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.
This winter carrot soup is easy to make and full of vitamins.
Serves 4 Persons
1 kg carrots grated roughly in a food processor
1 Onions chopped
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1,2 l boiling water
Vegetable stock granules or 1 cube, dissolved in the water = Broth
Cream or cream cheese
Fresh thyme leaves
1.Heat the oil in a pot over a low heat, add the chopped onion and garlic and fry gently for about 5 minutes. Add the grated carrots and the broth.
2.Let the soup boil until carrots are completely tender (from 30 to 50 minutes). Remove from the heat and let cool down a bit. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth add more water/broth if the soup is too dense.
3.Transfer the soup back to the pot and heat up again, add the thyme, when warm add a splash of cream or cream cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with toasted whole wheat bread.
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.
Serve with a nice cup of black tea on a cold winter afternoon.
250 g Butter softened
250 g Sugar
2 tblsp. Zest of 1 orange
1 ¼ dl Orange juice
100 g Corn flour (fine)
150 g Gluten free flour (or normal flour)
Orange Butter Frosting:
250 g Icing sugar
3 tblsp. Butter softened
3-4 tblsp. Orange juice
Strips of Orange zest for decoration.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Butter a cake tin and dust it with fine corn flour.
2. Beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, add the orange zest and juice. Add the two types of flour to the egg mixture a tablespoon at a time, stirring well after each addition.
3. Pour mixture into the buttered cake 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 cool on a rack.
Orange Butter frosting:
Gradually beat the icing sugar into the softened butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the orange juice to bring to spreading consistence.
Place cake on a serving platter, and frost the cake with the orange butter frosting, arrange the strips of orange zest on top of the cake.
Christmas and the holidays just flew away. Now we are back to everyday life in Montegiove ready to begin 2017 with lots of expectations and hopes for the New Year.
We are already in mid January; the cold and sunny winter is over us, with its bright clear Italian sky. Every morning cobwebs, trees and grass are covered with white crispy frost. These clear frosty mornings with the special smell of winter makes such a good start of the day.
Most of Italy is struggling with lots of snow but in Umbria we still haven’t had the honour yet. When the girls wakes up in the morning they look out of the window to see if it has been snowing during the night. I like to think that they are so happy to have the chance to get out and play in the snow, -but reality is, that schools are closing down when it snows, because the roads are getting to dangerous and difficult to drive, so the first snowy days means no school….
In the kitchen the fire stove is burning constantly and Lorenzo and I are getting lots of healthy exercise carrying wood up the stairs. The stove is the heart of the kitchen and the mesmerizing flames behind the glass are just a perfect and relaxing therapy after a long days work.
We wish you all a Happy New Year and look forward to share 2017 with you.
Chicken liver mousse for Christmas Lunch or Appetizer
300 g Chicken liver (cleaned and chopped into small pieces)
1 Onion, small chopped
1 Garlic clove, minced
100 g Butter chopped into chunks
1/2 tblsp. Capers
2 tblsp. Mascarpone
Marsala wine (as much as you like)
Fresh thyme chopped (as much as you like)
Salt and Pepper
Cook the onion, garlic and thyme in a knob of butter. Add the chicken liver and the anchovies and let it cook for around 5 minutes, make sure everything is cooked. Add salt pepper and Marsale and let it simmer for 1 minute.
Transfer everything into the food processor together with the rest of the butter, the capers and the mascarpone and blend until smooth.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a nice crock and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Serve on toasted bread or crackers!
Some years ago I wrote this Danish book with sewing patterns for children’s clothing.
I was sewing almost all the clothes for our girls as I could never bye exactly the right things to equip them to suit my taste. Friends asked me to share the sewing patterns and that was how the idea for the book started.
The book is still for sale in Denmark from the publisher Degne Distrib.