraries to discover Apulia, a variable scenery for hundreds of sets, from Pasolini, Totò, the Taviani brothers, Monicelli and Wertmuller, to Placido, Amelio, Salvatores, Rubini and Moretti. Visions and symbols, famous masters and young talents, characters and places in search of a region where films come to life."
The English version was released this month and you can buy your very own copy on-line. The only problem is that all the links I have found are in Italian! Even the publishers, Laterza, don't have an English page in their on-line catalogue...I have to go pay them a visit and talk to them about this! In the meantime, you can place your order in Italian here.
Monday, April 27, 2009
First things first, let's look at making the crust. Although your calzone ends up looking kind of like a pie, the dough is much more bread-like.
1 kilo flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
1 cube of active yeast
You can mix the dough either on a tabletop, or in a large bowl. Create a small indentation in the middle of the flour and pour in a bit of warm water, then crumble in the yeast. When the yeast has dissolved add the sugar and salt and mix until they dissolve, too. Gradually mix in the flour, adding water as needed to achieve the consistency of dough. It shouldn't stick to your hands, nor should it be so dry that it crumbles. Knead the dough for at least 8 minutes, adding either flour or water, as necessary. Lightly flour the surface of your dough and cut a cross into it. This has religious connotations, "blessed bread" and all, if you prefer an "x" will do the trick just as well, but the cut also serves to allow the dough to rise. At this point, it should look something like the photo below...
Wrap this baby up in a dry cloth, then stick it under the covers in your bed...or in some other warm spot...and let it rise for about an hour and a half. On to the filling:
pitted black olives
grated pecorino or romano cheese
I know you are going to be thinking...how much of each of these ingredients? And I can only tell you that...it depends! It depends on how you like your calzone. Like so many recipes passed on through the oral tradition, you just have to try and see how it comes out, then make adjustments to suit your taste the next time. In any case, the onions are the key ingredient here, so you probably want about a kilo of them.
Boil the cod until they are firm and white inside. Clean them, discarding all the skin, bones, etc. and set the meat aside.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
And I have a surprise for you...Blackie had kittens! Five kittens! She gave birth in the field just past our garden wall on Easter Sunday. We brought the whole family into the yard and have created a private room for them inside our backyard bar.
I had my doubts about who the father was going to turn out to be. Tigro had broken his leg shortly before Blackie went into heat... And there was an orange intruder hanging out rather too assiduously during that period...
But the birth of 4 black and one tiger-striped kittens has cleared up all questions of paternity!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
The Tax Man
Tax guy: Sì, professore, sì. You will have to declare that. Well, technically sì, you should have declared it last year, too. Mmmm, mmmm. Well, really, you didn't know about it last year, so let's just not mention it and act as if it was just an oversight...
Same tax guy then advises me to declare Son A's sports expenses as Son B's so as to get the full deduction. I suppose it's nice to have the tax guy on your side, finding you loopholes and nifty deductions and all.
Though, I am damn sure that if I were to follow some of that less than legit advice and then get audited...Mr. Tax Guy would have no responsibility whatsoever for anything!