| A Spring Story |


A few days ago I was roaming a eucalypt wood searching for small branches to burn in the stove. The May air was already warm during the day but turned into very cold wind at night. I walked among rustling leaves, breaking small branches and watching the hill in front of me, where the ruins of my dream house lay.

I have seen it crumbling and falling down during all these years. When I was a child I used to climb up there and explore the place. The house was suddenly abandoned – maybe before the 1980s – leaving traces behind, like some piece of furniture and an embarrassing wall paper. Italy is full of places like this one: abandoned beauties, ancient ruins and half-collapsed dream houses. Nature takes its course and slowly regains possession of what remains.

Where the kitchen of the estate used to be, a maritime pine has uprooted almost all the tiles from the floor and has broken part of the roof with its tree-top. Mulberry brambles have burst open the windows, thus obscuring light like heavy curtains… while brilliant grass carpets cover every inch of the floor, just like a green moquette… but they are nettles!!

Beautiful stretches of young little leaves, protected by this place where they have grown unperturbed. With its tons of green stuff as the only available ingredients, this place suggested a nettle recipe.

Panna cotta is a very popular Italian dessert, I prepared it by following the traditional recipe, although in my version you have to add nettles! We found out that adding nettles was a very good idea, not only for aesthetic reasons – their brilliant color is always up to expectations – but also because its taste reminds of pistachios – at least that’s what my Mom stated.

All that I can say – apart from inviting you to eat it because it’s really good! – is that it reminds me of the green and natural carpet floor of a house which one day will no longer exist.

For the recipe, the whole story and more pictures come to visit: The Freaky Table • Photos & Words by Zaira Zarotti INSTAGRAM @thefreakytable FB /thefreakytable #foodphotography #stellerstories #stelleritalia #recipe

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