#13 FOOD NEWS: All weather lamb, Napoli in Chiswick & Wonder web

Every monday
 
All-weather lamb

A bit like the officials at Wimbledon, I had my eye on the weather this weekend. Without a retractable roof to  cover my garden I needed a dish that was going to compliment our unpredictible British summer. The short cooking time on my butterflied all-weather lamb keeps things light for a summery(ish!) afternoon. And you just need 15 minutes of sunshine to finish it off on the barbecue to get  a lovely smoky flavour.

lamb strip

Method

Place 3 cloves garlic, 2tbsp olive oil, a small handful mint, 1tbsp rosemary leaves, a small handful basil leaves, the juice from 1 lemon and 1 deseeded chill in a mini chopper or food processor. Process for 1 minute.

Place a 1.5kg butterflied leg of lamb (See Britalian Kitchen Tip) in a large baking tray. With the tip of a knife pierce the skin all over. Massage the rub all over the surface, working well it into the slits. Roast, uncovered at 200’C, 180’C fan, gas 6 for 40 mins.

If the weather holds out, you can finish it off on the barbecue, place on the grill for 15 mins, turning once. Allow to rest for 15 mins before serving (Full-on rain? Rest for 15 mins after removing from the oven and serve – it’s still delicious). Serves 6.

coleslaw

Serve with a Cumin, beetroot & fennel coleslaw and potato and green salads, if liked.

Napoli in Chiswick (& Teddington)

Napoli strip

I love discovering Italian restaurants in London – even better when they’re tucked away and you feel like you’ve discovered a little gem. Canta Napoli is a cafe-style restaurant with a genuine relaxed Italian vibe. Great food without the hefty price-tag. For the full menu and for further info visit  www.cantanapoli.co.uk

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My Goats’ cheese bruschetta was delicious, but I had total ‘anti-pasto- envy’ when my friend Sai’s Frittura Mista arrived (on the Secondi menu but the chef was very happy to make a half-size portion for a starter).

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Pizza Parma. All my favourite things on a pizza. Yum.

Wonder web: Delicatezza.co.uk

delicatezza strip

For days when you want authentic Italian food at home, but your pasta making arms are quite up to it – a website that delivers everything from handmade tortelloni, to regional salami to baby food. Delicatezza caters for any occasion for when you or your baby (!!) might be feeling the need for supreme Italian food. At the moment it looks like they only deliver to inner London postcodes but are looking to expand. For a browse round the pantry visit www.delicatezza.co.uk

Britalian Kitchen Tip

You can ask your butcher to Butterfly your leg of lamb for you, alternatively buy a boned and rolled leg, unroll and slice along any thicker parts of meat to ensure you have an even thickness.

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#12 FOOD NEWS: Breakfast special

Every monday

Full English or a continental pastry? I’m a massive fan of the English breakfast but it occurred to me that it could be taken to dizzy heights with a few Italian twists!

WEEKEND WONDER: The Embellished English

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Garlic and balsamic roast tomatoes

Oliveoil and balsamaic tomatoes

Place 3 halved plum tomatoes and 2 whole garlic cloves in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with dried oregano and season to taste. Roast at 190’C, 170’C fan, gas 5 for 30 mins. Serves 2 (double for 4).

The sausage

Place Sicilian Inspired Pork Sausages (Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference, £2.50 for 6) in a baking tray above the tomatoes and cook to pack instructions at 190’C, 170’C fan, gas 5 for 30 mins. If you’re lucky enough to have an Italian deli nearby or if you’re self-catering or camping in Southern Italy seek out pappagnotta – the ultimate Italian sausage.

Dreamy creamy scrambled eggs

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Whisk 4 large eggs, 6 tbsp whole milk and 50g mascarpone. Season to taste. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over a medium heat in a non-stick frying pan, add the egg mixture and allow to sit for 20 secs then gently fold and stir with a wooden spatula. Allow to sit for a further 10 secs and fold and stir again. Repeat until the eggs are soft softly set. Serves 2.

Crispy pancetta

sizzling pancetta

Place the pancetta in a dry non-stick frying or griddle pan over a medium heat for 3-5 mins, turning once, until crispy.

Britalian Tip

Add some courgette flower fritters if you have the rest of the day to walk (or sleep!) it all off!

WHEN YOU NEED TO BE UP-AND-OUT:

4 weekday 5 minute breakfasts…

Superfood smoothie

Whizz and go!

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Beetroot & blueberry smoothie

Place 125g cooked beetroot (half a pack of cooked beetroot in natural juices),  100g blueberries, 25g goji  berries, 60ml pomegranate juice, 1tsp honey and a squeeze of lemon juice in a blender. Blend for 1 minute and serve. Serves 1

My Calabrian breakfast
Although I’m never in a hurry when in Italy, breakfast is a quick affair – just a little entree to LUNCH.

My Italian breakfast

Lipton English breakfast tea (Mama Romeo likes to make me feel at home!), Pan di Stelle biscuits (good Italian deli’s sell these in the UK or you can even buy them from Amazon.co.uk, from £2.95) and a fresh peach. A seemingly odd little mix that I’ve grown to love.

Mummy ‘E’s’ mega cereal breakfast
Setting her up for a day of teaching 11-15 year olds. No wonder it’s quite hefty.

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Top your favourite ready mixed granola with milk, a large spoonful of Greek natural yogurt, a small handful of berries and a few slices of kiwi fruit (or top with any fruit that needs using up!).

Slow release energy fast! 

 Perkier porridge pots

These little pots of joy from Perkier are perfect for busy days, pop one in your bag on the way to work and simply top up with boiling water.  Perkier was set-up by Anne Perkins and her partner Steve; fed up with the lack of choice and the price of gluten free products, Anne decided to do something about it. Perkier porridge pots are available at large supermarkets for around £1.50 each. For full product range visit http://www.perkier.co.uk

GREAT GADGET

Running out of cupboard space? These stackable Leaning Tower of Pisa espresso cups are perfect to keep on the worktop – making it even easier to reach for that morning coffee. Fab and functional! £19.99 www.menkind.co.uk

leaning tower of pisa_In situation

#11 FOOD NEWS: World cake-in-a Cup; Italy vs England re-match, frozen yogurt & hello Moscow mule!

KEEPING AN EYE ON ALL THINGS BRITALIAN…
 Every monday

World cake-in-a Cup

Inspired by these fun flag mugs, it only one meant thing…an Italy vs England World cake-in-a Cup re-match! Using Sainsbury’s cake-in-a-cup recipe as the base, will my country-inspired additions make it a new winning recipe or as disappointing as an own goal?

Ingredients

To kick off, I start with a risky decision and take out solid performer; Vanilla Extract and for England add 2tsp Pimms and 2 Chopped Strawberries.  For Italy, I add 2tsp Limoncello – possibly a disastrous choice or it could be a touch of magic for the mix. Just before the second half (before putting in the microwave), I top off team Italia with 1 fine Lemon Slice.

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When the England team think they’re finished we’ll top them off with a fresh strawberry. Both teams will get a good shower of icing sugar before the next round.

england final

England: Not a great looker – a bit lumpy and bumpy, but Chopped Strawberries added a whole new dimension to the game.

italy final

Italy: Rose to the occasion perfectly, an extremely slick performance, however Limoncello could have been slightly stronger up front.

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Final score….

1 – 1 

Personlised mugs from £8  http://www.moonpig.com, for Sainsbury’s original Cake in-a-cup recipe click here

Top theme

Wild west strip

The Wild West in Kent; The Garden of England. It may not be a combo that instantly springs to mind but as an advocate of having the best of both worlds it was the perfect location for one awesome party!  Two (very strong) Moscow mules, led me to constantly daydream (whilst attempting to dance like a cow-girl) about farming on the surrounding hop fields and orchards, then as dusk fell I put full attention into toasting marshmallows, eating popcorn and gorging on local and speciality cheese. Bliss.

atmos

For a wonderful family run campsite in this beautiful tranquil spot (with lovely quirky touches such as a communal tipi and camp fire starter packs!) visit www.bedgeburycamping.co.uk

Frozen assets

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On honeymoon in Puglia I had the best gelato I’ve ever tasted; full-on creamy-dreamy satisfaction! The honeymoon/ holiday feeling probably added to the whole experience but I must say I did get a sweet little holiday feeling at Yog this week, a little stroll along Exmouth Market, nipping into the ice-cream parlour-style shop was a real treat. Going with the ‘healthier alternative to ice-cream’ idea my coconut, cherry and tropical fruit combo was delicious, but I think my friend Jen got it right loading her pomegranate frozen yogurt with Oreo cookies! Get experimenting and that holiday feeling at Yog http://www.yogyogurt.co.uk/

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Yog selfie – had to be done 

Top 2 Britalian frozen treats:

Britalian iced canapes

strawberries

Instant summer fruits ice-cream 

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Father’s day menu: The recipes

Title strip

So my old dad after 50 years of work, enjoying his retirement, decided to go for a quick holiday to Spain to visit my brother on hol to play a bit of tennis – as you do. I’m not sure how much tennis will be played – paella and beer will probably be more the order of the day! This means we brought Father’s day 2014 forward, so good news for my lovely blog followers as the recipes are now here should anyone want to give them a go this weekend! Dad’s never going to get Blancmange in Spain.

Mini fish finger open sarnies

Beef and Stilton shirt & tie pie

Espresso blancmange Martini

For a bit of background on how I ended up with this tantalizing trio, please click here. Not worried? Read on and enjoy!

STARTER

Mini fish finger open sarnies

fishfinger1

50g plain flour
1 egg, beaten
Zest of 1 lemon, plus 1/2tbsp juice, plus lemon wedges, to serve
75g ciabatta breadcrumbs,  plus 4 slices
275g skinless cod fillet, cut into 12 x approx 6cm x 3cm fingers (See Britalian tip)
4tbsp mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic (1 crushed, 1  halved)
Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
Peashoots or watercress, to garnish

1 Place the flour onto a plate. Pour the beaten egg into a shallow dish. Mix the lemon zest into the breadcrumbs, season to taste, then tip onto another plate.

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2 Take a piece of fish and dust it in the flour, next dip it in the egg (allowing any excess to drip off) and finally into the breadcrumbs. Chill for 1 hour – this will firm up the fish and make them easier to handle.

3 Meanwhile, mix the mayo with the crushed garlic and lemon juice. Chill until ready to serve.

4 Preheat the grill to hot. Wipe the cut halves of garlic over the ciabatta slices and set aside.

5 Heat the oil in large frying pan, add the fish fingers and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 mins either side until golden-brown and cooked through (you may need to do this in batches – keep already cooked fish fingers warm in a low oven). Remove the fish fingers from the pan and place on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.

fish finger strip

6 Literally just show the ciabatta slices to the grill, to warm, then pile on the fish fingers. Add a spoonful of the garlic and lemon mayo and garnish with the watercress or pea shoots. Serve with extra lemon wedges (if you remember – I forgot for the pic!).

Britalian Tip

If you can only get cod fillet with the skin on, you will need approx 350g, when the skin is removed you should have approx 275g of fish left.

MAIN

Beef and Stilton shirt & tie pie

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Serves 4

2tbsp olive oil
700g stewing steak, cubed
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
200g leek, trimmed and sliced
3tbsp plain flour
500ml beef stock (made with 1 stock cube)
100g Stilton, crumbled
250g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
500g pack shortcrust pastry
1 medium egg, beaten
1tbsp poppy seeds
1tbsp sesame seeds
Steamed Tenderstem broccoli, mini carrots and new potatoes, to serve

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1 Heat 1tbsp oil in a large non-stick saucepan, fry the steak for 3-5mins, until browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

2 Heat the remaining oil in the saucepan, add the onion and leeks and cook for 3-5 mins until softened, then return the steak with any juices and mix well.

3 Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually pour in the stock, stirring, season to taste. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer very gently for 1 hour 30mins until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally to make sure the mixture isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.

4 Remove from the heat, stir through the Stilton until melted, then stir through the mushrooms. Set aside and allow to cool.

5 Preheat the oven to 200’C, fan 180’C, gas mark 6. Spoon the steak mixture into a 1.5L rectangular oven-proof dish. To make the pastry lid, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin, and cut out a rectangle large enough to cover the dish. Reserve the trimmings.

pie strip

6  Dampen the edges of the dish, then press strips of pastry from the trimmings onto the dampened edges, brush with water, cover with the pastry lid, then press the edges to seal. Use the remaining trimmings to make shirt and tie shapes. Secure into place with a little water. Cut a couple of slits along the ‘tie’ for steam to escape.

 pie about to go in oven

7 Brush the ‘tie’ with the beaten egg and decorate with the poppy and sesame seeds, then brush the ‘shirt’ with the remaining egg and place on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 mins until the pastry is golden. Serve with the steamed vegetables.

PUD

Espresso Martini blancmange

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36g pack chocolate blancmange
3tbsp caster sugar
500ml whole milk
70ml espresso
300ml double cream
3tbsp Martini Extra Dry
1tbsp icing sugar
12 chocolate coffee beans by Sainsbury’s
Cocoa powder to dust

1 Empty the contents of the pack of blancmange into a bowl, then add the sugar plus 3tbsp of the milk. Mix to a smooth paste.

2 Heat the remaining milk and espresso in a saucepan until warm. Add a little of the warm milky coffee to the paste, mix, then add the remainder and stir well. Return it to the saucepan.

steps espresso martini

3 Bring to the boil, then stirring continuously, simmer gently for 1 minute. Rinse 4 x martini or dessert glasses with cold water and shake to eliminate excess water. Pour in the liquid. Allow to cool to room temperature then chill for 3 hours until set.

4 Very softly whip the cream with the martini and icing sugar. Divide between the dessert glasses, then decorate with the chocolate coffee beans and dust with the cocoa powder.

dessert eaten

‘My lovely dad’ card from the fab https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AbbyRoseCardDesigns

Thanks to Helenka at http://www.ilovemygrub.com/ for inspiring conversation on shirt-shaped food!

#10 FOOD NEWS: Italy vs England, the Wild West & World Cup telly food

It’s in the bag: England vs Italy

Whenever we visit the Romeo family in Italy we end up coming home with our suitcases full of food and busting the scales. This left me thinking about what the players (and their mums) might be putting in their suitcases when packing for the biggest football competition on earth:

England player1

Italian players bag

One all!

On the night of the match we’ve been invited to a Wild West 4oth. Give me any excuse to whack on a pair of cow-girl boots and a hat and I’m all over it! I’m not sure if it’s a Giuseppe (or an Italian or man) thing but he’s less keen on the whole idea of fancy dress. Before I could tell him about my grand plan for him to dress up as Toy Story’s Woody and me to go as Jessie, he said he already had the night booked out with the boys to watch the football at Donna Margherita’s in Clapham.

Dressing up as Woody Vs gay pizza and football with the Italians? I didn’t stand a chance (re: gay pizza that’s not me reverting to playground insults, they really do sell ‘Pizza gay’ at Donna Margherita’s – it’s apparently very good). Anyway, I’m happy to leave him to it and make mine a girlie night (and go as fancy dress-crazy as humanly possible)!

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Huumm Pizza lesbica? So Pizza gay isn’t just a google translate mishap for happy pizza then.

If you’re supporting Italy on the 14th, I’m sure Donna Margherita is a great place to be – heaving with Italian passion [school boy humour] and pizza!  http://www.donna-margherita.com/

World cup TV nibbles

If you’re planning on watching the match in the comfort of your own home here’s some fab Britalian-style TV nibbles. They also make a great starter – I’m going to be serving these up to my old dad to kick off his Father’s day menu:

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The Challenge: Father’s day menu

Due to the nature of the blogging beast, I’m wanting to share my Father’s day menu but I won’t be able to put the complete recipes and pics up until after the event! But read on if you’re just looking for a bit of inspiration. I’ll post the full recipes after all the blog assets are bagged! You can keep them in your back pocket for next year!

Fish finger

STARTER

Mini fish finger open sarnies

Who doesn’t love fish finger sandwiches? When my 8 year old Italian nephew came to stay last year, on tasting one for the first time, he fell in love too! Giving this British classic an Italian twist (and to make sure we don’t get breaded out) I’ll be serving them up bruschetta-style on thinly sliced ciabatta with a spoonful of garlic mayo.

MAIN

Beef & Stilton shirt & tie pie

When it comes to dinner for dad – it has to be pie. I’m playing safe with ‘dad flavours’, but I’ll be getting creative with the pastry!

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PUD

Espresso blancmange martini’s

Rabbit mould

Bring back blancmange I say! In an attempt to stop myself reaching for the rabbit mould, I’m going to up the style-stakes by adding a touch of coffee and a dash of Martini. Also love hearing Giuseppe say, ‘Eh? Blamon!?!’

 

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