Cooking · Life at Castello di Montegiove

Banana bread with chocolate chunks

A delcious way to use the overripe bananas no one likes to eat from the fruit basket.

Ingredients:

3 Eggs

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.

Buon Appetito!

Easter · Garden and Nature

Easter

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I am already looking forward to the Easter holiday here at Castello di Montegiove. We always go for long walks or bicycle rides with friends and family and we often end up having an improvised picnic when the first warm sun rays allows it.

In Montegiove, Easter is celebrated with traditional food such as roasted lamb, artichokes and the delicious Colomba Pasquale witch is a cake shaped as a dove. All the ladies in the village gather around the old wood fired ovens to bake “Le Torte di Pasqua” witch is a cheese bread served with eggs and cured meat for the Easter lunch or Easter picnic.

On Palm Sunday, olive branches are handed out to people during the mass and on Easter Monday, there will be dances, concerts and games involving huge Italian chocolate Easter eggs.

For the Easter processione at the night of Good Friday, the statues of Maria and Jesus are brought out of the village church and paraded through the streets of Montegiove and the participants are wearing ancient attire.

So many things are going on in the Umbrian hill towns during Easter. In Panicale a small town near Montegiove they play “Ruzzolone” where huge wheels of cheese, weighing about 4 kilos, is rolled around the village walls as a local version of golf, so much fun.

For our family Easter is the time of the year where we take time off to enjoy each other’s company and Montegiove becomes alive after the quiet winter.

 

Garden and Nature · Life at Castello di Montegiove

Spring Flowers

 

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.

Cooking

Carrot Soup

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Soup Season.

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

Olive oil

Cream or cream cheese

Fresh thyme leaves

Salt pepper

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.

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Buon Apetito!!!

 

Garden and Nature · Life at Castello di Montegiove

Mapping

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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.

Cooking

Orange Cake for Sunday Tea

 

Serve with a nice cup of black tea on a cold winter afternoon.

 

Ingredients:

Cake:

250 g Butter softened

250 g Sugar

4 Eggs

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.

The cake:

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.

Buon Appetito!

 

 

garden and nature

Happy New Year

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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.