Here at Castello di Montegiove we have our own historian Luca Montecchi. Luca comes once in a while and goes through our library and archives in search for all kinds of interesting old stuff. For some times he has been looking for a receipt and correspondence related to an old family portrait from around 1850 painted by a famous painter from Orvieto. Every time Luca is around he discovers things and detail about the family history at Castello di Montegiove. This week we found some old file boxes and I especially liked the one with “Contratti Moderni” written on it, they are all from around the beginning of 18-hundred, so maybe not real up-to-date modern contracts.
Vitello Tonnato is one of my favourite summer dishes, it is easy to prepare and as you can make it in advance it is one of the best dishes to serve for guest when you are not sure of the ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival).
600g Veal girello / Veal nut (tied with string)
1 celery stick
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 pinch of salt
200g of tuna tinned in olive oil, drained
3 anchovy fillets
2 eggs, hard boiled, just need to use the yolks
2 tbsp capers, drained
1 lemon, juice only
Pepper and saltto taste
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Bring the water to boil in a large saucepan add salt, meat, carrot, onion, celery, the vinegar and olive oil. Cover and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, leave the meat in the liquid and allow to cool completely. Don’t throw the liquid away.
While the meat is cooling, make the tuna sauce. Place the tuna, capers, anchovy fillets and egg yolks in a food processor and blitz for about 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and whiz for another 10 seconds. Season with black pepper. If the sauce is too dense you can add a bit of the cold liquid from the saucepan. The finished sauce will have a similar consistency to fresh mayonnaise
Remove the string from the meat slice the veal thinly and place the slices on a large serving dish. Pour the sauce over the top of the meat garnish with whole capers or cornichons. Leave covered for a couple of hours before serving.
A fantastic way to use some of the zucchinis that the kitchen garden is so full of right now.
4-5 small Zucchinis diced
1/2 Garlic crushed
Salt the zucchini dices and leave them to draw out the moist. Dry them with a paper towel.
Heat frying oil in a large frying pan over high heat. When it shimmers, add the zucchini. Stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Leave on a piece of paper towel to remove left over oil. Transfer to a serving dish and season to taste with crushed garlic, finely choppedfresh basil, parsley and oregano and a bit of olive oil.
Right now we are in the middle of May and the weather is behaving very different from previous years. It is supposed to be spring with sunny days… but instead we have half day with sun and half day with rain.
The mornings are beautiful with sun and the birds are singing happily and busy making nests and taking care of their young ones. In the afternoons the rain will start pouring down leaving everything green and crisp.
I must admit that I enjoy the weather like this, the summer is always very long and very warm in Montegiove so for me, being north European, it feels refreshing with a spring like this that leaves the garden and park perfectly watered and all water reserves full and ready for the long summer.
I am not worried summer will come and this year it will be greener and prettier than ever!
Umbria in spring is splendid! with blooming flowers, gorgeous views and green landscapes. Especially in an area as full of natural beauty as this one. The countryside of Umbria is often nicknamed the “green heart of Italy,” is beautiful year-round. But in the springtime, when the weather is mild and not too hot the flowers are blooming, it’s especially pretty.
Don’t miss Umbria in springtime.
Umbria has always been dedicated to agriculture, animal husbandry and food, outshining at the national level in the quality and typicality of earth products. Agriumbria is the main trade fair exhibition of this productive sector and gathers exhibitors from all over Italy.
The traditionally cattle market is impressive with all the enormously big bulls and clean and combed sheep and goats and other exhibition spaces with technological solutions to suit every type of farm.
We always return from the fair with catalogs for way too big but very cool tractors, funny plants, seeds for unusual vegetables and exotic herbs, sometimes chickens or ducklings and some years ago even a peacock couple (I will write about that adventure in another blog post). This year we managed to leave Agriumbria without new livestock in the car but with only a blueberry bush and some very small succulent plants.
Nice winter soup to heat you up on a cold winter day
1 kg tomatoes chopped into pieces
6 big red bell peppers cleaned and chopped into pieces
4 red onions chopped into pieces
4 cloves of garlic sliced into halves
Dried chili pepper, powder or fresh (according to taste)
Salt and pepper
A handful of fresh basil leaves
1-2 dl milk
Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Place the chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic and chili in the baking tray season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, stir occasionally.
Remove baking tray from the oven and let cool down a bit. Puree the soup in batches in a blender together with basil leaves until smooth add milk until you get the right consistence.
Transfer the soup to a pot and heat up again. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with a piece of homemade bread.