Well we had almost forgotten what it’s like, but summer does seem to have finally arrived, so much so that it’s has simply become too hot to do any meaningful work. Yesterday, on mid-summer solstice we set out to our plot full of good intentions. We bought a few tomato plants to replant the ones drowned by the rains and a few cabbage plants. We just about managed to plant these and stake the tomatoes and Susan built a support for the melons that had spontaneously sowed themselves out, although I’m coming to the conclusion that they may be cucumbers. This again is strange, because the ones I deliberately sowed out got drowned as well. Well I’m not complaining, let them grow where they’re happy is what I say. Anyway, after this bit of very light work we were drenched in sweat and it was only 10 o’clock in the morning! Things could only get worse. My outside thermometer is on 40˚C and there is still a lot of humidity in the air. This evening, as the sun dips behind the hill (our land is east facing), we shall resume our watering routine and then go off to La Spezia where there is to be a Sardinian sagra accompanied by folk music. Until then we’ll just vegetate.
In the meantime I have found a new, really useful book, ‘Liguria in arbanella’. Written in Italian, this gives traditional Ligurian recipes for preserving your harvest. Amongst the usual suspects of jams, vegetables under oil or vinegar, salted or dried vegetables etc, there are some really unusual ones that I can’t wait to try out. Amongst the jams and marmalades there is for instance an orange marmalade with chocolate bits and cognac, a chestnut and white bean jam, a dandelion jam and apple and rose petal jam. The fruit under alcohol section features chestnuts under whisky and the section on vegetable preserves includes garlic in honey, aubergine with mint or spicy under oil, spicy olives and garlic, chillies stuffed with anchovy and capers and sweet and sour tomatoes. At the end of the book there are also a few of the classic Ligurian recipes such as Pesto Genovese and Nut Sauce. All in all a great book and I shall look forward to seeing my larder brimming over with homemade delicacies. We started with doing cherries under spirit, ciliegie sotto spirito, the other day, which involves pure alcohol (95%) being poured over cherries, sugar and a few cloves. We’re shaking the mixture daily now and after a month or so it will be ready to be bottled.
Finally, to my great disappointment Holland were knocked out of Euro 2008 last night by no other than Russia who are managed by Dutchman Guus Hiddink. I hope he will now not be allowed back into the country, he should be banished to Siberia! Well, well, life goes on, I suppose I’m going to have to start shouting for Italy now… Me and our next-door neighbour Piero were having shouted conversations throughout the match last night through our open windows. Oh, and the orange T-shirts will finally be retired to cleaning duties.