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Alles Gute Zum Geburtstag Lieber Florian

December 16, 2011 · 14 comments

in Austria,Mains,Summer

courgette flower pasta image

December the 16th is, in my opinion, one of the most auspicious days of the year; without it, my life would be immeasurably poorer. The reason it’s such a happy day is because it’s the birthday of three (three!) of my favourite people. I know it’s not the done thing to choose favourites but let’s face it, we all do, right? And the favouritest of them all, is the one beginning with F. Also, the word “favourite” is beginning to look as if I spelt it wrong so I’ll stop using it now. Also, it would be weird if the month of December went straight from the 15th to the 17th, don’t you think?

pasta ingredients image on sasasunakku

Without the events that unfolded on the 16th of December a number of years ago there wouldn’t have been anyone to tell me about Duvetwochen, an Austrian celebration of the end of winter whereupon all the people of the village bring their duvets to the market square and throw them in a pile. The most elderly are then invited to choose a new duvet followed by the next eldest, and the next and so on. It is possible I have heard, to buy key-rings with tiny duvets attached to them as a memento of this, frankly odd, festival. No-one ever mentioned what happens if two people are born at the same time but I like to imagine that they have it out, right there on the street, and the last one standing is the first to choose.

zucchini flowers image on sasasunakku

Had the 16th of December been skipped that year, there’d have been no-one to inform me of the importance of consuming a boiled egg on the first day of snow (the famed Snow Egg) which is supposed to give one strength for the impending doom, I mean winter.

guanciale image sasasunakku

No 16th of December, none of these, the most imaginative of my numerous nicknames: Sarakue, Sayakue, The Hashbot, Shiksenbaby, Monkey Lady and The Bogbot.

Without the 16th of December I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet the person with whom I’ve spent many of my happiest hours.

guanciale pasta image on sasasunakku

So, December 16th, thank you for existing. You are a special day. A great day.

What’s your favourite day of the year?

Fettucine with Guanciale and Courgette Flowers for One

Guanciale is dry-cured pork cheek. You could use bacon or speck, or for a vegetarian version use olive oil instead of the rendered fat and finish with blue cheese instead. Needless to say, since this is a very simple dish, the quality of the ingredients is paramount.

120 grams fettuccine

2 small cloves garlic, sliced

1 slice guanciale, diced

3 courgette flowers, halved

A baby courgette, sliced

Handful of parsley or basil, minced

Bring 1.5 litres of water to a rolling boil and salt until it tastes as salty as seawater.

Meanwhile, put the diced guanciale in a cold pan and turn heat on to medium. Allow the fat to render from the meat.

When the fat has rendered, add the garlic and courgette and fry gently and add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente.

When the pasta is done, drain it, and add the courgette flowers to the pan with the guanciale, garlic and courgette and fry for a minute until just wilted.

Toss the sauce and parsley through the drained pasta in the pan and serve with parmesan and lashings of black pepper.

Print this recipe

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Alessandra December 16, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Ok, in the next post you will need to go into more explanations of the nicknames :-)!!!

And wow, three important friends with the same birthday? If they all lived in the same city you would be party hopping! The pasta is great (without guanciale for me) and my favourite day is usually the present day, sometimes the day before.

Ciao
Alessandra

Reply

Emily December 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Nice to see you back here, I’ve missed you! Happy birthday to F. and everyone else with a birthday, such a sweet coincidence. Duvetwoche sounds very strange but also charming, the kind of thing the Austrians do well. Imagine dragging my large duvet to the town square! Great recipe which I’ll bookmark for the time when zucchini flowers might be found; here it’s more root veg, kale and pumpkins.

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catty December 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm

awwwwwwwwwwwww! happy birthday to Flo! :D I totally know I’m also one of your favourite people, so I can sleep well at night. With my own duvet. Which I did not get off a community pile last year. EEWW. hehhe.

I dont have one fvaourite day. I have many many :)

miss you. our attempt at skyping was lame. must try again.

Reply

Mel December 16, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Thanks for sharing this post, it was so lovely to read. December 16th sounds like a day WELL worth celebrating in your world – happy Dec 16th!

I don’t know if I have a favourite day, I like so many….!

Reply

Mairi @ Toast December 17, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Love, love ‘simple’ pasta…probably my favourite meal. Torn between the meat & the vege option here :)

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Marietta December 18, 2011 at 6:13 am

Sasa!! good to see a new post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! love it as always!!

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sakura December 19, 2011 at 8:49 am

The Bogbot! Love that name;) Happy Dec 16th Sasa!

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Nic@diningwithastud December 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Zucchini flowers are my fave! Love this :)

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Alli@peasepudding December 22, 2011 at 11:13 am

Aren’t traditions funny things? It’s what makes other cultures so interesting. It’s my brothers birthday on 16th December too. Love the dish and where did you find courgette flowers? I obviously need to get into the city more. have a fabulous Christmas xx

Reply

hungryandfrozen December 23, 2011 at 11:05 am

I’m so glad I read this – not just for the beautiful recipe – but the duvet festival made me laugh SO very hard. The merriest merry christmas to you Sasa!

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Couscous & Consciousness January 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Hi Sasa – gorgeous post – love this dish and I love the duvet story – I can totally get a mental image of the whole carry on. Hope you had a good Christmas, and lots of luck for all the studying in the year ahead, and everything else the year may hold.
xo

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Lana January 3, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Sasa, you made me tear up (I am a sucker for romance). Happy holidays to you! I hope the year ahead is even more beautiful and that you manage to see all your dreams come through. Good luck, my friend:)
BTW, the flavors in that dish have to be enormous and so complementing (guanciale, yum!)

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Suzy January 18, 2012 at 3:55 am

So you like sagittarians too. My dad is one and my best friend. And two of my new Berliner friends.

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Sasa January 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I am one too!

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