Thursday, 22 August 2013

Involtini di Melanzane Grigliate Ripiene ai Formaggi( Grilled Aubergine Slices with a Mozzarella and Ricotta Filling. SO GOOD!)






The air was still warm, though a slight breeze played with the lilies and the pink geraniums, on the bedroom balcony. Through the wooden shutters, she could see the sky: beautiful white clouds were chasing red and blue horses, up in the infinite. She felt happy, as she could smell Summer rain in the air.
Have you ever seen a thunderstorm in a hot country, in the middle of Summer, when people are still swimming in the sea, and riding on the high waves? I was one of them. I can still remember being "kidnapped" by waves taller than a house, and letting go, knowing that everything would be alright and that I would just be carried ashore, sailing on top of the waves, with Neptune and the mermaids. Because, you know, they do exist. I have heard the song of the mermaids...
... And that song always leads me back to a time of love, happiness, warmth.. family... my beautiful family... still here... in my heart... in me... why can't we leap back to the past and stay, just for a little while?
There is no consolation, I know, but I do like to remember our happy, sunny, full of music home. And my parents... where are you, home of my young years?
Finding a connection between my family and a recipe... well... it may seem silly, but, being Italian, you can't help loving and sharing food with those you love. It's what I have learnt from my mum. She grew up without a father, in a very strict family where people didn't show affection by kissing and hugging. But she had other ways of showing her love. I still remember falling asleep with my head on her lap, on the sofa, in front of the television, while she "secretly" stroked my hair. You will probably laugh when I tell you that I was seventeen! Nobody taught her how to be openly affectionate, but what I do remember, was all the time we shared together in her kitchen, cooking, laughing and sharing that precious time together. Food... sharing food... doing things together, with love can be more meaningful than a hug.
Anyway! This morning I went out with my sister. The lady in one of the greengrocer's, Teresa (she has the most wonderful turquoise eyes!) was so welcoming and she had these huge, round aubergines for sale. My mum loved aubergines and we often had them in Parmigiana, stuffed, or preserved in olive oil. With her in mind I bought this huge aubergine.






Today, I wanted to try a new way of cooking this versatile vegetable, as yesterday I saw an intereastin chef on TV. The dish he prepared  inspired me. I believe I changed and improved on the original, the chef's version, and made it much more... delicious! A kind of a first for me, as we don't usually use ricotta in savoury dishes.
Anyway... do try this dish and be creative with the filling!




Involtini di Melanzane Grigliate Ripiene ai Formaggi
(Grilled Aubergine Slices with a Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Filling)
Serves6
Ingredients:
6 slices aubergine
(2 cm deep)
some olive oil
("painted" with a brush on the griddle pan)
For the filling:
250 g (1/2 lb) ricotta cheese
6 thick slices mozzarella
a generous handful Parmesan cheese
3 basil leaves, chopped
1/2 fresh chilli pepper chopped
salt
black pepper
For the salad:
1/2 kg ( 1lb 1oz) salad tomatoes, de-seeded and very finely chopped
1/4 onion, very finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
fresh basil
 rocket
parsley
1tbsp vinegar
salt
pepper
1/4  small onion, very finely chopped
or:
2 spring onions (scallions) chopped
1tbs white wine vinegar
or
balsamic vinegar
A selection of salad leaves
dressed any way you like
(I just used Extra Virgin Olive Oil
and salt)
I went vegetable shopping with my sister. The choice of fresh vegetables is unbelievable. Everything is locally produced, very fresh and organic. Most stalls are held by local farmers, proud of their fantastic produce. Walking round an Italian market is a feast for the eyes.
I don't know if you have read the Odyssey, but, well... I can't help feeling like Ulysses, who had to be tied to his ship, so he would succumb to the song of the mermaids... I want to buy everything... I look at everything... If I could, I would buy the whole market!
Anyway! I bought just one of those huge aubergines, like the ones my mum used to buy.. big, fat and grown in the southern Italian sun. It weighed more than a kilo! I took it home and decided to try this new recipe. The original recipe was cooked by a chef, on TV, but I have used his basic idea, to produce my own, healthier version.



 



I cut my aubergine in half. I then cut six 1 cm deep slices. Rather than fry, I decided to use very little oil on my old griddle pan and grill the slices, until they went golden and kind of "toasted."




 



I placed the slices on my mum's old pastry board to cool down.






 I then proceeded to make my ricotta filling. I placed the cheese into a bowl and with the help of a fork, I worked some chopped chilli pepper, some basil, and some parmesan cheese into it. I actually had some Provolone Piccante cheese in my fridge, so I decided to also grate some of that and add it to my mixture (you can add any cheese you like to your ricotta... feel free to play with your favourite flavours!)




 



I cut my mozzarella into thick slices... and I was now ready to make my "involtini!"
I spread my ricotta on each of the aubergine slices and placed one slice of mozzarella on top of it. I then added more flavours, using fresh basil, rucola (rocket) a bit of chilli pepper and more Parmesan. I made my involtini by rolling the slicing up and securing with a cocktail stick. DONE!



 




I served my aubergine with a little tomato salad. As you can see from the image, the tomatoes I used are what we call "pomodori verdi" (green tomatoes) which is a variety of very sweet tomato only used in salads. I de seeded each one of my tomatoes and chopped very finely. I did the same with a small piece of onion. To this I added fresh basil, rocket, olive oil, and some white wine vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is a fantastic alternative, or any kind of vinegar you like!




 




I placed some salad leaves (the purple one is radicchio, which I love!)  on a plate and dressed with some olive oil and little salt. I placed one or two of my involtini over this and finished my dish with a cascade of my beautiful looking tomato salad. A fantastic Summer dish, also suitable for a cold buffet!





CIAO!

54 comments:

  1. Ciao Bella Anna,
    I am slowly starting to like aubergines ... we never ate them in my home. I recently started .. I ate them this week sliced and diced with fresh long green beans.. pepper and a touch of salt.
    I love the recipe that you have given here. I must try it.
    not a lover of roquette.. but i like the aubergine with the ricotta.or other cheese.
    So summery. I have been only eating salads with..fish, prawns, and muscles.. a little chicken breast..
    A lovely story again of your childhood.
    nice to see you.
    hope you are enjoying your new home and vida na bella Italia..
    ciao.. val x x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Val,

    How lovely to hear from you, again!You should try this recipe, as it actually is good, though, like I said before, I only tend to eat ricotta in cakes and pastries. But this is a good Summer dish. If you wanted to, you could use peeled, roasted peppers, instead of aubergine. It might even have a better flavour. In that case, I would put a few capers in vinegar in the tomato salad. Sounds good to me!

    We have been very busy with the house. My husband still has 20 boxes of books to go in the library, which is, in fact, already full!

    The house is very beautiful and quite big, too. It's been very hot, here and I have found it hard to sleep at night, as my thick hair make my heat incredibly hot.

    I love it here, but I also adore England, with all my heart, so I can't wait to go back there and spend time with my family, which I miss terribly! also, the garden will need to get ready for Winter and all my beautiful roses (lots of them!) will need looking after.

    We still need to buy some lampshades and curtains, but the big job is this huge library, imported from NY, peace by peace... can't even think about it!

    Anyway... I must start reading blogs and contacting all my blog followers and friends, as I need some normality and routine in my life.

    We must have a chat, sometime...

    LOTS OF LOVE, SPECIAL LADY!

    CIAO!

    ANNA
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Anna - you would not believe how hot it has been here - especially for England. It feels as if we could now heading for an Indian Summer.
    I enjoyed reading about your relationship with your mother, and how you would like to be able to leap back and recapture those feelings of your childhood again.
    I don't think that I can find such big fat aubergines here, but I can adapt and use what we have here. I love aubergines and will definitely try the recipe - an attractive and tasty looking dish - thanks Anna.
    Ciao♥
    PS noticed that you were just talking to Val about books.
    We have just despatched all of my eldest sons books to Paris. 60 boxes full of heavy books which H and I carried down from the attic - it nearly killed us. We feel as if the house is now a lot lighter!!!
    You once asked me about H and whether I called him that. It just stands for husband, and no I don't call him that I use his proper name. H is just for the blog.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Rosemary,

    The library is totally full and we still have 30 boxes left on the landing to find a home for. 2.500 books! I have put aside a few art books I'm interested in, about Van Gogh, Monet and Van Gogh's letters, which I love reading, though it makes you realize that, strange enough, one of his ambitions was to preech. And he did! But I still love his art!

    Changing subject: you can use any kind of aubergine you like, as long as the slices are big enough to make an "involtuno." I can't see this being a problem.

    I know it's been hot in UK, which is weird, but nice, for a change. It's still very hot here, though I can feel a slight breeze coming in from the garden.

    Lovely talking to you, Rosemary. I hope you didn't think I was a bit mad when I mentioned Beauty and the Beast in my comment to your lovely post. It is my favourite fairy tale!

    HUGS

    ANNA
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PS: Thank you for revealing all, regarding "H"

      xx

      Delete
  5. Che bello, siamo tornate al blogland allo stesso momento! Mi sono mancate le tue storie Anna, lo sai che ci mi ritrovo, scopro una parte di me in tutta questa tenerezza con cui le avvolgi. Spero che ti sei divertita in Italia, anzi ne sono proprio sicura. Le melanzane, si, è un cibo quotidiano piuttosto d'estate. Grazie di queste ricette profumate che sono tanto bene spiegate e presentate!
    Ciao! A risentirci!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao, Cara! Ho finalmente trovato un pò di tempo per il blog. Ogni mio post è laborioso, con foto, editing, scrivere storie e ricette. Ma ce l'ho fatta!

      Grazie per apprezzare le mie storie. Fra poco finiranno e arriveremo al punto in cui Anna arriva in Inghilterra!

      Sono certa che tu conoscerai molte ricette, ma a volte è bello provare qualcosa di nuovo!

      Tanti abbracci e bentornata!

      ANNA

      Delete
  6. Hello ,dearest Anna .Welcome back !It is nice to hear from you and that you are still in Italy .I am glad that you have found your rhythms in your new home . About the recipe of aubergines it seems healthy and delicious .I cook very often aubergines at summer ,usually every week by many ways . Mousaka (family favourite ) ,fried ( I know not healthy ) with tomato sauce ,garlic and parsley. Another way is cooked with others vegetables (turlu -in Greek ),other, baked in the oven (called here bream ),delicious and many other ways !I am very happy for you Anna !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Olympia,

      I know and love Moussaka and Greek food. Nothing would make me happier than to sit by the Greek sea, drinking ice cold retzina and eating lovely food, whilst listening to music. I can hear it now, as I write... wonderful!
      I am going to come back, one day soon! I am!

      I am glad to be back soon, as I now have a bit more time to dedicate to my blog.

      HUGS

      ANNA

      Delete
  7. My dear Anna
    Lovely to see your smiling post today. Your memories of lying on the couch with your mother at seventeen filled my heart with joy. That is love and words are not needed when in the presence of one we love and work well with.
    You have found happiness in spending summer in your beloved Italy, a wonderful feeling and to have the time to go to market and cook such a delicious dish is a luxury.
    Fond wishes

    Helen xx

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    Replies
    1. Dear Helen,

      It feels good to be back! I have missed my blog,but things have been and are still chaotic, with lots of sorting out to do and things to buy for this house.

      It's weird,but being here I kind of feel closer to my parents, but I can't help wondering whether through my memories, the ones I write here, I am trying to somehow bring them back to some kind of life, or whether I selfishly transport myself to a time when everything was easy and life was full of expectations. Am I hiding inside a snowglobe?

      Dear Helen, it is always refreshing to talk to someone like you. You are sensitive and open minded and,being an artist, I'm sure you understand eccentric people like me.

      Thank you for a sweet comment...

      LOVE

      ANNA xxx
      xxx

      Delete
  8. Dear Anna,

    The taste of grilled aubergines is one of the best there is to me! Together with the mozarella and ricotta it sounds delicious. This is definitely a winner!

    Happy Sunday!

    Madelief x

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  9. Good morning! I hope you are well. I am trying to catch up with all the lovely blogs I follow, as I find myself very busy all the time, with this new house. Too much to do... Still too many boxes to sort out!

    I would certainly try this recipe. So far, I think that out of all my followers, Paul is the only one who actually uses some of my recipes. I have proof!
    Will visit your lovely blog right now!

    Happy Sunday!

    Anna xx

    ReplyDelete
  10. Did somebody mention my name?

    Hello Anna, well, what a wonderful sounding recipe. Theres me trying to lose a few pounds and you do a recipe with loads of cheese:)

    I will give it a go next week and give you my feedback. I am also slowly creeping back into blog land after a busy summer running around like a headless chicken! It has been wonderful to have the quick access to IG to fill in the gaps between blogging:)

    Your tales of being swept away on the waves is music to my ears. I am the original water baby. I spend a lot of time swimming. Most my vacation are centred around me being able to have my own private pool to float in all day. We run several small businesses that take their toll on me physically and I have always found water to be such a healing environment to be in to rejuvenate me.

    I know you are working hard to get your home right and I am sure it will all come together in time, surrounding yourself with books is such a comforting thing. I love the stories about your family and your Mother, all very touching, I emerged from a very different storybook so to trace your memories and experiences is quite wonderful.

    Have a great week. X

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  11. Good afternoon, Paul, and thank you for a lovely comment. It's so good to get a feedback, when you post.

    I am sure your version of this recipe will be as good as mine, though,if you don't want to use a cheese filling, you don't have to. It would even be fun to fill the involtini with pasta, like spaghetti, with a small amount of a light, almost oil free tomato sauce!

    Dear paul, no matter what your "storybook" might be, you have emerged a very kind, sensible and talented person. Life is what makes you who you are and it really makes me happy to think that you enjoy tracing my memories. They keep me going, at times. Life is not a playground. It is hard and we try to make ourselves happy,but we have to try.

    I will check out your blog. Yesterday's photos are just fantastic. My favourite one was one I didn't comment on, but I am going to look at your post right now!

    Happy Week!
    ANNA :)
    x

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  12. Hi my dear Ann..I'm very happy that we meet again..I hope you're well and happy..thanks very much for sweet comments..your post iw very attractive..the grilled aubergines with mozzarella and ricotta looks yummy yummy recipe..here in Athens has too much hot.i just returned from hollidays..sorry for my english..i hope to keep in touch.. tell me how was your summer in Italy..many many kisses and hugs..

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  13. Hello! Good evening!

    It's so hot here, too and I was so happy yesterday because we had 15 minutes of rain. I went outside in it and I got so wet, but I didn't mind, as I am used to the English weather which, I know now, I actually quite like.

    after the rain, the heat returned, hotter than before.

    Of course I will keep in touch... I love all my blog friends and I will start posting more regularly!

    Big hugs to you, too, lovely lady!

    xx

    ANNA

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  14. Dear Anna, thank you so much for your lovely post. I love to read when you're telling your happy and warm memories about your mother. She was quite special.

    I love Italian food, but I've never been so fond of aubergines. I'll try to make a dish now. Maybe it helps with parmesan. I looooove parmesan.

    Have a nice time.
    Grethe ´)

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  15. Dear Grethe, thank you vrry much for your lovely comment. You are very kind! Don't worry if you don't like aubergines and can't make the dish, as there are plenty more vegetetables you can eat and dishes you can try, if you like, and I am not talking about my blog!
    Thank you for reading my memories. I love sharing them with you all!

    It's raining as I write, which is nice...

    Hugs

    Anna
    Xx

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  16. Dear Anne,welcome back!!!
    What a lovely post!!!!I like aubergine,and i love making them mousaka!!!Both recipes are wonderful!!I can imagin the exellent taste of the aubergine with mozzarella and ricotta!!!So yammy!!!Thank you for your comment on my post!!
    Have a lovely new month of September!( i remember a great Italian song with Peppino Di Capri, Melancholie Im September)
    Dimi...

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    Replies
    1. Hi Dimi!

      Funny you should mension Peppino di Capri, because my sister married Peppino di Capri's cousin and spent her honeymoon at his beautiful villa in Capri.

      I met him several times, especially when I was little. I remember Zia Gianna, his mum, visiting our home. My sister was his greatest fan. And I talk in the past as my sister recently died.

      I will enjoy September, especially if I get to get back to England by the end of the month, but surely beginning of October. Autumn in Emgland is just wonderful, with all those trees and the wonderful countryside. It will be nice to be in Italy, this month, though, as I haven't in years.

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      xx

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  17. Replies
    1. Lovely comment! I love flowers and I certainly love a serenata!

      You must be a poet!

      Thanks!

      Come back soon with another beautiful comment!

      ANNA

      Delete
  18. So beautiful words!!
    I think I have heard the song of the mermaids too, and I know what you mean when you say that "you can't help loving and sharing food with those you love"..Greeks and Italian have so much in common!!
    The food looks delicious!!
    Have a great autumn!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Maria! Buongiorno! I do agree. Italians and Greeks have quite a few things in common. I find Greek people delightful and I should know, as when I was at University, in Bari, lots of my friends were Greek!

      I have always been fascinated with Mythology, ever since I studied the Odyssey! It's wonderful!

      Glad you like my recipe! Aubergines are such a staple vegetable here! I use lots in England, too!

      HAVE A LOVELY AFTERNOON AND EVENING!

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  19. Awesome recipes!! I like all Eggplant recipes but my favorite eggplant recipe is Grilled Aubergine Eggplant.

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    Replies
    1. Hello!

      Do you mean individual slices grilled or barbequed and then dressed with oil, vinegar, garlic and parsley? Oh... so do I!

      Aubergines are very versatile and so beatiful to look at and feel! Very shiny and elegant!

      Come back to my blog. Actually, if you look I have several aubergfine (melanzane) recipes, here!

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      x

      Delete
    2. Sorry... I meant to write "aubergine!"

      A

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  20. Anna queste foto sono stupende,mi vien voglia di mangiare tutto!!
    Un bacione cara a presto!!
    Sabry!!

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    Replies
    1. Ciao Sabry! Ti scrivo dal cellulare, visto che mi sono appena alzata! Fra un mese torno in Inghilterra, dove è già arrivato l'autunno. Mi dedicherò un di più al blog, visto che ne avrò tempo!

      Grazie per il commento!
      A presto...

      Anna

      Delete
  21. Dear Anna, you are so clever- I know of no-one else who could make me feel hungry for aubergine so early in the morning- it's 7.30am!
    I love your talk of the market. I have just come back from Provence and shopping in their beautiful markets was almost my favourite part of the holiday!
    Take care,enjoy this beautiful month, September,
    Jane xxx

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    Replies
    1. Hello, dear Jane! Yes, it is beautiful here! This morning I went to a market which takes place here every Friday. I drove there in my Punto, which was filled with pots of flowering plants, two pairs of trainers, lovely brocade fabric to be used in our library and some old lace curtains for one of the bathrooms. So nice!

      Glad you like my recipe. I am eating very, very well and I am well on my way towards size 10! I am being so good, but it' s easy here, with such huge variey of vegetables, fish and all things good!

      You should try this recipe. It is good

      Still in the middle of Summer, here, but not as hot at night, which is nice!

      Hugs

      Anna. Excuse any mistakes, but I am posting from my phone, which sometimes deforms or makes up words!
      Xx

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    2. Anna, I love the thought of you, happy in the sunshine, in your car filled with colourful, lovely things, buzzing down to the market! Jane xxx

      Delete
  22. Ciao Anna! So nice to see you back on the blog! This recipe sounds delicious! But I especially love reading the beautiful memories of your mom. How special that time in the kitchen was to both of you. Those things are priceless! Good luck with the house (would love to see pics of the library : ) Enjoy Italia!

    Danielle xo

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    Replies
    1. Hello! I will post some pictures next time, maybe. There is still lots to do, though!

      It makes me happy to know that you like reading my story, as they all come from the heart: wonderful memories I will treasure. I think I should put them all together, in case the blog should disappear.

      Thank you for your lovely comment.

      Hugs
      Annaxx

      Delete
    2. Hello! I will post some pictures next time, maybe. There is still lots to do, though!

      It makes me happy to know that you like reading my story, as they all come from the heart: wonderful memories I will treasure. I think I should put them all together, in case the blog should disappear.

      Thank you for your lovely comment.

      Hugs
      Annaxx

      Delete
  23. Hello lovely Anna, so good to hear from you. Thank you for your lovely comments. I hope you have settled in your new home. You sound very happy. Your food looks amazing, as do the wonderful (proper) shops.
    I love hearing about your mum and dad and simple pleasures, and ice-cream and the seaside, it is all so satisfying.
    Much love to you,
    Linda xx

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  24. Hi Linda! I am writing from my phone as I sit in front of T V. Having slept through Commissario Montalbano, I just opened my eyes and will soon go to bed.
    We are flying back to England next month, having spent four months here, sorting out this place. It has been stressful, at times, but we have almodt finished.
    I actually can't wait to get back to England, though it is lovely here and I just love seeing my sister every day!
    I.am glad you enjoyed my post. I find I don' t have a lot of time for blogging. Too much to do... So little time!
    Thank you gor your lovely comment!

    Big hugs
    Anna xx

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  25. Dear Anna, aahhh melanzane! The embodiment of summer! To me the word melanzane sounds like velvet! It do not know why! I had some of my balcony this summer but of course they are all gone now! As the season is getting really into autumn now but still has to some extent a bit of summer in the air I may try your recipe before the cold definitely hits! I read that you had lots to do in your Italian home! I am sure it was worth the struggle though! I hope you returned well to good old England and I am curious to read what your next recipe will be. Like you I have only little time for posting at the moment but then life does not take place in the net but in reality! Take care and BMH&B! Christa

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  26. Hi Anna, your photos are beautiful and that recipe sounds wonderful!

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  27. A very Happy New Year to you, hope you are safe and well!

    Jane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jane! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

      I am well and will be returning to blogging soon!

      Thank you so much for caring!

      XXX

      ANNA

      Delete
  28. Hello sweetie!!!!Happy new year to you and your family!!i;m very happy that i saw a comment from you and you're well!i;ll waiting for your new posts my dear friend!!!!kisses and hugs!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The new posts will come soon. Back to Italy next week! Thank you for your lovely note. Kisses and buca to you, lovely one!
      Xxx
      Anna

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  29. Mamma mia ke fame!!! Era meglio nn aprivo sta pagina.. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Ciao, Fabio! Ah, mi hai trovato! Fra poco posterò di nuovo. Non lo faccio da tempo, perché ero occupata con la casa in Italia. Grazie per il commento. Ciao! *-*

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  31. Ciao, Fabio! Ah, mi hai trovato! Fra poco posterò di nuovo. Non lo faccio da tempo, perché ero occupata con la casa in Italia. Grazie per il commento. Ciao! *-*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Plego Annina... bel blog brava.. ma complimentissimi x il particolare che ho trovato kua..

      Delete
  32. Missing your posts dear friend, I hope all is well with you and you are having a Happy New Year. Lots of love Jane xxx

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  33. Hello lovely Anna, I saw your comment over at Jane's and thought I would pop in to say Happy Valentine's Day! I hope all is well with you. Keep well and stay passionate! Much love, Linda x

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hello Anna, thank you for your message. so good to hear from you. Sorry I don't have an iphone or even a touch phone, I need to get with it! I am looking forward to your next post, till then, be good to yourself. Much love, Linda x

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  36. I am so happy I found your blog, This is my first visit and I will be back, putting you on my side bar. yvonne
    stop over sometime.

    ReplyDelete