.: Let your heart be light

Want to compare? ok. First compare Ella Fitzgerald to Sam Smith

Well… Ella wins, but Smith’s version is also sang very nicely, only more melancholic.

Then compare Giovanni Rana’s gnocchi to Maffei’s ones.

Well I think they’re pretty good and they’re are soft as the package promises, but I must say I prefere Maffei’s ones. Just because they’re a a bit less soft. I like to feel something under my teeth.

In effetti i gnocchi di Giovanni Rana sono buoni, ma un po’ troppo soffici per i miei gusti. Quelli di Maffei sono più piccoli e tengono meglio la cottura, che è rapidissima in entrambi i casi. Buon Natale e complimenti Signor Maffei ! Be’… non si vince niente, ma io dico che ha vinto lei !

.: Have yourself a Merry little Christmas

Colazione di Natale? Col pandoro ! Do you know pandoro ? It’s a soft sweet…I don’t know how to explain, anyway, it’s pandoro, and it’s a Christmas sweet bread we eat in Italy. And yes, it’s good for breakfast… especially when you still can’t eat “hard things”.

But there’s something else.
There’s a lot of stories about gingerbread men cookies. According to Carole Levin, director of the medieval studies program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and author of The Reign of Elizabeth I, Queen Elizabeth I’s 16th-century reign was known for elaborate royal dinners and “she did do a banquet where she had gingerbread men made to represent foreign dignitaries and people in her court”.
In those times, gingerbread men were also prepared by folk-medicine practitioners, often described as witches or magicians, who would create them as love tokens for young women. Levin says that “if they could get the man of their choice to eat the gingerbread man that had been made for them, the idea was the man would then fall in love with the young woman”.
But gingerbread is much older. It is claimed to have been brought to Europe in 992 CE by the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis. He went to France and and taught gingerbread baking to French Christians. From France gingerbread spread to Sweden in 13th century and arrived in England in 17th century where the biscuits were born.
Anyway. The reason I’m talking about gingerbread is that my niece gave me a present…

She gave me some biscuits she made, and I love them

brown sugar 50 g zucchero di canna
butter 125 gr burro
nut flour 50 gr farina di nocciole
sugar or honey 65 gr zucchero o miele
flour 300 gr farina
ginger 50 gr zenzero
egg 1 uovo (separate yolk from white) [separate il tuorlo dal bianco]
powdered sugar for the decoration – zucchero a velo per la glassa
you can also add
nutmeg – noce moscata
cinnamon – cannella

mix everything, putting the yolk and the flour for last [mescolate tutto, mettendo per ultimi, prima l’uovo, infine la farina] and put it in the fridge for 1 hour [e mettetelo in frigorifero per 1 ora]. Then lie it down and make the biscuits [dopo aver fatto i biscotti, rimettete in frigo per 10 minuti] and put them again in the dridge for 10 minutes.

For the decoration, whip the egg white with powdered sugar [montate l’albume a neve con lo zucchero a velo, per la decorazione]
Finally bake them 185°C for about 25 minutes. Va be’ questo non lo traduco XD

I must confess it’s very weird eating a woman’s head.. even if it’s just a biscuit! But I did it !

Dietro ogni cosa c’è una storia… a volte una storia che non sospettate. And there’s a story behind this song too.

It was written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane in 1944. And it was a pretty sad song. People asked him to change the lyrics and the song started to be revised.

In 1957, Frank Sinatra asked Martin to revise the line “Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.” He told Martin, “The name of my album is A Jolly Christmas. Do you think you could jolly up that line for me?” Martin’s new line was “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.” Martin made several other alterations, changing the song’s focus to a celebration of present happiness, rather than anticipation of a better future.

I think it is still quite a melancholic song, but it has a sweet note in it. Like a gingerbread biscuit.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, your troubles will be out of sight, yeah
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on, your troubles will be miles away, ooh
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
They gather near to us once more
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
Ooh, and have yourself a merry little Christmas now
Faithful friends who are dear to us
They gather near to us once more
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
But ‘til then we’ll have to muddle through somehow, ooh yeah, ooh, oh
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now