venerdì 29 ottobre 2010

Recreation - Walnut pasta, medieval ruins and scuba diving.

The last major construction job inside the house had been completed at last and all members involved in the process were very relieved to see it done. Thus a round of celebrations followed, beginning with the cooking of our very first meal! The necessary stove had already been in the dining room, being placed there some time ago by Aureliano's aunt who had no further need of it. A gas canister with some remaining fuel was discovered nearby and connected to the fitting in the stove. Some walnuts and limes were gathered from the garden, and in a short while we were all enjoying a beautiful meal of pasta with a walnut/garlic/rosemary/lime sauce cooked by Aureliano.
The kitchen stove.

The ancient and ginormous walnut tree
in the garden, which leaves the ground
covered in walnuts after a strong wind.

Aureliano making dinner while Peppe Pavone and Aurelio
dance in the kitchen.

The crew enjoying a well-earned dinner.
From left to right: Aurelio, Peppe Pavone, Aureliano,
Alfio and Sergie.

It looked fairly simple on the plate but man, this was probably one of the best pastas I've ever eaten in my life. --|||||Sergie|||||

Dinner was followed by wine which was followed by an incredible jam session, the highlight of which was Aurelio and his telling of a captivating story (first in Italian and then in English), with a backing soundtrack performed by the rest of the crew.
Alfio laying down a groove.

It felt so satisfying to eat meals inside the house that the next day we cooked lunch as well.

Peppe Minniti, Aureliano and Sergie enjoying another meal
of pasta.

The fantastic lunch was followed by a trip to the Sicilian countryside where some old culture was observed and respected:

Sergie, Aureliano and Peppe Minniti love castles.
The journey then took the gang to see an old friend, Elia, who lives in the town of Mirabella Imbaccari. It turned out that Elia was involved in doing some restoration too, on a property given to him by his aunt. Intrigued by the story we asked to see the property and were taken by car into the nearby countryside to experience these unique sights:
A cold Aureliano and confident  Peppe Minniti striding past
the main entrance to the property.

The inner courtyard.

Elia taking us further.....

....and further into the property.

Elia, Aureliano and Peppe Minniti observing ancient
structures.... this rather old arch.

Doing some exploring amongst the crumbling walls....

....which Peppe and Elia have no problem climbing.

Some sheep near our jeep.

Window view.

The surrounding countryside.

From left to right: Peppe Minniti, Elia, Aureliano, and Sergie.

As can be seen from the photos, the property was much older than we could have imagined. Indeed, the story of the place goes back way before the medieval period. In the Roman times, this area was quite close to a major road which connected the Southern city of Gela with the towns in the Northern area of Sicily, and therefore received a fair bit of traffic in that time. In the age of the Crusaders, the area was used as sort of "pit-stop" for knights to fix up their equipment, specifically equipment related to their horses. The old ruins which can be seen in the photographs are the remains of a large tower structure built sometime during the 15th century, used to house the nobility which gave protection (in return for grain taxation) to the peasants and farmers living in the surrounding area. Eventually the property became divided and Elia's aunt gained possession of the property containing the structural remains. The surrounding country is currently divided into 12 blocks of land which are all owned by non-relatives of the family and the blocks are currently not being utilized in any meaningful way.
Elia wishes to restore the structures and plans to start up a Bed & Breakfast to accommodate the tourists that pass through the area annually during the time when the local cycling marathons are held. One of the obstacles in his path is the lack of communication between him and the other 12 surrounding land owners.

We thought there is immense potential with this property. Perhaps when the time is right, Elia can be introduced to the principles and techniques of Permaculture, in the hopes of sparking an interest and giving him a new perception of the possibilities which lie before him. --|||||Sergie|||||

The following day, festivities continued with a trip to the nearby fishing town of Aci Trezza where Peppe Pavone was taught the basics of scuba diving by our resident in-house scuba diving instructor, Peppe Minniti. The water was a frosty 18 degrees Celsius and absolutely crystal-clear, thanks to the national reserve restrictions put on the area.
The two Peppes, suited up and ready to go.

The area is well-known for having a lot of Mafia, so our diving instructor
Peppe Minniti always carries his knife...

.... and just in case, he says a prayer too...

.....and uses an advanced technique when entering
the water, in order to confuse them.

Paddling around.

Satisfaction? Oh yeah.

This concluded our few days of relaxation and renewed our energy to continue working on the Casa di l'Amuri project.

2 commenti:

  1. hi,great pictures! it look like it was a fun dinner party! some pictures take a lot of time to download. it is better to open a flickr account and link the images to flickr instead of loading the images in the blog account.
    it seems the pasta was so good cause there was no time to make a picture of it! we want food and recipes!
    :-) By the way great photos!

  2. Hey Omar,
    thanks for the heads up! The pictures have been resized, touched-up in Picasa and uploaded thru Picasa Web Albums (Blogger wasn't responding too well to Flickr urls). This should make them come up faster and they should now look a bit more shinier too. Let us know if this resolves the issue.
    As for the food photos and recipes, you can count on it next time when we make something fancy.
    Thanks for the comment!