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Sun dried Tomatoes

Tomato Passata sauce, part 1

Tomato Passata sauce, part 2

What a disaster.

Paccheri with Amatriciana fish



Once upon a time in the hills of Umbria there was  a “young” lady called Simona who every springtime worked very hard on her land preparing it for her  vegetable plants .This year she planted many things including: 6 cucumbers plants, 10 zucchini 9 eggplants and 80 tomato plants. She  spent hours weeding and tending these babies.

The results were  demoralizing. Not even half  cucumber for a salad or two zucchini flowers for deep frying as for the eggplant,  so small and full of seeds. Even the tomatoes only produced enough for 60 jars of passata  for the winter instead of 260. What a disaster!!!!!!!!!!!!

The reason for  this sad story is that in Umbria, my dear friends, this year we had five months of constant  sunshine but not a drop of rain at all, NIENTE,NOTHING. The ground is super dry and despite Nick watering the vegetable garden every evening, the water seems  to evaporate straight away .
Nick was so determined the vegetable garden was going to survive every couple of days he took 6 big containers to our local spring, filled them with water and carried them back to empty them into our well which was almost dry by June.

It is thanks to this hard work that the tomato harvest wasn’t so bad, some plants produced fairly well  but others have been badly attacked by pesky insects. So all in all it has been hard but on the plus side tomatoes this year seem to be especially sweet , what can I say, it is as if they had been kissed by the sun!!




Every morning we hear in the distance the farmers cockerels bringing in the new day. Unfortunately we have one that doesn’t know the rules and all day long all we can hear is COCK-A-DOODLE DO. It is terrible. Now one of the chickens has disappeared we think a fox has taken it , but the strange thing is Hilda the goat did not come to the house to warn us which makes us think she was fed up with his noise and hoping he was the one that had been taken.

And now back to the food , yes because let’s not forget that this is a FOODBLOG. As you have noticed the picture today is another pasta dish using fish . But this time I decided to make a tomato sauce (with my tomatoes kissed by the sun) by combining  monk fish and smoked pancetta. A variation of the famous Amatriciana! So full of flavor. If you want to try it too, let me know I will be happy to share the recipe.

Last night Nick told me the vegetable garden was too  dry to save so we must wait for next year. And just after guess what  he rushed into the kitchen to tell me it’s raining, I dropped everything and rushed out into the garden to find NIENTE  ZILTCH  NOTHING. If I hadn’t seen a few wet spots on the stone steps I would have thought he had finally cracked and was hallucinating. Mama Mia what next ????????????

2 comments to What a disaster.

  • Ken

    Should we bring our own water in bottles? The life of a farmer is never easy. On the upside, I suspect there will be lots of flavour in the grapes also!

  • LindyLouMacinItaly

    Hi Simona, It was lovely to finally meet you yesterday thanks to Ken and we thoroughly enjoyed our lunch. Although I have been following Sagraincasa for sometime via Facebook, thanks to Cathy’s suggestion, I have not been visiting the actual blog. Rectifying that now and adding you to my Italy blogroll on News From Italy so that I do not miss out on new posts.

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