Friday, 20 September 2013

Doing it like the locals: Making Passata Pomodoro.

Italy - synonomous with tomatoes bursting with flavour.

So, with our 102 tomato plants (yes 102!) that we have tended since Spring it would just be rude not to store them for use over the winter. You cannot claim to be a local here if you do not grow, harvest and make passata pomodoro from your the gallon.

 Of course, it meant buying more kit (everything seems to mean buying more kit at the moment) but with a bit of advice from our friend Giuseppe we have a machine that should last us a lifetime. We even got our apartment guests involved in chopping and pulping, much to their delight (I think!).
So we chopped, and we pulped, and we re-pulped, to make sure we got every drop, and we bottled and we boiled and now? ...Now we just have to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labour.

With passata fresh from our home grown, organic tomatoes pasta pomodoro will never quite taste the same again! Bellissimo!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Making Limoncello...yum!

Inspired by my host country (they haven't kicked me out yet!) and my friend Katy, I have tonight been making Limoncello. Vodka, Lemons, Sugar and just sounds right, doesn't it?!

Here are the wonderful ingredients...

Zest your lemons (this is one of 6 large ones)...

Tip into the sugar, water and vodka mix...

Give it a good stir...

... and bottle.

Leave for a minimum of 24 hours or up to three months (yeah right!)

Sieve, put in the freezer and then drink, freezer cold.

I'll let you know what it tastes like tomorrow then!!

I used Lorraine Pascale's recipe, but there are plenty of them out there on the internet if you want to give it a try. And on Friday, with the juice of the lemons that are left behind I will be making homemade lemonade for our secret seven meeting in the shed...I did promise Jake after all!!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

From barrel to bottle

One night, after a few glasses of the good stuff, a new project was born. In 2012 we harvested our own vineyard for the first time and made our own wine...that in itself is a bit of an achievement for two novices. So, why stop there we thought?

So enthused (carried away?) were we with the whole wine making thing -or was it the wine?! - before we had even harvested our first grapes we had the genius idea that, instead of bottling our wine in the standard green litre bottles with beer bottle type metal caps as do most folk round here, we would go all out and bottle and label our wine to make it look like the real deal. During a conversation with our lovely guests, the Sharmans, last summer, whilst sitting on the terrace, under the stars, Adrian mentioned that he might be interested in using his  graphic design expertise...which started the cogs working!

After some careful thought and a suggestion from Adrian, we decided that we wanted a label that would tell a story, a label that would develop with us, as our knowledge of the wine making process grows. Adrian translated our ideas and our wording into our first year's label.

From then on there was no going back. We ordered the labels, bought the bottles and corks from our fabulous local vineyard Pietrantonj at Vittorito, run by two superbly dynamic sisters, who are the eighth generation of winemakers in their family, we bought a corking machine and a bottle drying rack, and set to with our Ikea funnels and Robert Dyas plastic jug - nothing but the latest techniques and most advanced technology is used in our bottling plant!

So now, all that is left is to sit back and enjoy our 2012 vintage, whilst pondering our label for the next harvest. Watch this space...!!