South Pacific

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Always dear friends,

Look what a beautiful thing I found and "gift-wrapped" with affection for you.

Hoping you enjoy it as much as I did,


Christmas tables and traditional recipes

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Links to recipes:

Dear friends,

Along with my wishes of a joyful Christmas celebration for all of you, I also brought some special recipes – the one of pavé, until today, was a family exclusivity... 

This time, the care with which I send you this piece of work has the warmth of burning candles, the scent of pine trees and a glow similar to the Lodestar of Christmas.


Traditional Christmas recipes - Italian Salad

Seafood - use what you like and can find.
This recipe serves about 4 people as a main course. Perhaps 6 people for an antipasto.
This recipe needs to be started about 3 hours before serving.


About 2 pounds of good quality mollusks, for example:
Manila clams, Black or green lip mussels, some shellfish
About 2,5 pounds of non-mollusk seafood, for example (frozen is OK)
Squid bodies cut into rings
Squid tentacles cut in half (so each has four or so legs)
Bay scallops (corals removed)
Pre-cooked octopus
2 lemons – 2 slices removed and the rest juiced into a bowl
1 cup of white wine
Salt, pepper and hot paprika (or chili flakes)
15 or so pitted Sicilian olives
1 tablespoon of drained capers
1 can of artichoke hearts or 1/2 a bag of frozen artichoke hearts (defrosted)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Salad greens

Special equipment:
Lemon juicer
Slotted spoon
Flat-bottomed container with a locking lid for marinating
A small whisk


Place the clams in a covered pot with cold water for about 1 hour and up to 2 hours. This will force the clams to expel their sand and grit.
De-beard the mussels by pulling off the black hairy outgrowth extending from between the top and bottom shell. Rub the exterior of the shells under cold water to remove as much growth on the shell as possible. Place in a bowl with ice to cover.
Place all the non-mollusk seafood in a colander and rinse with cold water. If they are frozen, rinse every so often to defrost and let drain.
Prepare both a large pot with boiling salted water with a slice of lemon and an ice-bath in a large bowl (stainless steel or ceramic).
Plunge the non-mollusk seafood into the boiling water. Allow the water to come back to a boil and cook for 1 minute.
With a slotted spoon, remove the seafood and lemon slice to the ice bath and let cool until it’s cold to the touch. Drain well and place in a container that will be used for marinating.
Empty the pot used for boiling and rinse. Add the white wine to the pot with the second slice of lemon. Add the mollusks. Watching the pot carefully, bring to a boil until the shellfish begin to open. With the slotted spoon, remove the opened shellfish to a bowl. Let the rest of the shellfish to continue to cook and open. Remove the open shellfish and the lemon slice to the bowl as they open. Discard any clams and mussels that don’t open.
When the shellfish is cool, add to the container for marinating – including the shells.
With your hands, tear the olives apart and add to the container. Add the capers too. Slice the artichokes hearts into quarters and add.
In a bowl, add the lemon juice, red-wine vinegar, olive and garlic. Season with a good pinch of salt, pepper and hot paprika (or chili flakes). Let stand for 10 minutes.
Whisk again and remove the garlic with the slotted spoon and discard.
Add the marinade to the container with the seafood. Seal with the lid and flip over several times. Marinate at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Arrange the salad greens on a platter and with a slotted spoon, serve the marinated seafood salad over the greens. Sprinkle the salad with the chopped parsley.
Serve with bread for enjoying the sauce.

Traditional Christmas recipes - Zuppa di Ravioli


3 links of sweet Italian sausage (casings removed) 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 cup of chopped sweet onion 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 cartons beef broth 1 cup red wine (never use a wine in your cooking that you wouldn't drink-make it a good one) 1 can diced tomatoes (do not drain) 1 8 oz can tomato sauce 1 tbsp organic sugar 3 shredded carrots 1 zucchini cut into small chunks 1 bell pepper, diced 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, stems removed 1 tsp dried basil or 4 large basil leaves, finely chopped 1/2 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp sea salt 1 tsp fresh ground pepper 1 container of four cheese ravioli (in the refrigerator pasta section of your grocery store) fresh grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Preparation method:

Break the sausages after removing the casings, and fry them in a big pot till brown. Set aside.
In the same pot, add extravirgen olive oil and fry the onion. When begining to soften, add garlic and continue frying till both are softened, but not browned.
Add the beef broth, the wine, sugar, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano, salt and pepper, tomato sauce, zucchini, peppers and the sausages. 
Leave a teapot with water on the fire in case the soup thickens too much and you need to add a little water.
Boil for about 40 minutes. Add the raviolis and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the spinach and, when softened, turn off the heat and serve with grated parmesan cheese and toasted garlic bread (or garlic croutons).

Traditional Christmas recipes - Tiramisù

It consists of layers of sponge cake (usually substituted by English style biscuits or ladyfingers) soaked in coffee, interspersed with a mascarpone cream and then sprinkled with dark chocolate. But the original recipe admits many variations.

Ingredients (4 servings): 

250g mascarpone200g fresh cream1 egg white2 tbsp sugar25 pistachios20 cherriesBrandy - 1/2 glass1 package of Ladyfingers (sponge finger biscuits)1 cup milkCinnamon

Preparation method:

Whip the cream and fold the mascarpone into it. Add the sugar and the previously whisked egg whites. Divide the mixture in three thirds. Wash the cherries, remove the seeds and roughly chop them to be now mixed with one third of the whisked cream. Do the same with the pistachios.

Set aside these two mixtures - the cream with cherries and the cream with pistachios. Mix together the milk and the Grappa (if impossible, cognac) in a bowl where you will rapidly dip the biscuits.
Take one of the cups in which the tiramisù will be served and, at the bottom of it, spoon a the cream with pistachios then lay over some of the soaked biscuits.
Spoon over a bit of the mascarpone "white" cream, make another layer of soaked biscuits and, finally, spoon the cream with cherries.
Finish by sprinkling some cinnamon and garnishing with some cherries if desired. Place in freezer for two hours and serve it. 

Traditional Christmas recipes - Pavé Uncle John


250 g sugar
5 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 package of Ladyfingers (sponge finger biscuits)
250 g unsalted butter not chilled
Port wine
Sliced roasted almonds

Preparation method:

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture is white.
Add butter, beat well, then add cocoa powder and beat again. Reserve it.

Pour Port wine on a deep dish till 1,5 cm high.
Rotate the biscuits in the wine avoiding to soak them too much or to let them very dry.
When the wine is lower than 1,5 cm, pour more of it.

In a rectangular dish, preferably crystalware, make a layer of soaked biscuits lying all in the same direction, being careful to keep the design of the dish (rectangle) but on a smaller dimension.
Cover this layer with part of beaten mixture.

For the second layer, the biscuits must be arranged in reverse to the previous layer and, then, covered with another part of the beaten mixture. And so on.

At the end, cover the dessert all over with the rest of the mixture and run on the surface the teeth of a fork in order to decorate it.

Let it chill a bit. As soon as the surface begins to harden, decorate the pavê with the slices of roasted almonds and put it in the refrigerator freezer for at least 12 hours before serving it.

Summertime in Venice

... un solo giorno...

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Dear friends,

Only a desire to share Beauty...

Always with my grateful affection,


Some Stars of Paris and Moscow

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Link to the recipes HERE

Dear friends,

With nothing else to say besides I really liked it…

Yes, you are right… I deserve the criticism, but it must be the age that is wearing also my modesty!

Two recipes from "Some stars of Paris and Moscow"

Coquilles Saint-Jacques au bouillon de cresson (Alain Ducasse)
(scallops on watercress broth)

Prep time – 25 min
Cooking time – 10 min
Servings – 4

12 scallops (coquilles Saint-Jacques) without  corals
2 bunches of watercress
Some leaves of spinach
1 clove of garlic
Olive oil
1 little tin of caviar
4 slices of nutbread
2 spoons of fresh cream
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt, not much pepper


Defoliate the watercress and remove the stems from the spinach. Rinse and dry them.
Peel the garlic.
Cut horizontally the scallops in 4. Season them with lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil  and divide them into  4 soup plates.
Brush the bread with a little olive oil, toast them slightly and cut them to fill a small basket.
Boil some salted water.  Dip the watercress, spinach and garlic. Cook until the leaves soften a little.
Drain this boil. Stir in the cream and add a little of the cooking water – the liquid shoud have the consistency of a soup. Add salt and pepper and heat the broth. When boiling, pour this broth over the scallops just in time to serve the dishes: the heat will cook them.
The chef’s advice:  “Cook the broth at the last moment; if you prepare it while taking care of the scallops, this broth will darken and keep an unpleasant appearance.”

Rhum Baba (adapted from Alain Ducasse's recipe)

To the babas:
1 whole egg plus 6 yolks

Whisk the egg white well, then add the 7 yolks. Whisk a lot until  almost losing the color.
Sift over the mixer off 2 spoons all-purpose flour mixed with 1 little pinch of baking powder.
Grease 4 muffin cups with unsalted butter and a little flour.
Fill the greased muffin cups with the batter and then bake for 15 to 20 minutes (180 °C), until the dumplings are nicely browned.

Syrup –
1 Kg granulated sugar
2 glasses of water (500ml total)
Zest of an orange and also a lemon - also squeeze some of the juice from the peels in the syrup.
1 vanilla bean divided in 2

Once thickened, and just before taking from the fire, add rhum, cognac or Armagnac to taste to the syrup.
If you wish, do not add alcohol in the syrup and and just serve the babas flambé at the last moment - but always before filling them with the cream.
Leave the dumplings in the cold syrup for about 15 minutes.
Filling – Make a custard of egg yolks with vanilla – light and fluffy not to stay too consistent when cool. When  cold, whisk slightly with Chantilly. Serve this cream apart to fill the babas on the table after cut in half on each plate.

ATTENTION - When it is the case, do not forget to flambé before putting the cream.


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Dear friends,

Those who lived their youths at the same time of mine have known and danced the calypso that was brought to Brazil in the voice of Harry Belafonte.

Jamaica Farewell was just another one of his hits of contagious rhythm…

Years later I was touched hearing that song recorded by Belafonte at the Carnigie Hall when he was already a mature singer.  It was such tenderness that woke me up - and that I keep with me still today - that I could not avoid paying homage to him and "his Jamaica" the way I have learned to express my feelings.

I believe you will also let be touched by it.

Always my affection and thankfulness for the prestige and encouragement that, generously, you have granted me,

Coimbra, Portugal

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Yes, Coimbra.

Although a granddaughter of a Lisboan grandmother and having one of my dearest virtual friends living and loving the city of Porto, I chose Coimbra.

It was so because in my heart Portugal is only one, and for having always admired the traditions of the University of Coimbra, I could not resist the temptation to format that city.

To research the immeasurable treasure that its Library is gave me a kind of devotion by so much beauty, art and culture it shelters.

I hope you enjoy "my" Coimbra.

With the ever affection to you all, dear friends,

Versailles Palace

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Dear friends,

Exactly eight months ago, slowly and attentively, I started researching material for producing the courage to format Versailles. The more images collected, the more I understood how far was the possibility of covering the magnificence that coated the Bourbon dynasty at that Castle.
From the long pauses by tiredness resulted some of those files that demanded a lot less from me and which I called "recreational".

I was very close from giving up, but went back to further attempts until, accepting to reduce my pretension and focus only the major highlights of the palace itself, I dedicated myself, finally, to achieve my goal.

Who already knows, knows that what there is to see is so much, that what one can see is so much - and therefore get out of there with everything mixed in memory - and still so much is left to see, I can assure you that just now I could understand Versailles a little more than at the times I have been there physically. Without modesty, I affirm that the same may happen to some of you.

Without further comments, "my" Versailles Palace to so dear friends.

Always with much care, 

Prides of Brazil - Gisele and Caetano

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My good and dear friends,

After each extenuating work of researching and formatting, I usually give myself what I call a well-deserved break.

This time, stricken by an attack of “Brazilianness” – I have outlined already some more about national prides – I combined the beauty and the talent of a composer and singer, who is he, with the beauty and the talent of a woman and Übermodel, the most-requested and photographed one in global fashion scene, who is she.

Always with my affection for you,

Saint Petersburg, the Russia of Tsars - reedition

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Dear friends,

Having already reformatted some of the very low resolution photographs of the file "Russia", and once our mail services now admit much heavier attached files, I thought I could not fail to update the "comrade" of that one called Russia - the file "Saint Petersburg".

It happened that I could not simply reformat it -  I was getting excited and a whole new work appeared, totally redesigned and even deserving a new name: Saint Petersburg, the Russia of the Tsars. I hope you enjoy it.

Always with my affection,

Maria Kochetkova

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Ever dear friends,

It's been a while since it happened that I was charmed by this young lady, by then, and that I began researching her career to... who knows... one day...

Later on, one of my much dear friends - Wilney Ferraz - has elaborated for me as a birthday gift a short movie with Masha's performance. I was thrilled with such great generosity and then the beauty of the gift increased my admiration also for the great little ballerina.

Now, again going through my "astral hell", the sensitivity that usually let me be touched by Art was even more  skin deep  and I searched for Masha to bring you about how much the music combined with the body expression of her ballet is able to thrill.

At this time it's I who brings Maria Kochetkova as a gift for all of you to delight or re-enchant.

Great affection,

Feet do speak

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Dear friends,

Again as a recreation I decided to open the box of surprises.

Always with affection,


Ibiza - Café del Mar

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Dear friends,

This time I ask only one thing: that you when reading that there is nothing to do besides what I suggest, just believe.

"Packed" with my affection,


Disney Paris

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To my dear friends,

This time, I send you a piece of work elaborated in order to fulfill a wish – from the child that lives on me...

Always with great care,

Budapest - Volume 3 of 3

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My dear friends,
To you my third degree passion or... Budapest - third volume of 3.
Always with care,

Budapest - volume two of 3

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My always dear friends,

To avoid the risk of being criticized for excessive adjectives qualifying Budapest, I write:

Budapest – second volume, to you.

With special care,

Budapest - part one of 3

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To my dear friends,

           Budapest has corners, nooks and charms to be explored through the Net even when I'm already in the asylum! Nothing passionate me more! I'm not flighty, but I demote in the podium "my" beloved Prague, Florence and the Forbidden City to crown Budapest as champion!

            It was really a great challenge to dive into the immeasurable wealth of available material; so, by sheer exhaustion, I declared ended the research after the 1.67 GB composed of 1,336 image archives that I brought into my PC. Even so, the compilation was very enjoyable; difficult, very difficult, was to elect - without the aid of a jury... lol - the 150 finalists, because to each classified photo, I found myself obliged to commit the crime of neglect 8 or more.
            Finally, exultant for the wonder that I got to know photographically and by reading, I achieved to format and bring you the first volume of three that will be needed for a minimum composition of the divine Budapest image. 
            With much joy and my love,

Tales without words from the Vienna Woods

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A little bit on Cuba, somewhat of me

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