Carciofi Bolliti ( Boiled Artichokes) – Three Ingredient Dinner

2016-03-30 - Carciofi

The joys of fresh organic produce straight out of the garden. The less complicated a dish is, the more chance there is of it being superb. I go so far that before looking at a new dish, I count the ingredients and if the list is too long, it does not even warrant my time to read any further.  Carciofi bolliti is the ultimate of simplicity, and in our house probably the favorite way to eat these wonderful flowers. Boil the already cleaned and prepared carciofi in water until the leaves are easy to pull off  with a gentle tug. Drain and serve with a bowl of very good extra virgin olive oil, salted to taste (about a teaspoon of salt per 1/2 cup of oil)  Pull the leaves off one by one and dip in the olive oil salt mixture and rip the flesh off with your front teeth – discard the hard part. Of coarse the younger the flower and the closer you get to the heart, the more and more of the leave you can eat. When all the leaves are gone and the heart is exposed, make sure the choke is not stringy, and if so, remove and discard before eating the heart – soft and creamy.

Enjoy!!! Do not forget a piece of home made bread to mop up all the olive oil and wash it down with good home made wine.

 

 

 

 

 

“Tricolore” Pasta with Quail Sauce (Home made pasta in the colours of the Italian flag)

I came across these pictures taken over Christmas and remembered that I wanted to post them. The occasion warranted some extra work, and I had a request for home made pasta anyway.  The brightness of the colours impressed everyone, including me.

Tricolore Pasta

Make fresh egg pasta dough as described, leaving out two of the eggs as the spinach / beet paste will have some moisture. Divide the pasta dough in to 3 equal parts

For the Colours

Blanch about 250 g spinach and then squeeze our all the water. Process in a food processor to a smooth paste then pass the paste through a fine sieve to have a thick intense green juice. Do the same with 2 medium sized beetroots processed to a thick intense red juice

Method

Mix enough of the green juice into one third of the pasta dough, which should be very dry as one egg was left out, until you have an even coloured pasta dough with a smooth consistency. Repeat the process with a second of the three portions, using the red beetroot juice. The third portion should be corrected with water to ensure all three portions have the same amount of egg and consistency.

Cook in salted water until al dente, (make sure that you cook equal amounts of every colour).  Drain the pasta (do not rinse it under the cold tap) and transfer it to the pan with hot sauce. Mix and serve with plenty of grated parmigiano.

The Quail Sauce being a home favorite as we have plenty of quail, goes particularly well with home made parpardelle and did the tricolore a lot of justice on this occasion.

ENJOY !!  Do not forget the home made red wine.

Uova alla Fiorentina (Eggs Fiorentina)

2016-02-20 - Fiorentino

Breakfast cannot be more enjoyable than with fresh home grown free range eggs and organic spinach out of the garden. I am lucky enough to have a combination of quail and chicken eggs for breakfast.

Wash  two large bunches of spinach (beetroot or radish tops work equally well). Do not add water, the water clinging to the leaves from the washing will be enough. After a while press as much water out of the spinach as you can and put aside.  Add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and one tablespoon of butter to a pan. Also add three large cloves of garlic and one small chili finely chopped, simmer for about two minutes on low heat.  Add the spinach to the pan and season with  salt and pepper to taste. Now break in as many eggs as required and cook until eggs are done to your liking. You can cover the pan for a while when cooking if you want the eggs hard. Sprinkle with grated parmigiano, black pepper, add a dash of olive oil and serve with home made bread.

ENJOY!!!

 

Plant only one (1) Pumpkin Seed

Having purchased a pumpkin at a Farmers Market about a year ago and liking it, I decided to save some seeds. This year I planted a lemon tree and remembering the pumpkin seeds decided to put down two seeds at the base of the tree. Within days the pumpkin vines were taking over the front garden flowering profusely and we waited expectantly. Soon the pumpkin harvest came in and twenty kilograms later, cooked in ten different ways, we were not so keen on pumpkin any more. Now the pumpkin is threatening by growing another seven pumpkins, all increasing in size by the minute. Another 20 kilos of food is on the charts. All neighbors and family members shied away when offered yet another pumpkin so Mrs BYF decided to avoid a third batch of 20 kilograms by picking and cooking the flowers.

Fiori di Zucca Fritti (Fried Pumpkin Flowers)

2 large pumpkin flowers

300 g home made ricotta or other soft cheese

1 handful of herbs (consisting of every herb in the garden)

salt and pepper to taste

1 large egg

100 g bread crumbs

deep oil for frying

Breadcrumbs, flour and egg wash for frying

Chop the herbs finely and mix well with the cheese, using a fork. Add the egg, salt and pepper. Add crumbs until the mixture can be shaped to fit the center of the flower. Press the petals of the flower over the cheese mixture until the cheese is covered completely by the petals. Dip the stuffed flower in the flour, then in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs. Fry in deep oil until golden and crunchy. Serve warm.

ENJOY!!

 

PS – At the last count I had enough pumpkins seeds to produce 60 kilograms odf pumpkin for the next 113 years

Melanzane e Mozzarella al forno (Baked Eggplant)

2016-03-09 - Melanzane e Mozzarella 1

Lately I have had this constant craving for eggplant, probably as I have not been able to grow it in Dunedin (yet). So I have to believe the merchant selling it to me that it is organic and fresh, but fortunately the rest of the ingredients for this dish has been home produced. I am surprised by the amount of tomatoes coming from the Dunedin garden – mostly the result of love and tender care to the plants on the front veranda by Mrs BYF. The milk to make the Mozzarella is not from Bufala, but from our very good Jersey dairy in Port Chalmers. Basil was in abundance this year from my miniature hothouse in the back yard.

Cut the eggplant in rounds, ad salt and leave for half an hour. Rinse off the salt and dry properly. Dust with flour and fry in a pan of hot oil until soft. Now assemble in a buttered oven baking dish, the eggplant, then mozzarella and finish with a slice of very ripe tomato and a slither of garlic. Add salt and pepper. Drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil an bake in the oven at 200 C  for 15 minutes. Finish with a decorative basil leave and some more olive oil and serve hot.

ENJOY with a glass of good home made red wine !!

 

Memories of an African Airport

Which of you can claim, as I can, to have landed on Matekane Airport in Lesotho. The runway is 400 meters long and the straight down drop at the end of the runway is 600 meters down a cliff. This was all made a bit more exiting as the pilot, who smelled very heavily of the local fermented maize drink when he arrived three hours late and the co pilot during this time was siphoning some fuel out of a 44 gallon drum with an old hosepipe to fill up the plane. The last straw, after two failed attempts to take off,  was the pilot admitting to the only passenger – me – that he does not fully understand the Russian plane. Never the less, we took off from Maseru and landed “safely” at Matekane. Needless to say, I took a donkey taxi down the mountain back to Maseru – taking all of two days.

2016-03-11 - Matekane Airport - Lesotho