Monthly Archives: April 2014

Nettle Pesto: April 28th

The majority of us (especially the Brits among you) associate nettles with childhood tears and the search for dock leaves. Or perhaps the corner of the park where no one went except for the occasionally hardy/foolish dog. But here in Italy, in spring time, we eat it. My favorite way is to make a quick nettle pesto or pesto d’urtica. 

Super simply, blanch the nettles for a minute or two in boiling salted water, drain and squeeze dry and then mix (traditionally of course with a pestle and mortar, or, if you are lazy like me, with a blender) with pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan, salt and garlic cloves. Stir into pasta. Pow. Take that bane of childhood!

Just make sure you’re not using the ones from that corner of the park…

Better Chicken News: April 18th

Having had bad chicken news last time I have cheering news now. We have ordered some new chicks to arrive in May! We’ll need to be extra vigilant that they don’t get poached by some manner of beasty while they are still tiny. Hopefully the other hens will be happy to play guardian to their younger friends. Chicks don’t have an easy time in Northern Italy. In the UK we mostly had foxes, dogs and the very occasional bird of prey to worry about, but here there is a vast array of potential predators; foxes, birds and the dread “faina” to name a few.

Elsewhere in the garden, the vines are starting to show some green, lets just hope this weather holds…


Bad week for chickens: April 9th

I’m feeling a tinge of guilt this week. Whilst berating the chickens for attempting to massacre the strawberries last week, a worse massacre has befallen them. One of our hens was cruelly killed and Agatha (the only named chicken of the brood) seems to have had a heart attack and died perhaps in solidarity. It was a faina that did the damage in full day light!! Faina is the Italian word for a beech marten but having only come across these beasts in Italy I didn’t know the English word until i looked it up this morning in my worn out copy of Il Ragazzini/Biagi, an Italian dictionary. Its’ name is by-the-by however, it could be called Terry for all the good it would do Agatha and her friend. So “insomma”, its’s bad times at hen mansions.

Good times however for my vines as the fence is up. No vandals have made their way in yet. I even spotted a deer watching my dolefully from the edge of the woods next to the vineyard. England 1 – Italian Deer 0….so far.

I’ve also finished the wood chopping for the season, so defiantly making progress!