Two Greedy Italians are back on our t.v.s in the U.K. again, delighting us with their tasty recipes and edgy camaraderie and giving us glimpses of the beautiful Italian countryside. This week they were in the North visiting Lombardy and the Alps and Gennaro decided they would try for a couple of days to get by on what they could find, obtaining food by foraging and exchanging labour for food. Of course mushrooms featured largely as these are one of Antonio Carluccio’s favourite foods and they found several varieties of wild mushrooms growing in the fields and hillside. They went hunting with a group of local hunters who had a shed up in the hills (obviously an extreme measure to get away from ‘her indoors’, ha ha.)
On their travels they visited a place where they air-dried beef to preserve it. This reminded me of Elpiniki in Kaminaria, Cyprus, whom we visited on one of my stays with Androula. The method they showed us was very similar to the method Elpiniki used to preserve the pigs’ haunches to produce choiromeri. Always involving salt to draw out the water in the meat and smoking over a fire. The beef in Lombardy, is hung in caves to cure where natural airborne fungi form a mould on the surface adding extra flavour.
The thing I most loved about these programmes is that Gennaro cooks most of the dishes using a wood fired oven. I can just taste the smokiness of the food. Wow. I would love access to a wood fired oven. Indeed, my prayers might soon be answered as a community garden I belong to in my village, might very well have one soon. One of the members is keen to build one and is researching it as we speak. Roll on I say, I might even be able to take my bread down there to cook…. oh! and maybe some kleftico. What a lovely idea.