But first I have to deal with the obligation coming with this award of listing 10 things which make me happy. So here it comes:
- A disvovery of a new food topped by the fact that it is gathered for free. I love experimenting with such ingredients and when it does work out, like the example below, that makes me extremely happy!
- A walk / hike in the country, especcially if it's coupled with finding some wild foods. (there's a theme developing here, I feel)
- A good glass of wine. It doesn't have to be your top of the range classed growth Bordeaux (although I wouldn't say no), but an obscure discovery gives me just as much pleasure.
- Watching seeds grow and become fully fledged vegetables that sustain us.
- A musical jam session with our next door neighbours. We are extremely lucky to have some really musical neighbours. Mauro plays the squeeze box and bag pipes, Marco is multi-instrumetalist, playing the guitar, banjo, fiddle and other instruments. Between them they know some of best musicians of the province. Occasionally all those gather in our neighbour's kitchen and they don't mind me contributing my feeble efforts on guitar, banjo, harmonica, tin whistle and vocals, and we just make music for hours on end.
- A good book
- An act of kindness towards us. As I said a few days ago, there's nothing like "a little help from my friends".
- Eating my first meal of broad beans in spring. It's the first veg ready on our land. I love it just boiled briefly and with some olive oil and lemon juice over some pasta. It's the taste of spring (well I'm going to have to add my spring tart now as well (see below))
- Following number 7, it makes me even happier if I can help others. So if you need anything, if it's in my power, just ask!
- Best of all would of course be all the above in combination! A good meal and a nice few bottles of wine shared with friends, while making music contributing all in various differing ways. What could top that!
- Mrs. Ayak at http://ayak-turkishdelight.blogspot.com/ (I believe it's Linda isn't it? How do you do?) She normally sends awards in my direction so now it's my turn to return the compliment. I reckon her village in Turkey and ours in Italy should be twinned as they sound just the same.
- The other one I would like to pass on to Beck at http://greenspain.blogspot.com/. This is for offering to share some of her tomato seeds with me. She is relatively new to blogging. She writes about her efforts to live a more sustainable lifestyle in Spain, something that can only be applauded.
Right so much about that. Remember a couple of weeks ago I was blogging about the edibility of primroses and reprinted an historic recipe for a spring tart from http://www.theoldfoodie.com/. As the recipe was from 1733, it was rather lacking in detail and also when I was posting about this, another ingredient, the violet, wasn't ready. However now they are and this is my take on this ancient recipe.
For the pastry:
- 200g flour
- Pinch of salt
- 75g sugar
- 1 egg
- 125g cold butter
For the filling:
2 pintsof mixed leaves of primroses, violets and wild strawberries
- 1 handful of primrose and violet flowers
- 150g spinach
- 400ml cream
- 100g grated sponge biscuits
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Pinch of salt
- ½ grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp grated cinnamon
- Mix the flour with the salt and pile on a your work surface. Make a mould in the centre. Put the sugar and the egg into the centre. Dot the cold butter cut into flakes around the edge. Knead all this quickly together into a smooth dough. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for an hour or so.
- In the meantime make the stuffing. Wash the leaves well and separate the flowers and set aside in a small dish with some water to keep them fresh. If you have a juicer, simply juice your spinach and keep the juice aside. If not, maybe just boil the spinach with a drop of water and liquidise. Use a little less spinach in that case.
- In a large saucepan bring a little water to the boil. Add the leaves and blanch for a couple of minutes. Drain well and place in a food processor together with the cream.
- Whiz leaves and cream in the food processor and return to the pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for another few minutes (3 or 4). Take off the flame and leave to cool for a moment. Add the grated biscuits, the eggs, the salt, the nutmeg, the cinnamon and the sugar and stir well. Finally add the spinach juice to colour your tart green and most of the flowers set aside, leaving a few behind for a garnish
- Preheat oven to
175 C. On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry to fit a round cake tin with about 2cm going up around the edge. Grease the tin and place the pastry inside. Pour in the filling and bake for about 40 minutes.
- Leave to cool and garnish with the remaining flowers
I think it should have turned greener, but it sure was tasty. We had a bunch of people around for a wine tasting yesterday and I let them judge without giving away the ingredients beforehand. It was an unqualified success!