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.
If one has space to grow pumpkins (I dug up some of the front lawn to plant mine), gorgeous, fresh, yellow flowers are a great perk this time of the year. Fried simply they are spectacular on the plate and the crispness of the batter and tasty flower make them the best starter for any meal.
Fried Pumpkin Flowers
Luke warm water
salt to taste
Use a whisk to mix the salt and flour well. Add small amounts of water and keep whisking until a batter forms that is the consistency of cream. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, the oil should be about 3 cm deep and very hot. Dip each flower in the batter, top and bottom, shake off excess batter and slip the flower into the oil. When crisp and slightly coloured remove an drain on kitchen paper. Do not overcrowd the pan. When done arrange all the flowers on a serving platter, serve hot.
ENJOY with a glass of home made wine!
The joys of fresh organic produce straight out of the garden. The less complicated a dish is, the more chance there is of it being superb. I go so far that before looking at a new dish, I count the ingredients and if the list is too long, it does not even warrant my time to read any further. Carciofi bolliti is the ultimate of simplicity, and in our house probably the favorite way to eat these wonderful flowers. Boil the already cleaned and prepared carciofi in water until the leaves are easy to pull off with a gentle tug. Drain and serve with a bowl of very good extra virgin olive oil, salted to taste (about a teaspoon of salt per 1/2 cup of oil) Pull the leaves off one by one and dip in the olive oil salt mixture and rip the flesh off with your front teeth – discard the hard part. Of coarse the younger the flower and the closer you get to the heart, the more and more of the leave you can eat. When all the leaves are gone and the heart is exposed, make sure the choke is not stringy, and if so, remove and discard before eating the heart – soft and creamy.
Enjoy!!! Do not forget a piece of home made bread to mop up all the olive oil and wash it down with good home made wine.
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
Lately I have had this constant craving for eggplant, probably as I have not been able to grow it in Dunedin (yet). So I have to believe the merchant selling it to me that it is organic and fresh, but fortunately the rest of the ingredients for this dish has been home produced. I am surprised by the amount of tomatoes coming from the Dunedin garden – mostly the result of love and tender care to the plants on the front veranda by Mrs BYF. The milk to make the Mozzarella is not from Bufala, but from our very good Jersey dairy in Port Chalmers. Basil was in abundance this year from my miniature hothouse in the back yard.
Cut the eggplant in rounds, ad salt and leave for half an hour. Rinse off the salt and dry properly. Dust with flour and fry in a pan of hot oil until soft. Now assemble in a buttered oven baking dish, the eggplant, then mozzarella and finish with a slice of very ripe tomato and a slither of garlic. Add salt and pepper. Drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil an bake in the oven at 200 C for 15 minutes. Finish with a decorative basil leave and some more olive oil and serve hot.
ENJOY with a glass of good home made red wine !!
Fresh vegetables in the pan
Ad cooked Orechiette
Frittedda fit for a King
Today my harvest amounted to one handful of broadbeans, one handful of tiny carrots that were meant to be big, some wild fennel leaves, a few cardoon flowers and an onion. Undaunted, Mrs BYO made one of the best pasta sauces we have ever had, modeled on the La Frettedda made in spring in Sicily. The main thing is to use fresh vegetables straight from the garden. Peas are normally used in stead of the little carrots, but my peas get grazed from the plant long before maturity by the grand kids. The fennel used in Italy for this recipe is wild fennel.
LA FRITTEDDA (the amounts are arbitrary – use what you have)
1 cup broadbeans out of the pod. Remove the skin from the bigger beans
1 cup small carrots whole, or fresh garden peas
6 cardoon flowers, boiled, outer leaves and choke removed, leaving only the tasty hearts. Normally artichoke hearts are used, but I hate wasting the tasty little cardoon flowers
1 onion finely chopped
pinch of peperonchino (chili flakes)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
fennel leaves or flowers to taste
a strip or two of pancetta (home made off coarse), leave this ingredient out if you do not have any (any smoked meat like bacon will ruin the fresh taste of the vegetables)
adding tomato is considered a crime!
Soften the onion and pancetta in the olive oil. Add the chili and all the vegetables. Slice the artichoke hearts up if they are too big. If the vegetables are fresh they cook in a few minutes, so your pasta must be almost cooked by the time you add the vegetables to the onion in the pan. We liked the orecchiette (little ears) type of pasta with this sauce.
ENJOY and do not forget the home made wine!!