Read Jane Austen’s Books Under an Oak Tree, and then Make Soup.

Fragmenti di vita:

Quite to the contrary of my usual habit to travel, this weekend I have choosen to stay within the comforts of home. Outside, the weather slowly turns pages as we become closer within the deeps of Autumn. With cabbage soup simmering on the stove top, along the constant boiling of water for tea, quiet ponderings come easily. I find there is always a reason to feel uplifted when there is constant food in the making. This being said, who could refuse to love the natural attitudes that pertains to this time of year? Certainly not myself. Pumpkin, spices, and the warmth of an Autumn’s palette is a fine luxury.

Daily, I find myself wandering to visit the park to take part of the scenery. Despite the Autumn tone being different from that of Summer it does not seem to loose its essence  amognst the changes. If one needs a quick fix for relaxation, go outside, and take a breathe. The wind slightly tinged of a crisp sensation, stirred along with the leaves is restorative, and calming. Any person could not help but feel protected, and reassured by such a plant. Even the birds, if have not left to find a warmer climate, can not help but build their nests amognst the branches.

Try to forget what objects you have before you – a tree, a house, a field, or whatever. Merely think, ‘Here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow,’ and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape, until it gives you your own impression of the scene before you. -Claude Monet

Quercus pubescens, the oak tree.

A common species of Oak found across Italy is the Roverella, also known as the Quercus pubescens. This particular species easily found in Europe, and the Caucasus; has a high adaptability to poor enviroments. Being a plant able strive in many different extremes of temperatures from hot to cold, this Fagaceae is cultivated in parts of Asia, and the United States. Highly resistant also to the the ignorance of man’s wrong doing, it is a plant that has a strong endurance against fires be that of man or not. With a life range able to to reach up to 1000 years, it blooms around the period of Spring, During the Autumn months little acorns appear. The acorns adored by squirrels, pigs, and people like myself who just enjoy looking at them are considered a sweet meal for critters. Strength, endurance, and courage are words that come into mind in the prescence of a oak tree. In the Roman Republic the corona civica made out of oak leaves was an important prize for acts of military bravery. Studies say that the earth’s surface is negatively charged, constantly producing a helpful antioxidant. I am not suprised! When one is immersed within nature, especially in close contact to the grass he/she is able to feel de-stressing effects on the nervous system.

The Olive Tree, Oak, and the Pinus Pinea:

The trees that best describes the general flora of the Italian peninsula would definitely be the above stated. You are able to find these species of trees throughout Italy. The olive tree, and the pine both cultivated to bear edible fruits. Many are the traditional Italian dishes that contain these ingredients. Pine nuts are also well-known for the pesto alla genovese, a fresh basil based pasta sauce not in season in this part of the year. So forget it! The pinus pinea, known by it’s second name the stone pine is also an important component of the aesthetics of the Italian scenery. Many planted near the Appia Antica in the city of Rome it has the capacity to elicit feelings of wonder, grounding the person to the imagery of the past. Towering high the long limb of this tree is tall enough to be noticed from afar. The stone tree’s humble prescence is impossible to be overlooked.

If I wanted to be similar to the ironic manner of Italians, I can say there are many things one could do under trees! I on the other hand, despite being half Italian myself  I stick to what my friends consider to be my ‘old victorian ways’ and stay away from the subjects pertaining to the birds, and the bees on this blog. Instead, I rather delve in what I consider to be my favorite book of all time. It is a book that every woman had the pleasure to read and that is Pride and Prejudice by the author Jane Austen. Believe me, when I say that there is not a better book I have read! Ever since I was a child I have read this book many times and watched all the movies. The story of Elizabeth Bennet and her intriging interactions with the ambiguous, handsome Mr. Darcy can not help but  stir my childlike nature within making me blush for the sincerity, and the innocence of their ways.  Any woman would lie if they say they are not moved by this story, and if a man dislikes it he might aswell not be ready to explore the realms of love. This book in the perfect setting is the best escape when I feel bound. To read this book under the trees is delightful . What moves me the most about this book is it’s simplicity compared to today’s ways amognst people. I wonder what would Jane Austen would think is she knew that her book published in the year of 1813, ploted in the Regency era would still move women like myself even til this day.

Even if the weather is getting colder reading under a tree is so relaxing! Especially when reading a classic. Make sure though to remember to stay safe! Wear warm attire, and a good jacket to prevent yourself from getting sick! The flu is not fun!

Check out Austen’s Emma, and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. These books are well-known, and famous for a reason! To be truthful it would be odd if you have not heard of these books before.

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

All this writing made me hungry.

A Recipe for Hearty Soup.

Soup best represents the collective idea of home and comfort. A hearty brew slowly simmering on the stove stop can be the perfect unifying detail that brings families, and friends together for moments of exchange. Even for the lone wolfves, a flavorsome meal like that of soup is perfect to help uplift an atmosphere that would rather be cold and empty without. Various earthy vegetables are in  season in Italy. Savoy cabbage, cauliflower, pumpkins and carrots are in line with the season.  The above being said, let me guide you to my rustic, spontaneous version of the soup that I make. No need to be a expert, just yourself, and your own curiosity of doing things naturally. Below is a soup whose portion is for a size of a humble family, or for a single person like myself.

Practice makes perfect. No counting is really needed here, this recipe is here to inspire you to sometimes forget the guideline, and create things on your own based on your personal preferences. Do you like Savoy cabbage? Add an extra one! Do you dislike carrots leave them out! Are you not vegetarian? Add chicken instead of pre-made stock. 

Ingredients: 

1 savoy cabbage

1 cauliflower

A half of a pumpkin

2 onions (because I love onions)

2 carrots

A celery branch

Olive oil, pepper, salt

Add olive oil in a stock pot. Then on a low/medium heat have the oil sizzle along with diced carrots, celery, and onions. Keep a lid on top while for about ten minutes the vegetables become soft. It is important to keep the heat not too high to prevent that the vegetables do not burn. It is prefered that the vegetables are sliced thinly beforehand. Be yourself make sure that you learn by slicing the vegatables the best way possible to fit your criteria. In the meantime as the vegetables cook, prepare the others! Wash the cabbage, the cauliflower, and along with the pumpkin slice them up in nice thick pieces (this is my preference). Then slowly add the vegetables in along the ones that have been already on the stove top. Slowly add broth if you have it. I personally add chicken and the perfect amount of water that will not cause the soup to become too thin. Add a nice spoonfull of salt. Allow the cooking soup to boil before setting it to a medium/low heat,. Alow the concauction to cook cook slowly for many hours straight.

If you have spices on hand add them in! I usually do a blend that change based by whatever there is in the kitchen. Remember pepper and parmigiano reggiano is a must! Serve with warm rye bread in company of friends.

He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise.

Henry David Thoreau
Italian Vegetables Vocabulary 101:        (A quick note for you.)

 Verza: savoy cabbage

 Cavolfiore: cauliflower

 Zucca: pumpkin

 Cipolla: onion

 Carota: carrot

 Sedano: celery 

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