Friday, 15 December 2017

A VISIT TO A GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII

During our stay in Sorrento, we didn't want to miss the opportunity to visit the ghostly ruins  of ancient Pompeii.
GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII
This time we declined the services of a tour company and went on our by simply walking for five minutes to a train station and catching a local train from Sorrento to Pompeii which took us slightly over an hour.  When we disembarked at the station, we decided that we would be better off joining a tour group than wandering around on our own.
GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII
I learnt about Pompeii and the eruption of Vesuvius at school but somehow I always imagined a small town with a population of a couple of hundred people living there but as our tour started and the tour guide told us some basic statistics about it, then the magnitude of this place dawned on me.
GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII
The remnants of Pompeii is one of the most engrossing archaeological experiences.  When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, it didn't blow the city away but rather it got buried under a thick layer of burning pumice stone and ash.  
GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII
The main excavation of the site began in the late 18th century and when a group of explorers started digging the site looking for artifacts, they found that the ashes acted as marvellous preservative preserving the city of Pompeii almost exactly as it was 2,000 years ago.
GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII

GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII
And as you walk along the ancient streets and roads, listening to the tour guide, explains to you what this or that ruin used to be: a pizza shop, a wine cellar, a house of a rich merchant, even a brothel, the life of Pompeii unfolds in front of you. The whole site is about 44 hectares and it is impossible to cover it in one day.
GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII

GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII
With just a little help of some imagination you can picture the life of the people who used to live here thousands of years ago.  
GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII

GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII

GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII

GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII
Bearing in mind that everything around you as far as your eyes can see, was once covered by thick ash and pumice stone and then painstakingly brushed off inch by inch made us appreciate this archaeological discovery is unique and thus was declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII

GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII
The official tour lasted for about 4 hours after that we felt totally exhausted and were quite happy to walk back to the train station.  Although some people chose to stay behind to mingle more around the site and some even planned to hike the mount Vesuvius once the air cooled a bit.

GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII

GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII

GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII

GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII

GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII

GHOSTLY RUINS OF POMPEII
I leave you with a mouthwatering dessert from MY COSMOPOLITAN KITCHEN cookbook and urge you to give it a go.  Your guests will love you for it.

Believe or not but all the credit for this amazing Italian dessert should go to British chef,  Gordon Ramsey and his Home Cooking TV show.  As I was watching him making it dessert, I was fascinated of how easily and quickly he whipped up such a lovely sweet treat. So I gave it a try.  It turned out to be exactly as easy to make as in on the screen and it tasted every bit delicious as Gordon promised. So here it is, my new sweet hero.
CHOCOLATE AND PISTACHIO SEMIFREDDO

The semifreddo (Italian for half-cold) is a bit like a cheat’s ice cream.  The genius of it is that you don’t have to make a custard base or churn it in an ice cream maker; you simply combine beaten eggs, whipped cream and your flavouring and freeze it.  It makes the perfect make-ahead dinner party dessert.

One more point to consider:  although the recipe calls for 10 people, I can guarantee you that it can feed more, just cut the slices a bit thinner.

To serve it to 10 people you need:
Oil or butter for greasing
275g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) plus extra for decorating
4 medium free range eggs
100g of caster sugar
500ml of double cream
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod (I used 1 tbsp of vanilla essence)
100g pistachio nuts, loose skin rubbed off

Method:
Lightly grease the inside of a 1 kg loaf tin with oil or butter then line it with two layers of clingfilm, leaving a generous overhang.

Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch water).  Heat until melted, then stir well and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

CHOCOLATE AND PISTACHIO SEMIFREDDO
Meanwhile, place the eggs and sugar in another bowl and whisk for 3-4 minutes, until pale, think and fluffy.  When the whisk is lifted, the mixture should leave a trail on the surface.  
Stir in cooled chocolate into the egg mixture.
CHOCOLATE AND PISTACHIO SEMIFREDDO


CHOCOLATE AND PISTACHIO SEMIFREDDO

CHOCOLATE AND PISTACHIO SEMIFREDDO

Put the cream and vanilla seeds in a separate bowl and whisk until the mixture forms soft peaks.  Add the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture, then fold in the pistachios, pour into a prepared loaf tin, cover with an overhanging clingfilm and freeze overnight or for at least 3-4 hours.  It should stay in the freezer for up to 2 weeks before you use it.

Remove the semifreddo from the freezer 10 minutes before serving in order to soften it a little.  Run the back of your knife around the inside edges of the tin, then peel back the top clingfilm and turn the semifreddo onto a board or serving plate.  Remover the rest of the clingfilm, then grate a little extra dark chocolate over the top before slicing and serving.
CHOCOLATE AND PISTACHIO SEMIFREDDO

Enjoy!!!