20 marzo 2011

The sun broke through for, oh,

The sun broke through for, oh, several whole hours yesterday but we're back to cold grey skies again today. In the past two or three weeks we've had torrential rainfall followed by a massive snowfall which prompted the Region to declare a state of emergency. Floods, landslips, trees down, the works. We were snowed in for several days, two of them without electricity thanks to a burnt-out cable. We actually saw the cable in flames, which was pretty frightening, and the two days it took for the electricity company to get a team out to us made me wonder how long we'd have been without power in a non-emergency... Anyway, the snow has finally gone and I noticed tiny broad-bean shoots starting to poke through in the veg patch, so that's cheering at least. 

John managed to catch and summarily despatch two of our huge overpopulation of pigeons yesterday and rather than just chuck the bodies into the woods I said why don't we eat them? (These pigeons are the ones the locals breed specifically to eat.) He replied, not unreasonably: "But you are vegetarian." Nonetheless, I was on a sustainable-eating roll, and so we (well, he) plucked the pigeons (easy) while I watched a little film on YouTube of a frigheningly competent hunter/chef chopping the limbs and other identifying bodily parts off a recently shot wood-pigeon and then frying it up for dinner. It's important, apparently, to finish it off in a barely warm oven for 10 minutes to "relax" the meat.

Having studied the video assiduously, later that afternoon we performed the same depersonalizing operation on our naked pigeon corpses, with Alessio watching in admiration at the blood on the chopping board (not that there was much blood, despite what he later put in his Facebook entry) and me going all farmhouse-wife and picking out the last of the quills from the legs. We pan-fried them, relaxed them nicely in the oven, and ate them for supper with black rice and home-grown cavolo nero. The meat looked like beef, was fairly tender, and tasted strong and gamy. I had been hugely looking forward to eating it, but in the event I didn't really like it – too strong and too, well, meaty. Luckily for dessert I'd made fantastic melting-chocolate-puddings, which made up for my disappointment at not being able to throw myself fully into pigeon fancying. Will probably stay properly vegetarian for a while again now.