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Remember oliebollen?  The Dutch dumplings I mentioned in my previous post? As I have written I liked them so much, I decided to look for the recipe and share it here for the ones willing to give it a try. They can be made plain or they can be enriched with raisins, currants and apple. Both versions usually get dusted with icing sugar before serving. Some people also add citrus zest and candied cherries, but so far I never tried them this way. Also, the oliebol can be filled after baking with whipped cream, pastry cream or jam. The filling can add extra sweetness since the dough itself is not very sweet.
Next time I visit The Netherlands for New Years Eve I will definitely try the wipped cream filling. I am very inspired.

It must be said that oliebollen are most delicious just recently baked. Afterwords they stay tasty for 1-2 days and can be warmed up in the microwave - but freshly baked they're just unbeatable, believe me.

You will need about 1,5 hours for preparation and extra 45 minutes for cooking.

Time very well spent, I'd say. Here are the ingredients:
– 400 g of flour
– 2 tsp of salt 
– 20 g of fresh yeast
 300 ml milk, luke warm
 1 tbsp of sugar
 2 eggs
 200 g of raisins, soaked, washed and dried
– 1 big apple, peeled, cored and chopped in small cubes. Traditionally Goudreneitten apples are used for this recipe.
– fat for deep frying
 icing sugar.

1 Dissolve the yeast in the milk, leave for a few minutes to get frothy. Mix the flour, salt and sugar. Add the eggs and the yeast-milk mixture to the flour. Use a wooden spoon, whisk (needs to be a sturdy one) or dough-hooks and a mixer to mix everything together. Keep mixing for about 10 minutes to develop the gluten. Mix the raisins and apple through. Cover the bowl and leave to rise for about 1 hour. Heat the fat in a deep fat fryer or suitable pan to 170C. Form spheres from the risen batter with 2 spoons, or an ice cream scoop, dipped in the hot fat and let them slide into the hot fat.
Bake them until brown, in 4-6 minutes. When the temperature of the fat is correct, the oliebollen will turn their selves over when the first side has browned enough. Using a slotted spoon, place them in a colander to get rid of most of the fat, then place them in another colander layered with kitchen paper towels. Use more kitchen paper towels between the layers to absorb the remaining fat.

For plain oliebollen, just leave out the raisins and apple, but keep the same weight in total. Don't forget to tet me know what you think, if you make them. Enjoy them hot and dusted with lots of sugar.

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I always loved visiting the city center during Christmas days, all the best when I am on holiday somewhere far from home, like now. It is a lovely anticipation of festive time to come. Always thought tiny lights on naked tree branches are enchanting and I love to discover the decorations shining through people windows or on the buildings.
As long as it is not me who has to rush for buying presents, I also love looking at people walking the streets with bags showing something nicely wrapped. 
The air is cold, crisp and filled with sweet delicious food smell.

NOrdic countries' long cold winters do force their inhabitants to be master of Christmas cheer. So is it here in The Netherlands. I could not wait to stroll about in Zwolle city center. 
We discovered a living nativity scene. Maria is still waiting for her baby to be born.
Cows, sheep, even a camel   and other animals are patiently waiting for the baby too.
Singing singing with very beautiful voices. Very poetic indeed.

A tent when everyone could play freely with lego bricks - kids and adult all together.
Santa takes care of his shoe-laces hidden behind a tree.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen...
Did you ever hear this song? It's so beautiful. I love Annie Lennox's version of it.
Have you ever tried Oliebollen? A typical dutch delicacy, commonly known as Dutch doughnuts, basically deep-fried raisins buns. According to tradition, they are eaten on Newyears Eve, that is why in these days the streets are filled with special kiosks who prepare them on the spot. I loved them covered in powdered sugar.
Another sweet I love: waffles covered in wipped cream.



I love winter in The Netherlands. This year we were so lucky we could come here for our winter holidays. We'll spend time with the Dutch side of the family. Last time it was 9 years ago.
I totally fell into the festive atmosphere as soon as I arrived. I very much inspired by my mother in law home made decorations: her crocheted stars and angels, the felt red reindeer do make the Christmas tree truly adorable. I am planning to make some for my own tree for next year.
Even birds have got their own Christmas cake - as you can see in the second picture.
It is so beautiful that every time I look outside the window and see it in the garden, I feel like I could just have a slice with my coffee.
We play games, bake tiny apple cakes, drink coffee and plan festive meals.
So far so good. How are you spending your holidays?



As the end of the year is approaching, it's time to look ahead of us to the new one's coming.
I don't know about you, but my 2017 has been not so easy in many ways but interesting in some respects I suppose. Anyway I won't lie to you if I say I can't wait to celebrate the end of it with a kind "farewell" and start all over again.
How will the new year be?
For one thing, its colour will be purple – as chosen by Pantone in facts the official color of 2018 is a saturated, intense, blue-toned shade of purple called Ultra Violet, also known as Pantone 18-3838. Pantone has been naming color of the year since 2000. The company views its selection as cultural barometer, a visual rappresentation of how we collectively do feel about the time we are living.

Pantone explains about this choice: “[Ultra Violet] is a very provocative shade, but it’s also a thoughtful color–it sounds like a bit of an oxymoron. This is the kind of color attached, historically, to originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking. These are the elements we need to create a meaningful future. Inventiveness and imagination is something we seek in our personal lives and business worlds. People are looking for that ‘magic bullet,’ and this shade is the perfect shade to lead right into it . . . It’s intriguing, fascinating, and magical.”

I personally love purple so probably I can see the intriguing/magical part.
What about you? What do you think of it? Do you like purple?

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Hello everyone, it is a long long time I do not write on this blog. It seems right to pick it up again just before the end of the year. Also, it seems right to look back at the past summer, just now that the first snow started to fall around here and memories of warm sunny days do seem so far away.
Here in Italy, summer has gone on for a very long while  a long warm autumn we all enjoy I must say.
A new work project gave me the chance to have a lovely mini trip in Abruzzo, central Italy, where I also visited my family family on dad side.
I spend my holidays there since I was a child, it's a lovely place where hills filled with olive trees meet the seaside but  funny enough  I never joined anyone on my family for the olive harvest. My grandparents had land with olives and peaches. Nowadays some of my uncles, aunties and cousins continued to work on my granparent's land. This year I was finally in the right place at the right time to witness and help a little with olive harvesting.
The youngest of the family, enjoyed the day a lot too.

The more you pick the more you have to be careful not to stand on a sea of olives.
Seeing lots of olives all on the ground, next to your feet, it's very rewarding.

We had our lunch on the premises. Some vegetables, fresh tomatoes sliced on the spot and naturally our olive extra virgin olive oil on bread. It comes from family trees and it's so delicious on bread! So simple yet so unbelievably delicious, believe me.
Looking at it shining in the sun light, I thought it really is the gold of this territory.

Well, and here they are: my personally plucked olives closed in a jar in my kitchen.

The small jar was gifted to us by my aunt Anna, the big jar contains some of the olives we plucked with our own hands. 
It's the firs time I prepare them, too. Washed and dried them before putting them in a jar alternating olives and salt, till the top. Every day the jar needs to be turned, we'll wait for a month and they'll be ready.
Next time I'll tell you all how they taste.




Uncertain journey [ Blain Southern, Berlin ] 2016
I just came across this wonderful installation art by Chiharu Shiota – a Japanese installation artist born in 1972 in Osaka, based now in Berlin where she has been living and working since 1996. 
I am amazed and fascinated by the impressive woven thread installations. They create a surreal fascinating world, I wish I could walk about in this space, be part of this world.

She is mostly renown for her vast, room-spanning webs of threads or hoses, she links abstract networks with concrete everyday objects such as keys, windows, dresses, shoes, suitcases and boats – as in these pictures of her work ‘uncertain journey’ – presented in a monumental exhibition at Berlin’s blain|southern (september – november 2016).

To transfer the idea behind Uncertain Journey, Shiota relies on two main elements: the boat skeletons, which serve and the complex maze of thread that symbolizes the existential questions deep within us about fate and belonging, evoking complex emotions in us that sometimes are as the tangled as the yarn itself.

Chiharu Shiota

In Silence [CentrePasquArt, Biel - Bienne ]
Labirinth of Memory,[ centrepasquart biel bienne ] 2012




Hi everyone! Did you know that PANTONE colour 15-0343 Greenery was elected colour of the year 2017? It's a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that indeed evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. A colour definitely symbolic of new beginnings.A colour of the year? It's simply a symbolic color selection of what Pantone sees taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude. I could not agree more with this choice, what about you?

Now Pantone Greenery is transformed into magical indoor wonderland in the heart of London: the First-Ever PANTONE Color of the Year Experience! Since January 27, just a couple of days ago, the Pantone Outside In House is listed live on Airbnb to book for overnight stays.

Did you ever travel using Airbnb? It’s a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodation around the world. I am using it regularly, when I travel and so far was never disappointed. 

Immagine my surprise and joy when I found out about Outside In. What an amazing place!

The brands Pantone and Airbnb have joined forces to create this house, located in London in Clerkenwell, where guests can stay in a universe of greenery. The apartment features a woodland reception area, an indoor greenhouse that doubles as a dining room, a garden bedroom with mown lawn, a tented nook for children, an herb garden kitchen, and botanical life interspersed throughout.

Can you immagine to stay in a place where you can hear the sounds of nature? Forage from its walls for herbs or maybe drink tea with leaves picked from a hydroponics installation? You  might choose plants to make terrarium vases or even pick leaves to design custom-prints.
Guests will also enjoy handcrafted activities designed led by local experts.As airbnb puts it: this is a unique chance for a family of four to spend a night in the lush Greenery of Pantone’s magical home. All proceeds will go to AIGA, the professional association for design, and Pantone will match the cost of your stay.

Since I was dreaming of going back to London soon, I guess I should try to book this place.

If you do before me, tell me your experience!

[ Credits: all photographs via airbnb ]


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