I stopped and chatted with a nomadic pastore this morning as he grazed his flock along the river. Well strictly speaking he, being nomadic, stopped to chat to me! We talked sheep and finding the best pastures – one of us quite a lot more knowledgeable than the other!

He and his dog are slowly shepherding their goats, donkeys and the lovely floppy-eared Bergamasco sheep with their 2 week old lambs towards the mountains, hoping to be up in the alpine malga in a few weeks time.

He’s making the most of the beautiful warm spring weather – life’s pretty tough otherwise for these guys and as he points out, the pay’s rubbish.

However, he does manage to make goat and sheep cheese as well as getting offerings of food and bottles of vino on his travels…..and as he says….you’ve just got to keep moving, keeps you healthy!

I continued my walk back home picking dandelion leaves along the way. All this talk of goat cheese made me want a cheese sandwich and I thought I’d make it with dandelion leaves…..these are the very leaves I picked!

However, this is not the very goat I got the cheese from…..it was sitting in my fridge at home…the cheese that is. So for anyone who would like a new idea for a sandwich….

A Shepherd’s Open Sandwich

Local goats cheese on home-made seeded rye bread topped with dandelion leaves, toasted walnuts and diced strawberries….and drizzled with cold-pressed olive oil.

Slices bread
Olive oil
Goats cheese
Dandelion leaves (must be organic) – if not use rucola or lettuce
Walnut halves
1 or 2 strawberries

Slice some good bread – our lovely Ukrainian friend had just made us a wonderful seeded dark rye loaf so this was perfect.

Either leave as bread or lightly toast it

Drizzle with olive oil

Spread or slice goats cheese onto the bread

Thoroughly wash and dry the dandelion leaves and place on top of the cheese

Lightly toast some walnuts and put on top of the leaves

Then – for a touch of acidity and colour – I diced a strawberry quite small and dotted a few over (to give the idea of tiny wild strawberries!)

Drizzle a little more olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Pronto!

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