Monthly Archives: December 2014

Interesting Facts about China

bigIce cream was invented in China around 2000BC when the Chinese packed a soft milk and rice mixture in the snow and Marco Polo is rumoured to have taken the recipe (along with the recipe for noodles) back with him to Europe.

The total land area of China is 9,596,960 Sq. kms. It is the fourth largest country in the world. Shanghai and Beijing are two of the largest and most populous cities in the world.

The Chinese year is based on the cycles of the moon. This is called a lunar schedule. A complete cycle of the Chinese calendar takes 60 years. The Chinese calendar dates back to 2600 B.C. It is the oldest known calendar. Continue reading

A typical Sicilian Christmas dish


Scacciata patate editedSchiacciata Siciliana con patate

In Italy there isn’t a national Christmas dish like we have in the UK and the USA with our turkey and roast potatoes and veg. Each region (ogni regione), each town (ogni paesino) and each family (ogni famiglia) has its own traditional dish. That’s why the country is famous for so many culinary delights! As we’re so close to Christmas I would like to share one of my favourite Christmas dishes with you, which is typical of Catania in Sicily.
Here are some key words to help you follow the recipe:

• circa (pron. CHEER-KA) – around/approximately
• aggiungere (pron. A-JOON-JEH-REH) – to add
• tagliare (pron. TA-LEE-ARE-EH) – to chop
• pelare (pron. PEL-ARE-EH) – to peel
• un pizzico (pron. PITS-EEK-OH) – a pinch Continue reading

Why just 15-30 minutes a day is all you need to learn a language!

website banner books photoMost people think they just wouldn’t have the time to put into learning a foreign language. However, the truth is you don’t need to spend endless hours studying to make satisfactory progress. It cannot be denied that to learn a language you do have to put in considerable time and effort as with anything that is worthwhile doing, but this can be easily built in to your daily life. Continue reading

Buon Natale!

buon nataleSome advice for a real Italian Christmas:

In Italy natale is a big deal. In the most Catholic country on earth, the celebration of Christ’s birth isn’t so much about Father Christmas (although Babbo Natale is becoming more prominent nowadays) or the Christmas tree (l’albero di natale), it’s more about bringing the family together to make and eat lots of different traditional dishes. In fact the Italians spend nearly a whole month celebrating. Here are some important dates in the Italian Christmas calendar:

• 6 Dicembre: La Festa di San NicolaThe festival in honour of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of shepherds, is celebrated in some towns with the lighting of fires under enormous cauldrons, in which fave (broad beans) are cooked, then eaten ceremoniously.

• 8 Dicembre: L’Immacolata Concezione – celebration of the Immaculate Conception Continue reading

How to make “Turrón Blando Casero” (Homemade Soft Nougat)

Typical Spanish Christmas sweet

One of the most traditional and delicious foods to eat in Spain at Christmas is “turrón” (nougat). There are many different flavours and varieties but the most typical is probably “turrón blando” also known as “turrón de Jijona” (soft nougat) made from crushed almonds, hazelnuts, honey and sugar. Try out the following recipe by watching the Youtube video and reading the method below (in Spanish and English):



Vamos a preparar ‘Turrón Blando Casero’.
We are going to prepare ‘Homemade Soft Nougat’.

Los ingredientes que necesitamos son:
(The ingredients that we need are:)

250g almendras cruda pelada250g peeled raw almonds
100g avellanas100g hazelnuts
1 clara de huevo1 egg white
200g miel200g honey
100g azúcar100g sugar
esencia de limónlemon essence
canelacinnamon Continue reading