Here it is almost time for Christmas lunch and in my house, we are getting ready. I renew my wishes to all of you. To whom is celebrating this day: how is it going? I hope very well, I hope you are having a really smiling Christmas, full of joy. Well, today I am at home, so I have no travels to share or advice to give. I want just to give you a recipe. Well, I am not a good cook and this is not a food blog, but it is an opportunity for me to share a bit of tradition.
What we eat for Christmas lunch
In Piedmont, my region, we have a special tradition, different from the rest of Italy. We eat “Agnolotti”. I enclose the recipe for one of the versions. In each area of Piedmont, there are differences, but this one is surely appreciated by most of the people. Before to let you how we prepare them, I prefer to give some curiosities.
Agnolotti is the traditional recipe for Christmas lunch, but this food was invented for the Carnival. Women were preparing this dish while men were playing to cuciòn, a game similar to bowling.
To taste real agnolotti it is better, according to the taste of some gourmets, don’t use any dress, but we have the habit to put some sauce or some broth. Old people eat them drinking Barbera wine. Some cooks roast them and some others eat Agnolotti as an appetizer. In my family, we have it as the first course.
I go directly to post the recipe for Christmas lunch, just letting you know that the picture is coming from my house. They are completely made by us. As the tradition asks. The recipe was written and translated by Armando Gambera
Agnolotti al sugo d’arrosto
for the filling:
500 g veal meat
500 g pork meat
5 garlic yolks
a ladle of stock
500 g Savoy cabbage
one glass olive oil
100 g grated parmesan
for the dough:
one kilo 00 wheat flour
First they made the filling, called the empiora.
First of all roast both the veal and pork meat: after having fried it lightly on high fire for ten-fifteen minutes with three garlic yolks, a bit of rosemary, salt, and pepper, let it cook on a slow fire for an hour, adding some stock from time to time if necessary.
Let the meat cool down, take the garlic and rosemary away and mince the rest carefully.
In the meantime boil the cabbage and cook it in a pan for some minutes with oil and garlic; then mince it.
Now add the meat and put the mix in a bowl, add the parmesan, three whole eggs, and mix. The filling is now ready.
Put the flour on pasteboard and give it the shape of a volcano.
In the hole put three whole eggs and nine yolks: knead carefully until the dough is ready, adding soma more flour if necessary.
Cut the dough in thick slices, then with a rolling pin or a machine make each slice into a very thin leaf.
Take little portions of the filling and put them on the dough, one cm. away from one another.
Then fold the dough over the filling and close it by pressing.
Now separate the agnolotti from one another.
They must e square, about one cm. long, well filled; the more the filling, the better; but the agnolotti must not be to big.
Let the agnolotti rest in a cool place for a couple of hours before cooking them in salted boiling water for some minutes; take them away and dress them with the sauce made by the meat you have roasted to make the filling; or with some melted butter and sage.
You have already read some posts about my gifts for Christmas holidays. Now I want to share the best Christmas gift idea. Or better I am going to explain what I had the chance to learn: how to find easily and quickly the best present. Some tips are useful, especially when you don’t know what to buy and to give to a friend, a relative or also to the special person of your life. The worst thing that can happen it is to bring the wrong gift to a person. That is why I started to collect some hints. Now I propose them to you.
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, so why to transform it in the most horrible? We all need some shopping advices. The first step I generally do is try to catch what people want. The direct question is just a fail. Infact the answer of relatives and friends is always the same one: “I don’t need anything”. This means the opposite, we all know it, but what do they want? The question mark will remain untill you will give them your present. It is a big risk…
With kids it can be a bit easier, because they are used to write to Santa Claus, but what to do with the others? You need a real strategy to find the Christmas gift idea. Good, here I have the solution for you. Follow all the steps carefully and you will be smiling together with your friends and relatives on Xmas day. It is not difficult, you only have to pay attention and to act.
1. List the interests of the person
The first rule to find the best Christmas gift idea is to make a sort of list about what the present receiver likes. Write down as many elements as you need, because this is only the beginning. Maybe you will need to select the main one, according to what you can purchase or what the person wants. Once you have listed all the topics you need to brainstorm to write at least one item for each passion of your friend or relative. Combine them to search the ideal gift. It has to be something persona and thoughtful. This is the goal of the present.
2. Look to the past
You need facts. A recent success, a sad story, a dream from childhood. Each detail is very important. To find a useful Christmas gift idea focus on something that can give a pleasant experience. For example for a recent graduation you can buy a weekend package for the celebration or something that will be useful for the future job. In case of a dream you can think about something that can help your relative or friend to realize it. For instance there are box with some particular experiences offered: drive a Ferrari, fly with an hot air balloon.
3. What does that person need?
You have to answer, without asking to her/him, to this question. This is a necessary step to reach your goal. Maybe you think that the person has everything, but are you sure? I mean that today there are many items that you can buy to make the people daily life more efficient. In this case focus on the main activity and imagine what can help her or him to live easily. A university student is maybe searching for some instruments. A busy worker need free time, so find something that can give the chance to develop an hobby.
4. Become a stalker
Are you in trouble with the wishlist? You can’t find anything that can be adapt to the person. No idea and a big lack of information about her or his interests? There is only one solution. Stalk. Not literally, of course. Check the social pages, try to find out if exists a wishlist on Amazon or some other shop online. Don’t ask, but investigate on habits and some posts online. People sometimes share some products they want, spreading their thoughts and opinions. They are the answer. Find it and you will be on the way to the Christmas gift idea.
5. What about charity?
If you realize that this person doesn’t need anything, there is another way. Be sure before to act. I never think that a person can really have everything, but it can be hard to find something new for her or him. The alternative is charity. How? Well, think about the experience and the interested of the gift receiver. For example the person did some volunteering in an NGO or she/he has a passion for kids or animals. Donate to that NGO or to one association that take care of childrens or animals. Write the name of the person as donator.
6. Organize an experience
Imagine that the person likes a lot a movie or a book and she or he already had the chance to see the film and to read the text. Maybe there is a representation of it at the theatre. Buy the ticket and use it as Christmas gift. This is an example, but it can inspire you, because sometimes attend to a show or live directly a particular experience is the best present. The sign of it will remain in the person’s mind for a very long time. Of course if the experience is good and if it matches the interests.
7. Make the gift to be an event
Once you found the proper Christmas gift idea and did your purchase it is time for the next steps. It is common to say that the most important thing is the thought and not the present, but is this true? Well, in part yes! Prepare the package with creativity. Don’t use a traditional wrapping paper, but work to realize an event, to give a unique experience to that person. You need to be sure that she or he can enjoy your gift. What can you do? I can’t answer to this, but surely I can give you some examples. Hide the package and send a message, maby leaving a card somewhere with some hints to find it. Try to make the package a bit difficult to be opened. It has to be funny and pleasant to open the gift.
8. You have to be part of the gift
Include a bit of yourself in the present. Your Christmas gift idea has to show your touch. You need to make it personal because the item is from you to her or him. That means that the gift contain something concerning to your relation. It can be a sign of something that you know about the person, or maybe it reminds to a specific past experience. The personalized gift is anyway always something pleasant.
9. Laugh is important
The last tip to share with you concern smiles. If you want to make special your Christmas gift idea, make the person laugh. For example the present receiver loves tomatoes? Give her or him 1 kilo of tomatoes. Of course this is not the real gift, but it is funny and it create a funny situation. It surprises, it causes a reaction and in the end it makes laugh. Then you will be ready to bring the real present.
So now you have all the tips to quickly find the best Christmas gift idea. Also you know how to present it. If you will follow this strategy you will have success.
I am too generous… Thinking to the Christmas gifts for friends I came out with a new idea. What about gift cards for Christmas? It is not an original idea, but of course it can be useful. I don’t have to choose the item but give a certain amount to purchase or to get a discount on a product chosen by my friend. My creativity is going to finish or at least it looke like to be at the end for the next celebrations. That is why I had the idea to focus my mind on gift cards. What do you think? Does it work? What will you give to your relatives and friends? Of course if you celebrate Xmas.
First of all I pay attention to Amazon that offers a huge variety of items. It is easy to find what they need and they can redeem the card. There are different options regarding the amount of money. It looks like to be the perfect gift without the risk to make a mistake. Cothes, technology, games, books and also a lot of items for travellers. Everything is part of the online shop.
Some of the gifts I want to buy are destinated to travellers. So I was thinking to use dedicated gift cards. I got some inspiration on Booking.com in order to find the perfect destination and some ideas about the hotels. They can easily choose the best structure and also the period when to go on holiday. Offers and good prices make me more rich, because while I purchase the gift I can save some money.
Then I saw also some other gift cards for Christmas proposed by hotels and airline companies. It is possible to decide the amount and also to personalize the card, that will be valid for one year. More or less all the structures accept these gifts for a long period and the guests can also add some services and pay only the extras. Christmas is approaching and I still have a lot of gifts to buy, so with these type of solution I don’t have to go out. I can do it at home with my computer, using my credit card.
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