Sunday, November 17, 2013


In our garden there are many birds flying around. Some are cuter than others. We definitely do not appreciate the pigeons (they leave "memories" everywhere and they often collide with the windows o.O), but the Great Tit (Parus Major!!!!!) is very beautiful to see, especially when the small birds take the first "flying steps" out of their nest in the oldest apple tree we have.

Hoping that the cats will let some birds be in peace, we have taken two birdhouses that we got as present and finally hang them somewhere "safe" (in our eyes and hopes).

A traditional birdhouse
The first birdhouse is handmade and made by Pico and Romeo "second parents", who take care of them when we are often away. It has a classical shape and it is very robust. In fact, it survived without problems the big storm that happened few weeks back.

Birdhouse from Åhlens
A more detailed picture
This is more of an experiment since it looks more decorative than real one, however, it has the cleaning door and other details that makes one think it is actually to be used.
We have put it in a very protected place, under the roof of the tool shed and we are crossing our finger, it will survive and some smaller bird will like it.

According to different sources, it seems that the best time of the year to put them on is autumn/november, so that they can get a nice "patina" and get properly aired out.
Let's see if during the spring we will get some tenants!
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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Potatoes and asparagus cream

This is definitely not a seasonal recipe. The fact is that when I tried it and thought it was good to post it on the blog it was actually spring. Pity though that between lazyness and lack of time and energy, I ended up only now to focus on writing this post.
It will surely become handy for next spring!


  • 800 gr cleaned asparagus
  • 200 ml of white wine
  • 250 ml of cream
  • a bit of chives
  • 1l of vegetable broth
  • 30 gr of butter
  • salt
  • 1 shallot
  • 300 gr of potatoes
  • 2 spoons of olive oil
  • black pepper
  • some slices of sandwhich bread
First peel and wash the potatoes, then dice them in small cubes.
Diced potatoes

After washing and clean the asparagus, cut the tops away and lightly boil them (for one minute) in a little amount of salted water. When they are ready, let them cool off
Slice the stems in small pieces and the shallot as well.
Sliced asparagus stems
Lightly fry the shallot with the olive oil and the butter.
Golden shallot
Then add both the potatoes and the asparagus and cook it so for about 7-8 minutes, at medium heat, mixing around there and then with a wooden spoon, in order to avoid that everything will get stuck to the bottom of the casserole.
Frying vegetables
Add the white wine, and once it has evaporated, add all the broth. Cook everything for about 20 minutes.
At this point add the cream and cook it for 10 minutes more.
It starts to look like a cream!
Add the black pepper and, if needed, some salt.
With a stick blender, mix everything around to target the right consistency removing the casserole from the stove.

In the meanwhile, prepare also the croutons.
Dice the sandwhich bread and let them roast on a non-stick frying pan, until golden.
Put back the casserole on the stove and heat it up again. Add the chopped chives. Finally, add also the asparagus tops and serve it with the croutons!

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fruits Basket, by Natsuki Takaya

Fruits Basket Ultimate Edition Volume 12Fruits Basket Ultimate Edition Volume 12 by Natsuki Takaya
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Despite some imperfections, Fruits Basket deserves to be considered (by me) a masterpiece.
What could appear to be a trivial romantic scholastic comedy, turned out to be a very deep story, that touches many interesting levels. Or at least, I have interpreted the different themes in a specific way: the constant sensation of being imperfect and never appreciated by the parents, the fear of being alone and not being accepted and the courage required to connect with other people and on the other hand, also positive subjects as friendship, forgiveness, acceptance and growing up.
Possibly, the way I am describing doesn't make justice of the whole story as such, but all the characters are very interesting and unique and it is incredibly easy to think that it'd be great to find a "Toru" in your life.
The story mixes a lot of drammatic moments, with some that are incredibly hilarious to instead others that are just carrying the story on.
The tempo is always quite high and, despite the 12 volumes of this edition, it doesn't get neither boring nor repetitive.
There are though few confusing things: a little bit too many characters which sometimes are drawn very similarly to each other - hence it becomes quite hard to recognize one or the other; the insertion of the school commitee element, which is very confusing at the beginning and gets away quite a lot from the main plot: this introduces a bit too many elements that are possibly not fully related and makes things a bit too complicated (although it is clear that the whole part is used as an excuse to introduce a couple of characters), and definitely the finale, where something about Toru's mother's death is revealed, but it is nothing that I was considering worthy to write, at that point.
Finally, I think it is very nice to notice how beautiful the drawings in the final chapters are, a real evolution from the beginning, although some strips are a bit confusing in the whole story and they need to be read with extra attention.
In general, this is a manga that just needs to be read (indipendently from your gender) and that transmits a lot of feelings and emotions. It is very nice to see that also today it is possible to find great stories like this one.

View all my reviews

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