Sometime I wish to have a year that is entirely made of September. This is especially true after the record high temperature of this past summer.
However this month is always my favorite as our home is lively with guests who come to visit us from all corners of the world. Most often than not, they spend some time in our kitchen and we always, truly always have a wonderful time. At least I do.
The weather is sunny and breezy. Sunsets are bathed in that golden hue which will steal your heart and will make you want to come back to Umbria over and over again.
Also, I adore all the fruit and vegetables coming up to the markets right now. Tomatoes are still good and sweet so we are making panzanella like there is no tomorrow. There is crispy curly endive which you can sautè in olive oil with garlic and chili pepper or use to stuff my mum’s pidoni. There is a sudden abundance of leafy green to make all sorts of fabulous ravioli like these.
And of course, it’s grape season! Our winemakers have been busy for weeks, harvesting, pressing and preparing for the first bout of fermentation which will eventually bring the white Grechetto and the Sagrantino together with all the fabulous red wines you can find in our area. If you are not making wine but you are in Italy right now, make sure to taste the sweet and plump “Italia”, “Regina”and “Pizzutella” table grapes.
And how about you? have you made any preserves this season? We havent’ had much fruit because of the extreme heat. Normally we’d literally swim in ripe figs right now. Still, Google has made herself very fat by grazing the whole day under the trees and even trying to climb to pick the best of the crop.
I hope you do have ample access to these fruits of the gods. Have you tried my wholegrain fig tart yet? Do you have more jam that you could eat in a lifetime?
If you need variety or just want to try something new, I suggest this recipe for preserved figs which I have successfully tested last year. The fruit is slowly cooked in a spiced wine syrup, a seasonal marriage made in heaven. If you don’t have that many figs, scale the recipe to 2-3 per person, poach the figs and serve as a dessert instead of preserving them.
- 1 kg (2 lb) fresh figs, ripe but firm
- 300 ml (1 and 1/4 cup) red wine
- 250 gr (1 and 1/4 cup) white sugar
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 4 cloves
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 stick cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a non reactive pan, cover and simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours. When the figs are tender, add the lemon juice and transfer the figs and their still hot juices into sterilized glass jars. Seal the jars and keep in a dark cool place for at leats 3 months. Serve with gelato, pannacotta, greek yogurt, fresh ricotta or even as a side to mature cheese.
Keep the dog away or it will become a sugar addict like mine.