We decided to take a few hares before the newly released virus gets to them. After cleaning them well and ageing in the fridge for some days, it was time to taste.
Lepre al Limone ( Rabbit with Lemon )
- 1 Hare
- Half a cup of flour
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Three tablespoons of good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Two table spoons of butter
- One handful of garlic
- One fresh hot chili
- 2 Small fresh lemons
- Good stock
- Heat the oven to 200 C.
Cut the rabbit into portions and dry very well with paper napkins. Mix the flour, salt and pepper and dust the rabbit very well. Heat a cast iron or heavy based pan that can fit all the rabbit pieces, add two table spoons of good olive oil, shake off the flour and fry the rabbit until well browned. When the rabbit is golden, transfer the the pieces to a roasting pan. Add one tablespoon of butter and place in the centre the oven. Discard the contents of the frying pan and wipe clean. While the rabbit is roasting in the oven, add one table spoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil to the cleaned pan. Add a handful of fresh garlic and as much chili as you can take, some whole fresh lemons cut into pieces (I was fortunate to have harvested some small sweet lemons from my tree the day before) and cook on low heat until the garlic is translucent before adding the contents of the pan to the hare in the roasting pan. Baste and turn the hare often and keep moist with good stock – about a spoon full at a time, adding stock when the hare appears too dry. Don’t add too much stock at a time, you never want to poach the hare (again I had very good stock on hand from pigeons I cooked the day before). Depending on the age of the hares it may take up to an hour before they are tender, but remember to keep it moist and toss frequently.
Enjoy with your favorite starch (we had potatoes and spinach from the garden)
Never forget the good home made wine. I tried the new cherry wine for the first time and Mrs BYF the new Rhubarb wine.
One can benefit greatly by living in close proximity to a keen forager with an eye for mushrooms. The mushroom season in Dunedin has been exceptionally good and boletus are plentiful should one know where to look for them. Mushroomers may share their haul, but will never, ever tell where their mushrooms are found! Our generous benefactors have shared their bounty with us and some of the most thrilling mushrooms, the puffballs, grow right here in their garden!
Recipe for fried puffball mushroom
1 Good sized puffball, firm and pure white right through when sliced. The inside has a marshmallow like texture
2 to 3 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup dried breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt and pepper added and mixed in
Use a cast iron or heavy based pan big enough to fry the mushroom slices in 2 ot 3 batches
Enough pork fat or vegetable oil to come up to about 2.5 ml up the side of the pan. Apart from the great taste, pork fat can be heated to a very high temperature, ideal for frying
I have written about puffballs before, and this one was prepared by again slicing it into ‘steaks’ about 15 mm thick, dipped in egg wash and coated in dried breadcrumbs. This time the slices were fried until golden in pork fat, processed in our kitchen from a delicious home grown porker. I highly recommend frying in pork fat but those that fear animal fat can use vegetable oil. We ate the mushroom, dressed with a few drop of fresh lemon juice and ground black pepper, for dinner along with fresh tomatoes that ripened in Dunedin’s first hot summer since we moved here. The tiny lemons are from the tiny tree planted in our front garden 2 seasons ago.
Only flour for making the bread to produce crumbs and salt and pepper were purchased to produce this lovely meal.
After spending a whole day combing through Archives of Mezzano Martello in Milano, I was thrown out at 15H00, because they wanted to close for the day.
On recommendation of my wife, I made my way to the Navigli in Milano for a memorable lunch / dinner.
The Navigli of Milan are the artificial canals constructed between 1179 (Naviglio Grande) and the 16th century (Naviglio Martesana) with the purpose of making Milan accessible from the Ticino and Adda rivers.
I enjoyed the home made Gnocchi as a Primi and Polenta with Eggs and Truffle as a Secondi with fried Artchokes as a Contorni. Even though the place was still very quiet and empty as it only comes to live at night, it was a memorable and enjoyable experience.
I was on my way to the cemetery of Caselle Landi, a small village not far from my house, in search of more information on a certain Marchesa Landi, married to Douglas Scotti, who lived in my property, Mezzano Martello, in the 1870’s. I could however not resist to take a detour after passing this sign on the side of the road.
I always wondered what it would be like to have a hectare under snails, producing 10 Tonnes of snails a year.
They have planted covered areas in winter where the snails can hide from the winter snow, as well as little houses made out of wood as additional cover, with lots of tiny snails in there when you lift the roofs. The extra growth of plant material is then removed to allow maximum snail growth during the warmer months. Harvesting in summer happens once a week for both eating and cosmetics purposes.
I left with 1 Kg of snails and convinced my friend at the delicatessen, cum restaurant, at Castelnuovo Bocca d’Adda to cook these for me, offering him to join in the feast as a softener. He willigly obliged, but said it would take some days to clean (purify) the snails before cooking.
I am having a hard time waiting until Thusday evening to see how he prepares the snails.
If it was me, I would have fried them in the shells in butter and lots of garlic, then adding some parsley just before removing it from the heat, and serve it with lots of fresh bread and lots of GOOD RED WINE.
Summer being the season of abundance should result in a busy kitchen preserving for the leaner months. Today the leeks were harvested, cleaned and boiled for 5 minutes in apple cider vinegar with some bay leaves and black pepper corns. Drain and discharge the vinegar. Neatly pack the leeks, bay leaves and pepper corns in preserving jars and fill and cover completely with extra virgin olive oil. Wait one moth before using.
Ravioli Pigeon Filling
In a pan add a handful of chopped Pancetta and fry slightly. After a few minutes add some chopped garlic, carrots, celery and onion. Fry all together until the onion is well soft. In another pan add some olive oil and brown the pigeons on all sides. Add salt and pepper to taste. When well browned add a cup of good red wine and let the wine evaporate for some minutes. Now add the contents of both pans together and combine with about 500 g of Passata. Simmer slowly in an open pan and keep moist with some good stock, Cook until the meat is very soft and coming off the bone. When cooled, remove the meat from the carcass and cut it fine, then return it to the pan with all the sauce. Cook only for a few minutes and make sure it is well mixed and the correct moisture content, if too dry add some more stock. Taste for salt and pepper and correct if required.
● 100 g Pancetta
● 6 Cloves of garlic
● 2 Medium carrots
● 2 Celery sticks
● 1 Pinch of dried chilli or 1 fresh chilli
● 4 Medium sized onions
● Salt and Pepper
All of the above finely chopped
● 100 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
● 6 Pigeons
● 200 ml Good red wine
● 500 g Passata
● 1 Litre stock
Mix the egg and flour together and knead until uniform and smooth. It should be a fairly firm dough and if not correct, adjust by adding either more milk or more flour. I coloured mine by adding green Cavolo nero sauce to one third and red plum sauce to another third, thus getting tri colours
● 5 Eggs beated slightly
● 500 g Plain flour – Preferably Tipo 00
Roll pasta dough out with a pasta machine to a medium thickness. Lay one sheet down and place enough filling in little balls on top of the dough so that your pasta press will cover it. Make many rows of filling, spaced to accommodate the ravioli press. Now layer another sheet over the first and the filling balls, then press and cut with ravioli press. Flour well and keep until used.
Boil enough water to accommodate tall the pasta and when boiling well dump the ravioli in the boiling water. When they are floating, cook for another two minutes and then scoop out with a slotted spoon. Serve on pre warmed plates and dress with melted butter and sage sauce
● Grated Parmigiano or Grana Padana
● 10 Sage leaves
Add enough grated Parmigiano and do not forget the Home made Red Wine
Feral Pigeons are responsible for substantial grain losses to farmers who feed grain to their stock. From time to time hunters are invited by farmers to come and assist in controlling the numbers and recently I was fortunate to be the beneficiary of such harvest. Being a minimalist and striving towards self sufficiency, I slaughtered and cleaned the birds for the pot and very little was wasted. Backbones, wing tips and excess skin was all used in making perfect stock. The offal was all cleaned and used to make perfect “La Coratella”. Leaving me with perfect pigeon carcasses, well packed in vacuum bags for many sumptuous meals to come (see my next post for Ravioli di Piccione)