The worst thing about living in Sardinia

 expat in italy, gardening, sardinia, sardinian farmhouse, Sardinian Life, veg patch  Commenti disabilitati su The worst thing about living in Sardinia
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Maybe I am over exaggerating, and I have to admit, this is not the only bad point to living in Sardinia. I know plenty of people look and think wow, they’re really living the dream but believe me, living the dream is not easy.

cinghiale

For the last 5 years I’ve juggled looking after my kids and attempting to make something of a garden. I quickly realised that the soil was practically dust and not a lot of plants were very happy growing in it. In fact, only cosmos seemed unfased, so slowly but surely I’ve been making compost, adding sand, collecting manure and carting uphill wheelbarrows full of nice leaf mulch from the woods. It’s been a long process.

sardinian wild boarLast night after I put my children to bed I heard a loud grunting noise, I quickly looked outside and saw 2 large cinghiales (wild boars) having a good old snuffle amongst my lavender plants. I banged on the window to shoo them away. We often see and hear boars around the house during the hot dry summer as they come out of the woods looking for food.

This morning, when I opened my window, I couldn’t see my little orange tree, It had been completely uprooted from it’s nice fertile soil along with my other orange tree. I’m so sad for these trees, as this is the first year they’ve had oranges on them, I don’t think they will have enjoyed the trauma. the other had almost died so I think it may have been just too much even though I got them back in the ground first thing this morning and gave them a good watering!

young sardinian wild boarMy rockery and lots of cosmos, miniature sunflowers, lavenders were also brutally attacked and my pretty hydrangea – grown from a cutting which was flowering for the first time this year was also completely uprooted. I can safely say those boars had a good old time.

I have covered the ground around my trees with large rocks. Hopefully this will stop them unearthing them again. I’ve heard that placing half full bottles of water  dotted amongst the plants scares them too. Last year I was forced to put my bouganvillea in a large container as it was dug up 3 times, since then it’s been safe! In the future we will fence off our land so hopefully they can’t get in again!

If all else fails we’ll be calling the hunters in and having wild boar stew!

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Stuffed-CourgettesMmmmmm, stuffed courgettes, a tasty typical mediterranean meal. This is a rough guide to making stuffed courgettes but basically you can throw anything in. You should try not to have too much moisture in there though as they will flop. You may want to add breadcrumbs to prevent this from happening.

You could opt for a egg based filling which would be similar to any quiche filling or tomato based which will be wetter but perhaps more Italian.

Depending on the size of your corgettes you can slice them length ways or into deep ringss. Scoop out the seeds in the middle Then you’re ready to fill.

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I gave a friend a big bag of courgettes and in return he gave me some of the stuffed courgettes he’d made with them. As they were huge courgettes he’d sliced them into very thick rings like in the photo above.

They were filled with eggs, cooked ham, mozzarella cheese (mozzarella for pizza as less liquid), fresh chopped cherry tomatoes and bread crumbs. Combine the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Fill your courgettes and prinkle with parmesan cheese. Cook for roughly 40 minutes or until the egg and courgette are cooked.

stuffed courgette rings

The great thing about these is that often with smaller courgettes cut lenght ways the filling tends to spill over or the cougettes flop and don’t keep their shape well unlike these.

Courgette and Ricotta tart

 charlotte's kitchen, children, cooking, food, ideas, Italian meals, life, recipes, veg patch  Commenti disabilitati su Courgette and Ricotta tart
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On my never ending mission to eat all my courgettes, I came across a great recipe from the bbcgoodfood site which I slightly adapted.courgette and ricotta tart

If you’re coeliac like me, you’ll know lots of recipes are off limits because gluten free alternatives just don’t work out.

Luckily the range of gluten free products is constantly increasing, Schar have a great frozen puff pastry so I decided I’d give this tart a go.

I mixed one tub of ricotta cheese with a clove of crushed garlic and then on top layered my finely sliced courgettes, drizzled olive oil, added salt and pepper and top with parmesan cheese. Cook for about 30 mins.

I was a nice quick and tasty lunch served up with salad.

Unfortunately it didn’t get rid of enough corgettes so my hunt for exciting recipes continued.

However, one sneaky tip, I grate a courgette into my ragu, the pieces are so small my children don’t notice!

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So, when faced with a wheel barrow full of courgettes, a soup is always a great way to get rid of a lot in one go.courgette glut

The recipe I found was easy to make and I used to throw in cooked pasta, my young children really enjoyed it, well after a while my son did say “not courgette soup again!”

Basically this recipe was fried onion, garlic, courgettes (lots), some potatoes to thicken it a bit and veg stock. After cooking for about an hour I pureed then added a carton of cream, salt and pepper. It was a nice light soup and no complaints from the kids. When it’s 40c you don’t always feel like a bowl of steaming soup but you can always freeze it. I froze single portions in freezer bags so I could take them out one at a time.courgette soup

This year however, I’ve adapted the recipe a little and me and the kids really love it although we’ve not been mixing it with cooked pasta as it’s thicker. I know it’s not very Italian but they have been enjoying a sandwich and soup lately!

For this soup I used 3 sticks of cellery, 2 onions, lots of courgettes, carrots and potatoes. I lightly fried the onion, cellery and courgettes, then added veg stock with the carrots and potatoes. After cooking for about an hour I pureed it all.

courgette and carrot soupMy children aren’t great with veggies so I find soup is a great way to get them eating more and more varied vegetables. In fact my youngest (Rafi is nearly 2) asked for second helpings and my eldest (Luca is 6) asked when we were having the lovely soup again! Compliments all round. Brava Mamma!

More courgette ideas coming soon!!!

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One of the most amazing things about living in the Sardinian countryside is being able to have a huge veg patch, in fact, mine is allotment sized! As we live in a old farmhouse we have a walled off area that would have been used for pigs.

The soil around the house is terribe, it’s basically dust, topsoil is non existent. Luckily this walled area, next to the woods, is super fertile and benefits from lots of leaf fall.

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I don’t have any fancy machinery, unfortunately just a spade and a hoe (my rake has disappeared!) So it’s difficult. I grow all my plants from seed. And I threw in a few extra courgette seeds in case they didn’t all come up. They ALL came up! So, not wanting to throw away a healthy plant, I put all 6 in. Well, it was a funny summer. We had a lot of rain, huge thunderstorms followed by really hot days then more rain, more sun…. It was nice not having to worry about watering. At first it was fun collecting all the courgettes, my children love picking our veg. In the picture below, my son is 4 and my daughter is 2, the biggest courgettes weighed nearly 2kg!

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The fun aspect soon passed, we’d go to the beach for a few days and when we returned were faced with literally bucket loads of courgettes. We gave lots away but also started eating courgettes with every meal. It was challenging finding recipes that the children might like. So I’ll share a few child friendly courgette recipes with you!!!!

courget glut