Porro Sott’olio

Summer being the season of abundance should result in a busy kitchen preserving for the leaner months. Today the leeks were harvested, cleaned and boiled for 5 minutes in apple cider vinegar with some bay leaves and black pepper corns. Drain and discharge the vinegar. Neatly pack the leeks, bay leaves and pepper corns in preserving jars and fill and cover completely with extra virgin olive oil. Wait one moth before using.

Feral Pigeons

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)

FORMAGGIO DI CONTADINI

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This Farmers Cheese recipe is a big favorite of mine and is very easy to make. The cheese is ready in four weeks and may be a bit flaky, but is very flavorful.

Heat milk to 32 C

Add Mesophilic Starter, dissolved in Distlilled Water, stir well

Cover and keep at 32 C for 45 minutes to ripen

Add Rennet, diluted in Distilled Water, stir gently up and down for 1 minute. Top stir for 1 minute

Cover and keep at 32C to set for 45 minutes

Cut the curd in 6 mm cubes

Slowly heat curds and whey in a double boiler to 38 C (About 30 minutes from 32 C to 38 C)

Stir curds gently to prevent matting

Cover container and keep at 38 C for another 5 minutes

Pour curds into cheesecloth lined colander

Hang the cheesecloth to drain for 1 hour, out of draft to keep curds warm

Put curds in a bowl and break gently with hands to walnut size pieces

Mix in 1 g of fine salt per liter of milk

Firmly pack curds into cheesecloth lined mould

Apply 5 Kg pressure for 10 minutes

Remove curds from mould, turn over and put into cheesecloth lined mould

Apply 10 Kg pressure for 10 minutes

Remove curds from mould, turn over and put into cheesecloth lined mould

Apply 20 Kg pressure for 12 hours

Remove cheese from mould

Air dry at room temperature on wooden board for about 2 – 4 days

Turn cheese several times per day until rind has formed

Wax or vacuum seal

Age for at least one month

 

 

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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Only drink Council water if you want to get rid of worms

This makes me think of the old story about the priest whose flock had a higher than average alcohol consumption habit – a problem he could not resolve. He however thought to give it another go during his next sermon and as a demonstration at the beginning had two glasses, one filled with water, the other with wine and he dropped a couple of worms in each. At the end of the sermon he pointed out to the congregation that the worms in the water was still wriggling whereas those in the wine were dead.  Hopefully, he asked the attendees what conclusion could they come to from this and soon an old gentleman in the front row rose to a stand and said ” Yesh, to get rid of worms in ones intestines one should avoid water and drink a lot of wine”

Yesterday was cheese making day and  I discovered that I had no home made distilled water to re generate the frozen starter cultures. Instead I used tap water, with disastrous results. The milk would not even begin to form curds. After a lot of soul searching, I concluded that DCC must have put such a lot of chlorine and whatever other chemicals in the water (after the water contamination scare of last week) that their water obviously killed any bacteria, enzyme and other living matter in my cultures and in the milk. I took half a day and made some distilled water and tried to make cheese again, but now using CLEAN water – eureka!  Perfect cheeses made for the cheese safe!

Needless to say, as always, I am not surprised at the poor state of health of the general population. Agricultural pollution, faulty pipes, and bad government all contribute to polluted drinking water.  I can only imagine what the chemically laden dirty water does to our gut fauna and flora and subsequent health.

ONLY drink council water if you want to get rid of worms – I have already ordered my rainwater tank.

 

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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!!