Monday, August 21, 2006

Frontone

We went to Frontone to have lunch with Juan Ramón and Mari Carmen, two guests/friends from Spain. The day was not sunny but Frontone is quite photogenic even if the weather was not perfect.
BTW, I tried my Bread and butter pickles today and they are soooo yummy, my dad who has a sweet tooth and doesn't generally like greens a lot just LOVED them!
So, here's the photos of Frontone

Frontone Castle



The "door" leading out of the fortified village



Stunning view from the Castle (even in a cloudy day)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

More busy busy time and "pane col mosto"

The last week has been really busy, the house was full
Yesterday when most of the guests where gone I was sitting outside with Lennard and Marsha (wonderful returning guests from Holland) having a little liqueur and a chat. It was strange to see the house so empty and I was seriously missing the guests who had just left... and I thought: it's because of guests like this weeks' that I LOVE this job and this place. So a big THANK YOU to all the smiling guests (you know who you are) that make my job so nice and contribute in making the Locanda a warm place!

... back to huge amounts of fruit from the farm...
Uva americana (or uva fragola, Concord grapes in the US, I believe) is ready to be picked! We serve it for breakfast, make juice, jelly and I also use it for making Pane col mosto. Pane col mosto is a mildly sweet rich bread kneaded with fermented grape juice (not wine, just the juice when it starts bubbling).
For this recipe you need 270 gr "mosto" so you need 500 gr grapes approx, you squeeze them with your hands in a bowl, cover the bowl with a cloth and leave them there for two or three days. When it starts bubbling you filter the juice and this is more or less what you'll obtain



When you have the "mosto" you can start, you need:
500 gr flour
270 gr mosto
15 gr fresh yeast
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
100 gr sugar

50 gr raisins
50 gr almonds
50 gr walnuts
1 1/2 tsp anice seeds

Mix and knead the ingredients of the first group (make sure that the yeast doesn't touch the salt before it's mixed with the other ingredients).
Let rest until doubled.
Add the nuts and raisins



knead and form two loaves (use a bit of flour to make this easier)



Let double and bake (180º) for about 20 minutes



YUMMY!!!

This is some of tomorrow's breakfast

Busy busy time

The last week has been really really busy!
The house was full and the veggies and fruits are growing like crazy so we have to preserve, freeze, dry, prepare a lot.
My friend Judy from Divina Cucina, cooking school in Florence gave me the recipe of Bread and butter pickles that I've tried today (I'll post the outcomes as soon as I have some! you can find the recipe on her blog, my friend Paulina from Bulgaria (who lives in Denmark but whom I met in Madrid (!)) gave me her father's recipe for sweet and sour pickled cucumbers (I'm trying those too!).
Moreover I experimented a bit with a new recipe for sort of "erbazzoni". Erbazzone is a traditional savoury cake from Emilia ("half" of Emilia Romagna region) and I mixed a few different recipes and the ingredients I had from the farm and made these monodose erbazzone-like appetizers.
The filling is chicory sauteed with a bit of guanciale (pancetta-like but coming from the "cheek" of the pork) and the pastry is made with:
non-bleached organic white flour 250 gr
lard 70 gr
salt half tsp
enough water to make a non sticky workable dough
Here are some photos of the process



With about 40 gr dough make a very thin layer and put the filling on one half.



Close and press with a fork to seal



After about 15 min at 180º

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Topolino trip along the Apennines

There is a series of fab articles by Paolo Rumiz on La Repubblica these days titled "Appennino, il cuore segreto": he's travelling along the Apennines with a Topolino (a great tiny old car) and he spent a couple of days nearby.
There's the links to the two articles regarding northern Le Marche (for those of you who can read Italian!) Nella Gola del gigante from Pennabilli to Fonte Avellana Monastery and Il suono del silenzio from Fonte Avellana down to Fabriano
For you to have an idea of the beauty of the places he's visiting, here's a photo of the Scriptorium of the Fonte Avellana Monastery.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Little ones growing

The countryside changes and the puppies and kitties also grow up!
Here's some new photos for those who saw them when they were tiny and for those who never saw them but would like to!



Aren't they just gorgeous???



Try to count the heads, the ears, the .... yes, you're right! There are 4 kittens.... and there were just 3 of them... The fourth kitten is an older one from another litter (different mother), his mom refuses to give him milk, she sais he's much too old and big, so he found this other mom that doesn't appear to notice the difference between her tiny 2 months old kittens and this big boy!
This is just the three of them

Ploughing time

I don't write because I have very little time but life goes on (!) and the countryside changes every day...
You should remember these photos...




And here's how the place looks like now

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Truffles, hammocks and thunderstorms: what a day!

Today was another hectic day!
It all started with a huge truffle and 12 guests having breakfast and it ended with 4 jars of pickled zucchini, 4 jars of pickled eggplant, 8 small jars of plum jelly (still working on the beautiful yellow plums) and a huge thunderstorm. Luckily I could have a little rest in the garden in my marvellous hammock!

One of my neighbours came this morning to give us a big big scorzone (summer truffle) that he found. The egg near the truffle is not very big, but it's an egg... the truffle is really beautiful!



The house is full and the time to relax is really little, I decided to lay on my hammock as the weather was just perfect: warm and with a chilly breeze.... perfect for a little nap! zzzzzzzz



zzzzzzzzzz
When I woke up the breeze was stronger and a huge thunderstorm was approaching. We closed everything up, took away the big umbrella from the terrace, the chairs from around the pool.... we thought that everything was going to fly away... the thunderstorm went round and round us and at the end it rained very little and the wind didn't get very very strong... but the views were breathtaking!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Nature excess

Talking about huge amounts of beautiful organic products and the lack of time to do something with them.... this is what we have collected this morning in the kitchen garden.



Zucchini? Cucumbers?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Lots of work!

A friend told me some days ago that the annoying thing about the countryside is that nature doesn't wait for you to have some spare time to make, let's say, lemon marmelade, to make thousands of lemons grow on the tree in your garden.
We're experimenting it these days with our plum trees... we have tonns of tiny yummy yellow plums on our trees that are waiting to be transformed into yummy yellow jams, juices, jellies and chutneys. But we also have 14 guests at the moment at the Locanda and they all want their breakfasts, dinners and so on...
So there's no more time for taking pictures of the puppies (that are growing amazingly fast) and of the kittens. No time to write on Slow Travel,'s forums (ST is an amazing on-line resource for those who want to take it easy and to really get to know the places where they go).
Yesterday, though, I couldn't help taking a picture of this great sunset!


And to demonstrate that I'm really working on the yellow plums, this is our third batch today.