Scents of home. I’m not the first and certainly I won’t be the last to tell something about herself through the scents of her life. I think there is no better time to do that than the first days of summer, when scents are highlighted by hot air and when you can call it a day only after a slow walk intro your favourite country road, in between sweet-smelling hedges and fireflies.
Without any doubt one of the scents that I love the most is the scent of blooming linden trees of early summer, when these so familiar trees explode into a chirping of cicadas and gift us with their cool shade. Their sweet scent reminds me of the beginning of summer, never ending table tennis matches with Chiara in her garden, all in one breath readings of the books I loved as a girl, romances and mystery books, my bicycle leaning against the gate to run and play with my friends, tumbledown huts made of towels and umbrellas under their protective gaze. Every year during this period, when I feel the fragrance of the lindens, I’m back to my childhood and I’m captured again by the desire to play, to make bizarre plans and race my bike in the last hours of the day to enjoy till the end all that summer gives us.
Besides the scent of lime trees, the jasmine – even now it’s creeping from the garden through the open window and wants to draw you out, to live and enjoy the summer night, the shooting stars and the gentle breeze – freshly cut grass, wet ground under the plants of tomatoes and mum’s aromatic salt.
When I had to decide what to bring as little present from Tuscany to London for the Food Bloggers Connect I’ve considered anything from finocchiona (a kind of Tuscan cured meat) to cantuccini (cookies with almonds), from wine to olive oil. But every time I hit the restrictions of hand baggage with RyanAir or obvious difficulties of transport and storage. One evening I felt a familiar smell, the smell of mum’s aromatic salt, which closes Tuscan tastes and smells into a jar. Garlic, rosemary and sage. That’s it. The recipe is just this, in its crystal clear simplicity: nothing more than these three ingredients to represent my country abroad.
It’s just impossible to give exact quantities: roughly I can say use the same amount of sage and rosemary. For the rest, follow your taste whether you like it with more or less garlic, more or less pepper, whether you want to put more salt or more herbs, everything is done following the inspiration of the moment.
- rosemary (we call it ramerino in Tuscany)
- black pepper
Wash sage and dry it well. Do the same with rosemary. Finely chop sage leaves, rosemary and garlic cloves. Combine the mix of sage, rosemary and garlic with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Close in a jar and keep it in the fridge.
Whenever you want to smell a bit of Tuscany, just open the jar and use this salt as a dressing or for cooking. Essential seasoning for roasted pork (porchetta), this salt, flavoured with sage and rosemary, is perfect for seasoning a simple grilled meat – beef, chicken, turkey or pork – for roast beef, for baked fish or even for roasted potatoes.