Focaccia con Patate e Pancetta

22D684BB-BFF5-4BFF-B32F-0F06B80A8FBFI bake Bread and Focaccia several times every week and today I decided to make the Focaccia with Pancetta (which I have a lot of) and Potato (which the two grandsons love)

Let us hope the masters will approve!

Standard Focaccia dough. Cube potatoes and boil in salted water for about 8 minutes until soft – drain well. Fry the Pancetta in olive oil until crisp – drain and retain the oil – dry Pancetta on paper towels. Pour hot oil over hot potatoes. Mix in some lemon zest and chopped rosemary and toss well.

After the first rise of the dough, beat it down and form to fit the pan. Top with Pancetta / Potato mix and let it rise for a second time. Brush with olive oil and bake.

ENJOY !!!!!

 

 

Organic, Chemical Free Garlic

Garlic is one of our favorite ingredients and is used and consumed daily.

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When I arrived at my present abode about 5 years ago, the entire garden was one large ball of heavy clay. Even the raised garden beds were totally clay and I cannot understand why people would go to the trouble of creating a raised garden at huge expense and then fill it with clay. Furthermore the garden was covered with plastic ground sheets which in turn was covered by a layer of pebbles. The soil (clay) underneath all of this resembled an old rubbish dump with steel and metal (including old engines) interspersed with glass, rocks, plastic and concrete – this is the 21 st century. I have never seen any viable garden using steel, concrete, stones, glass, plastic and clay as a basis. The total arable area I have for planting food is only about 50 meters square.

Five years later and having turned the “soil” over many times supplementing with at least 800 Kg of lime and a similar amount of gypsum in several applications, as well as many Tons of Quail, Chicken and Rabbit manure and bedding.  I also have very active compost bins and worm farms, all of which goes back into the garden. In the process I have recovered and discarded many hundreds of kilograms of metal, concrete, glass, plastic, rocks and other rubbish. Each season the soils were planted to a variety of crops on a rotational basis. Unharvested greens were chopped and worked into the ground as well. For the first two years I have not seen any earthworms or any other soil live, but lately its is noticeable how the soil ecosystem has evolved and became alive and many earthworms are present.  I am proud to say that I have not once used any chemicals, purchased fertilisers (Except for gypsum and lime) or used any sprays in achieving this.

BACK TO GARLIC

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The garlic patch I have allocated to this crop for the 2019 / 2020 season is about 6 meters square and I have planted it with about 600 cloves of some of my last year’s crop as well as some purchased seed for the sake of variety, which will produce enough to eat, give away and seed for next year.

I preserve garlic in three ways.  1 – Just hang it to dry in clusters or pleated. 2 – Peel and sun dry, then seal in airtight containers.  3 – Peel and put into containers with a little bit of Olive Oil and pasteurise.

 

 

 

VINO di SAMBUCO (Elderberry Wine)

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Make sure to pick clean, ripe elderberries and remove all the leaves and stalkes. Wash well under running water.

Crush the berries to create a must –  I use my PASSATUTTO machine which works very well for this.

Once you have your must, pour it into a large enough container to hold all the product and have some spare space to allow for foaming during the first few days.  Now add about three litres of boiling water for every litre of fruit.  Close it well and leave it  for one day to sterilise the must. Add pectinase enzyme and leave for another day.  Adjust the pH and sugar contents, add your wine yeast and yeast nutrients and ferment on the must for about ten days. Remember to stir twice a day and always use clean sterilised equipment. Always close the container well to prevent contamination and fruit flies getting into the must.

After 10 days, rack and filter and adjust for sugar if required. Now pour your wine into a large enough Damigiana to make sure their is not too much air space, then put on an airlock and wait.

Rack and filter when the ferment is becoming clear and sediment is visible (about 2 – 3 weeks). Every time you work with the wine, top the Damigiana up to the neck with similar sugar content syrup or fruit juice. Airlock and ferment.

After another few weeks the fermentation will become slow and it is then time to rack, filter and top up again.

Make sure the fermentation has stopped completely before you rack, filter and bottle.

Leave it alone for a month and ENJOY!!

UOVA di QUAGLIA SOTT’ACETO (Pickled Quail Eggs)

2019-05-11 - Pickled Quail Eggs

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Today I had my 8 year old Grandson to assist me in making Pickled Quail Eggs. He was also the Director, Photographer and Script Writer for this post.

Once you have peeled the eggs , pack them in a clean sterilised bottle mixed with your chosen fresh spices. In this case we used rosemary, garlic, chili, salt and black pepper.

Boil enough 50:50 White Wine Vinegar and Water to cover the eggs. Pour the hot wine vinegar mix over the eggs until the container is full. Seal immediately and leave to stand for at least one week before use.

These are obviously very good for any antipasto plate, or a late night snack with a glass of wine  –  ENJOY!!!

Vino di Fiori di Sambuco (Elder Flower Wine)

2018-12-24 - Elderberry Harvesting Team

The Elder Flower Pickers hard at work. We had a trial run a few weeks ago making Elder Flower Sparkling Wine. It was delicious. We set out to harvest enough before the flowers disappear, at which stage we will attempt elderberry wine!

Vino di Sambuco ( elder flower wine ) Recipe as it happened step by step

2018-12-03

Add about 1 Liter Elder flowers, stems removed, to a 10 L plastic drum and cover with 5 Liters of boiling water – seal

2018-12-04

Stir in 1 Kg of Sugar until dissolved

Ad lemon zest of four lemons

Ad lemon juice of four lemons (about 210 ml)

Re – hydrate yeast by adding 6 g ‘GoFerm’ and 5 g ‘Lalvin EC1118′

(the seller is called Make Wine) and 50 ml of cooled boiled water Leave for 30 minutes

Add re – hydrated yeast to the must

Add 4 g ‘Ferm Aid ‘ to the must

SG (Specific Gravity measured with a Hydrometer to determine the sugar content) – 1.055 (Ad more sugar later)

Stir very well and put lid on tub – ferment on the must

Stir twice daily

2018-12-08

Rack and filter into two X 5 Liter Damigiane or large glass wine bottles. Top up with about 0.5 Liter each of 1.09 SG sugar syrup

Airlock and Ferment

SG – 1.06

2018-12-11

Rack and Filter

Airlock and Ferment

SG – 1.04

2018-12-15

Rack and Filter

Airlock and Ferment

SG – 1.02

Top up with 200 ml (100 ml per Darmigiana) of SG 1.09 Sugar Syrup

Taste – Pleasant, sweet and a bit bubbly

SG – 1.04

Airlock and Ferment

2018-12-20

Still fermenting slowly

SG – 1.02

Rack, Filter and Bottle in a Champagne bottles

Drink and ENJOY!!!