Lepre Selvatica – Wild Herbed Rabbit alla Mrs BYF

2017-10-03 - Wild Rabbit

Today’s lunch

I was given a lovely, lean, young rabbit that was hunted yesterday. We decided to have it for lunch today, without marinating or ageing it. We had not shopped in a while and had used up all the home grown garlic, so Mrs BYF asked me to pick a few handfuls of all the herbs I have growing in the garden. This is a great pleasure to do, because herbs grow very well in Dunedin. The resulting dish, which she called ‘Herbed Rabbit’ was one of her memorable efforts. The meal cost us the price of a serve of polenta and the 2 Italian sausages (made by me) that were leftovers from a birthday party.
Recipe: Herbed Rabbit ( you can use chicken also)
 
1  rabbit skinned, cleaned  washed and cut up. Save the livers, heart and kidneys for
    killer pasta sauce later.
1  small leek, sliced finely, including the green tops
1  bowl (about 4 handfuls) of all the fresh herbs you have, chopped fine. I picked
    rosemary, thyme, marjoram,  sage, oregano and chives
    Salt, pepper and a tiny pinch of chili flakes
    A splash of red wine
    Juice of 2 lemons
    A splash of apple cider vinegar (made by me)
2  leftover Italian sausages. I have given the recipe elsewhere on the blog but you may
    want to just buy some
Brown the rabbit pieces thoroughly in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Use a deep pan that can fit the rabbit without overlapping. Remove the browned rabbit from the pan and keep warm. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the leeks and herbs and fry for a few minutes. Put the rabbit pieces and the sliced sausages on top of the herbs, add the vinegar and lemon juice and a bit of water to the pan and cover. Cook at medium heat, turning occasionally and adding a few spoonfuls of water to prevent sticking. The completed dish will have no water in the pan, just the rich green herby sauce. You can blend the sauce briefly if your don’t like the bits of herb under your teeth.
The taste of this dish made with what we had on hand surpassed our expectations by far. We finally used up a huge amount of the herbs, this time of the year and attained our goal of eating great food to almost no cost.
Enjoy with some heavy homemade red wine!

FORMAGGIO DI CONTADINI

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This Farmers Cheese recipe is a big favorite of mine and is very easy to make. The cheese is ready in four weeks and may be a bit flaky, but is very flavorful.

Heat milk to 32 C

Add Mesophilic Starter, dissolved in Distlilled Water, stir well

Cover and keep at 32 C for 45 minutes to ripen

Add Rennet, diluted in Distilled Water, stir gently up and down for 1 minute. Top stir for 1 minute

Cover and keep at 32C to set for 45 minutes

Cut the curd in 6 mm cubes

Slowly heat curds and whey in a double boiler to 38 C (About 30 minutes from 32 C to 38 C)

Stir curds gently to prevent matting

Cover container and keep at 38 C for another 5 minutes

Pour curds into cheesecloth lined colander

Hang the cheesecloth to drain for 1 hour, out of draft to keep curds warm

Put curds in a bowl and break gently with hands to walnut size pieces

Mix in 1 g of fine salt per liter of milk

Firmly pack curds into cheesecloth lined mould

Apply 5 Kg pressure for 10 minutes

Remove curds from mould, turn over and put into cheesecloth lined mould

Apply 10 Kg pressure for 10 minutes

Remove curds from mould, turn over and put into cheesecloth lined mould

Apply 20 Kg pressure for 12 hours

Remove cheese from mould

Air dry at room temperature on wooden board for about 2 – 4 days

Turn cheese several times per day until rind has formed

Wax or vacuum seal

Age for at least one month

 

 

PASTA AL LIMONE

 

If you have any lemons left after making  Limoncello, you may as well make some delicious PASTA AL LIMONE
When my friend joined me for an afternoon of cheese making Mrs BYF had collected all the leftover ricotta (1/2 cup) and about 1 cup of mascarpone (which had turned out a bit sour) I had made a few days ago and made a great pasta sauce. She melted the cheeses and a tablespoon of butter over a very slow heat while the pasta was cooking, added some lemon rind and a few squeezes of lemon juice, bit of salt and pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes. After adding a few spoonfuls of pasta water she added the drained pasta to the pan and served it with a generous dusting of parmigiano cheese. It was delicious and my friend wanted the recipe. As with a lot of her best dishes her passion for using the ingredients at hand it can never be repeated!

The secret is home made cheese. The ricotta we can buy here is not edible, whereas one can buy reasonable mascarpone made by Tatua. Having lovely organic lemons from a neighbour’s mum’s tree in Wellington is also an inspiration to make this simple but elegant dish.

Quail Eggs with Truffle

It will be hard to find a better light dinner than quail eggs topped with truffles and home cured salmon on the side. All washed down with good hand crafted Home Made Wine (organic and preservative free)

 

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Cappelletti Romagnoli di Magro

I invited a few friends over and had to decide on a Primi Piatti as I had all the other courses sorted. After a walk in the garden and an inspection of the fridge, I decided on Capelletti Romagnoli di Magro. Cappelletti means little hats.

This is little hat shaped filled pasta. On holy days conservative Catholic households would normally not eat meat and this meatless pasta is a favorite in many households on such occasions. This is generally what is meant by magro (direct translation means thin or lean) and in this instance it refers to be without meat.

Standard pasta dough is made using only flour and eggs – nothing else. The dough is rolled out and cut into 60 mm squares and filled with the filling, then boiled in brodo (stock) and served with sage butter poured over it and dressed with lots of grated parmigiano.

The filling

Blanch 500 g fresh spinach and cut very fine. Mix the spinach with 150 g ricotta cheese and 100 g of mozzarella cheese. Also ad a pinch of nutmeg and salt. Set aside until needed.

The pasta

Plain white flour mixed with enough beaten egg to make a pliable soft dough. Roll out very thin and cut into 60 mm squares.

Place one teaspoon of the filling on the centre of each square and fold over to form a triangle sealing the edges with some egg. Wrap each trianlgle around your index finger and join two of the corners together with some more egg. Fold the third corner over to form the hat.

Bring some strong brodo (stock) to the boil and dump the cappelletti into the broth. When they float, leave for another 1 minute and remove with a slotted spoon. Serve immediately while still hot (in pre heated bowls) and pour over some melted sage butter (not burned) and black pepper and dress with parmigiano. Keep the brodo and tomorrow re heat it and ad a handful of risoni to make a wonderful lunch.

ENJOY and do not forget the home made red wine!!

Gnocchi di Patate

I have been honoured by my good friends, Peter and Mary, with a hessian bag full of just dug up organic potatoes.  As my wife is away in another country for some months, I have had nightmares as to how I am going to eat through this mountain (as wel as all the other reserves in the pantry) all on my own. My decision was to attack from the beginning and start cooking and eating them immediately. My first endeavour is gnocchi di patate.

In making good gnocchi there are two golden rules to follow : 1 – Never be aggressive in handling the product. 2 – Never use eggs in the recipe as many experts propagate. The reason for this is that both transgressions cause the end product to be gooey, solid and rubbery.

Place 1 Kg unpeeled potatoes in abundant cold salted water. Bring the water to a boil and boil for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size. The pototoes should be soft, but not coming apart. Never pierce the potatoes to test if they are done as this makes them absorb water and your dough would be too wet. Peel the potatoes as soon as it has cooled enough to handle and put it through a potato ricer.  Ad a pinch of black pepper and salt. Mix about 150 g of fine flour (Tipo 00) with the potatoes by hand until it comes together. We say abbastanza, which means – just enough. So ad the flour in stages until the dough just come together but still a bit sticky. Do not over work the dough and if you still see some potato particles it is fine. Roll the dough into long sticks of about 25 mm thick and cut across in about 25 mm long gnocchi pieces. Form the gnocchi now with a gnocchi former or fork and set aside.

In a large enough pan prepare your sauce. Any sauce normally associated with pasta can be used. A very popular sauce is butter and sage. I have been lucky to have some pesto, which I have made some weeks ago, to use. Boil the gnocchi in abundant salted water until they float and then for another 10 seconds. Mix with the sauce in the pan over low heat for a short period and serve hot, topped with some cracked black pepper and grated parmigiano.

Gnocchi can me made well in advance and kept for a few days in a sealed container in the fridge.

Enjoy with abundant home made red wine!

We Slaughtered the Pig

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It is Italian tradition to slaughter at least one pig once per year so as to make all the salumi required for the rest of the year. I have made some pork liver salami and sausages (Salsiccia di Fegato di Maiale) on the day the pig was killed while waiting for the pig to cure for a week.  Today we made some Salami and Cacciatori sausages. Tomorrow it will be Pancetta, Coppa and Prosciutto. In the mean time we make stock from all the bones and rendered the fat from the skins and small off cuts to either use for cooking or to make soap with.

The Italians are very generous and seldom do your friends leave your home without some of your home produce for them to try at their own place. Likewise you never leave a friends home without more gifts than what you brought. Every Italian province, district and town have their own food and recipes. It goes so far that every family and family member has their own special way to prepare a dish, which obviously is better than anybody else can dream to make it. Food is often the main talking point around the table and when somebody asks you for a recipe, you know that they know you can prepare the specific dish better than what they can. You always oblige and provide them with the recipe, minus a few essential ingredients and omitting at least one of the important steps – this way you can stay as the master of that specific dish.

So please do not ask me for a sausage recipe!