Friday, 27 November 2009

Market stall fun again

So - we are there again.  You have another chance to get your xmas presents.  Saturday Duke of York Market off the King's Rd.

Here, we did the last day of olive picking yesterday and washed the crates, brought in the ladders and the nets.  Next week like fishermen of olives we will stitch up the holes in the nets and roll them up until next year.

These are the thousand year old olive trees.  Rather scary to pick from, so I hope you all realise what a risky business it is getting you that delicious oil!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Market Stall

This is Rohan looking very ready on Saturday morning.  I gather there was a good turn out and some people turned some lolly out of their pockets.  Excellent stuff chaps. 

More blooming olives!!!

So, more olives.  Olive oil is delicious.  I hope you all appreciate it.  We are up the trees all the time and it is very exhausting.  Beautiful weather though as usually this time of year, the cutting wind from Siberia is blowing one out of the trees.  This year it is nearly tropical.

Hot from Pot - Last bunches

This is the last bunch of Charlotte's little helpers with the last bunch of grapes.   The Pinot Noir variety leaves a lot of 'second growth'  bunches on the vines.  These are not part of the main harvest as they are acerbic and grow off tributary shoots.  Being rather parsimonious, I used to look at all these grapes and wonder what to do with them...  raisins...  chutney...  preserves...  a sweet wine?   Guess which I choose?  Well, we leave them on the vines until they are sweet and make WINE out of them funnily enough.  It is usually a curious dry white amber semi-sherry which everyone imbibes happily enough.  We make a bit for private consumption in the castle.  Waste not want not, I say!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Hot from Pot

There has been blog silence from the Castle for a while, I know you were all on tenterhooks waiting for the next installment.  I got 'flu.  Not swine it seems but I was laid low in bed for a few days and emerged on Monday swinging back up into the olive trees with vim and vigour (not icelandic eco-slaves).  And we are picking like it is the end of the world which I gather is supposed to be ending for all surviving Aztecs in 2012. According to an unreliable sauce who wishes to remain anonymous,  the aztec calendar ends in 2012 because they ran out of stones and could not be bothered to find any more since 2012 seemed a long way away as did the stones. 

So in my bed,  I got rather bored and grumpy so watched bits of early and surrealist cinema on youtube.  I can highly recommend Hans Richter and Fernand Leger.

The dogs would not leave my side.  


Super exciting funtime for all of you in LONDON.  Potentino stall with a beach umbrella at

THE DUKE OF YORK MARKET (off the KING'S ROAD) Saturday 21st and 28th of November, 10am-4pm

Tasting and especially buying is the idea. Wine and oil galore.

Rohan (our 'agent') and Alexander (my 'little brother') will be be standing at the stand all day for you.

I hope it is not raining.

Alexander is in the photo in a merry yule time mood with a false moustache so you can all get in the right frame of mind for purchasing christmas gifts from us. (moustaches on order)

Giacobazzi's Delicatessen and Osteria Emilia

For those of you who live in North London, we have a few new treats in store for you- Giacobazzi's Delicatessen and Osteria Emilia on Fleet Road in Hampstead will soon be receiving their first delivery of both the Sacromonte and the Piropo. Giles Coren's review of Osteria will whet your appetite...

These jewels in the London food scene were recommended to me a number of years ago by John Owen, one of the fellow founders of the Frontline Club. Thank you very much for the recommendation!

If anyone would like to recommend us to their local restaurants and delis. do post a comment and Rohan or I will drop a sample off to them.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Duke of York's Market

This coming Saturday 21st November, Rohan and I will be selling our wares at the Duke of York Square Food Market, just off the King's Road from 10 to 4- it is just next to Partridge's. Do come and join us- we are hoping for a mild day.

It should be quite an event- Katie Caldesi will be cooking up a storm as well as the regular crowd of stall owners- personally, I am looking forward to half a dozen oysters for breakfast...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Monday, 9 November 2009

Rain stops olive picking

We have had thunderous nights and soggy days.  Much snow on the Amiata.  Picking olives is not possible in these conditions for us as the quality of the oil is dependent on fast delivery into the press with a certain quantity.  If you leave olives for too long, especially if wet, they start to ferment and go rancid.   If we take 5 crates of olives in to press because rain stopped play it is too expensive and fiddly to take to the press for 6 litres of oil - for example.  Quality quality quality.  Sacrifices for trying to attain the best we can.   We need at least two days of good dry harvesting.  So - what do we do???  Start cleaning, painting and tidying up the mess in the castle after a heavy busy season..

The kitchen is the hub of life here at Potentino.  Since we moved in and did the restoration it has never been touched because we were always in it, cooking, eating, warming by the fire and playing silly games or talking or singing.  It needed a bit of attention as we did not notice it had got decidedly GROTTY.  The spider webs were the least of the problem.

Everything was moved out.  The painting podium was assembled and off we went scrubbing gently so most of the vaults did not fall down (probably 14th century) and since there was evidence of an earlier  celestial blue under the filthy ocre sludge colour we had been living with, I decided to do that.

Lovely, refershing and somewhat spiritual like a  Renaissance monastery library studiolo UNTIL the morning after the first coat, when I went back in and the ancient smoke damage had seeped through my heavenly blue to created a tobacco stained eau de thames diseased surface.  It had to go and with the aesthetic courage of a petulant interior decorator manque' I made everyone start again.  We painted it more or less the same colour it had been.

You may see the difference.  It is a very happy environment once again for the meals that provide the stomachs that run the bodies that make the wine and oil that I hope you all enjoy.  'Ces' was immediately inspired to prepare a delicious mollusc and crustacean delight (crayfish).

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

"yumyum"- Grape Schiacchia

Grape schiacchia
Cavolo Nero and white bean soup
Sausages boiled in red wine
Celariac and red onion risotto

News and Reviews- Evening Standard

Always have to blow my own trumpet! But don't despair, quite soon, it will probably be an ear trumpet.

Andrew Neather in The Evening Standard:

Three top Italian wines

Andrew Neather

Castello di Potentino “Sacromonte” 2005, Montecucco Rosso (, £9.95. Mail order only, you can mix cases by calling 020 7490 9910/9904. Free delivery)

My friend Michelle brought me back a bottle of this deeply obscure Tuscan red from holiday; I was overjoyed to find that it is now available here from the excellent website FromVineyardsDirect.

This is made from 100 per cent sangiovese, but streets ahead of any Chianti at this price: full, rich, expressive, with a fine minerality. Lovely.