Bellaugello - The Blog

At home, Out and about - Things to do, THEMED BREAKS

COME MAKE PASTA WITH US – GOURMET DELIGHTS OF UMBRIA

I am thrilled to be announcing our first Gastronomic Umbrian Delights programme.  The week of 18th. – 25th. April will be the week  to explore many of the gems that our beautiful region in central Italy has to offer:

Come cook with us #Bellaugello

You will learn how to make pasta, join a tartufaio as he hunts for truffles, witness chocolate being made, taste fine wines, explore medieval cities, cross a lake to a small romantic island for lunch, and make and eat divine Gelato, Umbria has so much and more to offer, you will be enchanted. Based at Bellaugello Gay Country House this exclusive week is limited to a maximum of eight participants and includes, all accommodation, tours, cooking courses, all meals, transport during the week, wines, food, and services of and English speaking guide throughout.

Making ice cream with Paolo Bettelli #Bellaugello

To open the full programme click this link:  Bellaugello Gastronomic delights of Umbria

Come make pasta with us #BellaugelloTruffles anyone? #Bellaugello

Places limited – To reserve your place on this special week complete the form below:

 or email us at: book@bellaugello.com

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At home

Zucchini

BELLAUGELLO gay guest house, zucchini in the ortoOne of the problems, if it can honestly be called a problem is the glut of zucchini that any conscientious vegetable garden tenderer amasses at the height of the summer.  Certainly here at Bellaugello Gay Country House, the hot Umbrian summer sun ensures that we have plenty of these delicious vegetables.  Recently I was reminded that this surfeit concerns me, and I discuss or rant with my guests here about such mundane things as the glut.  Oh! I do so sympathise with you guys…

So I learnt in a recent email from Alphons who reminded me that I was ranting on about the problem last summer and he kindly sent me his solution to the zucchini glut, a simple tasty soup:

  • 1 kilo of peeled courgettes
  • 2 spoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 500 ml Chicken bouillon
  • 175 ml cream (we call it whipped cream but don’t whip it)
  • Small bunch of basil, chopped
  • 1 bunch of parsley (the smooth one not the curly one), chopped
  • 120 gram Parmesan grated

 Cut the courgettes lengthwise in quarters, and then in 2,5 cm long pieces. Heat the oil in a sauce pan and fry the garlic and courgettes approximately 25 minutes, until the courgettes are brown and real soft.  Add salt, pepper and the bouillon and  let it simmer for a few minutes.

 Take the pan off the heater .

Puree ¾ of the courgettes in a food processor. Put all of the courgettes (puree and the pieces) back in the pan and add the cream, basil, parsley and parmesan.

Now you can cool it down and put in the freezer or just heat it up again

Sounds tasty indeed!  The regular and frequent contact with guests from Bellaugello that I have is such a delight to me, I am making so many friends and like the zucchini the Bellaugello network is ever growing….

Development progress

As I look back

Two momentous events are about to happen in my life, and you will be witness to both, well that is one you will be fully witness to, the other I will do in private and then tell you about.  I now know that I have two not one huge announcements to make, they are exciting times here at Bellaugello in the green heart of Umbria, Italy.

So as to keep the suspense going I am going to keep you waiting just a little bit longer and post about something completely different.  I have been looking through photgraphs and have compiled this set of the East side of the house, here from what was the abandoned farm of Bellaugello, and is now Bellaugello Gay Guest House, arguably the best gay guest house in Italy.  I will let the photos tell the tale of our 15 x 5 metre salt-treated infinity swimming pool…  Have a nice day!

Podere Bellaugello

The start of the garden before the swimming pool at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria Italylet the dig commencepouring the floorThe salt-treated infinity pool at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria, ItalyBellaugello Gay Guest House, the infinity pool

Rants

HELP!

Categorised as a rant, but in realty it is a plea for help and answers.  The subject?  Well what do you think it is?  Dear readers it is of course my pet bug bear, technology.

Not of once the bumbling internet connection, but instead emails.  Over the past few days I have had a really weird experience in that my emails have been going haywire.  Somebody told me it was a likely cyber-attack from Islamist insurgents, but come on that specific to me?  I really doubt it they have larger targets in their sights.  The problem is that my main work email has frozen on my MacBook.  As of yesterday afternoon I no longer receive emails on this computer – the one on which I am currently typing my blog.  I can get them on my iPad and iPhone (4S) and even my aged MacBook but not this one, it seems to have chosen to freeze the receipt of mails from info@bellaugello.com account.

So I have to read my emails on the old MacBook.  Now you would think thatI could reply to them from there, but NO! I cannot.  For some reason, although configured identically (from the ‘settings’ screens  from what I can see) the old MacBook will not send because of SMTP problems,  it now will not even send mails using my private address.  Ok so onto the iPad, receiving mails on all accounts but unable to send on the business one, because every time I press ‘send’ I instantly receive a message telling me that the message has been ‘rejected by the server’…  So to the iPhone.  It, well until I started writing this post still receives and sends.  Of course the mails are not syncing 100% so I have to refer to two computers and the tablet when reading and replying.  Of course some mails came in a day or so ago so are not on the phone, I have to forward them to the phone by another email account, to enable me to reply, it is all VERY TEDIOUS

Add to that that the iPhone has ridiculously small keypad and I definitely require my glasses to type and every email is torture.

I have tried exiting the mail programmes, turning the computer off and on again, done countless resets all to no avail.  I’ve even tried cancelling the tasks in the activity screen, no change, zilch, diddly squat..  Not happy.

Does any kind technological reader have any sensible suggestion as to how to resolve the issues?

 

In the meantime sincere and profuse apologies for the inconvenience.  If, of late you have sent me an email to which I have not replied then could I ask you to paste your email address into a comment to this post and click the send button?  I will find a way or replying.

Answers by carried pigeon to Tech Support Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria, Italy…

At home

Tempo per la marmelata!

Take twelve kilos of fragrant, juicy plump luscious unwaxed Sicilian oranges and lemons bought early in the market yesterday in our local town on Gubbio, wash them, search out the assistance of Vince, (to whom credit for the photos) who nobly spent the morning chopping shredding and juicing.

Cirtus fruit for marmalade at #Bellaugello

Place the prepared fruit into the jam pan and cover with sugar and set to simmer, reduce by 1/3rd.

Making marmelade at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria Italy

And so begins the process of our first marmalade of 2015, ambrosia for the guys breakfasts here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in the rural tranquillity of Umbria, central Italy.  Tomorrow adding the Scotch Whisky and the bottling….

At home

A delightful read

My dear friend Etain has just published the latest volume of her stories of Valdichiascio, “the life of the white horse” a part of her diary kept at her home, the idyllic organic farm of Pratale here in the valley.  Some of my guests have been fortunate enough to meet this wonderful person, and some to have visited her farm which she tends with her partner Martin, Ben her son, and lots of help from her extensive network of friends made through the “Wwoff” and the Sentiero Bioregionale networks, a bit of which she recounts in this latest edition.

La Vita della Guimenta Bianca - Etain Addey

The book, written in Italian (and easily read) is a perfect account of the changing seasons, people who touch on her life, and events both happy and sad.  There is even a chapter about Bellaugello Gay Guest House, I am so honoured, the first time I have been featured in a book.  Etain gives a synopsis below:

E per i miei lettori italiani…. Per ognuno di noi il viso familiare del cosmo è il luogo che conosciamo.
È attraverso le cose ordinarie del nostro quotidiano, nel luogo che chiamiamo casa, che il cosmo ci parla.

Raccontando delle pecore da governare, del letame da mettere sulla carriola, dei ladri nel pollaio, della legna da tagliare per il fuoco, della vita della giumenta bianca e di come morì alla vigilia del matrimonio di sua figlia Melissa, Etain Addey ci dice di fatto che le cose primarie della vita sono porte segrete di un mondo incantato, che la vita povera dischiude al mistero della natura e che uscendo dal sentiero battuto e avventurandosi per le stradine dimenticate e piene di rovi si entra davvero in un’altra dimensione. Per accedervi, però, sono indispensabili concretezza, rigorosità e il lavoro delle mani.
Le trame qui narrate testimoniano che la magia non è finzione e che l’avventura non richiede lunghi viaggi e molti soldi: è qui, sotto gli occhi, a portata di mano, in casa nostra, nascosta nelle piccole cose, nella cura del luogo amato, campagna o città che sia. Il segreto è nel silenzio che permette di fare le connessioni fra il mondo esterno e il mondo interiore, che sono un solo mondo, vivo e aperto a un dialogo con noi.
E l’interiorità del mondo – scrive l’autrice – aspetta con pazienza il ritorno a casa di noi tutti; aspetta che riprendiamo la conversazione interrotta. Se ci rivolgiamo al mondo, il mondo ci risponde nel suo linguaggio elegante e preciso, di corpi e di situazioni, e le sue comunicazioni sono sorprendenti e del tutto personali.

For those wanting to explore a beautiful life in Rural Italy I highly recommend the book.  Copies are €17 plus postage.  To order click the link which will take you to the publishers website: ORDER HERE – Link al publisher

 

At home

Perugia Airport NEW Flights!

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 09.45.41From Lufthansa great news! Starting 10th. May they will be offering direct flights from MUNICH to our regional base, of Perugia – San Francesco Assisi Airport, which is only 45 minutes drive from us and so convenient for Bellaugello Gay Guest House.  Flights will be on Tuesday Thursday and Friday.  The flight times varies slightly on the Lufthansa website and seem to begin sooner, so I enclose a link to their news page: Lufthansa – Flüge – München – Perugia

Further expansion of our local airport means that Ryanair have new route to Brindisi starting 29th. March thus a two centre holiday of Umbria and Puglia will be easier for you guys, no need to drive all the way south and back.

And there are still the connections to Barcelona El Prat and Barcelona Girona, so for those of you seeking peace and quiet after partying hard at Sitges, travel to Bellaugello has never been easier.

Here is the link to the San Francesco Assisi Airport website:  http://www.airport.umbria.it/

At home

I’m in love…

Today is grey, damp, miserable and I am feeling hellish.  I was away for a few days, up in the Dolomites in the sun, invited to join two guests from Bellaugello Gay Guest House for a couple of days of hiking.  I drove and stopped the night at Trento, that elegant city nestling in the foothills just below Alto Adige.  I have friends there and the kindly invited me to dinner, delicious it was too.  After dinner we played the most politically incorrect card game I have ever seen, and what a blast it was!

“Cards against Humanity” is hysterical, for those of you like me who have never even heard of it, the crux of the game is to pick a card, read out the sentences and for the other players to fill in the blanks with the most inappropriate words or phrases from their selection.  And Boy oh Boy are there some hugely politically incorrect possibilities, We played until late, laughed and laughed and as a result I have a set of cards on order for the guys here, I think it will be an after dinner winner at Bellaugello.

So on to Mals, a small town in Venosta that remote corner of Italy that should be Austrian or Swiss but for some reason is Italian.  The climb from Bolzano is scenic winding through alpine villages and kilometre after kilometre of apple orchards, until finally I reached the hotel perching on the snowline.  Two glorious days and then home through the snow and rain to a grey evening yesterday and I brought back a souvenir, the ‘flu or something equally hideous.

So I have spent most of the day hibernating, lolling in bed feeling lousy and taking doses of hot honey and lemon laced with ‘fluifort’, but I am in love so all is not lost…

So you might well say this is his big news, the announcement supposedly to have been made in January, but no! I hate to disappoint you it is not what you think, that big piece of news is still to come and huge news it is, so well worth waiting for.  Rather I am in love with a box of rather splendid decadent and delicious chocolates…

Peter Beier Chocolates, Copenhagen

These delights have kept me going through what has been a hideous day, a bad depressing and black day.  I’ve eaten nothing else so can feel no guilt at their high sugar content and tomorrow health permitting will be back in the garden or out pruning olive trees, if not then more of Peter Beier’s chocolates will be consumed!

 

At home

On Selfies…

Selfie, Selfie, what sort of word is that?  Why when new words are introduced into the English language can they not be nice words, beautiful words, elegant words?  Words should fill your mouth with a sensual pleasure, roll languidly round your tongue, tickle your palate, bounce off the roof of your mouth and trace intricately the tiny spaces between your teeth, in and out up and down and finally when you exhale exit as cascade of joy, sliding over your lips, indeed being pushed joyously ever outward by lips tingled by the excitement of a new beautiful experience and so the sound emits to grow in the open, to give a meaning and pleasure to all around, mix with the sound of birdsong,  the babbling river deep below in the valley, the gentle breeze rustling through the trees, the crack of a stick broken by the paw of a dog as he nuzzles deep into a pile of crisp dry spring leaves, the sound adding to and giving pleasure to the daily sounds experienced here at  the moment at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.

But no!  we have ‘Selfie’  I even want to spit as I type, I really do not want to defile my computer with this word.  That kind of word is it?  Self-ie?  Selfish, Arrogant, Hard, vile.  A noise that is as unpleasant to type as it is to say.  If spits out of my mouth leaving only an acrid metallic taste, my teeth retreat in disgust, my lips pucker to try and prevent its exit for they know it will not bring pleasure to the other sounds. S E L F I E – selfish, vulgar, cheap.  You can now buy a ‘selfie-stick’ those ridiculous pokey things that gives the passing thief easy access to your ever increasingly expensive and short of memory smartphone.  A ‘selfiestick’ I ask you how horrible is that?  Poke in the eye, tap on the shoulder prod in the back of a head, a danger and selfish object.

Yet, I am a lone voice.  Selfie has entered the language of all, even aged grannies are doing it – look at HRH Elizabeth II she’s at it (mind you I would have loved to hear what the D of E said when he discovered, maybe we will), celebrities, now there is another word that leaves my mouth with a bad taste (that’s ruined my chance of ever having one stay at Bellaugello Gay Guest House!) is a horrid word, but ‘selfie’ worse.

However notwithstanding my rant ‘selfies’ have undoubtedly given the world pleasure, and like a huge virus are multiplying exponentially.  So it is I feature the first ‘selfie’ on my blog.  It is not especially the concept that I dislike solely it is the word.  Since time immemorial we have been taking picture of ourselves surely we could have though of a nicer more appropriate word?

Today’s ‘selfie’ is of Vince.  Taken on the slopes of Mont Ingeno above the beautiful city of Gubbio, a ‘selfie’ was his only option to capture his presence.  Recently I joined the ‘Workaway’ network and Vince is the first workawayer to come to Bellaugello.  He is an exceedingly nice guy and is helping me for a month with the onerous task of garden maintenance, moving seemingly endless piles of leaves to a huge heap, pruning the olive trees and discussing food, Italian food, a subject of which he is passionate.  Vince is on a break, a tour of Italy to discover his roots and live the Italian life and I am delighted to welcome him to Umbria and to Bellaugello.

Vince

At home

Feeling Proud!

Eccellenze Italiane Belleaugello Gay Guest House #bellaugello

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