My kitchen inspiration this month, has arisen from the delights growing in abundance in my garden. It has been such a mild winter, that already, the alpine strawberries are blooming with their sweetly perfumed fruits. The broad beans are showing off their beautiful white and black speckled tissue paper flowers and the Lisbon and Meyer lemon trees, growing in old olive oil tins from Greece, are absolutely heaving with warm yellow fruit, filled with the perfume of lemon blossoms.
The herb garden is also overflowing with a thick healthy crop of flat leaf parsley, lush bunches of purple sage, with soft silvery leaves and there are also loads of elegant wispy fronds of fennel (the herb, not the vegetable).
I really love the combination of lemon and sage - and looking for a new way to combine them I found Paola's absolutely beautiful recipe on her fantastic blog, Italy on my mind, for ricotta and parsley ravioli. This delicious recipe calls for a good dose of lemon zest, parsley and a sage-brown butter sauce. If you haven't seen Paola's blog yet, please visit soon - you will find oodles of inspiration.
Taking inspiration from Paola's blog, when making the pasta for the ravioli, I poured myself a healthy glass of red wine, a favourite drop called 'A Mano Primitivo', a varietal from Puglia in Italy. To keep the wine company, while I rolled out the pasta, I put a few green olives in a sunny dish Mr K and I had bought in Sorrento, on our first trip together to Italy. Next, I selected the sultry 1960s sounds of Italian songstress Gabriella Ferri on my iPod - and before I knew it, the delicious ricotta and parsley ravioli, filled tangy lemon zest and coated in its herby buttery sauce, was ready in no time at all.
Continuing the theme of herby goodness, this month I have also used the wispy wild fennel fronds ( I say wild, because neither Mr K or I had ever planted them) as the star ingredient in a batch of Greek style fritters, along with smooth mashed potato and tangy feta. The crispy golden fritters also got a good amount of zest and a big squeeze of lemon, from our home grown trees.
1&1/2 cups mashed potato
120g feta cheese (I prefer Dodoni brand)
1 egg, beaten
3 shallots/scallions finely chopped
3 tablespoons wild fennel (or dill) finely chopped*
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper
Flour (for dredging)
Olive oil (for frying)
Extra fennel and lemon, to serve
1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except flour and olive oil. Mix until well combine and season to taste. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
2. Remove from fridge and using your hands, shape the mixture into small golf balls and then flatten in palm of your hand to make a pattie / fritter shape. Dredge in flour.
3. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the fritters, on each side, until golden brown. Drain on paper and serve immediately with a sprinkling of fennel fronds and lemon to squeeze.
* Please note that if you use dill, the fritters will have a stronger aniseed flavour. Fennel is much milder than dill.
Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting this great monthly feature. Until next month, have a wonderful August whichever side of the world you live on and be sure to drop by Celia's wonderful blog!!