I am delighted to publish here contributions from fifteen of my Facebook and Twitter network friends from my Call-Out 26th May - Nottingham UK, Italy and USA. I asked them for their favourite 1-2 roses from their gardens and the reasons why they selected them. In addition, there are several I’ve popped in from my own Beeston-Nottingham garden.
It is a record and legacy of how important our Roses are during this period of time. To me, my garden determines what matters most in life and provides me with daily inspiration to focus, to action important tasks and complete them. Roses and their perfumes always bring back memories of childhood, our loved ones, and of places visited. And every picture tells a story...!
Kate Foale, Tollerton, Nottingham.
My favourite rose is Biddulph Grange. Bought on our wedding anniversary at that very National Trust property several years ago. Married 44 years on 26 June!
Thank you Kate, and Congratulations to you both!
Patricia Garlick, Beeston, Nottingham
Gorgeous! I love traditional, heavily scented roses! I have Rhapsody in Blue which smells amazing! 🌹 My Rhapsody in Blue rose was a birthday gift from my partner, so I simply had to bring it with me when I moved house the week before we went into lockdown! It's a floribunda & was purchased from The Fragrant Rose Company. https://www.thefragrantrosecompany.co.uk/
Oksana Holbrook, Sherwood, Nottingham
Unfortunately I do not have any roses in my garden. I do remember my late grandfather who died in 1969 who loved them and had a garden full of them in every colour you could think of.
Thank you Oksana for your precious memory.
Jeanie O'Shea - Jeanie Barton, Nottingham
This climbing rose is my Dad's. It's been there all my life and comes back strong every year - really cheers me, like it’s him looking down on me.
Maeve Wright, Nottingham
This is Iceberg, I'm not sure if it is actually a climbing rose, but it certainly loves to climb all over the obelisk it sits on, accompanied by a dark purple clematis that blooms later in the year. It's always prolific but is more so this year, my husband John didn't get round to pruning it, and when it produced buds he didn't want to cut them off. So it's gone crazy, lots of flowers appearing at once, and lots more buds. It's never been as full and lovely before, and would probably be the first plant you'd notice if you walked into our garden. It has a wonderful scent too, it's like having a drink of fruit juice. We've had it for about four years. John bought it at Brookfields Garden Centre, Plains Road, Mapperley, Nottingham, and we love it. https://www.brookfieldsgardencentre.co.uk/
We do have another fabulous rose, name unknown, a very voluptuous, many-folded pink one, but John did prune that, so it's growing back again, and no buds yet.
Here's another photo of my Iceberg rose. As you can see it's grown sideways both ways from the obelisk, I think it wants to take over the garden! (The photo angle doesn't do it justice, it has way more flowers than it looks as if it has).
Here is my Graham Thomas rose, very soft perfume.
Yellow roses mean Welcome and Friendship!
I received this photo from Fiona Greenslade, Nottingham.
Perfection, like a sugared rose atop a confectionery delight being presented to a Queen at a state banquet!
Fiona says, “It was presented to me as a celebration for finishing my house!”
I found out this rose is called Pink Celebration Hybrid Tea - it has a fruity flavour!
My Augustine rose. It’s very rambling and thorny so I have to regularly train it with green wire to the trellis (wearing thick gardeners gloves!).
Cathy Hurt Henson, Tennessee, USA
This is my rose here in the USA, N/W part of Tennessee. I love planting a well known variety of rose called Knockout. They are very hardy and do not require dusting or spraying...they are continual bloomers and if our weather stays warm they will bloom up into November.
Christoper Frost, Nottingham
I bought this rose bush in memory of my late mum Connie, who died some 20 years ago now. I think the bush’s flowering season is coming to an end, as this is about the last decent flower left.
My Hanky Panky rose.
This rose has special memories for me of my mum, Sonia Zipser. It was originally planted in her front garden and whenever I visited her, we would mention how's Hanky Panky today, go and check on it together and have a giggle and smile. After she died in 2011, I removed the rose and re-planted it in my garden where it has amazingly grown and flourished ever since. She's with me all the time I'm in my garden, either telling me what to tender first or winking at me sitting on her bench, now painted cornflower blue in my garden,
while sipping tea from her china mug.
Tracey Dineen of No 31 Belper, Derbyshire, https://www.homeaway.co.uk/p8249391 - Twitter @No31belper
Both David Austin Roses Gertrude Jekyll and Winchester Cathedral are my favourites because they look and smell divine. And because my OH was born in Winchester.
Gertrude Jekyll (Ausbord) - English shrub rose bred by David Austin. Twice voted the Nation’s Favourite. https://www.davidaustinroses.co.uk/
“Always one of the first English Roses to start flowering, its perfect scrolled buds open to large, rosette-shaped flowers of bright glowing pink. The beautiful, perfectly balanced Old Rose scent is often described as being the quintessential Old Rose fragrance. A vigorous rose; it will form a medium-sized, upright shrub. Named for the famous garden designer and author. David Austin, 1986.”
Patrizia Poggi, Relais Villa Roncuzzi hotel https://www.villaroncuzzi.it/en/ nr Ravenna, Italy.
In the Villa garden there is a flowerbed of damask roses, progenitors of current hybrids.
In fact, when systemic botany was born in 1700, the five founding roses were described:
Rosa Gallica, Rosa Centifolia, Rosa Alba, Rosa Moscata and Rosa Damascena.
Damask rose, more commonly known as the Damask rose, or sometimes as the rose of Castile, is very robust, taller than Gallic, it emits, in bloom, a very intense perfume that distinguishes it from the others. It blooms once a year in April.
Maria Velardi, teacher, Bergamo, Italy
Maria calls it The Rose of St Anthony Day, because it blooms around June 13.
Johnny Kim, Los Angeles, California
"Basically every year they have this flower field event and people from all over the world visit it. They let the public choose the flowers and the workers will cut it for you for a small charge. Love them flowers... It is in the North part of San Diego, about 90 miles south of the Los Angeles Area." The photo above by Johnny is taken of the Tecolote Giant Ranunculus field. The famous fields also boast roses, orchids, sweet pea blossoms, petunias and poinsettias.
The Flower Fields is a flower garden found on the Carlsbad Ranch in Carlsbad, California. It is open once a year in spring from March 1 through May 10. The fields experience attendance of anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 visitors every year from all over the world. The fields were given positive press from outlets such as CBS News Los Angeles, NBC News 4 Southern California, and The Huffington Post Travel, which praised the quality of the flora and recommended that people visit the area to check it out.
Roberto Alborghetti, Bergamo, Italy
This is from my garden, I think next week another will pop out. It was given to us by friends. They said it is a wonderful kind of rose, but I don’t know the name. So we are curious to see more.
Update 28.6.20 - Here are 3 more contributions received since 17.6.20
From Steve H from Nottingham.
These Roses were given to my mum by the Gregory family when I was born 54 years ago.
It's taken a while for them to come into bloom as I had pruned them hard due to the condition and age of them. So they were 54 years in the making!
From Theresa Moynes in Dublin.
My favourite Rose has to be the Dublin Bay Rose as a cutting was given to my son and daughter in law, Keith and Denise, on the birth of their baby girl Eloise and it is now thriving in their garden.
Another cutting was given to my other son, Graham and his girlfriend Caoimhe, on the purchase of their first home together and is also thriving in their new garden. Beneath is a picture of said rose (credit of Farmleigh Estate) which is where the cuttings came from so that makes them special also.
From Anna Abatecola, teacher at Frosinone (Lazio), Italy.
Her rose is called Mister Lincoln. It has a wonderful perfume and is like velvet to touch.
Thank you so much Steve, Theresa and Anna, I can smell their perfume from here!
To conclude, I found two links which are fascinating to read...have a look!
June 24, 2018
June 4, 2020
My grateful thanks extend to Inna Schutts, ACT Photographer, Beeston-Nottingham. Published here is a small collection of her photographs taken recently in my garden - main heading photo and after my writing.
My enduring thanks also to my garden plant suppliers since 2012 -
David Austin Roses (Wolverhampton) https://www.davidaustinroses.co.uk/;
Ashridge Nurseries (Somerset) https://www.ashridgetrees.co.uk/;
Fred Hallam Ltd, Beeston, Nottinghamshire https://fredhallam.shop/; and
Lavender World (Yorkshire) https://www.yorkshirelavender.com/.
My sincere gratitude to my social network contributor friends in Nottingham UK, Italy and the USA. I’ve really enjoyed the experience of gathering all your rose photographs with stories, and I hope all of my blog readers here have enjoyed this blog collection too. I would welcome any comments below you may wish to add to “Our ROSES and what they mean to us”.
Thank you for reading!
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All photographs below are from a collection by Inna Schutts of Beeston.
Since Roberto’s first visit to Beeston six years ago, he has immersed himself, as a visual artist, into the storytelling worlds of our famous outlaw and into our historical town of Beeston and Nottingham ‘Red City’ environments.
"The Ghost Bus ‘Roads’ Project exhibits the power of combining visual and musical arts; the wonder of family history (the Barton family firm was for a time the largest independent bus operator in the world) and the beauty of what human beings can do through creativity and mutual cooperation. It encourages us to take the time to look more closely at our surroundings and discover the stories our environment can tell us."
Roberto adds his Thoughts for Today…
“Re-birth, Re-new and a sane Re-bellion is what we need today to make this world a better place! In every field and activity. And mainly in the world of Art!”
When I told Roberto that my second recording of ‘Letter from Beeston’, telling the story of his first visit to Barton’s with Robin Hood Tim, was broadcast on BBC Radio Nottingham on 20th May, he immediately sprang into action and said, “I know what I’m going to do Marysia! I will put the photo images of that memorable evening of The Ghost Bus Show 27 March 2015 at Barton’s garage and turn your story into a RadioVision production!” After forty-five minutes he presented it on his blog site for all to experience - a speedy visual art transformation creating such impact!
So I wish to record here on my blog, for posterity sake, his 4 minute photo montage film synchronised to my voice recording of Letter from Beeston (2). Experience all on Roberto’s link below.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…
In October 2014, Roberto Alborghetti came to Beeston for the first time.
We had ‘met’ on LinkedIn earlier that year - the world’s business networking platform.
I loved his posts and, in particular, his visual art project called Laser/Actions.
He transforms and turns pictures of ripped and decomposed publicity posters, natural cracks, scratches, and deteriorations, into “art subjects”. His whole concept is “making art” from industrial de-construction-ism, caught by camera, macro scale. He captures the randomness, letting the picture tell the story, and documents the reality. He doesn’t change what he sees. Nothing is manipulated.
I asked Roberto that I would like to feature him and his work at my second Art-Culture-Tourism networking evening in March called “Cultures Crossing”, by showing his artworks on screen. He was delighted, and my event at The Lace Mill certainly was Vay-Nee Vee-Dee Vee-Chee “Veni, Vidi, Vici”. It brought European press coverage all thanks to Roberto’s journalist efforts.
A few months later, Roberto contacted me to say he was visiting London friends and could he come to Beeston to see me for several hours before he went back to Italy. I said yes, of course.
Prior to his proposed visit, I had researched further into his background, and found out that, besides being an Italian ‘Pulitzer’ award-winning journalist and best selling author, he was also the official biographer to Pope Francis. And, he had just published his second volume on him, called “My Life is an Arrow”. So, I thought, I wonder if Nottingham’s official Robin Hood, Tim Pollard, who happens to live in Beeston, would be free for a photo shoot with Roberto. Tim gladly accepted.
So the day came when I met Roberto from Beeston railway station and brought him to Chilwell High Road. He and Tim got on famously and I photographed them together at Chilwell Creative Corner and then walked them up to Barton’s head office.
Simon Barton greeted us and steered us into the old garage walking through his office, as though left in a time warp. I have always loved the Barton’s historic building and the events Simon and his sons have staged there. I knew Roberto would be hooked.
I was not mistaken. In fact, he disappeared totally among the old Barton buses, vintage cars, vans and bicycles arrayed over the large expanse of the docking sheds. It is a transport enthusiast’s Valhalla.
While Simon, Tim and I chatted, Roberto was taking his macro photos of the old vehicles cocooning him. He was transported back in time. The Robin Hood marque on the side chasses of the red buses proved excellent photo backdrops for them all together.
Then, he chanced upon the Ghost Bus, a 1956 URR Reliance, which had been rescued from a Suffolk field...after 20 years of slumber.
When it was time to go, I called out to Roberto. He excitedly walked back to us with a smile. We said our grateful goodbyes and entered into the street’s bright daylight.
Roberto followed and called out,
“Marisha, I know what I am going to dooo!”
“I’m going to make a film about The Ghost Bus!”
And so in March 2015, Roberto returned to Bartons to premiere his short film at The Ghost Bus Show. The journey and Ghost Bus Saga had begun. And the rest, as they say, is history.
So, nearly a week later, on 26th May, Roberto was my interview guest at ACT ‘What’sOnDigital’ podcast and Facebook LIVE streaming show. He was speaking LIVE from his home at Bergamo, Italy. The city, you will remember, was one of the first Italian high casualty areas of COVID19.
I first questioned him about The Ghost Bus and what had been happening recently, namely my Letter from Beeston and his RadioVision production. So much history about Barton’s...and also about Jeanie Barton, Beeston’s singer-songwriter and Roberto’s musical arts collaborator. Roberto had first met Jeanie on that historic night. Now she was playing out our storytelling spot with her aptly composed Lockdown Lift lyrics to Glen Miller’s melody “In the Mood”. It was like sequence after sequence, stepping back in time but also keeping a sense of reality in our Covid19 times.
Watch the Facebook LIVE streamed show here incorporated into Roberto's blog - Art-Books-Music... https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/2020/05/27/art-books-and-music-here-the-live-facebook-video-streaming-from-uk-and-italy/
Or you can just listen to the podcast on Home Page https://www.artculturetourism.co.uk/
To give you further background about the Ghost Bus Saga, please read my and Roberto’s blogs covering 2019 and backwards to 2015. See and click below.
Roberto’s 4-8 June 2019 visit including Barton’s Garage “In Conversation with…” as YouTube film.
Here is The Ghost Bus ‘Roads’ Project - Introduction - The Ghost Bus is travelling!
We look forward to Lifting Lockdown. Our next What’sOnDigital show, before our summer break, will be on Tuesday 30th June, 16.30-17.00 hrs GMT. I hope you will be joining us and maybe participate live by commenting in the Chat Box. Here is the link below, so please do register your interest now.
We hope you will follow ACT and Roberto Alborghetti in our Adventures in the Land of Robin Hood both in the real and digital worlds.
Thank you for reading, listening and watching.
Andiamo! Let’s Go!
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This is a story about a story...and which includes many stories...
I had written a shorter version of my ‘Letter from Beeston’ on 14th May entitled ‘How my garden is helping me at the moment’ because it became my entry to BBC TV The One Show - RHS - My Chelsea Garden competition with ONE photograph of my garden.
On Friday 22nd May, the four category winners were announced and interviewed on The One Show by Alex Jones, Rylan Clark-Neal and guest Monty Don. Alex reported that the competition had received 7,500 entries so final selection was VERY difficult! I can well imagine Alex and Monty!
When the four category winners were declared I was NOT surprised I hadn’t won! They were amazing and very worthy indeed of their prize winning tickets to The Chelsea Flower Show 2021. Here they are:
Back Garden Winner. Terry Winters from Salisbury. Terry said: “I'm lucky to have a garden, many don't...
Indoor Garden Winner. Corinne Tokley-Packer from Tilbury. ...
Kids Corner Garden Winner. Clare and Henry Shepherd from Barnsley. ...
Front Garden Winner. Rosemary Fletcher from Dunstable.
You can watch the programme here https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000jbtz/the-one-show-22052020
So, I wondered, why not now extend my original entry and write more about why my garden has helped me at the moment? This time, it includes personal characters I always remember when looking at my garden, namely, my Mum and Dad, and my dog TAG. So ‘My Letter from Beeston’ 3 evolved. Here it is with photograph and my story told in word and voice. Enjoy!
‘Letter from Beeston’ by Marysia Zipser
My garden is an inspiration for my visioning and planning. Nature, spatial awareness, Colours, Composition, Balance, Harmony, Solitude, Sanctuary. It becomes a canvas and palette on which my life conjures up and mixes natural lights, tints and shading. My garden becomes my journey.
During the present time, my garden has helped me focus on what matters most in life and what I wish to activate. From my writing and crafting to friendly everyday thoughts. Who, what and which to dismiss or weed out to make the pathway clearer and grabbing opportunities as they fall in front of me.
I have flowery reminders of my parents. My mum’s Hanky Panky rose has been flourishing and always brings big smiles. Her garden bench is now cornflower blue so I visualise her sitting and winking at me while sipping from her china mug of English tea. Dad was an engineer so he was the master landscaper and builder. He could build anything...from the large garage, the tall welded driveway gates, the apple and plum orchard, to the tennis court at our Gamston ‘Green Acres’ home. I can see him now smiling, mowing the vast expanse of lawn in between, before we held a fun garden or tennis party.
My own garden gate leads out to a park so my ‘garden room’ becomes an extension; enabling me to follow green pathways and a twitchell to our canal and river sides.
Memories too, of Gentleman Tag, my English wire-haired fox terrier, with sticky up ears, just like Herge drew Snowy’s Tin Tin. He would look up at me from a sunny spot cocooned among the lavenders, questioning, “So when are we going into the park Miss Zippy? I so want to meet my friends there, run and jump about with them...and play tag games.”
He would spark up and ask, “And... when are we going on our adventures again to historic places and parklands, and us prospecting and peering over the castle turrets??”
Adventures indeed, dear Tag.
For now, I just can't wait to see my Triffid-like Cardinal clematis unlock and open as well as the rambling Augustine roses, geraniums and smiling, uplifting Margaritas. Heavenly perfumes await me from lavenders Little Lady, Hidcote, Rosea and Grosso, mingled with Gertrude Jekyll roses and summer jasmine; all wafting around and enticing me to stroll among my garden’s camaraderie.
From dawn till dusk, my garden wildlife visitors nod their heads and sounds in harmony.
- Ends -
So now you understand WHY my Beeston garden has helped me through the years and why I have written my small illustrated book series “The Adventures of Tag and Miss Zippy” (to be published) because these books are also tourism aids about each region in England and Wales Tag and I explored together 2006-2017.
...and WHY every garden tells a story and, to me, WHY every plant in my garden tells a story.
Mum and Dad - Sonia and Mietek Zipser - and TAG, this story and my ‘Letter from Beeston’ is dedicated to YOU.
If you wish to read my further stories about my parents, Tag, my garden, my art, and my previous Letters from Beeston (and listen to), please go to this website BLOG. Additionally, if you wish to watch and listen to Art-Culture-Tourism’s Facebook LIVE video streaming recordings and hear our podcasts, please go on https://www.facebook.com/pg/artculturetourism/videos/?ref=page_internal of https://www.facebook.com/artculturetourism/ and PODCASTS.
My Art-Culture-Tourism GARDEN ART section is https://www.artculturetourism.co.uk/garden-art.html
Thank you for reading and listening.
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At 16.30-17.00 hrs GMT https://www.facebook.com/artculturetourism/
ACT welcomes you this Tuesday 26th for our What’sOnDigital #Ep.3 LIVE Facebook streaming and podcast at 16.30-17.00 hrs GMT for our next episode with our team, Inna Schutts, Dawn Lindson and Marcus Gilmore, with Caron Lyon of PCM creative producing.
To those in Beeston-Nottingham, Roberto needs little introduction as he has been our Guest Artist annual visitor for the past five years. Our Ghost Bus website blogs illuminate his story and Visual Adventures in the Land of Robin Hood, and his last visit in 2019. https://www.artculturetourism.co.uk/blog/category/ghost-bus-project
“Can you believe that this Art is from an old bus?” his 2015 film trailer asks. No, we couldn’t believe it Roberto, until you showed us! Go onto his blog site to find out more about him. https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/
I will be interviewing Roberto, live from Bergamo, not only about The Ghost Bus, but also about his online Vorticism: Lockdown exhibition and his active Italian educational and editorial program with schools.
We also welcome singer-songwriter Jeanie Barton https://jeaniebarton.com/ who began her collaborative musical arts journey with Roberto, when introduced to him, at the Ghost Bus Show on 27th March 2015 at its film premiere at Barton’s garage. Her recent experiences have been active composing and performing music with her Lockdown Lifts on YouTube and social networks.
You can also experience Roberto’s RadioVision production with my voice recording of “Letter from Beeston” broadcast on BBC Radio Nottingham last week.
All in all, it will be a very informative and entertaining show. Here are the links. Please go onto https://www.facebook.com/artculturetourism/ , Like the page, if you haven’t already, and scroll down Upcoming Events and click on May 26.
We hope to see you there. If you are unable to, you can easily watch this afterwards at your leisure, or listen to the podcast after its release later this week.
Andiamo! Let’s Go!
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Letter from Beeston
Here is my recording of my first Letter from Beeston which was submitted to BBC Local Radio Upload community project and broadcast on 4th May BBC Radio Nottingham on Arun Verma’s evening show. For those who wish to read my script it's published below the audio Download File.
I’ve been living and working in Beeston for the past eight years. Being born and educated in West Bridgford, I moved, in my early 20s, to London, then Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, including a few European stints, and returned, after 23 years, to the bosom of my family with my two young sons in 1997.
Beeston is a special place for me and where I’ll stay. It has a strong identity and sense of place with a community like no other place I’ve lived. From the start, I gravitated towards meeting local artists, writers, poets, musicians and photographers and couldn’t believe such wealth of creativity existed. The town, and Rylands area by the river and canal, are full of heritage buildings denoting its vibrant industrial past and entrepreneurial spirit. In my first few weeks of settlement in 2012, I ventured with Tag my dog, to Beeston canalside and riverside and imagined its heyday in Edwardian times with passing leisure boats and people relaxing on the grassy banks, like a scene from an Impressionist painting by George Seurat or Claude Monet.
We then found ourselves in front of the Boathouse Cafe by the marina. I tied up Tag outside and entered, looking, to my amazement, at the facing wall full of old photographs from Plessey and Boots’ days mounted like a mini-museum. I peered closely at the characters and sitting groups and they proudly looked back at me. Then I stood back in disbelief and called out to the manager,
“Is that really Mahatma Gandhi in this photograph?! It shows him visiting a Beeston house in October 1931.”
“Yes”, he said, “He visited his nephew Joshi who was doing student experience at Ericssons.”
“Do the people of Beeston know this?” I questioned him.
“Well, just a few I should imagine,” he replied back.
So that propelled me into my mission to find out more about the history of Beeston. You can imagine my delight when a few months later I found out that Beeston & Chilwell together had 24 Blue Plaques erected on buildings and planned to erect. And in 1918 a Blue Plaque was rightfully erected on the house in Linden Grove, Beeston Rylands, where Gandhi stepped into to visit Joshi for welcome tea and catch up chat.
My passion for art, heritage and heritage tourism has been flourishing ever since, so you can imagine the true stories I have discovered...and there’s still so much more to uncover.
For the update on this story please read my blog of 17 October 2018. Here is the link
Talking about letters and stories...have a read about this Nottstopping Festival happening this weekend... and its "Write Up My Street" project which is for your own community to get involved in.
Nottstopping Festival multi-arts online event 23-24 May :
A Bank Holiday Extravaganza Celebrating and Connecting Nottinghamshire whilst fundraising to provide gifts, treats and experiences for Frontline Workers. https://nottstoppingfestival.com/
This sounds really exciting with some wonderful local Notts projects all for a good cause to treat our Frontline Workers. I am promoting their Community Connect Project - ‘Write Up My Street’ stories, in partnership with the University of Nottingham.
Connect with people on your street and unleash your imagination to create a child friendly story. Write a paragraph (about anything) and then pass it onto your neighbour…and so on until…THE END. Find out what to do on this link below.
Here's the latest line-up news!
Many thanks for listening and reading this blog. Look forward to receiving any likes and comments below.
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Guest Blogspot by Patricia Poggi - Zuppa Inglese - English Trifle
This Guest Blogspot unfolds from when Patrizia Poggi and I first ‘met’ each other in 2018 via social media and discovered our mutual passions for art, culture and tourism intertwining with our love of history, literature, music, food and drink.
Patrizia currently manages a historical residence immersed in the Romagna countryside, the Relais Villa Roncuzzi, once owned by the Poor Clares of Ravenna. A welcoming environment, an intimate atmosphere, rich in art and culture for a pleasant stay in the cradle of Byzantine Art of Ravenna, UNESCO heritage and from the Po Delta Park.
In Ravenna rest the mortal remains of Dante Alighieri, the universal poet of the Divine Comedy, whose 700 years of his death will be celebrated throughout Italy in 2021.
Dante Alighieri & Ghino di Tacco (from the Divine Comedy), by Joe Ganech. Commissioned by Marysia Zipser for ACT ‘Italy Art and Photography’ Exhibition, 9-31 March, 2018, at Beeston, Nottingham.
Villa Roncuzzi is a small charming hotel in the heart of Romagna, halfway between Bologna, Florence and Venice. But also a perfect place for those who want to discover Emilia-Romagna.
Her tourism project is to get familiar with the nature, traditions and culture of Romagna. There
have been many cultural events at the Relais Villa Roncuzzi, including the launch of the book "Dining with Pope Francis | Food in the life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio” by Roberto Alborghetti.
Patrizia reveals her journey in a personal way to share her experience with us. The backdrop of photographs taken during one May day is dedicated with her family to making English soup. She says about the day, “It was a creative moment full of family and sweet affections.” These photos were taken by her 17 year-old art student granddaughter Carlotta Armiento.
So our own friendship has blossomed, just like her villa garden roses, exploring together her stories about this region of Italy. I am sure you will savour her first part of Imaginary Culinary Journey through Romagna.
Patrizia relates her story here...
I would like to begin our imaginary journey through Romagna food. I thought about the bond with your Land and today I propose the legendary Zuppa Inglese (English soup). A typical Romagna dessert, which you can enjoy with your family or at the restaurant. It is a combination of layers of donut soaked in Alchermes that alternate with two types of custard, one classic yellow and one with cocoa.
The recipe codified by Pellegrino Artusi is the first written recipe of the Zuppa Inglese, but its origin is still shrouded in mystery. If you ask some Romagnolo he will tell you that it has been made in Romagna for centuries, the party dessert that all grandmothers prepare for their grandchildren. Its origins are mysterious. But why is it called Zuppa Inglese (English soup)? Does England have anything to do with this? But is this the case?
Marysia asks, “Maybe someone out there can answer Patrizia’s questions…?
The first written recipe can be found in "The science of cooking and the art of eating well" by Pellegrino Artusi, published in 1891. By the way, this year is the bicentenary of the birth of Pellegrino Artusi!
The photo is taken by Casa Artusi of Forlimpopoli (Forlì) . Casa Artusi was founded in the name of cultured gastronomist from Forlimpopoli Pellegrino Artusi, who can be found in many homes, both in Italy and abroad, through his manual (Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well). Casa Artusi is at the same time Library, Museum, cookery school, restaurant, wine cellar and location for events. Casa Artusi is the first living Museum of domestic cuisine!
At the end of the 19th century, English soup was widespread in at least three Italian regions:
Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Marche and each of them declared their authorship, but only in Emilia and Romagna was Zuppa Inglese (English soup) already known in the eighteenth century. In the seventeenth century, in England, trifle was widespread, which seems to be the forerunner, a dessert with a base of cake (or biscuits), soaked in sweet wine with pieces of fruit and covered with cream. Trifle in English has meant trifle and in French with deception while in Italian soup, figuratively, it is said to be a ‘hodgepodge’. The trifle was widespread in England in the 1700s.
Can someone explain how and why it arrived in Romagna in the 1700s?
At the end of the seventeenth century, James II of England married a fifteen-year-old Catholic princess, Maria Beatrice d'Este of the Dukes of Modena and Reggio (known as Mary of Modena in England). The two first married with a Catholic rite then with a short ceremony with Anglican rite to make the wedding official.
The history of this king is intertwined with France, Holland, Spain and Rome in a dynastic soup with wars, assassins, legitimate invented children, escapes, coups, supremacy between Protestants and Catholics, papal plots in one general confusion due to the alternation of the supremacy of the Anglican Church over the Catholic one and vice versa.
Thus James himself, a fervent Catholic, endorsed a law with which all people who held a public, civil or military office, were obliged to take the oath of supremacy and loyalty to the Anglican Church, including the king. At the same time he signed another similar law, but contrary, in which those who refused to take an oath and remained firm in the Protestant faith were persecuted with cruelty.
James II Stuart was king of England, Scotland, Ireland and titular king of France from 1685 to 1688;
he was the last ruler of the Stuart dynasty and the last Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland; his reign is now remembered primarily for struggles over religious tolerance.
During the civil war that led to the proclamation of the republic of Cromwell, James managed to escape first to Holland, then to France and then to Spain.
In 1672 he officially converted to Catholicism, attracting the hostility of the Anglican Church, wandering between his Catholic and Protestant faiths in England, in an infinite series of quibbles
In 1673, when he married Maria Beatrice, discontent in Parliament was such that news spread that Maria was a papal spy. James ascended the throne, launching a series of reforms in favor of Catholicism, supported by the Pope and France, stifling a revolt led by his nephew in his blood. In 1688, the birth of a male heir, (precluded the rise to the throne of James's first bed daughter, Maria Stuarda of Protestant faith), increased general discontent, insinuated that the child was born dead and had been replaced by another.
The leaders of the parliamentary opposition began to secretly with the son-in-law of the king, husband of Maria Stuart, William of Orange, to facilitate his ascent to the English throne. The so-called Glorious Revolution broke out in 1688 and ended with the establishment of a constitutional monarchy of parliamentary appointment and with the recognition of the two new rules, William and Maria Stuart.
James took refuge in France, from where he made a vain attempt to reconquer the throne.
So? It is probable that the dessert arrived through Maria Beatrice d'Este on the table of the dukes of Modena and Reggio, then spreading in the Romandiola, the Romagna estense (Lugo, Bagnacavallo, Cotignola, Conselice, Massa Lombarda, Sant'Agata sul Santerno and Fusignano), keeping the name English soup because it metaphorically recalled the tragic English events.
Here's the recipe...
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and the flour until everything becomes a white foam, then, a little at a time, add the milk previously heated and flavored with the 1/2 lemon peel. Stir continuously to avoid forming lumps. If lumps are formed, simply pass the cream with the immersion blender and it will return smooth and homogeneous. Let it cool to room temperature.
Prepare the chocolate cream, let the chopped chocolate melt in a water bath. Separately we mix flour, sugar, add a little milk to mix, then the melted chocolate and continue to add milk until completely dissolved. We put on the fire and let it thicken.
Then prepare the bagna of Alchermes, mixing liqueur, water and icing sugar.
Soak the donut for a few seconds in the alchermes bagna. Arrange the English soup in the serving dish and decorate the dish by placing the donut soaked in alchermes around it and pouring a few drops of the remaining liquid on the cream. Place in the fridge for 6 hours and then serve on the table.
Then enjoy Zuppa Inglese!
We hope you have enjoyed reading this and savoured our shared experience. Because you will be invited to travel again with Patrizia on Part Two of her “Imaginary Culinary Journey through Romagna”.
If you have any comments, or can answer any of the questions Patrizia and I ask about Zuppe Inglese - English soup - we would love to hear from you, either in the Comment box below or via email.
Many thanks - molto grazie.
Marysia Zipser & Patrizia Poggi
After receiving many Likes and Comments from here and overseas to my 1 April 2020 blog "Going into family history lockdown" in which I referred to my father's eulogy on my LinkedIn profile, I have now decided to publish it here for you to read for yourselves. There are some happy snaps at the end. Maybe it will bring further reactions from Nottingham, UK, Poland and elsewhere.
May it bring back memories of your own families during this #VE75Day weekend. For those we have loved and lost, we remember you. Lest we forget.
Eulogy January 23, 2001, by Krys Cietak
It is strange that it is only after someone dies that others bother to reflect in any depth, the story behind the background and achievements of the deceased. I’ve been asked to say just a few words about Mietek who represented one of an increasingly small group of people left over from the mass influx of Polish and other East European refugees who came to England with nothing and through hard work and determination made good and touched the lives of many English people around them.
Mietek was born in the village of Janow on 5th July 1912, his father, Aleksander, was a railway signalman (after being a Sokol (Scout) in the Polish Cavalry). He was one of 5 children, their father died when he was young.
Mietek and his elder brother Zbigniew (Zbysz) studied engineering at the technical college in Lwow, which now finds itself in what is left of the Soviet Union (Ukraine) and it was following their studies that they decided to join the Polish air force together (Mietek following Zbysz two years later).
In 1939 when World War II broke out they, together with tens of thousands of other members of the Polish forces, escaped southwards and made their way through Romania to Lebanon from where they crossed the Mediterranean and ended up in the south of France which was still putting up considerable resistance against Hitler’s armies. John Zipser tells me that it was there that they probably first saw action around the city of Lyons. The Germans were closing in, the two brothers were trying to secure some French aeroplanes that were on the ground – the problem was that there was no fuel! They searched high and low and eventually found what they took to be a railway siding full of fuel tankers. Their elation was quickly dampened when they realised that the wagons actually contained hundreds of thousands of gallons of wine and so to vent their frustration they riddled the whole lot with machine gun bullets.
The journey continued and by the summer of 1940, in common with many other Polish combatants, they entered England through Blackpool, and for Zbysz it was love at first sight but I’m not sure Mietek was equally impressed.
The two of them entered the Polish arm of the Royal Air Force and joined 304 Squadron bomber squadron where they were responsible for the maintenance of the Wellingtons’ engines and safety – one in particular they named S for SONIA. They were initially stationed near Newark at Newton and Syerston and Zbysz was posted north to Carlisle where he subsequently met and married Paula, Mietek stayed near Nottingham where he met Sonia Nelson who was to become his wife and who subsequently bore him three precious children, John, then Peter and finally Marysia.
The war came to an end and Mietek and Zbysz were posted to Northern Germany with the Allied Forces. At that time hundreds, if not thousands of Poles were trying to escape to the
West before the fall of the Iron Curtain and my mother was one of these refugees. She would not have escaped if it hadn’t been for the two amazing Zipser brothers who miraculously orchestrated and executed her clandestine escape disguised as a Belgian national. If it wasn’t for them I certainly wouldn’t have been speaking to you today.
1947 brought demobilisation, and the time had come when they had to start and make a living. The Zipser brothers were able to turn their hands to anything that would go, making jewellery, furniture, luggage and the like. I’m told that it was through the skilful persuasion from Sonia and Paula that their handbags were sold through prestigious department stores both in Carlisle and Nottingham. But it was motor cars that really caught their fancy and they secured their first premises at Radcliffe Mount, Lady Bay, West Bridgford where they started buying and selling cars.
The business grew and in 1952 they bought some land and established the Lady Bay Motor Body company. They worked very hard. Mietek seemed to have the business brains with Zbyszek providing the engineering and mechanical skills. They employed many Polish craftsmen and very quickly the business attracted a reputation for honesty and quality. In 1960 Trent Bridge Garage (as Zipser Brothers Co Ltd) was built on Radcliffe Road and the business expanded and another garage at Larch Farm near Newstead Abbey in the Forest of Sherwood. I became fascinated by cars myself and remember many evenings spent at auctions with Mietek and Zbysz either in Measham or on the Loughborough Road, where Asda now stands, trying to understand the auctioneer’s vocabulary which shot out of his mouth like bullets from a Gatling gun.
The business was sold to the French Total petrol company in 1964 and the two Zipser brothers went their separate ways.
Whereas Zbysz dabbled in building, Mietek continued in the motor trade and established Zipser Motors next door to Trent Bridge garage on the Radcliffe Road opposite Nottinghamshire County Cricket ground. Peter joined him in due course and the business was handed over to Peter in 1982. But Mietek didn’t retire then, he couldn’t rest on his laurels, he was constantly on the go and continued to do business of various types from his house in Gamston, almost up to the time he died.
Mietek never forgot his Polish or family roots. In the post-war years, when life was very harsh in Poland under the Communist regime, there would be numerous parcels containing essentials to friends and relatives back home. In the fifties, he made strenuous efforts to re-establish contact behind the Iron Curtain with those he left behind. The political situation made this extremely difficult, visas were repeatedly refused but eventually effort was rewarded and he gained permission to visit Poland and also to bring his own mother, Kasia, back to England from Krakow. This was indeed an extraordinary achievement, so extraordinary in that, that it even managed to attract the attention of the national press.
As time went by, the children grew up, more and more visits to Poland followed. He then managed to go back to Lwow in 1964 and again in 1987. He always loved going home, his yearning for Polishness in his life increased and this emotion was answered when he married Hanna in 1976. He loved Polish tradition; he got more and more involved with Poland and with the Polish parish in Nottingham, Hanna being a key member of the church choir.
In retrospect the last years of Mietek’s life were really quite amazing. He made many journeys; maybe he had a premonition that they would be his last. He managed to visit friends in Paris and Canada. He went to the Holy Land; he went back to Poland with John, to the Battle of Britain celebrations at Duxford in Cambridgeshire and made a special journey to visit my father in his nursing home in Kenilworth. He also, for some incredible reason, reviewed many of the old 8mm films he had taken with his wind-up cine camera, almost as though he wanted to see for the last time the faces of all his friends and relatives.
Mietek lived life to the full, he could never sit still, and he lived in the fast lane right up to the very end and even continued swimming three times a week to keep fit. He and Zbysz had a certain Zipser magic, they were always a laugh when they came home to my Mum’s for a cup of coffee and a piece of homemade cake. They loved kids and they always managed to lighten the atmosphere with a joke or comment.
Mietek’s last journey was to celebrate Christmas and New Year in Tenerife with Hanna who, together with her children, had brought him so much happiness in his later years. His departure was sudden, it was unexpected, it shocked us and we shall all miss Mietek very much in our own particular ways. For my part, I shall miss him very much, for me and for my parents, he was a very special person, they chose him as my god-father and I was very glad and very lucky that he accepted the invitation.
Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK
Thank you for reading, and look forward to hearing from you.
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This last week was ACTive. I joined in with Video LIVE streaming, podcast and traditional scheduled broadcasting.
First one up was on Tuesday 28th April with ACT’s What’sOnDigital LIVE streaming to our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/artculturetourism/ produced by Caron Lyon of @pcmcreative https://www.pcmcreative.com. It’s now released as a podcast which you can listen to from a link on our Home page.
This is a screenshot of us in the virtual green room just after the stream has ended.
We had a great line up with guests Justin Donne, Director of Inspiration of Donne & Associates @JustinDonne, and Robin Hood, our storyteller Adam Greenwood @VisitRobinHood, Owner and Manager of the Robin Hood Experience Nottingham.
We were supported by our regular ACT team Inna Schutts, Dawn Lindson and new recruit David Hunter. Local artist and graphic illustrator Marcus Gilmore, our ‘Crafting in a Crisis’ artist reporter shared his personal perspective on the lockdown. Do check out his Blog. http://www.marcusgilmoreart.com
It was a fun, entertaining, informative and inspiring experience for all involved and our audience seemed to enjoy it too making comments during the live show.
We had so much to talk about we had to drop a segment. With that content, we are preparing a PDF ‘ebook’ drawn from the responses from 24 creatives who responded to my Facebook shout out on April 19th asking “...how they are surviving during the lockdown, what they do & create, and what is making them the happiest ATM (at the moment)".
Second up, was an excellent webinar “Can You Say What Your Strategy is NOW?” on the 30th, by coach Steve Hobbs, hosted by D2N2 Growth Hub https://www.d2n2growthhub.co.uk/ for SMEs in Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire. Please sign up for their newsletter, if you wish, and get all the latest news and details of their upcoming webinars and coaching. They’ve been good supporters to me for ACT over the last three years.
Third up, was the 4th May evening broadcast by BBC Radio Nottingham, of my “Letter from Beeston” recording. The show’s presenter was Arun Verma. It’s about why I love living in Beeston and when Mahatma Gandhi visited on October 17, 1931.
Here’s the link below so you can listen to my story (available for 29 days). Just move the counter to 1:46:20 and listen until 1:50 because Arun relays his comments about it. He was hooked by my ‘letter’. I wonder if you will too?
Arun relayed to me next morning, “Marysia, I encourage you to send in more pieces like ‘Letter from Beeston’ if you have them. It got a great reaction and it really was a lovely listen.” Thank you kindly, Arun, I will indeed!
After you’ve listened, please read my blog of 17.10.18 which is a follow-up to the story
My Letter from Beeston was submitted to BBC Local Radio Upload community project so if you have any interesting stories or performances you’d like to submit, here’s the link with more information https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07xtgyr
Fourth up, was 5th May ZOOM Lunchtime LoCQdown with Ben Welch telling us all about Nottstopping Festival - the coolest multi-arts online event 23-24 May!
Nottstopping Festival: A Bank Holiday Extravaganza Celebrating and Connecting Nottinghamshire whilst fundraising to provide gifts, treats and experiences for Frontline Workers.
This sounds really exciting with some wonderful local Notts projects all for a good cause to treat our Frontline Workers. One of them I'd really like to promote is their ‘Right Up My Street’ stories, like a kind of ‘Chinese whispers’, neighbour to neighbour style. Lots more information on this festival (and its distribution) is due out 6th May by Ben Welch (of Hockley Hustle & Circle of Light project) and his Community Connect team.
Well, I’m now back to my Art Lockdown creating my next linocut print collection. In the meantime, I hope you listen to or watch any of the above LIVE video streaming, podcast and broadcast and please take note of the links provided for extra information.
Many thanks for reading this blog and look forward to receiving your Likes and Comments below.
PS. Please make a note of ACT’s next What’sOnDigital podcast & Facebook LIVE streaming on Tuesday 26th May 2020.
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During this time, I believe we are all in training as ‘master chefs’ in our kitchens because we are enjoying our creative 'downtime' and appreciating locally sourced produce. Our local street markets may not be operating but we have been educated by popular cookery books and TV programmes enough to instill that boundless curiosity and ‘have a go’ attitude. Also they teach us about resourcefulness and what we can rustle up with what remains in our cupboards and fridges before we make our essentials list for the local supermarket or independent food shop visit. We adapt easily to what is around us and look forward to foraging in the fields and woods to create that blackberry and apple pie, mushroom soup or lemonade that our grandmothers used to make for us.
Our attitudes to food are changing and we are grabbing that opportunity to learn about our local food producers and farmers who need our support and loyalty more than anything now.
To write this blog, I called out, via social media community, to my friends to ask for their favourite recipes they are enjoying creating over the lockdown period, so here they are with contributions from Nottingham UK, Italy and USA. I hope you enjoy reading them and that they give you and your families that smiley, satisfied fulfilment when you make any of them yourselves. So have a go...and let me know of any outcomes!
From textile designer Oksana Holbrook, also known as 'Pudding Queen at Sharing Sherwood', is her rustled recipe for Courgette & Lime Cake. Thank you Oksana, your straight-from-the-oven cake below looks very tempting!
Courgette and Lime cake
Makes: 1 (21cm) courgette cake
For the Cake
3 medium eggs
125ml vegetable oil
150g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
250g courgette, finely grated
For the icing
400g cream cheese
175g icing sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
40g pistachio nuts (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon lime zest
Preheat oven to 180 C / 160 C fan / Gas 4.
Beat together the eggs, oil and sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate soda and baking powder and beat well.
Stir in the grated courgettes until well combined. Divide the mixture into the cake tins.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the oven and carefully turn out onto a wire rack. Carefully peel off the paper lining and leave to cool.
For the icing, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and stir in the lime juice.
Use a bread knife to level one of the cakes if necessary. Use 2/3 of the icing to sandwich the 2 cakes together, the levelled one on the bottom, and use the remaining icing to cover the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts and lime zest.
Oksana tells me she has another experiment in the oven. Apple and sultana crumble with a crushed sunflower and goji berry topping instead of traditional crumble.
Mmmm, Oksana, I think you ought to write a book entitled "Oksana's lockdown recipes" or other!
Pam Miller, fine artist, gave me her well used Olive Bread recipe by Liz Thomson. It's called "The 5 Ingredient Olive Oil Bread (No yeast required)".
My son and I have produced this since. Super divine Pam, thank you...we're hooked on the Olive Bread!
Recipe & Method
Add cup of any type of flour with teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir together in a bowl. Add 1/3 cup of warm water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil together in cup and mix. Then, stir all ingredients together. Cover bread board with a little flour and form into four or five patties whilst rolling them in it. Put a little olive oil in non-stick frying pan just to coat bottom. Cook all patties for 5 mins on each side. Best eaten straight away with margarine or butter! Georgeous with Flora! If you have any herbs, toss onto uncooked patties then cook! Enjoy!
Justin Donne, of Donne & Associates, gave me his delicious recipes for Mighty Meatloaf and Daily Smoothie.
"I've always loved good meatloaf! Perfect for meal prep to have on hand for the week. 🙌🏼 Actually it was better cold the next day. So when I make it again next week, I’ll eat it the next day and not fresh from the oven! Swapped out some traditionally used ingredients for higher-quality options and the taste was on point. "
2 lbs ground meat (I used grass-fed organic beef)
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
2 tbsp coconut aminos
2 large eggs
1/4 cup no sugar added ketchup
2 TBSP Italian seasoning
1 TBSP sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup @primalkitchenfoods BBQ sauce
1) Preheat oven to 350 F
2) Mix all ingredients together well (except BBQ sauce) in a mixing bowl
3) Place meat mixture into a 9" x 5" glass or other type loaf tin
4) Top meat with BBQ sauce
5) Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes until cooked through.
Here’s the Smoothie recipe I have every day, using a high speed blender. Sometimes I exchange bitter greens 🥬. The energy from it means I haven’t had coffee or sugar in 7 weeks. No need.
Lee Meiser, editor & writer, in Ohio USA sent me this.
"Bruschetta made with olive oil, diced tomatoes, thinly sliced basil, balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, and 1 large baguette, sliced 1/4 inch on the bias. Oil bread & toast until golden on a large baking sheet, 10-15 min. Let bread cool, and top with tomatoes, basil, and vinegar. Simple. Marysia, do you like?"
Yes I DO Lee!!
Rita Mitchell, fine artist, Attenborough, sent me this tempting recipe for honey-glazed pan-fried haloumi.
"Here is the lunch we had yesterday with the first pickings from the greenhouse of salad leaves."
Looks so tasty Rita!
Here's Katie Stewart's recipe for Banana Nut Bread that I've been making for yonks! But I don't use the nuts now. So much goodness and protein. My children love it and it was great sliced up and cling film wrapped for their school lunchboxes when they were young. The loaf is moist and keeps well. Serve it sliced and buttered. Loaves can easily be frozen too, and taken out to thaw and eaten at your leisure, or for that tea-party with family or friends.
Ingredients & Method
6 oz/175g self-raising flour
½ level teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
4 oz/100g castor sugar
1 ½ /40g chopped walnuts
2 medium-sized ripe bananas
1 large egg
1 oz/25g butter or Flora, melted
Sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and walnuts. Peel the bananas and mash to a puree with a fork. Add to the dry ingredients along with the egg and melted butter or Flora. Using a wooden spoon stir to blend the ingredients and then beat thoroughly to mix.
Spoon the mixture into a greased and lined small (7x4x2ins, 18x10x5cm) loaf tin. Spread the mixture evenly. Place in the centre of a moderate oven (350F, 180C, GasMark4) and bake for an hour. Turn out and leave until cold.
Makes 1 small loaf. Double the ingredients if you wish to make in a 9x5x2½ ins loaf tin.
(Referenced from my copy of The Times Calendar Cook Book by Katie Stewart, Reprinted 1979, The Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd, Copyright Times Newspapers Ltd 1975).
Here's Deborah’s Banana Oat Loaf I produced last week for the first time - tastes yummy! I know so because it was eaten by Marcus and I over a day and a half! Tip from Marcus: Toast two slices and smear with Flora!!
Ingredients & Method.
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup skimmed milk
2 large eggs
2 cups mashed bananas (3-4 medium sized)
Mix all together in one bowl.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg (I didn’t have any in stock)
Stir together in one bowl.
Then add both mixtures together in bowl. Wipe with loaf tin (9insx5ins) with oil using kitchen roll paper or line with parchment paper. Pour the combined mixture into loaf tin. Put in the centre of a heated 350F oven for 1 hour. Take out and allow to cool. Then remove and place on a serving board and slice. Delicious with butter or Flora!
Patrizia Poggi at Villa Roncuzzi https://www.villaroncuzzi.it/en/ explained to me about the Italian classic and traditional sweet of Romagna...
In Italy, the donut is a ring-shape cake which means a swollen ring and is therefore a donut with a hole. In Romagna, unlike the rest of Italy, the donut does not have the hole, but the shape of a small swollen loaf with grains of sugar on the surface, to be consumed for religious and patronal feasts or for family celebrations. But it can also be eaten for breakfast, immersed in milk, but above all at the end of the meal, soaked in Sangiovese wine.
Pellegrino Artusi (1820-1911) born in Romagna and died in Florence, best known as the author of the cookbook La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangier bene [Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well], has two different recipes for the donut, number 606 and 607, called "donut or buccellato ". The first, richer and more complex, is designed for convivial occasions. The second is a donut, Artusi specifies "for a family of simpler [...] processing". However, both are not from Romagna, neither for the shape (because they are ring-shaped), nor for the ingredients used, but most likely with Tuscan inspiration.
The basic dough of the Romagna donut, which testifies to the very popular character of the preparation, is made with the poor ingredients of the most common peasant tradition. They are the same that were produced in the countryside and that were never missing at home: eggs, flour, sugar, butter and / or lard. Simple ingredients that have allowed, however, to bring to the table a tasty dessert that will satisfy the tastes of the whole family, young and old.
Here are the ingredients for two donuts:
500 g of flour
1 sachet of baking powder
30 g of butter
30 g of lard
200 g of sugar (plus the one for sprinkling donuts)
Grated lemon zest to taste
Lukewarm milk to knead the donut
In a large bowl, lightly whip the eggs with the sugar and add the grated lemon peel. Then add flour and yeast and mix. Melt butter and lard and once lukewarm add them to the mixture. Lastly lukewarm milk just enough to make the mixture soft and sticky. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, pour the mixture and shape the two future donuts with your hands. Sprinkle the donuts with plenty of sugar (or sugars) and bake at 180 degrees for 30-35 minutes. In any case, when they are golden on the surface and by inserting a toothpick it will come out dry, then the donut is cooked. Enjoy!! 😀
Awesome Patrizia, thank you! It will get us in dream mood thinking of a future visit to Romagna and to Villa Roncuzzi! I certainly can't wait to have a go cooking in your kitchen under your tutelage!
Gail Frost, of NHS QMC Hospital Nottingham, relayed to me one of her favourite recipes she has made during lockdown.
Mim’s Apple Cake
10 oz Self Raising flour - 8 oz Brown Demerara Sugar - 2 oz Raisins or Sultanas
4 oz Margarine - 6 fluid oz Milk - 1 tsp Cinnamon - ½ tsp Salt - 2 large Eggs - 8 oz apples.
Sift the flour, cinnamon, salt and add sugar, raisins and mix together. Melt butter and mix the eggs and milk to the recipe and then add the sliced apples.
Cook on Gas Mark 4 for 1 hour in a loaf tin. Or double the mixture and put in a long deep baking tray and then cut into slices.
Delicious! Thank you Gail and Mim!
Ramona Usher, historic buildings specialist, forwarded her two vegetarian & vegan recipes to me -
Crispy Cauliflower Bites and Meatless Meatballs in tomato sauce.
Crispy Cauliflower Bites
One large cauliflower, cut into florets
4 cloves fresh garlic, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger, 2-3 birdseye chillies (red or green) chopped
Two parts plain flour, one part corn flour (about 200g/100g
I tsp each Ground coriander, fennel and cumin seeds, Chilli powder and paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix with some water (add slowly) to produce a thick paste
Drop the cauliflower in and make sure it is coated thoroughly
Heat a pan of oil and fry dipped cauliflowers until golden.
Meatless Meatballs with tomato sauce
For the meatballs:
100g brown or red lentils (cooked as per pack instructions). Olive oil for frying. 1 red onion, chopped. 1 medium carrot, grated. 100g chopped spinach or chard. 3 garlic cloves, crushed/chopped. 1 tsp cumin. 50g breadcrumbs (I grate stale bread and put it in the freezer ready to use), 25 pine nuts.
2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp chopped parsley, 1 egg beaten (or cornflour - add until mixture thick). Fry the garlic, onion and carrot until soft. Add the spinach or chard and cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Take off heat and stir in breadcrumbs, pine nuts, lemon, parsley, lentils. Add the egg or cornflour until able to make balls that stick together. Put on a greased tray into a preheated oven for 12 mins.
For the tomato sauce:
Fry 1 lg red onion in olive oil with 3 cloves crushed/chopped garlic. Cook until soft. Add 2 tins chopped toms, 200 ml red wine, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tbsp harris paste, chopped parsley, squeeze of lemon juice. salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 mins, add water if it gets too thick.
Add a tsp of sugar to the sauce as well!
Put the sauce in a glass dish. Put the meatballs on top of the sauce, part submerged. Put back in the oven for 5 mins.
Wonderful recipes Ramona, and great in-kitchen photos! Many thanks.
Well, I have thoroughly enjoyed compiling this blog so I wish to express my sincere gratitude to all my contributors : Oksana Holbrook, Pam Miller, Justin Donne, Lee Meiser, Patrizia Poggi, Gail Frost, Ramona Usher and Rita Mitchell.
Look forward to receiving your reactions and any comments or questions you wish to write underneath this blog. Have a safe and healthy lock down where ever you are in the world, enjoy creative times in the kitchen with your family, and please do send me any of your favourite lockdown recipes and photos. I'd love to hear from you. Thank you!
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I appreciate that many of us are fortunate enough to have gardens and can enjoy their natural growth and derive much pleasure during this corona virus isolation lock down. On Easter Sunday I posted on Facebook a series of photos of my garden and noticed how fast some of the plants and shrubs had shot up ‘Triffid’ style over the last two weeks. It prompted me to ask my Facebook community friends about their plants and which ones had shot up in similar fashion in their gardens, and to kindly post any comments and photos taken Easter Sunday 12th April and during this week. So here they are after my own garden photos below.
Below are photos of my garden and those of some of my friends near and far. It’s always good to receive comments about each other’s garden developments and how much surprise and real joy they give us.
My garden's fastest growth plants -
Back yard - Euphorbia & Clematis
Front yard - Pulmonaria
Well, my fastest growing plant must be the wine coloured clematis (below) which is shooting up about 1-2 feet a day! It grows so profusely that I have to contain its weight by stringing across the top posts a green metal wire to prevent the whole trellis of clematis collapsing forward!
Front yard photos below.
Oksana from Sherwood, Nottingham, said, "Wisteria all in bud. I hope I get some flowers this year."
Lisa from Camberley, Surrey, said, "My Magnolia and Pieris! My pieris has been stunning this Spring, a real joy! xx"
Wow Lisa, beautiful photos showing their magnificence!
Maeve from St Ann's, Nottingham, said, "Plants winning the growth rate prize are my Japanese anemones. I like the leaf shapes, because the flowers won't be appearing for a while."
She added, "Here's a more colourful bit, ignore the dying daffodils! They did last about a month though!"
Kate from Tollerton, Notts, said, "Lilies and peonies have shot up. This is a beautiful crinkly white flowered one (below) from Sarah Raven. I swear it’s grown a foot this week! My 'Molly the Witch' yellow flowered peony is coming up grand too, have been waiting years to see that in flower and there are 5 buds this year! Excited! 😊😊"
Kate, I would love to see how your 'Molly the Witch' peony progresses so please do send me some photos in the following weeks!
Lee from Ohio, USA, said,
"My Magnolia tree is now blooming; Marysia, it’s going to snow again this week. Temperatures 37 degrees F with highs only near 42 degrees."
Such weather extremes Lee! This week here in Robin Hood Land, it's in the mid 60's degrees F.
Lee added, "Today it is 38 degrees F and will snow on Friday 1-3 inches. Not uncommon in Ohio.
We look forward to warm weather beginning May 10 - our Mother's Day. Then we are assured everything will bloom. Here's a photo of my Magnolia taken May 2019."
Suely from State of Bahia, Brazil, sent me these wonderful photos of her garden plants that are in abundant colourful flower! I've captioned each one with their names & stories (hover over photo to read). Thank you so much Suely!
Pam from Beeston, Notts, said, "My tête-à-tête' dwarf daffodils and pieris for you! xxx"
Teresa from West Linn, Oregon, USA, said, "I am sending a picture of the Camellias in our garden right now, SOOC shot, I haven't been out of the house in days, these are definitely the fastest and prettiest, outside of the Tulips, in our garden right now. :) "
She added, "The weather here is very similar to England this time of year, part of why we love it so much, our connection to home, plants and weather."
So beautiful Teresa, I really wish to plant a Camellia bush in my garden, but where to place it? In my front or back yard and near which wall? Maybe you can help me decide.
Below photo is from Patrizia Poggi at Villa Roncuzzi, near Ravenna. She said, "Our lilac has started to bloom!"
Wow! Such beautiful colours, I can whiff the perfume from here!
Thank you very much everyone for your contributing comments and lovely photos; keep them coming!
I would love to hear from readers, wherever in the world you are, who wish to write a comment to me here below, or email me, or PM me on Facebook about YOUR fastest growers in your gardens and submit some photos; I will ADD them in this blog and re-publish, so a record is saved and archived on our website blog for a long time.
Enjoy Nature at its best and the simple pleasures the outdoors can bring you. For those of you in isolation in apartments and houses (without gardens), and have internet access, you can see and roam many of the glorious national / international historic house gardens and public park lands via their webcams and website photo galleries. Here is a wide collection of links researched and sourced by ACT contributor and photographer Inna Schutts on her blog site “4 Curious Adventurers” - Exploring the World Digitally - digital resources for travelers trapped at home.
Below - Midhope Castle, Scotland.
I really enjoy ‘traveling’ with Inna and her family and I’m sure you will too!
I also look forward to hearing from you with any comments or questions, and photos, you wish to contribute and submit. Do enjoy your Springtime, or your alternative seasonal time in the world. Thank you!
#staysafe #stayhome #stayhappy
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All the ACT artists and management team contribute to this blog. Press Releases, Reviews, Events and Calls to Participate are posted here too.