Friday, December 3, 2010
This is something I've wanted to do for a while, then I wasn't blogging, and now I am but it's winter, so there aren't many flowers. But then again I'm sick and stuck at home and Friday Flowers sounds that much better than Saturday Flowers. So no time like the present and starting is better than procrastinating.
In winter the bees are mostly holed up at home, living off their honey reserves, but there are flowers during this period. My favorites for now are these:
Today's very first Friday flower is dedicated to my first two followers, Sara and Alex, and to the bees, who love this heady scented blossom.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
While gallavating around the countryside usually means wonderful, rich seasonal lunches based on truffle or wild boar, a quiet day at home is usually my respite from all of that delicious Tuscan food.
I wanted to share my lunch with you, because it was delicious, italian, homemade and simple- homemade pesto!
The last of the basil from the garden
A small handful of pine nuts
Our own fresh pressed olive oil
A small clove of garlic
Grated parmasean cheese
Take all ingredients, pop them in a mini blender, blend until it has an attractive consistency, adding oil to thin the sauce.
Cook your favourite pasta in salted water until al dente, stir through pesto.
Find a spot of sunlight somewhere and enjoy!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
|Chef Fabio in the kitchen|
Ingredients (4 pax)
- 160 g stole Tuscan bread
- 250 g kale
- 50 g carrots
- 50 g fresh onion
- 50 g green celery
- 120 g Tuscan pancetta
- 50 g extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- red wine vinegar
- 8 quail eggs
- Take out the crust from bread and dice it
- Toast the bread dices with olive oil until gently brown , cool
- Clean the kale, cut it in julienne, sautè in a pan with garlic and oil until cooked
- Dice carrot, celery, fresh onion and sautè them in a pan with oil
- Dice 60 g of pancetta and brown them in a pan
- Slice the rest of pancetta and dry it in an oven
- Cook poached 4 quail eggs in water and vinegar
- Fry 4 quail eggs sunny side up
- Mix the vegetables, dress with salt, pepper, vinegar and e.v.o.o.
- Add the dices of crispy bread
Ingredients (4 pax)
- 400 g kale leaves
- q.b. extra virgin olive oil
- q.b. salt
- q.b. vegetable stock
- cook the kale in salty boiling water
- drain, mix finely with oil
- cool it
- 1 n° egg
- 1 n° egg yolks
- 30 g cream
- 20 g milk
- q.b. salt e pepper
- 5 g butter
- Beat the eggs and pan fry with butter, whisking
- Add cream, salt, pepper
- Blend with cold milk
- Use the foam on the surface
Garnish and presentation
- Put the bread salad in a ring mould and turn out
- Put on top a quail egg sunny side up and a crunchy slice of pancetta
- Place in a dish the kale cream and the salad
- Put aside the poached quail egg and garnish with egg foam
- Finish with black pepper
Friday, November 12, 2010
But the rain is ruining the most important time of the year for an olive farmer, and my personal favorite month. With little rakes in hand and large nets bundled in the courtyard we watch as the rain keeps falling through prime olive picking weather.
This year has been a bumper year for olive yields, and a neighbour very kindly gave us 700 trees of his to harvest. So we've been planning, and anticipating, this harvest for months.
We have managed to get over 200 litres pressed and bottled, but thats not yet the half of whats sitting on the trees. At least we started early, we can tell ourselves, and were at the frantoio- the olive press- on it's first day of operation. To catch up on lost picking days we have a mechanical olive shaker (note- not a tree shaker) booked for tomorrow, but the weather reports are mixed. Tomorrow at eight we'll be heading out, and if the weather holds we'll be working until the light gives out. If only it doesn't rain.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Particularly when they're spread over the lounge room floor so that they dont sweat and get moldy while we impatiently wait for our neighbourhood olive press to open for business.
This year all our country friends are crowing about a bumper harvest, with bulging trees and no sign of the dread olive fly. We do still have to solve the problem of how to harvest so many trees, but keen to get as much as we can while the weather holds. And then its bruschetta, soups, stews and all other kinds of oily goodness all year!
Friday, October 15, 2010
Autumn is a great time for community moments- when families and towns or even employees find themselves doing the comunal work of the season.
Examples of this are the harvests, pruning and all the outdoors work that means long, strenuous hours but are rewarded by the bringing in of crops and the first measure of the years sucess or failure.
There is the sense of preparing for the winter, putting things away with care, stopping up the cracks, cutting the wood.
And then theres the celebrations! Wine festivals, hunting festivals, mushroom food fairs and my favorite- the truffle fairs! Communities getting together and toasting a years worth of work and reward.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
We realised at night, closing up the henhouse. Something was wrong. We had heard him all afternoon making his usual racket and then, nothing. In full daylight, Robispiere the rooster had been taken. Named for the style with which we had assumed he would eventually meet his end, Robespierre was taken from his harem long before his time. Initially we thought he might be roosting somewhere else for the night. But when we actually managed to sleep beyond 6AM without his morning call, we knew something was truly wrong.
I imagined that he had finally gotten a little indignant about sharing living quarters with 3 geese, and had taken off to geese free pastures. But would he really abandon his family like that? We found out the horrible truth when one feather led to another and we followed a trail of large white feathers from the back fence, down through the trees to the base of a large olive where a collection of feathers, including telltale white and yellow neck feathers confirmed our fears.
Poor old Robespierre. Could we have protected him better? Could we have given him a more auspicious name?
The same day that the rooster died, something else happened in the henhouse. One of the eggs hatched and a bright little yellow ball peeked out from beneath the mama's wing. A real circle of life moment.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
1)There is no such thing as good rust. (I did know that before, I just forgot when I saw her shine in the sun)
2)Take any old vehicle to a mechanic and smash repairer before purchase.
3)Look under the car and under mats and everywhere, even if everyones laughing at you for scrabbling in the dust.
4)If its pretty and you love it get it anyway, but love the rust as well.
Just because I love making lists, here is my pro list for buying the car:
2)The space- even though its tiny, theres enough boot for a beehive
3)The wooden steering wheel
4)The opening all the way back roof!
5)The way the seats fold down, making the back almost big enough for camping.
6)“il doppietto” the way you have to rev the engine before changing down gear
7)st anthony on the gearstick
8)it hardly uses any petrol- 10 euros to fill the tank!
9)The side hinged boot door
Just for balance, one big con:
It's going to cost another 2000 euro to fix the rusty floor. Ouch! Didn't see that coming.
Oh well, I love my little rust bucket.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Summer is here and while the city swelters and sweats there are only a handful of worthwile sunday destinations. Choices are the beach, where most of Florence is already setting up summer residence, the mountains, the usual choice for nanas wanting to take the healthy spring waters and dance the ballo liscio (literally smooth dancing). Lacking in friends with swimming pools we today chose the only other alternative and headed to a secret river location to cool off. And while our secret river location was known to only a handful of people last year, this year has seen an explosion of secret river location knowledge and space was limited. Someone obviously has a problem with the word secret! Social networking has a lot to answer for. Hmph!
But we cooled off, swam a bit, and then headed home. While the boys went off to watch the world cup final I experienced one of the greater joys that the start of summer brings. The first figs from the tree. Mmm so sweet! There will be so many coming on as the summer progresses, so if anyone has any recipes for figs, cakes, preserves or anything else, shoot them through. Last year I discovered figs with ricotta and honey and as this year I have my own honey I'll be indulging regularly.