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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
PS – At the last count I had enough pumpkins seeds to produce 60 kilograms odf pumpkin for the next 113 years
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
Fresh egg pasta and quail ragu shall always remain one of my favorites. Mrs BYF took off to foreign shores (again) and I shall have to look after myself for ten weeks. Tuesday being slaughter day and the quails were young, plump and very soft, so I decided to treat myself. While slowly simmering the quail ragu, I decanted a bottle of Blackcurrant wine, made on 2014-09-01, for the occasion. Even though I already racked it twice (and tasted it every time) I was pleasantly surprised. This is a bold and concentrated full bodied dark red wine with a pleasant strong velvety aroma and an endless after taste. Being young, I shall bottle tomorrow and keep it for some time and I am sure it is going to be very good as the bottle I had with the paste was excellent. I am fortunate to have made about 70 liters of this wine and I shall post the recipe later during the week.
Recipe for fresh paste
Mix 500 g plain flour with 20 quail eggs (5 chicken eggs). Knead until smooth (ad water or flour to get the correct consistency), cover and place in the fridge for one hour. Fold and roll the dough several times through the thickest setting on the pasta machine, then gradually pass it through at a thinner setting each time, until the desired thickness is obtained. Use ample amounts of flour whilst rolling the dough. The pasta can now be used or allowed to dry for later use. This fresh pasta cooks very fast and is ready in less than five minutes.
Fried eggs for breakfast. The unique thing was not the bit of chili and butter in the pan but that the eggs were from top to bottom: bought brown hens egg , pure white egg, laid by my Ancona hen, egg laid by my guinea fowl hen and a pretty speckled egg laid by my quail hen. In the pan the pale yellow is the bought egg and the middle egg beside it is the guinea fowl egg. The latter took a bit longer to cook than the others. Very tasty treat. Yolk color is more often than not an indication of quality of the feed consumed and the general well being of the bird.
This morning’s breakfast was a feast put together by Mrs BYF (I knew it was breakfast, because I did not have wine with the meal). Borage (Borago officinalis) is one of the plants that actually thrives in Dunedin’s whether, so one has to make the most of it. The flowers and young leaves are delightful in a salad and the older leaves can be cooked like spinach as a side vegetable. Making a frittata with home made Cacciatore sausages was not only very pretty, but also exquisite.
Fry some onions and garlic in butter and olive oil in a heavy pan, ad the sausage and fry until it starts to color, then ad the borage leaves and cook until almost done. In the mean time, lightly beat 24 quail eggs (6 chicken eggs) with six tablespoons of water. Ad a bit of grated parmigiano cheese, salt and pepper and pour into the pan with the other ingredients. Turn the temperature down to medium and leave, without stirring, for a few minutes until it just starts to set on the top. Now put in in the oven under the grill until lightly brown. ENJOY !!! (If after 10H00 a good red wine is permitted)