Monthly Archives: July 2010

the wee album…

The five Stones collective formed by three of the UNIDEE residents launched another product. After the Wee Book, they give you the Wee Album – a limited edition of 20 copies, featuring one track selected/donated by all the residents/UNIDEES…It’s an eclectic mix to be sure…where else can you find the Jesus and Marychain sandwiched between Barry Manilow and Jovnotti??

The Hardest walk by the  Jesus and Marychain track was my selection…what can i say, i was feeling nostalgic…

misc…

maria pistoletto’s rather marvellous pink plastic sandals…

alioum’s fake/”complementary” money

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industrial morning preamble…

a photographic post on my morning path round some of the spaces i frequent here in biella of a morning…

views and glimpses from across the cervo…”banca sella” own this, it’s the mill on the opposite side of the river to cittadellarte, its beautiful as is, but eventually crumbling into the river, so i guess it’s just as well sella are restoring it…

these last 3 are the last of the newer spaces belonging to cittadellarte that are waiting to be restored…

this is Etruscan and Roman Road by Michelangel Pistoletto, it lives on the floor above UNIDEE, and i come to visit it from time to time…

ivrea, no cake and typewriters…

…So there are two main reasons to go to the town of Ivrea, one is the The torta 900 – v famous in these parts, it’s a phenomenally good sponge cake with a generous chocolate mouse filling oozing out of it…and the other is the architecture. Unfortunately the bar that sells the cake was closed in anticipation of the august holidays…. But the architecture remains and in particular my personal favourite…the fabulous and somewhat crumbling Serra complex. The hotel has long since closed down, but part of the building lives on in the form of the ABC cinema…

“typewriter keys” formed the hotel bedrooms…

Ivrea is the home town of Olivetti, and in fact this building is based on the design of a typewriter. Olivetti was an old school utopian entrepreneur who filled the town with forward thinking architecture and many many social facilities for his workers such as enormous lending library, schools and mountain-top summer retreats for their children, modern homes and flats surrounded by playing fields and allotments… (for more see this article in frieze).

This leafy path is part of those social facilities for the public and employees and has a series of exercises to complete at each stage of the walk…

further adventures in foraging…

Up in the Piazzo district of Biella, on a very sunny south facing wall is an abundantly flowering caper bush.

Having spent some days this spring foraging in the Roman countryside with a friend who is an expert in such matters (see here and here), and having tried to forage on my own in Edinburgh, this time i felt brave enough to harvest some of the fruits and try to preserve them. As ever it’s a work in progress…

So anyway, you can glean 2 kinds of product from this plant firstly the caper itself,

which is the bud of the plant containing the flowers, and secondly the elongated caper berry which is the seed pod the flower produces after the flower withers and dies  (i identified the plant, but then double checked with some local people to certify that they were in fact edible caper berries and were not going to kill me!!).

They don’t taste good at this stage, you need to dehydrate them in the sun or cure them and it is during this process that a kind of  mustard oil is created that gives them the flavour we recognise. SO, i have gathered, washed and dried them,

I packed them them in sea salt for a few days, a lot of liquid seeped out from the fruits so the salt became wet and soggy, so i got rid of the soggy salt and repacked the berries with a fresh lot.

Now its just a matter of waiting…They should keep for six months or more…but i will let you know how i get on…watch this space…

If it works out, this is pretty cheap as a process, the berries were free, and i spent 11 cents on a kilo of sea salt in the local supermarket…not bad…

other foody posts on this blog:

chocolate con churros

pani puri sunday

cicchetti tea-break

baracca

revelations in a milanese restaurant

braid burn

cooking the haul

foraging2

foraging

more foodie questions

foodie questions

nose to tail,

(s)light relief,

pulpo a la gallega

the matanza

morcilla and dying arts

jamòn serrano

relief in the mountains…

…in the end, i only spent one day in Pettinengo, the association we were visiting  (see previous post)  has a huge and abundant produce garden,

but the bees were my favourite…they produce “third paradise honey” here named after an artwork made from flowers by Michelangelo Pistoletto…But i had a bit of a hard time here as i previously mentioned with the mosquitoes,  so i escaped to the mountains and temps in the mid 30’s dropped to a marvellous 18 degrees…

About 2000 metres up, near Monte Cervino (4800m) in Valle d’Aosta, i was amazed once i got into the meadows on the slopes not of the abundance but of the exotic nature of the flora and fauna i found up there, my ignorance i guess…

You are really inside the weather here, Monte Cervino (the peak on the right) was constantly appearing and disappearing behind clouds, it would rain for 10 seconds and then become sunny etc…

Right now i have no time to find out what everything i saw actually is, but i found lilies growing singly all over the place and also brightly coloured succulents….

With all the flowers came brilliant coloured butterflies and a vivid fushia coloured flying insect that was impossible to photograph.

Just a little further up in the ski town of Cervina (an incredible mix of low rent Vegas and plastic Hansel and Gretel style architecture….!!), people were skiing…i hope to come back and do some walks in the mountains and maybe find out a bit more about the plants and animals and best of all be in a place where there are no mosquitoes!!!

Not Cervina, but up in the mountains, indigenous architecture being reclaimed and absorbed again by nature…

Indigenous architecture still in use by shepherds…