Cavolo al Forno (Italian style Roast Cabbage)

B80F99FD-08E2-4730-93C9-DE51EF9A1288

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.

Ingredients

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

Method

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

ENJOY!!

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!!

12 Bits and Pieces Vegetable Lunch

Today we needed a quick light lunch. I have come to the conclusion that the more vegetables I bring in from the garden, the more innovative Mrs BYF becomes. I decided to post this recipe that can never be repeated because it was delicious and used up all the bits and pieces I have produced and harvested.

1/2   cup thinly sliced swede
4     handfuls radish tops, washed and picked. Discard the bigger stems and eat the radishes
8   small tomatoes some not fully ripe, some over ripe
2   handfuls of very tiny potatoes
4   very small zucchini and whatever flowers are left, diced
1   small but evil chilli
1  thumb nail sized bit of fresh ginger
1/2  medium onion
1   tablespoon or much more chopped garlic
 4  tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
1  sprig of rosemary just because I got it for free from the museum foyer on Anzac Day
3 fried quail eggs (runny yolk) on top of each serve. The egg is optional but makes all the difference according to Mrs BYF who can eat eggs for every meal, every day of the week
Method
Put the washed radish tops in a pot , cover and fry until the leaves have wilted. In the mean time, fry the onion until translucent in the olive oil along with the garlic, chilli, ginger and rosemary.  When the onion is ready add the potatoes (boil them first if they are bigger than your pinky nail)  and the swede. Fry quickly until all is soft and integrated. Add a spoonful of water if necessary. Lastly, add the tomatoes and fry for a minute. Serve when everything is soft and just before the tomatoes burst. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add a ladle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and cracked Black Pepper and enjoy while washing it all down with a glass, or two, of home made Cherry and Black Current Wine. Scoop up the sauce with home made bread.

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.

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!!

Gnocchi di Patate

I have been honoured by my good friends, Peter and Mary, with a hessian bag full of just dug up organic potatoes.  As my wife is away in another country for some months, I have had nightmares as to how I am going to eat through this mountain (as wel as all the other reserves in the pantry) all on my own. My decision was to attack from the beginning and start cooking and eating them immediately. My first endeavour is gnocchi di patate.

In making good gnocchi there are two golden rules to follow : 1 – Never be aggressive in handling the product. 2 – Never use eggs in the recipe as many experts propagate. The reason for this is that both transgressions cause the end product to be gooey, solid and rubbery.

Place 1 Kg unpeeled potatoes in abundant cold salted water. Bring the water to a boil and boil for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size. The pototoes should be soft, but not coming apart. Never pierce the potatoes to test if they are done as this makes them absorb water and your dough would be too wet. Peel the potatoes as soon as it has cooled enough to handle and put it through a potato ricer.  Ad a pinch of black pepper and salt. Mix about 150 g of fine flour (Tipo 00) with the potatoes by hand until it comes together. We say abbastanza, which means – just enough. So ad the flour in stages until the dough just come together but still a bit sticky. Do not over work the dough and if you still see some potato particles it is fine. Roll the dough into long sticks of about 25 mm thick and cut across in about 25 mm long gnocchi pieces. Form the gnocchi now with a gnocchi former or fork and set aside.

In a large enough pan prepare your sauce. Any sauce normally associated with pasta can be used. A very popular sauce is butter and sage. I have been lucky to have some pesto, which I have made some weeks ago, to use. Boil the gnocchi in abundant salted water until they float and then for another 10 seconds. Mix with the sauce in the pan over low heat for a short period and serve hot, topped with some cracked black pepper and grated parmigiano.

Gnocchi can me made well in advance and kept for a few days in a sealed container in the fridge.

Enjoy with abundant home made red wine!

Focaccia

Having two young men of four and six years old (grandchildren), visiting twice a week, who grew up enjoying some of Nonno’s best efforts in baking bread, and who are now considering themselves as experts, Nonno has to keep up the quality and deliver at least twice a week. Normally focaccia in this house has garlic and rosemary as toppings, which meet with the approval of the critics. Last week I tried a plain focaccia with olive oil and salt, which was instantly rejected as quality. This week I am trying my hand at tomato and garlic – let us wait on feedback from the experts.2017-03-12 - Focaccia 2