Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pranzo di Natale

This year Lucas and I didn't go visit either of our families for Christmas. But I didn't want this to be a lonely Christmas.. so we invited all our 'orphan' friends who were in Berkeley at a lunch at our place. We had a wonderful and joyful day. Everyone enjoyed it, and I will remember it for a long time.. here are just a few shots of the lunch, to share with our friends and dear ones far away throughout the world.
At the table:
From left to right: Yan Li and Dazhong, our friends from Raleigh! They moved to the west coast recently, and now live closeby again! We were so happy to see them after such a long time. Then, there's Andrea, the Italian friend who introduced us to so many people and nice events in this new area. Then Lucas, whom you may have gotten to know by now if you have read this blog :) - and then, our dear friend Vlasta! She was also a friend from Raleigh, and she moved here with Filipe, her husband, not long after I arrived. Such nice coincidences. Filipe was in Portugal for Christmas, so he couldn't join us. Then, there's Fiona, whom Vlasta introduced to us recently at a Halloween party. It was really nice to get to see her again! And last but not least, Sonya, met by pure chance one day going to SF, and since then become one of my closest friends here in Berkeley!

We had a few things out, in our apartment, specifically for Christmas. One of my favorite is this really cute 'presepio' for travellers, which was given to me by my friend Chiara.
It's so small, and if you have to move, you can put baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the little box with the angel. I love it. I had also another small wooden 'presepio', and my icons that I received when I was baptized at 18.
The lunch was very good. I made a mixed salad with many different greens, beets, nuts and apples, an onion tarte (which I may give the recipe for in a later post), and Vlasta brought her wonderful pesto and tuna and phildadelphia cheese spread, which you can see below.
The main course was homemade tagliatelle. Sonya, Lucas and I prepared the tagliatelle the night before. I already posted about how to make tagliatelle here. It's a lot of work, but if you do it with some friends, it's fun, and the result is amazing. I prepared to special sauces for Christmas: trout, almonds and zucchini was one, and wine, eggplant and sausage was the other. You can see a taste of them here.
For dessert, I prepared panettone. I followed a new recipe this year, but the result wasn't as satisfactory as the last few years. I may decide to try it again for New Year's day, we'll see. It was good, but as you can see in this picture, it was a bit too crumbly and not soft enough to be called real panettone:
I'll explain better what panettone is if I get to make a really good one. Alternatively, you can look here on the amazing blog 'Wild Yeast' by Susan.
The most professional and really amazingly good dessert we had was given by Andrea, who is in fact a really good cook:
These chocolates contained different types of liqueurs, and they were amazing! They were almost all gone at the end of the lunch.
After the lunch, we had a 'Secret Santa' gift exchange. Each one of us had been 'secretly' assigned to another person and bought a small gift for him/her. So the gifts were still secret but a little personalized.. it was really nice! Every one received a nice gift, ranging from a special bottle of wine to a little journal, to a bracelet, a book, a nice apron, cookies and other little things..
So in the end, it was a warm Christmas, even if our families were far away geographically. I know now it's very late, but I really want to wish everyone who's reading this blog every possible spiritual gift that Christmas comes with. May joy and light be born in our hearts and may peace come to the world!

1 comment:

Isha' said...

Pleasantly happy to find your blog!

I have a request to make: if you visit mine ( ), as a westerner, do you feel closer or alienated?