If you have any lemons left after making  Limoncello, you may as well make some delicious PASTA AL LIMONE
When my friend joined me for an afternoon of cheese making Mrs BYF had collected all the leftover ricotta (1/2 cup) and about 1 cup of mascarpone (which had turned out a bit sour) I had made a few days ago and made a great pasta sauce. She melted the cheeses and a tablespoon of butter over a very slow heat while the pasta was cooking, added some lemon rind and a few squeezes of lemon juice, bit of salt and pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes. After adding a few spoonfuls of pasta water she added the drained pasta to the pan and served it with a generous dusting of parmigiano cheese. It was delicious and my friend wanted the recipe. As with a lot of her best dishes her passion for using the ingredients at hand it can never be repeated!

The secret is home made cheese. The ricotta we can buy here is not edible, whereas one can buy reasonable mascarpone made by Tatua. Having lovely organic lemons from a neighbour’s mum’s tree in Wellington is also an inspiration to make this simple but elegant dish.


Panettone is traditionally eaten throughout Italy and the world by Italians during the Christmas period. The origin of panettone is from Milan where we consume it all year round. It is a tedious and long process to make, but always worth the while.


First kneading

150 g Sugar

15 g Natural Live Yeast

260 g Biga (50:50)

200 g Egg Yolks

340 g Flour

220 g Butter

1185 g TOTAL


Dissolve the sugar and live yeast in the Biga, then add the egg yolks and flour and mix well until even. Ad the soft butter and mix well. Let it levitate 12 to 14 hours at 25°C or until triple in volume.

Second Kneading

200 g Flour

35 g Sugar

50 g Egg Yolks

50 g Butter

10 g Salt

3 g Vanilla Pods

200 g Sultanas pre-soaked and dried

180 g Candied Fruit

50 g Orange Peel

778 g TOTAL



Knead the flour and first kneading until elastic. Add the sugar and the egg yolks and mix / knead thoroughly, then add the butter, salt and vanilla and mix until even. Lastly add the fruit and mix well.

Let the dough proof for one hour, then divide into portions and let it rest for another hour. Pirlare (to make the dough round) and place into moulds lined with baking paper.

Levitate at 30°C for 5 to 6 hours or until triple in volume. Bake at 160C for twenty minutes, rotate the moulds and bake another 40 minutes at 150 C (Approximately 60 minutes per kilogram for each mould). When taken from the oven, turn upside-down and rest for at least 3 hours, then put in bags and store.

For some time we every year imported a 10 Kg Albertengo Moscato Panettone from Albertnego in Italy.

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Drunken Apricots

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We had the good fortune to be invited to pick apricots near Dunback. The day was clear and sunny and this year the trees were laden with sweet, ripe, pink cheeked fruit. The orchard is organic and amazingly free of bugs, wasps, birds and the like and the taste of the fruit was the best we had ever eaten.

Sheep roam the orchard and once we had explained the difference between sheep poo (ok) and dog poo (not ok) to the city kids, everyone got stuck in, munching and chatting as they picked in the shade of the trees. The baby grazed on whatever fruit he found on the ground until he announced “I don’t NEED apricots!” . When I commented on the meagre contents on Mrs BYF’s bucket she claimed to have eaten at least one tree’s worth and that it should be factored in to her harvest.

We had a great day out in the peaceful countryside. We met lovely hospitable people, drank great coffee and beer, and came home happy and pleased with our haul.

Back in the kitchen, we made jam, dried some, froze some, preserved some, and, with the smallest fruit, bottled them in grappa. We will need some warmth when the Dunedin winter bites so hopefully we will be able to keep our hands off these bottles until then.

Preserved Fruit

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With a glut of fresh fruit available during summer I try to preserve as much as possible for the winter months. Space is at a premium so I do not have room for lots of canned or frozen goods. The best way for me to solve the problem is to vacuum seal the fresh cleaned fruit and then to pasteurise the pouches in a hot water bath.  Different products are processed at temperatures and times specific for the product. After pasteurisation the sealed items should stay fresh in the pantry for a few seasons, although we use everything in winter and start again in summer!

Low-Fat Fad Has Done Unfathomable Harm – Eat Healthy


Celery, Leeks, Fennel and Potato Recipes

I harvested celery, leeks, fennel and potatoes this week. As usual the question is how to put my harvest to good use without using the same recipe twice. I have a picky household that does not tolerate the same dish twice in one week so here are my efforts so far:

Crunchy Celery, Fennel and Apple Salad 

1 bunch of celery chopped in to bite sized pieces. Keep the leaves for stock making.

1 apple cut in small pieces

1 fennel bulb shaved thinly

1 orange – 1/2  juiced and 1/2 cut in bite sized pieces

salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything in together.  You can change the quantities to suit your taste as it is hard to get this one wrong. You will have a pale looking salad so liven it up by sprinkling the dark green fennel fronds, cut decoratively, over. The trick is to prepare and assemble this salad just before serving, any delay causes the apple to discolor a bit. 

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Celery, Leek and Potato 

8 tablespoons of olive oil

500 g peeled potatoes cut in pieces

1 head of celery, stems only, keep the leaves for stock making

1/2 lemon juiced


Use a heavy pot with a lid. Put the olive oil and celery in and add water until the celery is covered. Cover the pot and boil until the celery is softened about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and cover the mix with water again. Add salt and lemon juice. Cover the pot and boil until everything is tender and no liquid barring the oil is left (this is important). Serve hot or at room temperature. I used it as a side with the week end barbecue but the dish is robust enough to  eat as a main with some bread.