Friday, November 30, 2012

St.Edward's Christmas Fayre in Lugano

If you missed today's Christmas market at the American School Tasis, not to worry.... why not head to Casa Benson to support St.Edwards Anglican Church at their Christmas Fayre tomorrow?

Be tempted by their assortment of homemade traditional specialities, handcrafts and preserves.

Enjoy a glass of mulled wine whilst browsing in the Book Nook and Tiffany's Treasures.

Raffle tickets for the Christmas hamper will be on sle.

Remember to visit the youngsters' stall with their handmade gifts.

Morning coffee as well as lunches will be available. Childcare will be provided.

Venue: St. Edward's Christmas Fayre
Where: Casa Benson, Via Clemente Maraini 6, 6900 Lugano
When: Saturday, December 1st, 2012
Time: 10:00 - 15:00

If you would like to pre-order your Christmas goodies please click this link:
Christmas Fayre Order Form 2012.pdf
Please send your completed order to Patty, or contact her for more information at 091 646 53 52

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A rainy day along the lake of Lugano

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

InterNations Lugano Christmas Party

“At every party there are two kinds of people - those who want to go home and those who don't. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other.”
Ann Landers

Join InterNations on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 @ Viva Café Lounge & Restaurant from 19:00 onwards. Enjoy the incredible Brasilian meat menu with seven different types of meat and Brasilian specialties, all-you-can-eat, plus two drinks of your choice.

There will also be a Christmas Raffle with several prizes, so don't miss this great opportunity to meet fellow expats, greet the new members in the Lugano community and have a fun evening!

Register for this at directly. Click on the Accept Invitation button by 18:00 of November 28th, 2012 in order for the staff to be able to order the meat and be well prepared. So far 94 people have confirmed.

Feel free to bring your International friends, but please invite them to sign up for InterNations first.

Live the InterNations spirit – Nobody stands alone!
For many guests, it’ll be the first InterNations event; quite a few people will arrive on their own. Please help make them feel welcome. If you see someone alone in a corner, it’d be great if you introduced them to your friends. In this way, we can share the spirit of connecting global minds, and every member will have a lovely time.

Venue: InterNations Christmas Party
Where: Viva Café Lounge & Restaurant, Via Lambertenghi 5, 6900 Lugano
When: Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Time: 19:00 to 3:00
Entrance Fee: Basic Members - 60.00 CHF
Cover charge includes: Dinner and 2 drinks
- All-you-can-eat Buffet
- 7 meat specialties
- Brasilian Cuisine
- Christmas special
- 2 drinks: prosecco, wine, water and/or from boule
- Christmas Raffle with Several Prizes

And most of all: don't forget to HAVE FUN!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tasis Holiday Market 2012

"Anyone who believes that men are the equal of women has never seen a man trying to wrap a Christmas present."
Author unknown

Don't miss a unique chance to do some holiday shopping, while supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs!

The American School in Switzerland TASIS is holding its holiday market on Friday, November 30th, 2012 where you'll find items for all ages. Over 16 boutiques will be selling English books, toys, Peruvian knits, Cashmere, Jewelery, Italian fashion, photo shoots and gifts. Taste delicious Mexican and Asian food.

Please invite all of your friends for holiday shopping and a Santa visit.

The event is hosted by the TASIS Parent Association who will donate 50% of their profit to the foundation OTAF.

Venue: TASIS Holiday Market 2012
Where: Palmer Cultural Center (TASIS main campus), Via Collina d'Oro 15, 6926 Montagnola
When: Friday, November 30th, 2012
Time: 13:30-18:30
A courtesy shuttle will be porvided bewteen St. Abbondio Church to TASIS from 13:30 to 19:00.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

"Thanksgiving is a time
For reviewing what we treasure,
The people we hold dear,
Who give us so much pleasure.
Without you as my friend,
Life would be a bore;
Having you in my life
Is what I'm thankful for"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankgiving tips

"Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action."
W.J. Cameron

The year has flown by and tomorrow is Thanksgiving already. We'll be having our feast a few days late, on Sunday, to fit in with everybody's schedule.

Following are lots of useful links to help you decorate, shop and cook for this special celebration:

Make shopping more fun with a colourful Thanksgiving shopping list. Don't forget those cranberries!!!
Thanksgiving Grocery List:

Never quite sure how much turkey to buy or how long you need unitl it is cooked properly. Search no further. Here are the answers:
Turkey Dinner Calculator:

Storing Fresh Poultry
Purchase your bird three to five days before the planned meal. If you've chosen fresh poultry, ask your butcher to take off the legs and neck if necessary, then keep it unwrapped in the fridge. When you're ready to roast the bird, remove it from the fridge, wash it, pat it dry and leave it for at least two hours to come to room temperature before cooking.

Storing Frozen Poultry
Thawing a frozen bird requires patience. The safest method is to thaw it in the refrigerator, allowing ample time for it to slowly defrost. On average, it takes approximately 3 days for a 20-pound turkey to fully defrost. Tip: For a crispier skin, unwrap the bird the day before roasting and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.

Whether your taste in centerpieces is traditional or modern, formal or fuss-free, we've got you covered with 20 ideas for the star of your Thanksgiving table:

Give thanks in a new way this holiday season. Invite friends and family to share what they are most thankful for by creating a thankful tree that can take center stage throughout the Thanksgiving holiday:

Here is a whole list of printables that will keep your kids busy before and after Thanksgiving lunch while you cook or have a sip of that delicious wine!
Thanksgiving printables:

What kid does not enjoy a challenge? If your children prefer computer games, keep them occupied with these educational games online.
Thanksgiving challenge:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yummy Thanksgiving recipes

"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."
Harriet Van Horne

By marrying into an Italian family I gave up my traditional British Christmas feast and we enjoy a very abundant Neapolitan banquet every year. Thanksgiving gives me an excellent excuse to present my family with a turkey at least once a year. Unfortunately, neither my hubby nor my kids are big turkey lovers but at this point they are overruled by THE BOSS!

Here are my favourite recipes I keep on concocting every year:

Maple-Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter
1 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 bunch fresh sage, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (12 to 14-pound) fresh turkey, giblets, neck, and liver discarded
8 strips bacon
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons hot water or bouillon
Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F and remove the top rack of the oven.
Put the butter and sage in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork or spoon until the sage is well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
Rinse the bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the cavity and skin liberally with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the turkey breast and slip the remaining seasoned butter under, massaging the breast meat as you go. Truss the bird by crossing the legs over one another and tying with a piece of kitchen twine. Shingle the bacon strips over the breast so it's totally covered. Put the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan, cover the turkey with aluminium foil, and place in the oven.
In a small bowl, stir the maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of hot water to thin. Roast the turkey for 2 hours, basting with the maple glaze every 30 minutes. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F. The thigh juices will run clear when pricked with a knife, about 4 hours total (20 minutes per pound). About 1/2 hour before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil so that it can brown. When done take the turkey out of the oven and put the roasting pan on the stovetop. Transfer the turkey to a serving tray to rest at least 20 minutes before carving. Serve with Turkey Gravy.

Roasted Turkey Gravy
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large, smoked turkey wing or 2 small ones
1 medium onion, quartered
2 carrots, chopped
1 ribs celery, chopped
1 head garlic, split through the equator
4 stems fresh sage
4 sprigs fresh thyme
6 parsley stems
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the wing, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and herbs, and cook for 5 minutes. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and place over medium heat. Remove the wing and set aside. Add the flour and let cook for about 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer until it has reduced by about 1/4, about 15 minutes. Strain the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Cranberry Sauce
1 pound fresh cranberries, approximately 4 cups
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup 100 percent cranberry juice, not cocktail
1 cup honey
Wash the cranberries and discard any that are soft or wrinkled.
Combine the orange juice, cranberry juice and honey in a 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the cranberries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes as the pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Carefully spoon the cranberry sauce into a 3 cup mold. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.
To unmold and serve, immerse bottom of mold in hot water for 10 to 15 seconds and turn upside down on plate or serving dish. If necessary, carefully run a warm knife around the edge of the mold.

This year I have discovered a new dessert that I will switch for the classic pumpkin pie. Here goes:

Pumpkin and Bourbon Mousse
¾ cup sugar
6 tbsp. bourbon
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
8 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 cup canned pumpkin
orange zest for garnish
Bring 2" water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Place a medium metal bowl over pan, and add sugar, bourbon, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and egg yolks; whisk together, and cook, whisking constantly until thickened and pale, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set bourbon mixture aside. In another bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form; add canned pumpkin, and fold until almost combined. Add to warm bourbon mixture and fold together until smooth. Divide among serving glasses and sprinkle with orange zest; serve immediately.

Happy Cooking! Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Storytelling and Activities

"The first law of story-telling. Every man is bound to leave a story better than he found it."
Mrs Humphry Ward

Searching for an activity on a Sunday afternoon? Come and join Miriam Harpur-Kaegi of English for Fun who will read stories with various themes. The storytelling will be followed by reading and writing activities for the children.

The books will be selected that day based on the ages present. Parents can socialize and/or shop, and snacks will be provided for all - including candy canes and hot mulled wine! No need to register, but please send Robin an email if you know you're coming so she can prepare the age appropriate activities.

Stop by for a short time or stay all afternoon.
Stories will be read at 15:00 and 16:00.
All ages welcome. Please join Miriam and Robin!

Venue: Storytelling and Activities
Where: All for Kids, Via Cimitero 21, 6592 S. Antonino
When: Sunday, November 25th, 2012
Time: 14:00-18:00

For more information or if you have questions, contact Robin 091 858 30 82, 076 580 30 82 or mail:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Asian Food in Lugano

"Anything that walks, swims, crawls, or flies with its back to heaven is edible."
Cantonese saying

I have had a special request about Asian take-away places. Following are the best-known spots in town. Please feel free to add onto my list should you know of a gem worth mentioning.

1. Asian Market
An amazing selection of cuisine from fresh to frozen to packets, Indian, Thai, Ghana, Chinese and much more.
Via alla Valletta 4
6900 Lugano
Tel: 091 966 16 27

This Asian Food shop is located at the bottom of Via alla Valletta in Lugano. If you are driving from Montagnola to go to Grancia or Lugano, you go down the twisty windey road Via Antonio Riva. Just as you get to the bottom at the traffic lights you either turn left for Lugano or right for Grancia. However literally just before these lights (you see a Franklin college resdience on the right corner) on your right their is a tiny road that looks like a dead end or parking area, but you drive down there and Bingo there it is!

2. Asian Mini Market (near Madai Music Club)
Via Ferruccio Pelli 14
6900 Lugano
Tel: 091 922 25 00

3. Thai Shop/ Asian, Indian, South American 
Via Bosia 13, Paradiso

Tel: 091 993 28 98

4. Suthin Sinzig Thai Take Away 
Very good takeaway. Simple and very fresh. Caters for vegetarians too!
Corso Enrico Pestalozzi 10
6900 Lugano
Tel: 091 921 49 10‎

5. Sushi Rolls by Marco
Via Zurigo 5
6900 Lugano
Tel: 091 923 43 00

6. Sushi il clandestino
Corso Elvezia 13
6900 Lugano
Tel: 091 921 17 08

7. Tabla di Montagnola
TABLA features Indian and Mediterranean cuisines taking your dining experience to sophisticated new heights. Restaurant and Take Away.
Via ai Canvetti 15
6926 Montagnola
Tel: 091 968 19 00

If you want fresh fish, go to Spaccio Ittico, Via del Piano 12, 6915 Noranco. Best in town!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Making maths fun....

Who ever said maths cannot be fun? How many of you have memories of learning the time tables? Who is battling with their kids to get them to learn the time tables? Are you still faster at time tables than your kids? I certainly am. I hate to admit it though!!!

This morning I participated at a math workshop at my kids school just to understand how exactly they do get taught mathematics in class. My conclusion: not the conventional way! This is fine with me. I did choose the International system for that exact reason but ... PLEASE ... let's just get them to learn their time tables inside out and back-to-front AND FAST!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Maple-Pumpkin Creme Brulée

So now that Halloween is over, what to do with all the pumkins? Enjoy pumpkin in a whole new way. Canned or fresh pumpkin, maple syrup, and whipping cream serve as the base of this creamy, dreamy fall creme brulee.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep 25 mins
Bake 350°F 40 mins to 45 mins
Chill 4 hrs to 8 hrs
Stand 20 mins

8 egg yolks
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine egg yolks, cream, pumpkin, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whisk until smooth. Spoon pumpkin mixture evenly into eight 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups.
2. Place ramekins in a large roasting pan. Place roasting pan on oven rack. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
3. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until edges are set (centers will shake slightly). Carefully remove ramekins from water; cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill for 4 to 8 hours.
4. Before serving, let ramekins stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium heavy skillet heat granulated sugar over medium-high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly. Do not stir. Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low and cook about 5 minutes or until all sugar melts and is golden, stirring as needed with a wooden spoon. Quickly drizzle the caramelized sugar over custards. (If sugar hardens in the skillet, return to heat; stir until melted.) Serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Everything about Circus Knie is Magical!

It's the time of year again.....

November in Ticino is Circus time. The Circus Knie has travelled across the entire country over the past eight months and will be concluding its tour in Lugano as usual. Soon you'll be able to enjoy the new programme PASSION CIRQUE.

This year's high-caliber programme incorporates the magical combination of acrobatics, animal acts, clowns and popular comedy to deliver a passionate performance.

I thought I'd share some facts about Switzerland's National Circus:
Number of tours since 1919: 94
Number of venues: 43
Tour Duration: 22 March to 18 November 2012
Number of tour days: 243
Of these preforming days: 219
Duration by Location: 2 days to 4 weeks (Zurich)
Performances: 348
- 183 evening performances
- 146 matinees
- 13 morning performances

I usually try to buy tickets for the very last show of the year. Knowing that it is the final preformance renders the show a bit more special and I believe the artists feel this emotion as well. It blows my mind to walk into this magical world before the production and walk out the tent two hours later and find everything - and I mean everything - except the tent we had been sitting under has been taken down and is on its way to Rapperswil, Circus Knie's winter residence.

Venue: Circus Knie
Where: Stadio Cornaredo
Dates: November 15th to 18th, 2012
Thursday - 20.15
Friday - 15.00 and 20.15
Saturday 13.30, 17.00 and 20.30
Sunday 10.30, 14.30 and 18.00

Hurry and order your tickets online here: or buy them at the Swiss Post Offices, Manor dept.stores, SBB train stations or Coop City.

I've added a timelapesed video of Circus Knie tent construction for your entertainment:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Notte del Racconto - Storytelling Night

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

Get ready for this year's Storytelling Night which will be held on November 9th, 2012 throughout Switzerland.

Every year since 1990, children and adults meet all across Switzerland on the second Friday of November to tell stories around a common theme. The "Storytelling Night" is an initiative of the Swiss Institute for Media and Children (ISMR) in collaboration with UNICEF and supported by the Swiss library association:

The motto of this year's Storytelling Night - "Fire and flame: when everything is possible" - allows plenty of space for story telling charged with bright enthusiasm, burning passions and exciting adventures.

The night of storytelling is based on a simple yet brilliant concept: to tell stories, reading them out aloud throughout Switzerland, on the same night. Children and adults can spend an enchanted evening, full of mysterious charm while listening to a narrative. Follow the old tradition by re-inventing a communication model - out-of-fashion nowadays - but more important than ever. Apart from the simple  pleasure of listening to a narrative, it is also provides a unique opportunity to unite multiple generations around a fun event.

The poster and postcard for the Swiss Story Night 2012 was designed by Chilean artist Constanza Bravo who lives in Geneva.

Following is a list of places throughout the Ticino where you'll find adults and children reading captivating stories to their spellbound audience:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"The Lady" Movie Night Out

The very hip and active IWCL Evening group invites you to a Ladies' Movie Night Out.

"The Lady" is an epic love story about how an extraordinary couple and family sacrifice their happiness at great human cost for a higher cause. This is the story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband, Michael Aris. Despite distance, long separations, and a dangerously hostile regime, their love endures until the very end. A story of devotion and human understanding set against a background of political turmoil which continues today. THE LADY also is the story of the peaceful quest of the woman who is at the core of Burma's democracy movement.

This is a very special event for all of you ladies which will start with an aperitivo kindly offered by Banca del Sempione. Of course, gentlemen are very welcome as well.

Venue: The Lady
Where: Lux Arthouse Via Motta, 6900 Massagno
When: Thursday 8th of November, 2012
Time: 7:00 pm aperitivo & snacks, 7:45 pm movie (English with sub. F/D)
Price: CHF 20.- part of the fee will be donate to, a charity fully supported by Aung San Suu Kyi.

If you want to know more:

Please kindly RSVP to: because they need to know how many you'll be mainly to provide enough snacks for the aperitivo.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

IWCLugano Christmas Market 2012

The International Women's Club of Lugano (IWCL) welcomes you to their yearly Christmas market on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012. It will be held at the Hotel Pestalozzi in Lugano from 9:30-12:00.

You're certain to find gifts for every child on your list this year. In addition to ALL FOR KIDS, there will be vendors selling jewelry, clothing, holiday decorations, and more.

You can also learn about IWCL and the activies the club offers. The IWCL is looking forward to seeing you there. Come make a difference!

Venue: IWCL Christmas Bazaar
Where: Hotel Pestalozzi, Piazza Indipendenza 9, 6901 Lugano
When: Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
Time: 9:30 to 12:00
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