Today’s the last day of our Christmas holidays and it’s the day when la Befana arrives to give children stockings full sweets if they have been good and lumps of coal if they have been bad; usually she gives both but the coal in the form of black sugar lumps. The first year we lived here I missed it completely, I had no idea what I was supposed to do and was quite surprised when a neighbour turned up with a stocking for my oldest daughter. Now that is a very nosy neighbour and I knew even then that she just came around because she was curious to see how we lived. One of those wasted smart females who could easily hold an important role in a company but have to waste themselves on petty work and who therefore get into serious gossiping instead. I always saw her as working as a personnel manager considering her interest in the personal side of life. Anyway, I was soon warned of her and have since kept silent when I meet her. My little village has always been divided in two phalanges and it has got worse with new people moving here. Now it’s threatening to turn into war because of a projected new parking lot and the expropriation of land for a new well. I’m not looking forward to it but then there’s always a big fight here every two years, usually we keep out of it but this time it will be difficult to stay neutral. That’s our 2008 for you.

I have finally managed to make an orange and chocolate cake that really taste like orange and chocolate, what I mean is that if you were blindfolded and had to tell what you were eating, you would be able to tell!


3 eggs
200 ml/0.85 cup sugar
125 g/4.4 oz fresh ricotta
100 g/ 3 oz butter
350 ml/1.5 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 oranges
100 g/3 oz dark quality chocolate, chopped

– Whisk egg and sugar until light yellow in a bowl.
– Grate the zest of the oranges and then squeeze them for juice.
– Melt the butter in a small pan and add the orange zest and the juice.
– Mash the ricotta and incorporate it with the eggs and sugar.
– Add butter and mix it.
– Sift flour and baking powder into the bowl and stir until it’s smooth.
– Add the chopped chocolate and mix well.
– Pour the the whole into a greased cake tin and bake in a pre-heated oven (175°C/347°F) for about 25-30 minutes, you better check it with a toothpick.

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