We are having a mini heatwave for 4 days. Today 39C (103F) and tomorrow hotter so any thoughts of work around the house quickly evaporated ( literally). Instead I settled down with an Eric Newby book called A Small House in Italy. Newby was a travel writer ( he died in 2006) and I actually bought his A Short Walk in The Hindu Kush which was a Kindle 99p special but then saw he had written about his experiences in renovating a house in Italy and bought that for a fiver so well done Amazon the ploy worked. He was captured by the Germans after a botched commando raid on an airfield in Sicily and after a brief spell in a POW camp in Pescara was moved to Parma to be incarcerated there until September 1943 when Italy surrendered. He was one of the lucky ones whose British camp senior officer decided to disobey the London directive to sit tight and wait for the allies ( it took them till the end of the war to get there) and walked out into the countryside. I did a little of my own research. Of the 80,000 POWs in Italy in 1943 50,000 sat tight and were shipped to Germany , some 17,000 were rounded up quickly and followed them, 11,000 got back home during the war and 2,000 were never ever accounted for and are believed to have just assimilated into the local Italian communities. There were amazing tales of bravery by Italians in looking after about 13,000 escaped prisoners of war and the reprisals were truly awful. Newby met his future wife in the hills and her family looked after him. They married at the end of the war and bought a completely rundown small farmhouse in Tuscany with no road anywhere nearby nor single utility in 1967 for £1,500 ( £25,000 in today’s money). So Tuscany has always been expensive ! His book tells how it evolved and how until he sold in 1997 the area changed almost out of recognition.
It got me thinking about how Puglia is going to change and the need to catalogue the life today. Living in Puglia I immediately thought food and being a hot day what refreshing snack to make for lunch. Frise I decided.
Frise is dried bread. It is made in a wood oven here as the one in the picture was. You make it like bread rolls then cut them in half and put them back into the oven until they are dry as a bone. Then you can store them for months in a cupboard and use them as needed. Most houses near us have a large supply of them always to hand.
You need as you can see the bread, a bowl of water, some freshly picked tomatoes, olive oil, oregano and salt.
Chop your toms
Then dunk your dried bread in water, don’t dally too long otherwise it goes mushy so really just give it a good covering and out.
put on a glop of olive oil
then add the oregano and salt and enjoy
In the house alongside my winemaking area the old lady there has her frise on string having passed a needle through the pile after she made them. They hang in a cupboard until she wants one. Having read Newby’s book I had better get a picture of them and her .
It was already planned as the song title says.