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Food Education | Italian Reteats | Food & Wine Tours Italy

A late goodbye to summer

 

Yesterday, (and today as a packed lunch) I ate a lovely salad, partially made with herbs and flowers growing in my garden. This autumn is an absolute delight: bees are still around in early November, flowers are still blooming and where not, it’s a feast of red, purple and yellow berries, apparently a sign of a harsh winter to come.

The only downside of this really warm weather has been the resilience and late return of some plant pests.The other day I found myself still battling with spider mites’ attempts to curl up and dry the leaves of some of my plants. I am keen to avoid chemicals so I decided to experiment with agrohomeopathy, and made a spray by mixing water with a few drops of Coccinella Septempunctata, a homeopathic preparation made with dried ladybird. Since I applied it with a sense of near mourning for an almost lost Etna chilli plant, the spider mites seem to have disappeared. I will keep you posted on what happens next.

So, back to our salad: I had some lettuce and cherry vine tomatoes in the fridge and wanted to layer them with more textures, colours and unusual tastes. So I picked from the garden some baby leaves of bitter cicoria, some yellow mustardy nasturtium flowers with some of the youngest leaves, added a few sprigs of ground elder for freshness, a generous bunch of chives and a few baby carrots with the leaves also thinly chopped in. I also dry roasted some pine nuts and pumpkin and sunflower seeds to give an extra crunch.

The result, with two boiled eggs on top was phenomenally good and also lovely to look at, a feast of yellows and orange and reds in green. As I ate it I thought  of the warm weekend weather, sadly not with us any longer, and felt a sense of melancholy but also of gratefulness. This long summer, with the sun, the pizzas, the barbecues and the parties has been great. If the winter will be tough, I’m ready for it. Like a bird who’s stocked up with berries, I’m fully satisfied too.

Health score: 10

Carolina Stupino

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