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Sun dried Tomatoes

Tomato Passata sauce, part 1

Tomato Passata sauce, part 2

This house is not a hotel!!

Red chilies from my vegetable garden

 Ciao everyone, no I haven`t won the lottery and escaped to exotic horizons (I wish ) or been the typical Italian and when August came  closed everything down to go on vacation for a month !!!!! Yes, yes if only…..although  the second option is closer to reality….. I didn`t go anywhere and I was not on vacation!  I have been working hard here in my house in the country. The truth is that what with ovens, pans, cooking classes, guests and friends from England coming to spend the holidays with us … well … this month has been VERY active to say the least.

So now I`m back to tell you about a couple of things that have been happening. Let’s start with my dog , remember LUI ??  


  14 years old, a former hunting dog ( specializes in wild boar) a lovely laidback creature that for some years been in retirement in our house after collapsing  on the doorstep… ….Ok got the picture, the old, poor Lui…….. well for 10 days he used this house as a hotel! He was In love , with a beautiful German Shepherd dog . He was completely out of his mind and routine, sometimes he`d sleep and eat out and when he felt like it he would come  home ,very smelly, for more food .I think he was popping in just to tell us that everything was ok, he was just busy !!!!! However, for whatever reason the love story came to an  end and he came back home for good ….completely shattered!  

 In the meantime…..waiting for him back here was another dog Birillo , my nephew’s dog who had come for a holiday with my nephew, my brother Pierpaolo and sister-in law Lara . And this is where the story gets interesting.

 During their stay in the country, considering that THIS HOUSE IS NOT A HOTEL (“questa casa non è un albergo” very nice expression frequently used by my father during the days of my youth) Nick and I  decided to introduce  our guests to the workings of the country side. With our good luck and their misfortune 8 tons of wood had just been deposited in our garden. So perfect ….. a small job  for two city people ,shifting it to the right place during a hot day in August!     

Pierpaolo and Zeno working hard

  As good country girls Lara and I got busy collecting the ripe products from the vegetable garden. Tomatoes, aubergine … …. straight from the garden  to the kitchen … …. tomato sauce in jars, aubergine Parmigiana … …. everything ready for the winter months. A bit of good work from everyone.  

My self and Lara in the vegetable garden basket full of vegetable

basket full of vegetable

But we had an even  bigger challenge in store for our guests. In the late May I had planted  in the vegetable garden  several varieties of chilies: Red chilies from Calabria, Little devil , and a few Mexican types. And of course HIM “the hottest chili in the world” … Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to BHUT JOLOKIA CHILI PEPPER.     

Mix Chilies

When we had collected all the mature chilies ,  Nick thought that someone really should check the validity of this Super Dangerous chili. The guinea pig was chosen: unfortunately for him, Pierpaolo  seemed to be best suited to the experiment, what more can I say…. he just had the right face!

Pierpaolo checking part 1

testing part 2

Pierpaolo first reaction !

Second reaction....IN PAIN!!

Mamma mia poor him, it was not a easy one!

Anyway, Pierpaolo bravely got on with it and tested the chili and despite the pain ….he managed to survive so Nick was able to get out the knife and garlic and prepare the Super Hot Chili Oil.

Super Hot Chili oil preparation

Unfortunately we have to wait at least a month before we can try it, but never mind the Super Hot Chili Oil will be ready just in time for the harvest … … so unfortunately for poor old  Pierpaolo  the game is not yet over and yes THIS HOUSE IS NOT A HOTEL ,to eat and sleep here  … … you must work for it !!!!! eh eh eh eh. 

Super Hot Chili Oil !!

How it works: Cut  chilies and garlic finely. add a few drops of white vinegar , mix well and leave for three days to dry in the sun. Bring in during the evening. If you live in a place with little sun, dry everything in the oven. Fill jars up to third with the chopped dried, add EVO oil  and leave the jar open overnight. The next day, add moreEVO  oil if necessary  and then close the jar. Wait a month before use.

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