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October 29


Saint of the day:
St. Narcissus 

The Story of St. Narcissus 

St. Narcissus (c. 99 – c. 216 A.D.) was a holy and esteemed priest of Greek origin who became the 30th bishop of Jerusalem in the year 180 A.D., about a century after the city's destruction by the Romans. He was known as a miracle-worker, as well as for governing his diocese with vigor and discipline despite being in his 80th year when he was made bishop. Of his many miracles, the one for which he is most famous was turning water into oil on Holy Saturday, as recorded by the historian Eusebius: when the deacons had no oil to burn in the altar lamps for the Easter liturgy, St. Narcissus had them use water instead. After he prayed over the water and it was put into the lamps, it was miraculously converted into oil. In 195 A.D. St. Narcissus was part of a council of bishops who settled the date for the observance of Easter, deciding on Sunday and not the ancient Jewish Passover. Despite his reputation as a holy bishop, St. Narcissus drew opposition. Three enemies accused him of a serious crime and prayed that he might be cursed by God in punishment. This took a toll on the saint, and, forgiving his persecutors, he retired from public life and lived as a hermit for many years. His enemies meanwhile were struck by the calamities that they wished upon him. When St. Narcissus eventually returned to Jerusalem he was exuberantly welcomed by the faithful. He served the people of Jerusalem in many ways until his death at over 116 years old.












Preparing for All Hallowtide in Italy!

In North America celebrates October 31st, Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, In Italy, November 1st is a Roman Catholic holiday that Italians celebrate. It is called All Saints’ or All Souls Day, and this is a day for remembering your deceased family members. There are many different traditions followed on this special holiday, and each region has their own favorites. Some folks set a place at the table for their departed loved ones, while others will leave the door unlocked to welcome their spirits. Typically, on November 1st, Italians will take flowers to their family member’s graves and say prayers. Although this day may seem to be a sad one, for many people, the graveside visit is an opportunity to thank their ancestors. It is a celebration of their lives and a chance for adults and children alike to remember those loved ones that have passed. In some regions, folks have even been known to enjoy a family picnic at the graveside. The flower of choice to bring to the cemetery are usually a bouquet of chrysanthemums, which are at their colorful peak at this time of year. ​


Since no Italian holiday seems complete without food, there are a number of sweets that are prepared to celebrate All Saints Day. These include Pan dei Morte (a sweet flatbread studded with dried fruits), and these cookies called Ossa dei Morti, or bones of the dead. These cookies are also called Fave dei Morti, or even All Saints Day cookies. In Umbria, they also make a sweet called Dolce di Pasta, a pasta dish sweetened and spiced and enjoyed as a dessert. You can find so many variations of these cookies across Italy, with some being quite crisp while others are very soft. Some cookies are actually shaped to resemble bones, while others are more oval-shaped like mine in this recipe. These cookies are almond-flavored made with ground almonds and almond extract and will keep well in an airtight container for up to a week.



Ossa dei Morti


  • 1 Cup Sugar

  • 1 Teaspoon Almond Extract

  • 1 Egg

  • 2 1/2 Ounces Ground Almonds

  • 1/2 Cup (4 Ounces) All-purpose Flour

  • 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder

  • Pinch of Salt

To Serve:

  • Powdered Sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the sugar, extract, and egg until blended.

  3. Stir in the almonds, baking powder, flour, and salt, and stir just until combined.

  4. Dump mixture onto a lightly floured hard surface and gently knead a minute or two with your hands until smooth. (Dough will be sticky)

  5. Divide the dough into three pieces, and roll each into a 1-inch log.

  6. Cut the log into 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch pieces, then use your fingers to roll each piece into ropes about 4-inches long.

  7. Place the cookies 2 to 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies just begin to brown and the tops feel set when touched with your finger tips.

  8. Cool completely, dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!




Chocolate Ossa dei Morti 


  • 200 g flour

  • 200 g ground nuts, toasted

  • 150 g sugar

  • 100 g very finely chopped chocolate

  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

  • 1 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves

  • 120 ml coffee, hot

  • 200 g chestnut puree

  • 1 tsp each lemon and orange rind

  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

  • 2 shots of Nocino (or other spirit)

  • 100 g raisins, soaked in spirits

  • sugar for dipping


  1. Preheat oven to 170 C / 325 F / gas mark 3.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, nuts, sugar, chocolate, cocoa powder and spices.

  3. Prepare your hot coffee, and whisk in the chestnut puree. Add the citrus rind, vanilla and spirits.

  4. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix gently until it forms a dough. Mix in the raisins.

  5. Take golf-ball sized bits of dough and shape into long diamonds. Dip in sugar and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

  6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until you can smell the cookies and the outsides have hardened slightly.

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