Foglie di Cavolo ripieni di Carne (Meat filled Cabbage Rolls)

The harvest from our organic Back Yard Farm continues and every time Mrs BYF delivers.

Carefully remove the larger outer leaves of the cabbage and blanch them in boiling water until they are soft and flexible

Ingredients

1 small onion finely chopped

1 cup of pork mince
1 thick slice of white Italian style bread, dipped in milk, squeezed and crumbled
1  egg
1 handful of mixed fresh herbs, parsley, oregano, bit of thyme,  a sprig of rosemary, whatever you have, finely chopped
1 pinch of chili flakes
salt and pepper
Oil for frying

Method

Mix all the ingredients together well
Shape the mixture into rounded patties and fry until brown in a pan with some olive oil. Then lay each patty in the center of a cabbage leaf and fold the leaf so that the filling does not escape. Put the leaves folded side down in a pot that will hold all the rolls in a single layer. Add a few spoon fulls of good meat stock or water if you do not have stock. If you have a Dutch Oven or a heavy pot with a tightly fitting lid you can simmer the dish on the stove for 30 minutes until tender, adding a spoon full of good meat stock or water if you do not have stock, when needed. The rolls can also be baked in the oven at 190 C for 30 minutes.
We ate the rolls with polenta, but brown rice cooked with a hand full of lentils would also be good
Do not forget to enjoy this wonderful meal with enough home made wine
ENJOY!!

Lepre al Limone di Domenico

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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.

ENJOY!!!!

 

Ravioli di Carne di Piccione

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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

Ravioli Pasta

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

ENJOY!!

Lepre Selvatica – Wild Herbed Rabbit alla Mrs BYF

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Today’s lunch

I was given a lovely, lean, young rabbit that was hunted yesterday. We decided to have it for lunch today, without marinating or ageing it. We had not shopped in a while and had used up all the home grown garlic, so Mrs BYF asked me to pick a few handfuls of all the herbs I have growing in the garden. This is a great pleasure to do, because herbs grow very well in Dunedin. The resulting dish, which she called ‘Herbed Rabbit’ was one of her memorable efforts. The meal cost us the price of a serve of polenta and the 2 Italian sausages (made by me) that were leftovers from a birthday party.
Recipe: Herbed Rabbit ( you can use chicken also)
 
1  rabbit skinned, cleaned  washed and cut up. Save the livers, heart and kidneys for
    killer pasta sauce later.
1  small leek, sliced finely, including the green tops
1  bowl (about 4 handfuls) of all the fresh herbs you have, chopped fine. I picked
    rosemary, thyme, marjoram,  sage, oregano and chives
    Salt, pepper and a tiny pinch of chili flakes
    A splash of red wine
    Juice of 2 lemons
    A splash of apple cider vinegar (made by me)
2  leftover Italian sausages. I have given the recipe elsewhere on the blog but you may
    want to just buy some
Brown the rabbit pieces thoroughly in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Use a deep pan that can fit the rabbit without overlapping. Remove the browned rabbit from the pan and keep warm. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the leeks and herbs and fry for a few minutes. Put the rabbit pieces and the sliced sausages on top of the herbs, add the vinegar and lemon juice and a bit of water to the pan and cover. Cook at medium heat, turning occasionally and adding a few spoonfuls of water to prevent sticking. The completed dish will have no water in the pan, just the rich green herby sauce. You can blend the sauce briefly if your don’t like the bits of herb under your teeth.
The taste of this dish made with what we had on hand surpassed our expectations by far. We finally used up a huge amount of the herbs, this time of the year and attained our goal of eating great food to almost no cost.
Enjoy with some heavy homemade red wine!

We Slaughtered the Pig

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It is Italian tradition to slaughter at least one pig once per year so as to make all the salumi required for the rest of the year. I have made some pork liver salami and sausages (Salsiccia di Fegato di Maiale) on the day the pig was killed while waiting for the pig to cure for a week.  Today we made some Salami and Cacciatori sausages. Tomorrow it will be Pancetta, Coppa and Prosciutto. In the mean time we make stock from all the bones and rendered the fat from the skins and small off cuts to either use for cooking or to make soap with.

The Italians are very generous and seldom do your friends leave your home without some of your home produce for them to try at their own place. Likewise you never leave a friends home without more gifts than what you brought. Every Italian province, district and town have their own food and recipes. It goes so far that every family and family member has their own special way to prepare a dish, which obviously is better than anybody else can dream to make it. Food is often the main talking point around the table and when somebody asks you for a recipe, you know that they know you can prepare the specific dish better than what they can. You always oblige and provide them with the recipe, minus a few essential ingredients and omitting at least one of the important steps – this way you can stay as the master of that specific dish.

So please do not ask me for a sausage recipe!

Coniglio a Porchetta (Rabbit with Wild Fennel)

In the Italian Viterbo area where this recipe stems from, the term “porchetta”, which means roasted pig, is applied to any dish that use wild fennel, being it fresh or dried flowers. The wild flowers should not be confused with fennel seeds.

I am fortunate to have access to hunting areas and friends that hunt rabbits with me. I also breed rabbits for the table on a regular basis. Last week, I could not make it to the hunt and my friend was good enough to bring the only Hare they shot for me to cook. I also have a good friend across the road that showed me the wild fennel growing in the old quarry across the road, so I had assembled all the ingredients for my dish of wild hare with wild fennel!

Wild Hare with Fennel

Ingredients

One large Hare, cleaned, gutted and washed
Heart, liver and kidneys of the Hare (Coratella) – Cleaned, washed and cubed or minced
Extra Virgin olive oil
Six large sage leaves
4 Garlic cloves – cleaned and crushed
1 Cup dry white wine (the best is  from Orvieto)
2 Medium potatoes peeled and cubed
2 Slices of Prosciutto or Pancetta (home made if possible)
1 handful of rosemary leaves
Half a handful of fresh Fennel Flowers
12 Black Olives – pitted
Salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 150C. Heat some olive oil in a heavy pan and ad the coratella, sage, half the garlic, salt and pepper. Brown the coratella, add the wine  that you have not drunk yet and allow it to evaporate. Ad the potatoes and mix through, then take it off the heat. Wrap the coratella mixture in the prosciuto. Stuff  the hare with the fennel, rosemary and wrapped coratella. Sow the rabbit up so the stuffing would not fall out. Put some olive oil in a heavy oven pan large enough to take the whole hare. Add the hare to he pan with the rest of the garlic, salt and pepper. Roast the hare about two hours. Halfway through the roasting process, add the olives  and the rest of the wine you have not drunk. Turn it once or twice and baste it every so often. If the rabbit legs look dry, wrap the leg ends in aluminium foil.

ENJOY!!

Do not forget the home made red wine!

Swan Sausages

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Following another successful day of hunting ducks, I returned home not only with a few ducks, but also with some swans. Being a keen sausage maker, I thought it appropriate to make my first ever swan sausages. After spending considerable time “hunting” through all of my cook books, it was not a huge surprise to come up empty handed for swan sausages. I adapted some wild duck recipes and made a few kilograms each of basil and sun dried tomato, sage and swan and pork sausages. After tasting all of these, which are all very delightful, I came to the conclusion that the swan taste is very strong and over powering camouflaging the subtle tastes of the spices and next time I shall have to blend it with some milder meats.  Overall a very interesting and delightful experience.