Every year, my husband and I bake tozzetti for Christmas. It wouldn’t be Christmas without the aroma of chocolate and cinnamon wafting from the oven. We normally follow the recipe my mother in law gave us when we left. It is a traditional recipe from Civitavecchia; one of those Italian recipes passed down for generations and that were originally meant for very large families. This year, I used the basic recipe and substituted some of the ingredients to create a tricolor effect resembling the color of the Italian flag, also known as Tricolore.
Ingredients (using one egg and everything else in proportion)
100g white chocolate drops
Let the butter soft at room temperature and then mix together all the ingredients, working the dough with your hands. Make two logs and carefully flatten them on the cookie tray previously greased with butter. Bake at 350F for 20/25 minutes (depending on your oven.) Let them cool before cutting the logs or they’ll crumble. Merry Christmas!
In Italy, for Christmas, it is customary to display nativities around houses, stores, offices, pretty much everywhere. Thanks to Francesca, who sent me a picture of a Panettone Nativity, this is my last minute project with some leftover cold porcelain.
How I made my Panettone Nativity:
I modeled the figurines—nothing more than cones and spheres put together—and let them dry for a day. I used the same dough I originally made for the wedding cakes bouquets. It was very hard to work with, and I was worried it was going to crack while drying, but the figurines turned out fine.
I painted the figurines with acrylic colors—it took forever to paint the eyes because I didn’t like how they came out the first ten times—and let them dry for one hour. Meanwhile, I cut a small chamber inside the panettone. I positioned the figurines inside the grotto and finally sprinkled powdered sugar on top.
How apropos, it is a Friday. Last week, after writing a lengthy snippet, I didn’t publish it. Not sure why. X is now 11k and I’m still having fun with it. Maybe it will be my first serial? Stay tuned.
From X. Allegra has just met Julius’s family and they’re now having a moment of playful respite with his two brothers and sister:
“Can I change the scenery?” Clarissa had her hands on a remote control and was already pushing buttons before one of the brothers could reply. The luminosity in the room changed and the placid sound of waves washing over pebbles came seemingly out of nowhere. “Much better.”
Allegra looked at the ceiling where lazy clouds were floating over a cerulean sky. She could have sworn a marine breeze had carried to her nostrils a tangy flavor. As if to answer her question, a seagull’s cry echoed in the distance.
“I prefer the sound of rain and a moodier setting.” Julius was looking at her.
Allegra knew because Andres who still held his brother was staring at her. She felt a strange satisfaction in the knowledge Julius was truly looking at her. It was new. And then she realized what he had just said and wished they were alone. The memory of a picnic came back to her. It had happened only a few days before the whole madness of the Malady started. The world was a different place then. Boring, always the same, never exciting. It was the end of the quarter, all the finals done, and the weather was terrible. The sun had shone through the whole time they were confined inside to study, and now was freezing and incessantly raining. Allegra felt caged and her mood was affecting both of them. After a few days of listening to her complaints, Julius had enough and organized an outing of sort. He said he wanted to go for a walk and led her to the Winter Garden. If Allegra closed her eyes, she could still hear the sound of the rain hitting the glass walls of the conservatory enclosing the Winter Garden. They had spent the whole afternoon lying on the floor on a plush carpet, their eyes to the ceiling, talking of the silliest things. To this day, the aroma of tangerines was connected to that afternoon. “Me too.”
Wednesday, at a very unhappy hour, my father will drive me back to the airport. Two weeks just passed in a blink. Here are some of the murals I painted a few years ago while visiting my parents and my sister.
After several months of having fun with my Wacom tablet, my first illustrated fairytale has been released into the Amazon wild today. Funny anecdote, although my husband and I coordinated the whole publishing endeavor—on either sides of the ocean and nine hours apart—and submitted the story on 12/12/12 at 12:12 am, the fairytale results published on 12/11/12. Well, we tried.
I just realized it has been a whole month since my last post. To summarize more or less thirty busy days, I’ll start by saying I finished Nanowrimo. TCOM is now 90K and nowhere near its completion. There are good chances I’ll have to change the title. For a book named The City of Men, the main characters reach said city at the very end of the story and nothing really happens there. Roberto suggested to call it Journey to The City of Men and I like it. I’m still working with my editor on Prince of War. A combination of real life and fictional angst is slowing down the editing of my beloved Prince. But, we are getting there. At the end of November, the anthology Christmas Lites II was published and I’m truly proud my little fairytale is among so many great shorts. Meanwhile, I flew back to Italy to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday and I am staying in Umbria for another week. Finally, tomorrow, my first illustrated tale, The Prince’s Day Out, should be released. Crossing fingers!