While I was cooking the Secondo Piatto, which in this case was Lepre alla Cacciatora (Hunter’s style Hare), I became peckish and looked around what I could do for a Primo Piatto. I had a few Radish leaves and some Polenta from the day before.
Ad a few spoons of good extra virgin olive oil to a cast iron pan and heat on medium to high. Cut the polenta in slices of about 20 mm thick and fry until lightly brown, then flip them over and fry the other side.
This is the same recipe we use for spinaci, silverbeet, and many other leaves. Wash the leaves and shake dry. Ad a tablespoon of good extra virgin olive oil to a heavy cast iron pan, then ad the leaves, some chopped garlic and some chilli, if wanted. Fry until all is nice and soft.
The above was made within a few minutes and some black pepper and parmigiano cheese finished it well. It was beautiful and went down well with some home made red.
A friend brought us a wonderful, big yellow swede. We admired it for a day while it sat on the kitchen bench, and this morning it got too much for Mrs BYF. She attacked it with the large chef’s knife and about 30 minutes later we had a delicious pasta. I only post the recipes I have used a lot and those that I am certainly going to use again. This recipe is one of those!
1/4 or less of a massive yellow swede cut into pencil shaped pieces
3 Cloves of garlic smashed and chopped
1 pinch of chilli
6 tablespoons of olive oil
3 eggs, lightly whisked
a few silver beet leaves optional ( I was digging and the plant was in the way)
salt and pepper
grated parmigiano cheese
Pour the olive oil in to a large pan with a lid. Add the garlic and the pinch of chilli. Add the rinsed and dried swede pieces and fry for a few minutes. Add a few spoonfuls of water and the silverbeet and cover the pan. Once the swede feels a bit soft and has turned a lovely dark yellow, uncover and let the water evaporate. Put the pasta in the salted boiling water and cook until done. Fry the swede a bit more until a little brown appears but turn off the heat before the swede disintegrates. Drain and put the pasta in the pan on top of the swede, wait until the sizzle has subsided then pour the egg over the pasta. Mix well by gently turning the mixture in the pan over a few times.
Serve with a generous sprinkling of parmigiano cheese and a bit of black pepper. A dash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil will enhance the flavour.
I took some rabbit back straps from the freezer yesterday as well as harvested fresh salad this morning, hoping to have it as a main today, but after four helpings of Mrs BYF’s swede pasta, the quails were very happy with the salad and the rabbit is back in the fridge.
The Cherry and Black Current Wine complimented this wonderful dish perfectly
I am harvesting a lot of cabbage. Cabbage is by far not my favourite vegetable, but Mrs BYF really loves cabbage in all forms. She is determined not to waste any part of the cabbage I brought in, so we have had the outer leaves stuffed yesterday, half of the cabbage fried along with some left over roast potatoes the day before, and today the other half roasted. The tastiest effort in my opinion was the roasted cabbage.
1 Head of cabbage sliced in 25mm thick slices, salt the slices very lightly on both sides
1/2 cup olive oil
1 pinch of salt
1 finely chopped chilli or pinch of flakes
4 cloves of peeled garlic
1 handful of fresh herbs from the garden i.e. oregano, thyme a sprig of rosemary
Heat the oven to 200C
Crush the garlic and add to the oil. Add the salt and chilli and drench the bunch of herbs in the oil. Use the herbs as a brush to coat the slices of cabbage on both sides with the oil. Place the cabbage on a baking tray or pan, pour over the rest of the oil, and toss in the bunch of herbs. Bake for 25 minutes or until some of the outer leaves are crispy and the rest shows some brown colour. The herbs will be delicious also.
We ate fresh baked bread with the dish, because one needs to sop up all the lovely juices from the plate and the pan
Do not forget the home made red wine
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
1 small onion finely chopped
1 cup of pork mince
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
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
I was on my way to the cemetery of Caselle Landi, a small village not far from my house, in search of more information on a certain Marchesa Landi, married to Douglas Scotti, who lived in my property, Mezzano Martello, in the 1870’s. I could however not resist to take a detour after passing this sign on the side of the road.
I always wondered what it would be like to have a hectare under snails, producing 10 Tonnes of snails a year.
They have planted covered areas in winter where the snails can hide from the winter snow, as well as little houses made out of wood as additional cover, with lots of tiny snails in there when you lift the roofs. The extra growth of plant material is then removed to allow maximum snail growth during the warmer months. Harvesting in summer happens once a week for both eating and cosmetics purposes.
I left with 1 Kg of snails and convinced my friend at the delicatessen, cum restaurant, at Castelnuovo Bocca d’Adda to cook these for me, offering him to join in the feast as a softener. He willigly obliged, but said it would take some days to clean (purify) the snails before cooking.
I am having a hard time waiting until Thusday evening to see how he prepares the snails.
If it was me, I would have fried them in the shells in butter and lots of garlic, then adding some parsley just before removing it from the heat, and serve it with lots of fresh bread and lots of GOOD RED WINE.
Feral Pigeons are responsible for substantial grain losses to farmers who feed grain to their stock. From time to time hunters are invited by farmers to come and assist in controlling the numbers and recently I was fortunate to be the beneficiary of such harvest. Being a minimalist and striving towards self sufficiency, I slaughtered and cleaned the birds for the pot and very little was wasted. Backbones, wing tips and excess skin was all used in making perfect stock. The offal was all cleaned and used to make perfect “La Coratella”. Leaving me with perfect pigeon carcasses, well packed in vacuum bags for many sumptuous meals to come (see my next post for Ravioli di Piccione)
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!!