Back from my holiday and so much to sort out!
I always come back loaded with food, particularly cheese, Parmesan and Montasio (my local fresh cheese) which I usually freeze. I always bring back farro (Italian spelt) and dried borlotti beans for my soups and always fresh radicchio from my dad’s field which will last me at least a week in the fridge (so I can munch away and still feel like I am on holiday!).
When I arrived in Italy it was lovely to see that my mum’s lemon trees on the balcony had several lemons on them. They seemed to be smiling in the sunshine!
There were also a few vases of aromatic herbs ready to use.. infact I made the most of them whilst I was there as I did lots of cooking.
I love the fact that I can cook whilst I am in Italy too as the ingredients are different. The season is about 2 months ahead than the UK so at this time of year there are more fruit and veg available.
I went out in the countryside and I took photographs. I am learning about photography at the moment so it was a good place to practice and learn as the lighting is so good at this time of year and the warm sunny spring days allow you to be outdoors for longer.
Dandelion flowers are everywhere now with the yellow colour so dominant at this time of year in most fields!
And of course lots of daisies everywhere too!
We ate lots of artichokes which are now at the end of the season. My children like to suckle the leaves until the reach their tender heart. It is like a game to them!
Have a look at my recipe for whole Roman artichokes cooked in a pan and a tutorial on how to clean them.
If you like to add them to pasta, meat of fish it is best to clean them and remove the outer leaves first and then cook only the heart.
Asparagus are coming into season now and we had them almost every day in risottos, pasta or just steamed with olive oil and lemon. White asparagus are very common in Northern Italy. They are creamier and more delicate than green asparagus.
Strawberries are coming into season too. Check out my strawberry soft light cake which I made there.
Over Easter we had the classic Italian Colomba cake, soft and perfumed with vanilla, orange zest and almonds.
And plenty of fresh eggs from a nearby farm.
Some of them we coloured by boiling them with onion skins.
The children enjoyed playing the old game of lining the eggs on the wall, throwing a coin and trying to pierce them with it.. and that was not easy! I used to play this as a child too.
And finally it was my birthday and I celebrated with an artisan freshly made ice cream cake, decorated with soft meringue and fresh fruit…delicious!