The next set of volunteers, Heulwen and Jane arrived safely on the following Sunday evening. The weather forecast was not looking promising, however on Monday morning the weather was in fact fine and fortunately stayed fine for the whole week, so we started where we had left off a few days previously.
Normally each Monday and Wednesday evening Paul does an English Lesson for our good friends Pasquale and Raffaele, so we invited them to eat with us, and Jane, who is a cook by profession, prepared a tasty meal for us all with bruschetta and chicken breasts stuffed with ham, cheese and spinach.
Tuesday we worked hard again in the olive grove and the tally from Monday and Tuesday’s collection came to a grand total of 357 kilos, beating the previous record that had been set just the week before. This yielded another 60 plus litres of oil.
Thankfully with the weather improving further, Wednesday was another good day of olive harvesting. Wednesday evening is normally another English lesson, and Pasquale and an old student, Antonio, came over after supper to benefit from more English conversation. Even Raffaele managed to turn up a little later despite having said he would be unable to make it.
In Thursday’s sunshine, and with the additional help of Filippo in the afternoon we managed to gather a massive 400 kilos of olives to take down to the mill. This total took us over the amount we had gathered during our very first harvest at “Tre Cancelle” on the back of all the previous owners cultivation skills. Paul felt this was an important milestone, an indiction that perhaps we have at least learned some new farming skills over the past three years.
Once again, we can’t thank you enough for all your help and hard grind, Filippo, Jane and Hels !!!
Not only did the girls work long and hard in the groves, but in the evening they experimented with cooking. Jane is clearly passionate about food and Heulwen was keen to learn. One evening together they knocked up some delicious home-made pizzas.
The girls wanted to have a go at making pasta, so we dug out our old pasta machine. They prepared and kneaded the dough, before feeding the first flattened lump through the rollers of the wonderful contraption.
They repeated this process several times, periodically reducing the gap between the rollers, thus gradually rolling it out into a thinner and longer strip of smooth, silky pasta.
We used this to make some ravioli with a beef filling. With the left over dough they made some fettucini and spaghetti.
Heulwen tried her hand at a Carbonara sauce (with fried pancetta, eggs, cream and Parmesan cheese) which was delicious.
The following lunchtime we dined on the fettucine and spaghetti with a freshly prepared Puttanesca sauce (made with tomatoes, “Itri olives”, capers and anchovies).
Friday we took a well earned day off and went for a spot of lunch at Pauline and Filippo’s. Deefa insisted on coming too !!!
A meal at Pasquale’s that evening was a suitable finale to our busy week. Rafaelle brought a sauce, prepared by his mother, for a primo piatto: pasta with Aubergine, courgette, sweet peppers and tomato, plus some fresh chilli to give it a bit of an edge. This was followed by a Secondo: local hand-made sausages cooked in the oven with potatoes and rosemary.
Filippo had expertly prepared some roasted red peppers. He had charred them over an open fire before removing the blackened skins, slicing them into strips and tossing them in olive oil and lots of finely chopped garlic. Ideal for warding off vampires !!!
The meal continued with a salad of mixed green leaves and some fresh Mozzarella di Bufala and Parma Ham. For the pudding or Dolce Jane had made a fresh Ricotta Cheesecake with a Fruits of the Forest Coulis topping and a scrumptious Kiwi fruit Pavlova with some rather nice “bubbly”. Then coffee and grappa topping off a wonderful spread and a most pleasant evening.