Martha is currently restoring some cottages on the grounds of the Castle to increase the diverse offerings in character with this special place as intimate weddings, family reunions, etc.
See also Events at the Castle
Martha is fascinated with the history of everyday life of the past centuries and the survival of forgotten arts and crafts. The magic of this place and its beauty in all seasons have inspired Martha to share it with others interested in charming places off the beaten track.
She is married to Prof. Francesco Corsi, a lawyer and ex professor of the University of Florence. Their daughter is an historian, graduated from the University of Florence.
For many years Martha has given lectures at Studio Art Centers International in Florence on Tuscan traditions related to food and the history of cooking. She has written The SACI Cookbook. Every year she invites to Porciano groups of American students from Harding University in Florence. On these special occasions they experience the “real” untouristy Tuscany of small towns and castles, ancient monasteries and country churches and enjoy the flavour of old local recipes.
Martha’s Herb Salt
An old trick of Tuscan cooks is to prepare an aromatic salt ready to use for chicken, fish or grilled foods.
My recipe is:
One handful of fresh sage leaves in small pieces
Two handfuls of fresh rosemary leaves
Three handfuls of rock salt
2-3 chopped garlic cloves
Put everything in the mixer and chop with on-off pulses till you reach a grainy texture. It should not be too fine. Keep it in a tightly closed jar and use it instead of common salt for your roasts and your marinades. Excellent with newly pressed olive oil on toasted bread.
“Boffoli” with Casentino Chestnut Honey
Baked stuffed apples with honey
Cut apples in half length-wise and place them in an oven dish (Golden Delicious apples are fine for this recipe).
Remove the cores so that you can make room for this wonderful stuffing.
Chop together a few crushed cookies (Oatmeal or digestive), a small packet of almonds or chopped walnuts, or a mixture of both, a small package of natural raisins, previously washed and soaked. Add enough chestnut flower honey (or any other special honey) to the mixture until you have a rather solid, gooey mass. Use this to stuff the apples and add a little butter on top of each, and some on the bottom of the pan. Add about one inch of Tuscan Vinsanto or other sweet wine. Cook covered with foil at 180°C for about one hour or until soft. Baste every so often with the juices. During the last 10 minutes, remove foil to give a golden color to the apples. Be careful not to burn as this is very easily done. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature on their own, or with cream or plain ice cream.
Note: the word Boffoli is a word used exclusively in the upper valley of the Arno River, the Casentino. It was used to indicate plain baked apples. These were often sold in the streets, very hot, as a simple and reviving food.