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.

 

 

12 Bits and Pieces Vegetable Lunch

Today we needed a quick light lunch. I have come to the conclusion that the more vegetables I bring in from the garden, the more innovative Mrs BYF becomes. I decided to post this recipe that can never be repeated because it was delicious and used up all the bits and pieces I have produced and harvested.

1/2   cup thinly sliced swede
4     handfuls radish tops, washed and picked. Discard the bigger stems and eat the radishes
8   small tomatoes some not fully ripe, some over ripe
2   handfuls of very tiny potatoes
4   very small zucchini and whatever flowers are left, diced
1   small but evil chilli
1  thumb nail sized bit of fresh ginger
1/2  medium onion
1   tablespoon or much more chopped garlic
 4  tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
1  sprig of rosemary just because I got it for free from the museum foyer on Anzac Day
3 fried quail eggs (runny yolk) on top of each serve. The egg is optional but makes all the difference according to Mrs BYF who can eat eggs for every meal, every day of the week
Method
Put the washed radish tops in a pot , cover and fry until the leaves have wilted. In the mean time, fry the onion until translucent in the olive oil along with the garlic, chilli, ginger and rosemary.  When the onion is ready add the potatoes (boil them first if they are bigger than your pinky nail)  and the swede. Fry quickly until all is soft and integrated. Add a spoonful of water if necessary. Lastly, add the tomatoes and fry for a minute. Serve when everything is soft and just before the tomatoes burst. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add a ladle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and cracked Black Pepper and enjoy while washing it all down with a glass, or two, of home made Cherry and Black Current Wine. Scoop up the sauce with home made bread.

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!!

Uova alla Fiorentina (Eggs Fiorentina)

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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

Cured Salmon

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Fresh South Island salmon from our friend Ross Hutchinson at Blue Water Products in Dunedin is an excellent product for this easy to make delicacy.

Fillet and de – bone one FRESH salmon. Mix 800 gram coarse sea salt and 200 gram granulated sugar with the grated rind of two organic fresh lemons. In the bottom of a large enough stainless steel container to have both fillets lying flat and  not touching, place a layer of the salt mixture. Now lay the fillets, skin side down, on the salt mixture and cover well with the rest of the salt mixture. The fillets should be totally covered. Refrigerate for 24 hours, then turn the fish over and again completely cover it with the salt mixture. Refrigerate again for 24 hours. Remove the fillets and wash very well under cold running water until all the salt is washed off. Pat dry with paper and your salmon is ready to eat. I normally cut it into four pieces and vacuum seal those pieces I am not going to eat immediately. In the vacuum sealed bags in the fridge these should last a good four weeks.

Today we had quail eggs topped with truffles Mrs BYF brought back from the promised land, with cured salmon and fresh garden salad – sprinkled with ground black pepper and a dash of olive oil. Excellent with home made ciabatta and home made wine.

Another, and a big favorite in our house, is to place a bit of home made ricotta on a piece of fresh pane di casa and top it with cured salmon and caper berries, freshly ground black pepper and a dash of good olive oil. Wash all of this down with the best Italian Prosecco you can afford and pretend you are in heaven

ENJOY!!