Ricotta cake

Of late the evenings here at Bellaugello have been a bit cooler as the fierce heat of the summer sun begins to wane and days noticeably shorten.  We have been serving breakfast out on our terrace, only called in one morning a few days ago because of a few spots of rain – yes literally a few spots, it looked like it was to be more (which is much needed) but it only lasted a few minutes.

We also have been serving dinners outdoors on the terrace, the ‘posh seats’ are no longer quite so posh as the view fades in the ever earlier twilight, now dusk sensors turn our garden lights on at just after 8pm, still the terrace is warm, our great south facing wall retaining the day’s heat and radiating warmth through the evening.  Yesterday guests were keen to eat outdoors, every time we do this I think it will be the last al fresco dinner of the season, and yet there is still one more time…

It was a real convivial global evening with guests from New Zealand, Canada, Italy and Canada again by way of South Africa and of course the token Scot!  I love the conversations that flow so freely at dinner, learning of shared experiences, widely varying jobs and travels, gay life in other countries, day excursions, good books, and naturally the never ending joys that Umbria has to reveal.

One of the joys of Umbria is its cuisine, now I do not profess to be a professional chef, but I do love cooking and try to insert some Umbrian flavours into my repertoire.  Last night I made a ricotta cake for desert.  Earlier this year my dear friend Etain gave me two ricotta cake/pie recipies, both of which I tried with both turning out very well.  But I am a terror for losing or forgetting recipies and so have to trust to my judgement.  Yesterday my ricotta cake/tart was flavoured with sweetened caramelised oranges ladled onto the short-crust pastry which despite my earlier anxiety was buttery and crisp and simply melted, the oranges gave a tang to the feather light ricotta filling which almost floated away from the base it was so light.

Ok so I am singing my own trumpet, but it is real nice when a recipe turns out well, and from the comments received at the table last night I can say the recipe like the dinner was a success.

Here’s to the next terrace dinner under the stars……