My Ebooks:

My Ebooks:
A thoughtful blend of original ‪‎photography‬, ‪haiku‬ and ‪calligraphy‬; a cathartic journey upon fluid images and simple words.

31 Mar 2014

Inside Ainay with St George

The Ainay abbey is one of the most surprising find in Lyon. Dating back to the XIIth century, this basilica is full of Medieval religious iconography, with a splash or two of XIXth century bligbling.

Torta Pasqualina - Italian Eastern Pie

Photograph Torta Pasqualina by Alessio Fangano on 500px

Another classic of the Italian Easter table must be the Torta Pasqualina (Easter pie). Done throughout Italy, this dish has in it all the ingredients that represent the coming of Spring: fresh herbs, ricotta cheese and eggs.
Tradition would want the cake to be made with wild herbs as well as spinach and Swiss chard.
What best than tender shoots of greens to represent the upcoming season right? But, unfortunately, the foraging lore of our grandmothers has almost gone lost into the mist of time.
To replace these herbs, tradition has brought up the use of Swiss chard as main vegetable component of the dish. Coupled sometimes with spinach, the vegetables are mixed with fresh milky white ricotta cheese and baked in a pastry casing. It is here that you can also express your creativity; bread dough, puff pastry or pie dough would all go well with this recipe.
In the version I propose you, I chose to use puff pastry since I really like its buttery crispiness in this dish.
So far I talked about the vegetable part of the dish but where are the eggs? Beside those going directly in the farce, other hard boiled eggs are snugly nested into the filling so to present their glorious golden yellow yolks when you cut into the pie (if you have the luck to cut into one naturally).
Double cooking eggs is somewhat risky to me though; the chances to end up with a rubbery white and sulfurous yolk are too many to ignore so in the recipe I propose you here, I use the other traditional technique of employing raw eggs cracked directly into hollows made in the pie filling. This has also the positive side effect of gluing the top crust of the pie to the filling itself.
As extra flavoring, here I propose you to use oregano in your sauteed Swiss chard and let me tell you, I adore its delicate aroma in this pie; naturally you can substitute or supplement it with other herbs of your choice.
An interesting alternative for the filling could include sturdy salad greens, like escarole for instance, provided they are quite dry when added to the ricotta mixture.

30 Mar 2014

Shopping under the Cherry trees

It is spring! and my street is blooming with all its cherry trees. Even at night they are charming.

29 Mar 2014

Pazzi chapel and St Croce

In the cloister of St Croce church in Florence, you can find one of the masterpieces of early Renaissance: the Pazzi chapel from none other than Filippo Brunelleschi himself (the one who build the famous dome on the cathedral). This is a portrait of the delicate lantern crowning the chapel shown beside the church bell tower.

28 Mar 2014

27 Mar 2014

Graffiti Fountain

In Lyon, a humble water fountain claimed by local graffiti artists makes for an interesting find.

26 Mar 2014

The Virgin Stand

During Christmas, the street of the old city of Siracusa, Ortigia, host a living representation of the Nativity. This stand was caught in the making.

25 Mar 2014

Sitting on a Snowy staircase

ùwaling around Paris in adverse meteo condition may result on surprising sights. Like this lonely guy sitting on a snow covered staircase by the overflowing Seine.

21 Mar 2014

Are you done yet? - II

Wouldn't you be pissed if you had a lion eating a gazelle above your head? These guys were in Lucca, Tuscany if you want to track them down.

Minestra Maritata - Italian Eastern Swiss Chard soup

Photograph Minestra Maritata by Alessio Fangano on 500px

The season of Swiss Chard is upon us. I love this vegetable but sometimes I find myself rather confused in deciding how to prepare it and so I end up sauteeing it with a little crushed tomatoes and garlic, as my mom does it.
I reckon the confusion arises from the contrast between the strong texture and the rather delicate aromas of this vegetable. The white rib of this leafy vegetable is quite sturdy and can withstand almost any kind of cooking method, the green part is instead more delicate even though always with some bite to it.
While I was preparing one of my cooking classes, I learned a way of preparing it typical of Northern Italy: the Minestra Maritata (Married Soup).
This dish is typically prepared for Easter and it represents an excellent way to use that stock you have lying around (probably from the Lesso/Pot au Feu you will serve as main course). The aromatic base of this soup speaks of its geographical origins since it consists of sweet leeks sweated and butter. A handful of rice helps giving this soup a delicate thickening and can make it count as the carb course of your meal.
The "married" bit comes toward the end of the preparation, when you further enrich the soup by whisking in a mixture of beaten eggs and grated Parmesan cheese (I add a little cream to it to create more tender curds).
You will need only the green part of the Swiss chard for this dish but I will soon publish a great way to use those stalks.

To further gild the lily, try grating a little fresh nutmeg over the serving bowls; even if not traditional, this variation is still in the regional flavor spectrum of Northern Italy.

16 Mar 2014

Going on with my day - Version 2

Up above Florence, the hill bearing the famous viewpoint Piazzale Michelangelo is also where the church of San Miniato is; just at the end of these stairs.

15 Mar 2014

Symbol of power

The Lily is the famous symbol for Florence since ages, you can find it plastered allover the city. This stone bas-relief is in the cloister area of Santa Maria Novella.

13 Mar 2014

Paccheri with Pomodorini and marinated Red Onion

For my upcoming cooking class I wanted to create a recipe that would highlight the sweet richness of Paccheri pasta. As it is often the case, simple is best, when you have such great pasta to start with.

12 Mar 2014

Penne with pumpkin-sage sauce crispy bacon and amarettini crumbs

For one of my cooking class I wanted to develop a recipe inspired by the famous "tortelli di zucca" done in Emilia-Romagna in Italy. Pumpkin, sage, bacon, amaretti is what I came up with. Inviting enough? What do you think?

11 Mar 2014

In St. Louis en l'Ile

In the little charming Ile St. Louis in the center of Paris lies a hidden gem of Parisian churches: St Louis en l'Ile. This is an example of what you may find inside (more to come).

9 Mar 2014

Doubtful Future

In the courtyard of Lyon Beaux Arts museum lies hidden a real jewel of a city garden. Modern and antique sculptures punctuate its green scenery. I found this one to be particularly captivating, don't you think?

8 Mar 2014

In the backyard

One of the pleasure of Couchsurfing when traveling is that you get to experience the eveyday spaces of local people. This was a lovely installation I stumbled upon in the courtyard of one of my Parisian hosts in 2013.

Stairs by the Croix Rousse

Lyon, town of many hills... and this, by the Opera house, is one of its most charming squares.

7 Mar 2014

Going on with my day

Up above Florence, the hill bearing the famous viewpoint Piazzale Michelangelo is also where the church of San Miniato is; just at the end of these stairs.

6 Mar 2014

Even in adversity

The surprises you find on a winter walk are hard to predict, even in a urban town like Paris.

Naked walk

Even if with almost frozen hands, getting around Paris during that snowfall was a great decision.

5 Mar 2014

What is left

The little island of Ortigia constitutes the center of the old Greek town of Siracusa. The island is laded with remnants from its past many of which hidden in small courtyards like this Medieval staircase.

A Parisian stroll

The square facing Notre Dame cathedral is always a very buzzy place on the Parisian nightlife. Let's take a stroll...

4 Mar 2014

Inside Fourviere

The Fourviere basilique can really fill up half of your day to take it all in, but it is worth it.

An old walk

Dream a dream of sunbathed shores, blue sky, fresh fish. So it was once, so it still is... Sicily.

3 Mar 2014

Kings and Queen

During the French revolution, the original Gothic statues of the kings of Judah were beheaded because believed to be representation of French kings. You can find the original heads in the Cluny museum in Paris while this is a lovely and faithful XIXth century reconstruction.

2 Mar 2014

Doubting Thomas

This must be my favorite statue in the whole Florence: Verrocchio's Doubting Thomas. Nestled up in Donatello's marble niche, the point of view you get on it is really fascinating.

1 Mar 2014