This little fellow woke us up one rainy morning; he was sitting outside on the window bars insisting on rehearsing his oop-oop-oop over an over again. Very charming to start with but after a while it got a little monotonous and we got up to find out what it was all about.
It felt very special to witness this pretty bird singing and we managed to make a blurry photo through the window glass.
In Italy the Upupa is also known as the butterfly bird. When it fly it looks like a giant butterfly as the wings are half closing at the end of each beat or short sequence of beats. It is also called the Legionary Bird because of its distinctive “crown” of feathers on the top of the head that it can open like a fan.
It is a colourful and very pretty bird known back to ancient Egypt and it is one of the fascinating animals that live in the forest around Castello di Montegiove.
We have finally started the construction of a stairway down to the swimming pool, after many years with a miserable and very challenging steep footpath to the pool area.
It is our own construction team that is building everything with local stones from the fields below the castle. All stones are placed like a never-ending jigsaw puzzle and it is amazing to follow the meticulous work, it seems like an endless stone snake has started its track from the top of the hill and down.
Now we are just waiting for warm summer days to come!
Easy and quick recipe, you can also use chicken or turkey, instead of veal scallops.
8 Veal scallops
Asparagus 1 big bunch
1 glass of white wine
2 dl cream
Clean the asparagus and cook them in salted water for about 5 minutes, don’t let them overcook. Drain and put them aside.
Heat up a pan and add the olive oil and butter.
On a plate stir together flour with salt and pepper, dip the scallops into the flour mix.
Cook the scallops until browned and just cooked through, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a serving plate and keep them warm while you make the sauce.
Add the white wine to the hot pan and let it simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, add the cream and let it heat up until it is reduced. Meanwhile cut the asparaguses into smaller pieces and add them to the pan with the simmering sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour the warm sauce with the asparaguses over the veal scallops and serve.
We have been bottling our new ro.sa.to. 2016, it is one of the first signs that spring is on the way to Castello di Montegiove. The bottles with the pretty, bright pink wine looks so inviting and makes me look forward to summer lunches and evening aperitifs with friends and family at the terrace.
It is produced from Sangiovese, Canaiolo Nero and Sagrantino grapes using the classical “saignée” method. The “saignée” process involves bleeding off a portion of wine after only a short period of time in contact with the grape skins. The colour of the rosé wine is derived from pigments only found in the skins of coloured grapes; the resulting colour of the juice from a short contact with the skins will have light or bright pink hue.
A delcious way to use the overripe bananas no one likes to eat from the fruit basket.
170 g Sugar
2 teasp Vanilla sugar
125 g Flour (if gluten free use bread flour)
1 teasp Baking powder
100 g Butter melted (cold)
1-2 Bananas overripe (mashed)
150 g Chocolate chopped into small chunks
1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Butter a loaf tin (ca 1 l.) or use baking paper.
2. Beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla sugar until light and fluffy. Mix the flour with the baking powder and fold it carefully into the egg mixture together with the cold melted butter. Add the mashed banana and chocolate chunks.
3. Pour mixture into the loaf tin and bake in centre of the oven for around 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
4. Remove cake from oven and let it cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
Time to start spring with wild Helleborus, Hyacinths and Tulips
It is still a bit grey outside but spring is in the air, the weather is mild and wet and the wild Helleborus Foetidus are blooming everywhere around the castle.
I can’t wait for spring to come. So I made a corner of the kitchen in spring mood with all these nice pink and white hyacinths and tulips. Now there is a fresh green perfumed scent in the house. It looks like a nice flowerbed and it is just like having a bit of the garden in here.
Castello di Montegiove and the surrounding estate.
Old hand painted map from the Gregorian Cadastre (1816-1834).
The last couple of days I have been drawing trekking maps for walking in the surroundings of Montegiove. The maps are meant as guides for our guests in the farmhouses who want to go for walks or bike rides in the nature.
We have dragged the girls along for exploring and testing the walks and it has been so much fun. Sunday we walked on a path leading to an old Lombard fortification from the 9th-10th centuries that was excavated in 1988. It was really exiting imagining how everything looked like, when these people lived here so many years ago.
Montegiove keeps on surprising me with the history and all the things that have been going on in the past just outside the castle gate, if the walls could talk they would have so much to tell.