Saturday 31 October 2009

Mayhem at the Flower stall... Borgo Stretto, this morning. I've no idea why - perhaps because the dogs had decided to sleep late for a change, and so it was already gone nine before I hit the streets...

Two chain-smoking women who were arguing about the price of lilies, a smartly dressed donna with a ratty little dog that she was holding back from everybody and proudly proclaiming to be 'aggressivo' (which said more about her than about the ratty dog, I thought), the usual shy-looking nun in her white habit, who always spends ages trying to decide how optimally to spend the five euros at her disposal; a bruiser of a woman in an orange jump suit, who looked as though she was about to thump some chap who carelessly walked into her armful of gladioli; a well-coiffed matron in purple who piously crossed herself in front of the shrine at the corner of the street, and appeared pained at the proximity (maybe even at the existence?) of everybody else who was there...and a whole host of others milling around and generally tripping over each other.

Definitely time for the first coffee of the morning by the time I'd extricated myself from the throng and retreated, flowers in hand, to the calm of the street beyond.

The beautiful autumn weather continues...warm and sunny, and intense blue skies - although the forecast is for a week of rain, from tomorrow, which will be excellent for the garden and for my major transplanting exercise. Already, I've moved the azaleas, the white wisteria, a couple of hebes, one marie pavié rose (perhaps a little prematurely - I'll wait a couple of weeks, I think, before doing more roses) and the acanthus plants. Today, I'll do the hellebores and the japanese anemone, and I've started to prepare beds in the citrus garden for the agapanthus plants (all thirty five of them!).

I found two excellent uses for Fragole grapes: a sorbet, which is simplicity itself (stew the grapes in sugar and water, before roughly crushing them, and pushing the cooled mash through a sieve - when cold, process in the ice cream machine, with the addition of a glass of Vin Santo, from the bottle home-made by Beppe, the carpenter up in Belforte); and a version of a Bellini, which in this case is called a Tiziano, where the peaches are replaced by fragola grape juice, in the proportion of one to three of grape juice to chilled prosecco. Delicious. It appears there's a further variation on the theme, where strawberry purée is used instead, which is called a Rossini; the Technical Department tells me I've drunk it, in the bar of the Cipriani in Asolo, but given that that was twenty five years ago, I'll have to take his word for it. Clearly, it didn't make a lasting impression...

Onward and upward. Much to do...

Tonight's Dinner:

Bistecca alla Diavola; Beans in Parmesan.

Strawberry tarts.

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