As some of you will already know we have our very own Persimmon tree just outside the kitchen which provides shade on our terrace during the summer. During the summer the fruit is hard and looks very similar to a large green apple, not good when they drop off as part of the natural process, narrowly missing those seeking shade by sitting under the tree! The fruit gradually softens and changes colour from pale orange through to an almost tomato red orange colour. The redder they are the softer they are and you need to pick them and eat them at this stage as they do not seem to store for long. The done thing is to pick and enjoy for pranzo, lunch or cena, supper straight from the tree. Despite losing what seemed like hundreds during the ripening process it is still covered in what are now Orange Balls, just like Christmas Decorations. The art is in picking them before they drop on the terrace or a passing person if you are unlucky, by now a rather messy process. We have had some near misses but no direct strikes yet!
As you drive around the area you see lots of these trees now bare of leaves adding a Christmas feel to the landscape.
We know our neighbours enjoy the fruit and eat them regularly at this time of the year but wonder how many of those free Christmas Decorations are left on the trees as like us Italians generally find they are a fruit which is of very acquired taste, not something everyone enjoys by any means. Meanwhile the birds enjoy the fruit and we appreciate its attractiveness!
Parts of this post may seem familiar to readers who have been with me for over a year, but I have written about the Persimmon again as I really wanted to share an amazing recipe for using this fruit with you all.
Last year we asked for ideas of how to use our surplus Persimmon fruits and this is what was suggested to us by Heiko from Path to Self Sufficiency
It really is very easy - 1 kg of persimmon, peeled and chopped, add 350g brown sugar, 250 ml white wine vinegar, 2 tsp of dried ginger and 2 bay leaves. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45-60 minutes until cooked to a pulp that is thick and jam-like. Pot up in hot jars, seal and store.
You may also know this fruit as kaki or sharon fruit, but whatever you call it, if you can get hold of some do try this recipe sometime. It works and really does taste like Mango Chutney!
Another recent post about Persimmon this time from a blog I enjoy reading about Life in Japan Life in Kawagoe
Early summer green and hard, looking like apples.
Below is how the fruit changes colour during the late summer.
November shows the Persimmon tree in all its Autumn glory.
By mid November the leaves are dropping
Finally our very own Christmas Persimmon Tree
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The photos are all my own except the chutney picture which is courtesy of Heiko but I will admit that some of them are from last year including this magnificent Christmas Persimmon Tree. This year we have removed lots to make our Persimmon Mango Chutney.
Have a lovely weekend end everyone, the last one before Christmas, so hope you are by now well organised!
The Blue Demon by David Hewson
The December post for the list of books that the other people taking part are reading this month has already been posted. December Reviews
This is my last entry as the challenge reaches a successful conclusion for me, I have read and reviewed a book for every month of the year. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Brighton Blogger of Book After Book for hosting what has been a fun challenge to participate in.
I doubt I would ever have considered reading this title had it not been for the Italy in Books Reading Challenge for 2011. Thrillers and mysteries are a genre I do not read a great deal of although I have a few authors of this genre I enjoy. In fact I usually only read this genre if it is one my husband has read and recommends to me. This was the case with this one and also to be honest I was hunting around our bookshelves for something set in Italy for the final book of the challenge. So although this title would maybe not be my first choice I did find it a good read and the fact that it was set in places I am familiar with added to the interest considerably.
With mainly Italian characters, lots of references to Italian history, art and culture, use of Italian and familiar places how could I fail to enjoy this novel. Having visited some of the Etruscan tombs in this region it was fascinating to read a novel weaved around the legacy of the lost race of the Etruscans. The storyline is complex with many twists and turns and will keep you guessing right to the very end.
The story commences with the kidnapping of a government minister and his driver murdered, just days before an important conference with leaders of the G8 in Rome. When a ritual murder takes place, performed it seems by someone dressed as The Blue Demon from Etruscan history. It is then that Detective Nic Costa suspects that a twenty year old case where a mysterious group committed a series of crimes in the style of the infamous Blue Demon of Etruscan history was never really solved. The group has reformed and are planning attacks on Rome with devastating consequences. Old Etruscan myths, conspiracy and murders old and new are all part of the investigation.
Well worth reading if you are not only a lover of all things Italian but enjoy a good mystery.
For those of you interested in learning more about the historical background, I have included a couple of links to get you started.
DAVID HEWSON was born in Yorkshire in 1953 and left school at the age of seventeen to work as a cub reporter on one of the smallest evening newspapers in the country in Scarborough. Eight years later I was a staff reporter on The Times in London, covering news, business and latterly working as arts correspondent. I worked on the launch of the Independent and was a weekly columnist for the Sunday Times for a decade before giving up journalism entirely in 2005 to focus on writing fiction.
He has written sixteen novels, as well as several travel books. Until 2005 he was a weekly columnist for the Sunday Times until becoming a full-time author. David lives in Kent but visits Italy frequently. All 11 of his Italian books are now in development as TV movies.
Sources of information used in this post :-
I also post these ‘Italy in Books’ reviews on my other blog.
LindyLouMac's Book Reviews
Early December is the time we have our last harvest of the year the Kiwi’s. Those of you that have been reading my ‘Our Garden’ posts since the Spring will have seen photos of the Kiwi vines as the season progressed and they gradually grew to become these impressive looking fruits.
We picked them this year a few days ago and my other half reckons there are about 50 kilos of kiwi’s for us to enjoy over the winter. In fact they will be kept in our cool dark cellar and last us right through until early summer. We eat the majority of them fresh, although a little kiwi jam always goes down well with my sister and family.
These photos can also be viewed individually in My Flickr Album Our Kiwi Harvest 2011
Have a lovely weekend everyone.
Today is a Public holiday here in Italy in celebration of this event.
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is celebrated every year on 8 December in a number of countries including Italy where the date is a Public holiday.
I do not know much about the celebrations as I am not Catholic but assume that the church has special services. There is a widespread misunderstanding of the term ‘immaculate conception’ as many believe it refers to Mary's conception of Jesus, that the date of this celebration occurs only seventeen days before Christmas should make the error obvious! Annunciation of the Lord or the Incarnation of Christ, as it is also known is celebrated on 25 March, exactly nine months before Christmas Day. It was at the Annunciation, when the Blessed Virgin Mary humbly accepted the honour bestowed on her by God and announced by the angel Gabriel, that the conception of Christ took place.
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, goes back to the seventh century, when churches in the East began celebrating the Feast of the Conception of Saint Anne. In other words, this feast celebrates the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the womb of Saint Anne; and nine months later, on September 8, we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It is sunny and 10C (at 9.30am) so I think we will be working in the garden today, tidying up ready for the winter.
Over the last few days my 2010 post for San Nicola has been appearing in the side bar as a Popular Post. So I have decided to repost today an updated version as it seems Saint Nicholas is always of interest at this time of the year and lots of you will not have read it before.
Today is the Saints Day for Nicholas, December 6th not only a special day for all the Nicholas’s and Nicola’s in Italy where Saints Days are celebrated by the namesakes, but also today for many other children in Italy this day is seen as the beginning of the Christmas festivities when they receive a present from San Nicola.
This day is celebrated in many different parts of the world, several countries within Europe including Italy, as the day when one of the most popular saints in history died in AD 354. There are many stories circulating about his life, but true or not there is certainly no doubt that this is the Saint that inspired the much loved character Father Christmas or Babbo Natale as he is known in Italy.
Saint Nicholas (270–6 December 346) was born into a wealthy Greek family and at a young age he devoted his life both to God and to assisting those in need. He grew up in a Greek speaking colony of the Roman Empire
He was well known for his generosity and acts of kindness towards others, especially children, according to Wikipedia he is the patron saint to a long list of different groups of people around the world. Children, sailors, fishermen, merchants, broadcasters, the falsely accused, prostitutes, repentant thieves, pharmacists,archers and pawnbrokers, what an interesting and varied selection!
The major celebrations in Italy for St. Nicholas (San Nicola) take place in
There has been an interesting development since Saint Nicholas Day 2009 as it has been proposed that his bones are returned to Turkey.
On 28 December 2009, the Turkish Government announced that it would be formally requesting the return of San Nicola’s bones to Turkey from the Italian government. Turkish authorities have cited the fact that Saint Nicolas himself wanted to be buried at his birthplace. They also state that his remains were illegally removed from Turkey. Apparently the town of Demre where the ancient town of
While checking my facts for this updated post yesterday, I was unable to find any more recent references to this happening yet, unless someone reading this knows different?
Buon San Nicola
Italian Male Variations of Nicholas: Niccolò, Nico, Nicola, Nicolò, Nicolas
Italian Female Variations of Nicola: Nicoletta, Nicla, Nicole, Nicolina
I researched the facts quoted in this post with thanks to Wikipedia
Christmas window in Marta December 2010.
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When my sister was here recently to help us with the Olive Harvest we had beautiful weather with glorious blue skies and mild temperatures. Once the harvest was completed and we had free time before our appointment at the Olive Mill, we took some time out to walk from our house into Marta. Of course my camera went with us and today I am sharing with you the photos I took along the way.
Incidentally the new header photo was taken on this November walk. I thought it was about time I updated the look of the blog and the new template, which I hope you like, seems to make changing the banner photo a less demanding exercise, so hopefully I will be able to update it more often.
We have something new on the horizons around the lake, even with my telescopic lens I have been unable to get them very close as they are so far away! Can you spot them in any of these photos, yes I am sure you can? We are going to have to go out hunting and get some closer shots, as apparently this is just the start!
That’s it we arrived, have a lovely weekend everyone.
These photos were all taken on November 16th 2011 and can be viewed in larger sizes in My Flickr album Marta Scenes November 2011
All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection