Friday, September 19, 2014

Syracuse: beautiful places to visit and to have a dip! My holiday in Sicily...tips (second part).

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Our favourite Wild Beach...yellow rocks because of the sulfur
Yesterday I told you about: eating well spending a little in Syracuse, and today I'd like to post you some pictures about my favourite beaches in Syracuse and some beautiful places I visited with my family.
There are 3 negative aspects about Sicily that I think could be important to know when coming here on holiday.
The first oneSicily is not only a beautiful place with breathtaking views and pristine  and wilderness nature. There is another Sicily meeting every day: is that one about waste everywhere, trash thrown along the streets as on the beaches. And so it happens that you swim in a beautiful sea, clean and transparent and pull on some plastic bag or something else.
During my holidays I saw many times people in the cars waiting at the traffic light, open the door and overthrow the full ashtray over the asphalt.
The second one: the problem of stray dogs. As well as for management of garbage, so also for the protection of animals, in Sicily are still about 50 years ago.
It can happen to encounter gangs of stray dogs on the street, as in the center of the city.
Despite the presence on the territory of Legambiente (an office was close to where I was staying), no one cares to trace the microchip of a dog or to provide against this dangerous phenomenon.
What shocked me was seeing from my car window while we were going to the airport, a stray Newfoundland, rummaging in the garbage together with 5 other dogs, even with the collar at the neck and also the medal. It was definitely a dog belonged to some tourists and
lost a few months ago, but no one has ever bothered to see what was written on that medal!

The third one: I love wild beaches, as you can find in Maremma (South of Tuscany); free beaches, no bathing facilities, unspoiled, with trunks of trees here and there, and maybe boars in the nearby pine forest.  
I know that nowadays it is impossible to find deserted  and beautiful beaches, but my goal is always to find places where the distance between an umbrella and another is not less than 6 meters.
Here in Syracuse this is virtually impossible.
Because of mass tourism with the arrival of tripadvisor, with the many travel blogs and forums about discussions on holidays, now everyone knows where to find the paradise. The result is that everywhere, even in the hardest  beaches
to reach, often your beach towel is located at a distance less than 1 meter from that of another person or family.
You can tell to the Sicilians in every way that you'd like them to inform you about unspoiled beaches, but there'll be always crowded beaches in their suggestions...because Sicilians like bathing establishments, solarium points, bars on the beach and they rarely understand you'd appreciate a different kind of living the sea.
We found our beloved beaches going and traveling by car to discover new places. And we discovered many times that many places we found are not even known by the locals.
That's why I will not be very specific in giving you the names of some places ... however, if you are interested in a sea place or a beach in particular, you've just sending me an email and I'll be happy to answer.
If you're looking for a marvellous sea, clean and transparent, you're however in the right place, everywhere in Sicily. 
The most crowded beaches in Syracuse: Fontane Bianche, S. Lorenzo, Arenella however benefit a wonderful, incredible, sea.  

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Oasi di Vendicari: best birdwatching place

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Wild Seaplace
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Syracuse: Wild Beaches to have a dip
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Syracuse: Beautiful Places to Visit
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Syracuse: where eating well spending a little...my holiday and some tips for you

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Almond Milk Granita
My holidays in Sicily are now only a memory, along with the endless dips in the sea, but I still want to tell you about the Syracuse area and give you some tips if you ever visit this beautiful and generous land.
Today is the time of:
Eating well spending little to Syracuse:
From €20 to €25 each (wine and coffee included). About visiting Syracuse and having an amazing dip you can go to my next Post

Red Moon is a Pub Restaurant inside the Port Lachio of Siracuse. The atmosphere is picturesque; we were walking around the port for a drink, we took some pictures at sunset and finally we ate in this nice place:
- Spaghetti Ricci di Mare (Sea urchins)
- Spaghetti Nero di Seppia (Squid Ink)
- Mixed Fried Fish
- Peppered Mussels
- Octopus
 We spended €105 (4 people; wine and coffee)
 Make sure to book in advance.  
They usually start the dinner late: 20,30 pm
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Syracuse, the Port

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Syracuse, the Port

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Spaghetti Squid Ink

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Spaghetti Sea Urchins

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Octopus

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Mixed Fried Fish

Zio Agatino is our favourite restaurant! The place is marvellous, tables are just in front of the sea ( I think 2 meters far from) and the view is amazing and breathtaking.
Comfortably seated at the table, you can see the volcano Etna in the distance: you can even see the smoke from the pictures.
If you love raw seafood and shellfish this is the right place for you!
We came here many times we have never been disppointed.
We ate:
- Raw seafood and Shellfish
- Mussels au gratin
- Spaghetti Zio Agatino (Seafood)
- fish barbecue (grilled)
- Cassata (tipical dessert with Ricotta cheese and, candied orange zest and chocolate drops)
We spended €90

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Zio Agatino, the view from our table

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Raw Shellfish

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The Etna Volcano is smoking at the distance

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Cassata Dessert

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All together for Puccio's Birthday at Zio Agatino

Trattoria Medusa in the historical center of Syracuse, Ortigia. 
It 'a nice reastaurant and tables overlook a quaint alley.
Spaghetti Clams were ok.
The mullet were exquisite and also the squid,
but they are very disorganized, so prepare yourself to wait a long time.
We spended €95 (4people; wine and coffee)

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Mullet

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Ristorante Pizzeria Spizzica al Vecchio Lavatoio just a few steps from the source Aretusa, Alfeo Promenade, in Ortigia.
We ate amazing pizzas and i recommend you: Siracuse (Tuna and Swordfish) and Cheeses (Scamorza, Ricotta from Sicily and other local cheeses)

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Corte Bottai is a new Pub (not yet the website)
The atmosphere is really nice: an ancient courtyard behind the restaurant. The staff is young and kind and the owner is a very nice and professional person.
Eating is excellent and drinking too, expecially for the red wine. 
We choosed some cutting boards with local salumi and cheeses and the famous Pizzolo (a kind of Bread with Tomatoes and local Cheese) 

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The Best Granita 
A part from the raw fish, I love Granita (frozen fruit puree with sugar to eat by teaspoon).

Casa della Granita Siciliana makes the best granita I never eat, creamy, juicy and genuine.
The place is not nice: an old bar along a local road; just 2 tables.  
The owners are very friendly and helpful.
Here you can taste the classic Granita: Latte di Mandorla (Almond milk), made with blended almonds... that's my favourite!
But I recommend other kind of typical granitas too: Lemon, Fichi d'India (prickly pears), Gelsi (mulberry)...and all the fruit you can find on season.
Ps: If you'll taste the almonds cookies they sell you'll never forget them!
Another place with a fantastic Granita is in Marzameni, and this time you'll find a fantastic atmosphere too: just in the big Place of this fishing beautiful village.

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Marzamemi

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Almond Milk and Peache Granitas

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Marzamemi

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Montopoli: Ricotta and Fresh Peaches tart, one of our most successful dessert

Ricotta Cake with Peaches
Ricotta and Fresh Peaches Tart
You couldn't miss this Tart! It's one of the most loved desserts during our private dinners. The Recipe is a very easy and fast one and the success is guaranteed...Trust me and Buon Appetito...I had to run away toward another Dinner Adventure!! Keep in touch

Ricotta and Fresh Peaches Tart
By Erika Elia

Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 1,05 hour
Ingredients
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 yolk
  • 10 oz all purpose flour
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 5 oz no salt butter 
  • 1 grated lemon zest
  • 12 oz ricotta (better from sheep)
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 peaches
  • 3 spoons brown sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. For the tart dough follow the same procedure of the Apricot Jam Tart
  2. About the filling:
  3. well drain the ricotta cheese
  4. whisk the eggs with the sugar
  5. mix all the ingredients (a part from the peaches and the brown sugar) together, helping yourself with a whip.
  6. Pour this filling inside the tart dough you modeled in a baking pan for tarts
  7. Peel the peaches and cut in slices of about 5 cm thick
  8. Place the slices vertically, starting from the outside towards the center of the cake
  9. Sprinkle the outline with the brown sugar
  10. Let all bake in oven at 400 F°, for about 25 minutes
  11. Taste...you'll not forget it!