PESTO

7A499B17-9004-40A6-B107-344ECCB71597

Pesto di Ortiche (Stinging Nettle) and Pesto di Crescione (Water Crescent)

On  my way back from feeding the chickens and picking Stinging Nettles, I noticed some Water Crescent on the side of the road and decided to forage some as well. Back home I parted with some nettle for Mrs BYF to make Ristto alle Ortiche, the rest I converted into a Pesto. I also made Watercress Pesto using the same recipe and had a comparative taste test. Nettle – 9, Watercress – 6

170 g Basil, Carrot Tops, Nettle or Cress

45 g Roasted Pine Nuts

40 g Fresh Garlic

5 g Salt

In a Mortar and Pestle crush all the ingredients very fine

270 ml Good Olive Oil

Hand mix the olive oil with the contents of the Mortar and Pestle very well

100 g Grated Parmigiano Reggiano (Any strong hard grating cheese if you do not have Parmigiano

40 g Grated Pecorino Romano (Any sharp goat or sheep cheese if you do not have Pecorino) Today, I used my own home made cheese

90 g Soft unsalted Butter

Now fold the cheeses and butter into the mix

It is ready to eat, but the flavours develop and intensify over the next 24 hours

Enjoy on bread or in a pasta

Do not forget the glass of good home made wine!!!

Pesto freezes very well

Risotto alle Ortiche – Stinging Nettle Risotto

7AFD6DDA-E99F-4CC3-8509-ADBFD6A03129

 

Stinging Nettle Risotto

We have a friend who has a few stinging nettles growing in the chicken coop and in their vast vegetable garden. Every year at about this time we binge eat stinging nettle. We pick only the soft tips and once we have a basketfull we plan. Half goes to pesto, no question, but the rest will be used in all sorts of ways. Today the choice went to risotto. The risotto came out an intense green, hinting  at the wonderful flavour, spinach like, but much tastier. I am sharing Mrs BYF’s recipe and I wish I could let you have a taste!

I use my favorite cast iron pot, big enough to make risotto for 6, but this is for 2 hungry people who will not be getting any dinner.

1 big leek or 4 or 5 little ones. I use the small tender ones from our garden green leaves and all

1 green mild chili from the garden because it was there

1 and 1/2 cup of Arborio rice

200 g or more of fresh nettles. They cook away to almost nothing

1/2 cup olive oil

700 ml of stock – I used quail stock

salt and pepper to taste

grated parmigiano for the table

Blanch the rinsed nettles in boiling water, drain and put aside.

Heat the stock and keep it lightly simmering

In the pot you will be cooking the risotto, pour the oil and add the leeks. Cook over low heat until the leeks have softened. Add the rice, stir until the first rice kernels pop. Add a ladle full of stock, stir until almost absorbed, add another ladle full and stir, add all the nettles, then keep ladling the stock on the rice and stirring. The more you stir the creamier the risotto will be. Once the rice is al dente and still very moist, almost soupy it is ready. Serve immediately sprinkled with lots of Parmigiano.

Zucchine

edge.bonnieplants.com/www/uploads/2018092000392...

We have a lot of zucchini, as has almost every one I know. There is quite a harvest of spring onions, too. We have used up all the garden’s onions, but Mrs BYF decided to combine the lot and to use it for pasta sauces, on pizza, in frittata and fritters. The discovery we made was that slow sweated spring onion sliced finely, including the green part becomes really soft and tasty. Add the slices zucchini to that and braise over very low heat. Then, create magic by adding fresh mint and basil! It tastes so good that it may be eaten straight out of the pot in stead of being a part of another dish.

20 Spring Onions

1 Kg sliced Zucchini

1 Hand full of fresh Mint leaves

1 Hand full of Basil

6 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Cut about 1/3 off the top of the spring onions to get rid of the harder leaves. Slice the rest very finely. Fry the onions for about 5 minutes in the olive oil and then cover and sweat on very low heat until soft. Scrub the zucchini and slice very thinly. When the onion is soft add the zucchini and braise for about 10 minutes over very low heat . Add the shredded mint and basil, cover and cook on low until the flavours have blended. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

The ITALIANS go INDIAN with KIWI Rabbits

84B9E444-B593-4052-ACA2-09F3443FA7F5

Being creative in the kitchen is a lot of fun, especially if one can rely on the hunter who often brings lovely, fresh, organic rabbit. He hunts on properties where insecticides are not used, and the grass is not sprayed with hormones and other awful things.  Mrs BYF has always loved chicken tikka saag, with saag in restaurants being mostly spinach, so she decided to re create the dish using a young rabbit and some tender stinging nettle tips. I do not normally enjoy Indian food, but this was delicious. What made it even more delicious is that the main ingredients were free. The rabbit was a gift and the nettles were picked by me in a friend’s vegetable garden!

1 rabbit cut up in pieces

1 cup blanched nettle tips, seeds included if they are still green

1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying

1 table spoon of flour (I know this is the hard one!)

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

1 small chili

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

4 cardamom pods, smashed

1 teaspoon coriander seeds ground

2 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons garam masala

1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup of stock, I used home made quail stock

Heat the oil in a pot or pan big enough to hold all the rabbit pieces lying flat. Brown the rabbit well and remove from the pan. In the same pan, fry the onion until soft then add all the other ingredients except the nettles. Fry the spices until they release their aromas. Add the nettles, the rabbit and the stock, sprinkle the flour over the mix, stir until the rabbit is covered in sauce, cover the pan and cook on medium heat for about 1 hour (this depends on the age of the rabbit) until tender.

I served the dish with a cup of cooked basmati rice, tinted a lovely yellow by adding a teaspoonful of turmeric.

Mrs BYF has done well again and we washed it all down with some home made Elderberry Wine

Pesto di Ortiche – Stinging Nettle Pesto

I still love Basil Pesto but Stinging Nettle is available, free and interesting to use. Basil is hard to grow in Dunedin and costs a mint to buy. The same recipe can be used for Rocket, Carrot Tops or Basil Pesto.

170 g Stinging Nettle

40 g Roasted Pine Nuts

40 g Garlic Cloves

270 g Good Extra Virgin olive oil

3 g Salt

70 g Melted Butter

90 g Grated Parmigiano cheese (or any other hard Italian grating cheese)

40 g Pecorino Romano cheese (or similar sharp and tangy cheese)

Today I used my own home made cheeses and the end result was divine!

Put everything except the cheese and butter in a blender and blend well. Do not make it into slush – keep a fine texture. You may need more olive oil to complete the job

Now fold in the cheese and butter

Serve on fresh or toasted bread, dab on to meat, chicken, fish and vegetarian dishes, use as a dip for carrots and other fresh veg, salad dressing, and of course as a pasta sauce. 

 

Pizza Rustica – Italian Easter Pie

FBD53040-EA33-46F0-8646-98AD3314ACDD

It is Easter, so in the absence of grand children, chocolate eggs, dyed eggs and the like Mrs BYF made a Pizza Rustica. It cannot be called traditional I suppose, lacking mortadella and prosciutto. I did have some ricotta left as well as some soft cheese that happened and has no name, plus some mozzarella that would not stretch, so the cheese was sorted. I sliced some home made salami and guanciale and that sorted the meat. The pie turned out great – my Nona would have approved.

PIE CRUST

Whisk 10 g dry yeast and 10 g sugar in enough lukewarm water to dissolve the sugar and yeast. Leave until the mixture is foaming

500 g flour

150 g butter softened

2 eggs  lightly whisked

10 g salt

Mix all the ingredients including the yeast together. You should have a stiff dough like a pasta dough after kneading it a bit. Let the dough stand in a warm spot until the yeast is activated. Roll the dough out thinly and line a spring form cake tin

Set oven on 190C

FILLING

3 eggs, lightly whisked

500 g of cheese and ricotta combined

100 g guanciale very thinly sliced

100 g salami very thinly sliced

Pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients well

Line spring form pan with 3/4 of the pastry dough

Pour the filling into the pan. Roll out enough pastry to make a lid for the pie. Prick within a fork

Bake for 35 minutes

ENJOY and do not forget to wash it all down with a glass of good homemade red wine

Risotto con le Ortiche – Stinging Nettle Risotto

Our attempt to buy as little as possible from the supermarkets is paying off! It is almost as if we had spent the past 5 years preparing for this lockdown event.  We have not visited the supermarket since two weeks before lockdown started, and will go to get only white vinegar and body wash tomorrow morning as early as possible. The vegetable garden is now going into winter and everything has slowed down in the cool weather, we have some beans, artichokes, cardoon, lettuces, rocket, potatoes, leeks, spring onions, a few green tomatoes, lots of fruit and so on left to pick. One source of greens, however that is growing well now with lots of tender young shoots is stinging nettle. There are a few plants in the chook run that the chooks like to peck at, but they left enough for us to harvest. We love the taste and since today was leftover day, which means risotto with everything in the fridge, Mrs BYF pulled it all together by adding a handful chopped  stinging nettle. The result was so delicious that I decided to share

Stinging nettle also makes wonderful pesto  – just use nettle instead of basil

Risotto with everything and Stinging Nettle

1 Cup blanched stinging nettle. The blanching gets rid of the sting, if you use gloves you can skip the blanching

1 Cup diced leftover roasted lamb (home butchered) including the gravy left in the pot

4 Skinny leeks (out of the garden) chopped including the leaves

4 Spring onions (out of the garden) chopped including the leaves

2 Cloves garlic (out of the garden) chopped

1 Green chilli (out of the garden) chopped

11/2 Cup of Arborio rice

1 Litre of good unsalted stock, I used home made quail and vegetable, kept hot on the side

1/4 Cup or more of olive oil or vegetable oil for frying

1/2 Cup grated parmigiano to sprinkle at the table

Salt and pepper to taste

Mrs BYF uses her trusty medium sized cast iron pot which is good for everything

Pour the oil in the pot, add the chopped leeks and spring onions and fry gently until tender, put the garlic in towards the end of the process to avoid it burning. Add the rice and fry until the first grain pops then pour in a glass of white wine (home made). When the wine has evaporated, ladle about a cup full of stock on to the rice, more if needed to stop the rice from sticking. Now keep stirring to gelatinise the starch in the rice slowly over low heat to make a creamy risotto, intermittently adding a few spoonfuls of stock, not too much at a time. When the rice is almost al dente, it takes about 20 minutes, add the  diced meat and the nettles. Heat through, check for salt and pepper and serve immediately in warmed bowls or pasta plates. Sprinkle with lots of grated parmigiano at the table.

Enjoy with a couple of glasses of home made red wine !!!