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

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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

Multi Purpose Rocket

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Yet another crop with many uses! This time it is rocket which is in abundance in our garden at this time of the year, sowing itself all the time.. Apart from great salads and pesto, the flowers make a really nice display for the kitchen window sill. Also enjoy the pesto as a pasta sauce, with fish or on fresh bread or toast

Pesto Recipe

100 g Pesto Leaves

25 g roasted Pine Nuts

20 g fresh Garlic

150 g Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 g Salt

Blend all the above ingredients well in a blender, or if you have the energy, mash it up in a mortar and pestle

50 g grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padana cheese

20 g grated Pecorino cheese

40 g melted Butter

Fold the above indigents into the blended product

 

It will last up to a week in the fridge, but is better fresh (after resting for about an hour from making it – the pesto not you)

ENJOY and do not forget a glass of the home made red!!!

 

 

 

Casatiello Napoletana (Stuffed Easter Bread)

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There are many Easter Breads in Italy and each region has its own version, but most include whole, sometimes coloured, eggs. This specific recipe is from Napoli and is made in a pan with a hole in the middle, called a ruoto. The recipe is enough for two breads in 270 mm pans.

  • 800 g Bread Flour (Tipo 0)
  • 300 g  Water – luke warm
  • 5 g Honey or Molasses
  • 23 g Yeast – fresh
  • 500 g 1:1 Biga (Mother plant of yeast)
  • 100 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil – plus extra to smear the pans
  • 20 g Salt
  • 50 g Salami –  about 5 mm cubed
  • 50 g Pancetta – about 5 mm cubed
  • 50 g Cheese  – any melting mild cheese of your choice – about 5 mm cubed
  • 50 g Parmigiano or Grana Padana Cheese – about 5 mm cubed
  • 12 Quail eggs – fresh – Plus two to glaze the bread

Mix the honey, water and yeast and let it stand for 5 minutes. Now mix in the flour, biga, oil and salt and knead well. Let it proof until at least double in size, then knead briefly again. Divide the dough in two, but keep about 50 g to make strips to secure the eggs,  and roll each into a square of about 300 mm. Spread all the cheeses and meat on the squares and roll up. Place each roll in a well smeared pan in such a way that it fills the entire base of the pan. Now place the whole eggs evenly on the breads and secure each with two thin strips of dough. Proof until at least double in size. Glaze the top of the breads with beaten egg and bake at 220 C for 13 minutes. Turn the pans around and bake for another 20 minutes at 190 C.

Enjoy hot or cold, or the next day on the Easter Picnic.

 

 

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

 

 

MY HEART IS BLEEDING !!

http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/386052/farmer-buoyed-support

Raw Milk from the Loveliest Dairy Farm

 

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I have known Merral and Alex for some time now and they are probably some of the friendliest, kindest, intelligent and hard working people I have ever known. They came to New Zealand in 2000 and established the most wonderful dairy ever and did everything correctly by the book, working 16 – 18 hours per day for 16 years without a single day off. They provided many families with healthy, tasty and nutritious milk from their very well cared for and loved heard of Jersey cows, and made us all HAPPY. Now a possum infected a single heifer which has caused them to ABRUPTLY loose their LIVELIHOOD, INCOME AND DREAMS. A TB free New Zealand sounds very nice and taking conditions into consideration, it could probably not have been avoided, nor can anybody specifically be blamed, but it may just be time for the MPI to start WALKING THE WALK and stop TALKING THE TALK.

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