Sunday, 31 January 2016

Chiacchiere or Cenci

It is carneval time here in Italy and one of the traditional things to make are chiacchiere. There are other names for these, cenci is one that springs to mind but here in the village we call them chiacchiere.


There are many different ways of making these but I have an old recipe I have used for many years which has now become the family recipe. It is from a recipe book I bought which no longer has the cover but has some super winter pasta recipes. 
My sister-in-laws both use this now, in fact my younger sister-in-law told me that this is the only recipe she has as "it is the best". She is 15 years younger than me so I was already using this when she got married.

I use a pasta machine to roll out the pastry but it can be done with a rolling pin and some patience! 


500 g white flour (about 4 cups for my overseas friends!)
Extra flour for rolling out and dusting the pasta sheets. I used nearly 50 g when I weighed what was left in the pack.
5 eggs (2 whole and 3 egg yokes)
3 tablespoons sugar.
4 half egg shells of liquor. (Limoncello, marsala or similar)
a pinch of salt.

Oil to fry. (I use olive oil as that is what I have here!)
Icing sugar.

Put the flour in a bowl and add the  sugar, eggs, salt and liquor. Mix well.


Use the empty egg shell to measure the liquor.


Roll it out thinly with the pasta machine or a rolling pin.

I usually use the largest setting on my machine and put the mixture through several times so it is mixed well. My machine has 6 settings. I start with the biggest and then gradually work to the 5th one. When making the pasta for lasagne I used the 6th setting, for this I keep it very slightly thicker at the 5th! 
I dust the pasta stripes with flour as I work.

I fold the pieces of pasta and repass them various times.

Use a pastry cutter to cut out stripes of pasta. I deliberately make them irregular so they don't seem bought!

Put olive oil in a frying pan and heat. Add the chiacchiere gradually being careful to not overcook. A friend used to make such soggy almost burnt ones! Not nice at all. They should be dry and crisp.

See how the bubbles form even though there is no baking powder in this recipe.

Take them out as soon as they are a golden colour and place on absorbent paper to cool.
These below were a bit too brown so were discarded!


Dust with icing sugar or some people even like to dip them in chocolate!

It is very easy to make these. The only thing is to be sure to mix the ingredients well, to be careful to remove quickly and drain oil and not overcook.

If you have someone to help you it simplifies things, DD was busy with homework but she did arrive in time to test they tasted good! Lol!

I didn't take a photo of them with the icing sugar as I will add that tomorrow when she takes them into school.

Do let me know if you make any and how they turn out!

Konmari clothes folding.

Well you may be wondering what I have been up to recently.

KonMari folding
 I have been diligently refolding clothes in the bedroom drawers! 

Dresser drawer
 There is actually more room with the same amount of clothes in them!

Konmari folding


I can't say I have thrown many things. I am not going to properly start on the clothes until my weight stabilizes. At the moment I am fairly near my ideal weight so some things no longer fit and some still don't fit me but I hope they soon will! 


In the meantime I have tidied a fair bit. I just love the Konmari method of folding clothes and the ease of finding what you want in the drawer. 

Clothes organisation

It was so nice when my neatfreak DD commented that she wants her room as tidy as mine is! 
Tablecloth organisation.

I did some of the dining room ones as well, and also tidied out a cupboard.

Dresser drawer

Organising drawers

While I don't think I will ever become a minimalist, KonMari does have lots of good ideas. I am curious to see how she copes now she has a child as well. We can probably expect a new book on how to organise life with a baby! Lol.

konmari method

I haven't had much knitting time between schoolwork and housework but am working on an outfit for my Ellowyne doll. Isn't she just beautiful? 

Ellowyne knitting

What have you been doing?

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Wispy Rose.

My present to myself this Christmas was a Wilde Imagination doll. 

Wispy Rose

Ellowyne Wilde: Wispy Rose Lizette.

Wispy Rose

To me she was very expensive at her original price of 190$ but I was lucky to buy her at sale price for 99$. New from the producers shipped directly here it was a lovely change from the American Girl dolls who won't ship to Italy!

Tonner Ellowyne

I had been searching for a while for a pre-loved one at a price I could afford. Someone on Ravelry sent me a message telling me there was a warehouse sale and I was lucky enough to get one. They sold out within hours! 
There were actually a couple of dolls even cheaper but I fell in love with her so was willing to pay a little bit more. A limited edition of 200 dolls. Now I see just her dress selling on E-bay for as much as I paid for her!

She has such a serene expression. I am looking forward to designing clothes for her. As usual all suggestions are welcome!

Wispy Rose

This is my first quick attempt at making her something to wear! I just had to make her something even though it was the Christmas season and I was very busy! She arrived on January 5th, just in time for the Befana! 

I quicky crocheted her a dress so I could put her meet dress away safely. Her necklace and bracelet I never put on as my DD didn't like them.

Ellowyne Wilde

A matching hat and bag and she is all set to go!

Ellowyne Wilde doll.

Although it is hard to see on the photo it has small beads sewn all along the hem and at neck and arms. The bag handle is made from the same beads.

Tonner doll
"Wispy Rose, my gown it flows, the color of peach, so creamy, With a beautiful bodice of satin all shirred and its skirt that is so dreamy. With big satin bows and a necklace of pearls (faux), A matching bracelet and pink satin heels, My hair hangs down straight yet pulled back elegantly from my face, So that everyone can see how I feel!"

Ellowyne Wilde

Ellowyne Wilde.

Do you like her?

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

It's Snowing!

Come to sunny Italy and see the snow today! Don't laugh but our schools are closed tomorrow for the bad weather!

Soveria Simeri Snow

It has been a few years since we last had snow in the village. My snow Fairies must have been doing their work brewing up a snowstorm! Lol!


Remembering going to school in the wilds of Northumberland when I was small, standing shivering and stamping my feet waiting for the bus to arrive. Drying wet mittens near the fireplace. So many memories so long ago! This just makes me laugh!


 I never did really like the snow so much. While it is beautiful to look at it isn't so nice when you have to go to work or to school!

I haven't written much on here recently as I have been so busy. 

Cupboard is cleared!
My decluttering is still progressing. Slowly and surely I will get there. I got down under the stairs cleaned with a bit of help from my youngest DD!

Dining room

My dining room looks almost empty without all the clutter

Depression rears its ugly head at times. Other family problems arise and life seems so tough. We will overcome somehow. Just as finances seem to be ok new things come up. Seems I am fighting a never-ending battle here. I don't know what to cut down on anymore. 

My weight loss has slowed as well. I am at stage where it is hard to lose even a little bit and seems useless trying. However I console myself that I have lost 14 kilos since October. It seems no one else even notices. 
The trousers that didn't fit me then now don't fit me anymore, they were too small, now they are too big! I feel a lot better physically as well but oh it is so hard! Anyway 3 kilos to go and I will reach my ideal weight supposedly! keep your fingers crossed for me!

What has been happening in your "neck of the woods"? 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

La Befana

It has been a while since I have had time to write on here. Life over the holidays has been hectic. Now finally things are getting back to normal, school has started again and the usual tran tran of daily life has begun once more.

Paola Reina doll

This is my little "Brujita": Witch. A 32cm Paola Reina doll totally made in Spain. I love the quality of these dolls.I have just published a knitting pattern for her on Ravelry. See how angelic she can look? Yet we know she is plotting something just the same!

32 cm doll

In Italy there is the tradition of a witch bringing gifts on January 6th. When I first moved to the village there was no Santa Claus and kids would receive their gifts from the "La Befana".

Witch and Angel

When Jesus was born at Bethlehem the Wise Men followed the star to bring their gifts of gold, incense and myrh. They met an old lady and invited her to go with them, but she was very tired and refused. Afterwards she regretted not having accepted the invitation and tried to follow them but as she didn't know the way she couldn't reach them. 
Since then she brings sweets and gifts to the children hoping to find the Christchild. She flies on an old broom and leaves candy in the stockings hung by the chimney or the door. 

Paola Reina Pattern

 Beware though, if you are naughty she will bring you a piece of coal! 
There is a very famous race of the "Befana's" every year at Piazza Navona in Rome. It is a very popular event.

Paola Reina knitting pattern

A nearby Calabrian village has the tradition that on the night between January 5th and 6th all the animals can talk and from the two village fountains, instead of water, milk and oil flow. 
Animals are given lots of fodder that night so they won't speak badly about their owners!

Paola Reina Brujita

Here you can see how pretty her hair is. It has various colours. Her striped stockings match the colours!

Do you have any local traditions which are different from the usual Santa Claus? Who brings the gifts in your part of the world?

Saturday, 2 January 2016

AGD Snow Fairy

My little snow fairy wondered where all the snow had gone to.

 Up in the big woods it seemed like a Spring day.

Maybe she should call her sisters to create a snow scene?


You can have fun knitting your own snow fairy dress by using the code   to get the pattern for free on Ravelry for the next 48 hours. After that it will still be available at its usual price. The offer has now finished. Thanks to all for the incredible reponse!

Enjoy! Let me know if this works correctly as it is the first time I have tried it!