Saturday, November 22, 2008

All that you can't leave behind...




Just look at the bounty from our garden.


Our wanderings to and thro from Italy, inevitably involve foodstuffs from the garden, who's weight in a sore arm and hand luggage sometimes outdoes that of their taste, especially if they are slightly out of season. But we just can't leave them behind to rot in the soil.



While we are in Positano in autumn, resounding thumps in the garden announce the demise of yet other melon-sized grapefruits, that have lost their precarious hold on the tree and have fallen dizzying heights from one terraced garden to another, landing on the lawn the equivalent of four storeys below.


Out comes the juicer, struggling with the segments containing four to six pips apiece and requiring the courage of a hardened gladiator to drink. I watch my fifteen year old son and his father try the juice, placing them together in front of me so I can see their reactions. My son downs it in one gulp before his taste buds try to send a 'no go' sign to his instincts. Two seconds pass before a involuntary grimace masks his features and his eyes redden. My other half is a veteran at bitter-grapefruit-juice-sipping, boasting that he had one everyday he was in Positano. But still his eyes stream and his face contorts. These grapefruit are bitter to end all bitter, guaranteeing to suck your cheeks in and grow hairs on your chest.


The mandarines, on the other hand, are to die for. Such is their perfume on breaking open the skin, that I can't waste it and make delicious marmalade to spread on my croissants in the morning. The oranges, still slightly under ripe, get a similar treatment and the tangy perfume of cooking jams fills the house that day. I cover the top of the jam with half a spoon of Grand Marnier before sealing the lid on the jars and will wait a few weeks for the taste to infuse the jam before consuming it.




A Grape Harvest Cake makes the most of the last bunch of home grown table grapes, using the untreated lemon and orange peel from the garden, and even the flowers stalks from the basil are put to use in sauces and soups because of their strong flavour.




Come to think of it, the sore arm was probably worth it's weight in gold...




Did you spot the punk orange?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

With everything you make, it would be crazy NOT to carry it, I believe.
Citrus here ARE amazing, I have to say.
dollyna

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I am coming back right over :-)

The manderins we had were delicious !!

Kate Lord Brown said...

Love the little mohican! Remember eating lemons (lemons!) straight off the trees in Valencia ... making me homesick for warmer climes!

Gil said...

I wish I had some of that fruit here in the US instead of the junk from California that is shipped to us.

Scintilla said...

Dollyna - and abundant !

Anne - my son says that
shop-bought oranges have
no flavour in the UK. You'll probably be transported back to Italy when you smell another mandarine.

Kate- You'd love the lemons on the
Amalfi coast.

Gil- Mass production compromises on flavour unfortunately : (

casalba said...

How satisfying to have a bowl filled with your own produce. And, what lovely colours.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Your son is right!!

A lot of our fruit has no flavour..I want to go back to Italy very soon, Oh I miss it.

MB said...

You've got to love the fresh fruit, don't you. Mandarine are my favorite although we don't have any citrus fruit growing here.

Loulou said...

This bowl full looks so delicious and the marmalade sounds fantastic!

Anait said...

This reminds me of picking apricots in Armenia...fruit in Europe is delicious when in season, nothing fromt he supermarket can compare!

Scintilla said...

Sally - when we have a lot, we let them sit around a while looking pretty before we eat them !

Anne- It's hard to come back to reality, especially when the weather is grey and wet...

MB- Mandarines are mine too. It must be the easy peel attraction !

Loulou- The marmalade is delicious because the peel makes the difference.

Anait- apricots in Armenia; sounds poetic!

Leanne in Italy said...

There's nothing more tasty then fresh fruit and veg grown from your own garden...I do however think I will skip that grapefruit juice!

michelle of bleeding espresso said...

Mmmmm mandarins...definitely one of the best parts of winter here :)

Suzie said...

Cool mohawk

joe@italyville said...

Love the picture and the orange with the mohawk. Oranges these days!

guild-rez said...

Thank you for visiting my blog:
Yes the Christmas catus was
formerly known as Zygocactus, its official botanical name is now Schlumbergera.
- Cheers from Canada.

'A Tuscan view.....from Umbria' said...

What a beautifully composed display. It would make a great still life painting with that blue chair in the back ground and if you don't manage to eat them all they will have been a joy to look at.

That grapefruit juice sounds like a bracing way to start the day! amanda

Marysia said...

What a refreshing note;)
I like the photos, too;) Greetings from Warsaw.

chiara76 said...

Ups, sorry;) The comment above it was me;)
Anyway, sending you greetings!

erynchandler said...

I love the punk orange...always such a rebel!

all those recipes and such sound so delicious. except for the bitter juices...i'd try to gulp it down too though, so as not to waste it!!!

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