Yesterday afternoon, we heard a megaphone outside. A demonstration! We have not had that for a while in the neighbourhood. Unions and housing associations, I think: “Economia pubblica, occupazione stabile, casa e reddito per tutti”: Public economy, stable employment, housing and income for all.
We are preparing for a Christmas in Rome, where life suprisingly seems almost normal. Yes, we have lots of masks, and never leave the house without them. Yes, the bars and restaurants close at 6PM, and we have a curfew 10PM-5AM. But shops are open, we can still meet friends for an outdoor lunch on sunny days, and the only lines for food shopping are at the fresh pasta shop, baker and butcher. With all the travel restrictions it made sense to stay here for the holidays, and though it was hard to accept that, we are really grateful that friends and family are healthy and safe. Touch wood!
On the weekends I’ve doing small-batch pickling and preserving. Bread and butter pickles, this Christmas apple and date chutney, and several batches of pickled beetroot. Even anchovies for Christmas, which have not exploded yet…. we shall see if they are edible. The new market up the hill (near Regionale Lazio, if you know the area) is a great place to get vegetables, cheese, meat, nuts, a tablecloth, a haircut, or some roast porchetta. Very nice. The Puglian stand has amazing red onion taralli. I bought beetroot yesterday, and made another batch.
1 kg fresh beetroot
2 tsp salt
300 ml white wine vinegar
300 ml water
400 ml sugar
1/2 tbs caraway
1/2 tbs yellow mustard seeds
Wash and brush beetroot, cut the stems and leaves off but do not peel them. Do not cut off root or stem base before cooking, or they will bleed red juice into cooking water and be paler later. Cook in salted water 30 minutes or so until almost tender when pierced. Rinse in cold water. Now cut off root and stem base, the remaining peel will come off by rubbing them gently. Slice the cooked beetroot.
In the interim you’ll have boiled up the brine: vinegar, water, sugar, spices. Also, sterilize your glass jars by boiling them with lids for 5-10 minutes. Fill the jars with sliced beetroot, and carefully ladle over the boiling hot brine, to fill the jars. Wipe off any residue, and let them cool upside down. These should keep for a few months, refrigerate once opened.