#21 FOOD NEWS: Mamma Romeo’s tomatoes, Chicken & chips – Italian style! And learning the lingo

Every monday

Terrific tomatoes

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An outstanding crop. The tomato season is in full-swing at Mamma Romeo’s house. Mummy ‘E’ came to Italy to view the competition this year…. oops sorry… to ‘visit’ this year.  Like me, she was completely in ore of how Mamma Romeo’s plants were all beautifully tied to canes and supports and dripping with ruby-red tomatoes. With the stunning back-drop of Pollino National Park – the whole sight is breathtaking.

Top tomato tip

Mamma Romeo says be careful not to over-water your plants, it’s fine for the ground to go a bit dry and let the leaves go a little droopy before you water them.

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Simple Italian tomato salad 

For this Italian classic, make sure you get the best ingredients you possibly can to really taste the sunshine!

Sprinkle a pinch of coarsely ground salt over thickly sliced tomatoes, scatter over thinly sliced garlic and dried oregano. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil just before serving.

For Italian Tomato in London posts visit:

# 1 Food News
# 4 Food News
# 14 Food News
# 18 Food News

Chicken & chips – Italian style!

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I obviously adore Italian food but when we went to a restaurant with Giuseppe’s mum and sister and I saw good ol’ chicken and chips on the menu, I couldn’t resist. I happily ordered, but then the owner came over with a sad look on his face – I knew what he was going to say…. ‘no chicken’. Instead I ordered the Wild boar pasta, which as a ‘foodie’ I probably should have ordered in the first place – it was divine – super rich and super delicious. What I didn’t realise was Mamma Romeo had her eye on the whole thing. The next day she cooked me chicken and chips her way. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven:

Britalian chicken & chips

Serves 4
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: Approx 40 mins

7-8tbsp olive oil
4 Italian sweet green peppers (or 2 x green capsicum), halved and deseeded
4 large (beef or plum) tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
2tsp dried oregano
4 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
4 chicken escalopes
Juice from half a lemon (remaining half thickly sliced)
Mixed olives, to serve

1 Preheat the oven to 180’C/ 160’C fan/ gas 4. Drizzle the peppers with 1tbsp of the olive oil and roast for 30 mins until lightly charred. Remove and roughly chop.

2 Meanwhile prepare the tomato salad (as above) using 1tbsp of the olive oil. Set aside.

3 When the peppers are nearly ready, place the potatoes in a pan of water and bring to the boil for 5 mins. Drain well. Heat 4-5tbsp of the olive oil in a large, deep, non-stick frying pan, add the potatoes and chopped peppers and pan-fry, stirring occasionally, for 10 mins until the potatoes are lightly golden and cooked through.

4 Meanwhile heat 1tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan. Season the chicken escalopes and pan-fry with the lemon juice, for 2-3 mins each side, until cooked through (you may need to do this in batches). Add the lemon slices 2 mins before the end of cooking time. Serve with the potatoes, tomato salad and olives. Serve with crusty bread, if liked.

Alternative language lessons

Speak Italian

After our visit this year, I finally feel my understanding of Italian has improved. But what I now realise is that my numerous ‘Learn Italian’ books, CD’s, phone apps, online courses and DVDs aren’t quite giving me the conversational Italian I need when seeing the family. ‘Can I book a hotel room for one?’ really isn’t cutting it. So every now-and-then I’m going to post a really useful phrase that should help for my next visit. Please feel free to comment and post me your ‘alternative’ helpful phrases!

The real Italian phrase book: 

Entry 1:

How is it going with your tomatoes this year?

Come va’ con i tuoi pomodori quest’anno?

Photo: Cover of Speak Italian: The Fine Art of the Gesture (A great place to start when learning Italian). Available at Amazon.com 

 

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#20 FOOD NEWS: Inglese cake in Italia!

Every monday

Inglese cake

We’ve just arrived in Herculaneum, we’ll soon be sightseeing but at the moment I’m still recovering from the 10 hour feast that was the Italian August bank holiday. What a celebration – almost like a summer Christmas! The Romeo’s asked me to make a cake, I hope I did us Brits proud with a version of my cake for the cover of the Sainsbury’s Cake book. We travelled out to find a huge Conad supermarket where to my surprise most of my cakey needs were met. I couldn’t quite get the subtle colours of sugar paste that Sainsbury’s stock but the more carnival feel to my new Britalian version received claps and cheers so I need not of worried about the hue of pink!

atmos strip

The biggest compliment of all was Gabriella (who I consider the queen of dolce) asked me for the recipe!

And the bambini adored the little cakes and sweets on top – they even kept sneaking back to grab one when they didn’t think anyone was looking… of course I caught them on camera!

Wish you were here!

A & G

#19 FOOD NEWS: Postcard from Italia!

KEEPING AN EYE ON ALL THINGS BRITALIAN…

Every monday

 

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Dear lovely blog follwers!

We’re in Italy! Eating lots of pasta and pizza. The weather is beautiful and everyone is as welcoming as ever. The town is getting ready for the event of the year: The 2014 Donkey Race! It’s going to be one huge Street party. Uncle Vincenzo is busy making 150 kilo’s of sausages and everyone is getting their home-brewed vino at the ready (!)

I just can’t get enough of this place!

Thinking of you!

A & G

Ps Already seen a tomato the size of Mamma Romeo’s head!

Pps Top secret pasta making tips from Mamma Romeo to come….

POST TO: BRITALIAN KITCHEN FOLLOWERS – WORLD WIDE WEB -THE WORLD

 

#18 FOOD NEWS: Italian tomato in London update, Sai’s salsicce supper & celebrating Martini!

KEEPING AN EYE ON ALL THINGS BRITALIAN…

Every monday

 

Italian tomato in London update

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Off to Calabria next week I’ll be enjoying some stunning spots along the west coast, exploring the mountainous countryside and visiting a few augritourismo along the way but of course one of my biggest priorities will be checking out Mamma Romeo’s tomatoes! So it was only right that this weekend I catch up with the Italian tomatoes in London first – and what a stunning crop they are:

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They’ve gone wild this past month. Mummy ‘E’s’ hard graft and dedication to watering the cause every single night has definitely paid off! With a gorgeous organic shape, they’re unripe at the moment but the stalks and leaves are giving off that gorgeous summer-tomato-foliage-smell that I would bottle if  I could – perhaps that’s just me?! At a plump and healthy 6cm, I can’t wait to see how the Italian tomatoes are getting on (again that’s probably just me).

For previous Italian Tomato in London posts:

#1 Food News
#4 Food News
#14 Food News

Sai’s salsicce e friarelli con patate al rosemarino pronto!

Sai's Supper2

When I met a bunch of crazy Italians in Chiswick over 10 years ago (one of which I married), I also met Sai, my fellow Englishman, who helped translate what the hell was going on when 5 Italians, all on their feet were deep in animated conversation. Like me, this rich culture  is now firmly in Sai’s blood and clearly so is the food with his delicious recreation of  this Naples classic:

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Serves 4
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 35 mins

For the patate al rosemarino (rosemary potatoes)
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1kg new potatoes, cut into pieces
1 (preferably red) onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic,  finely sliced
handful Rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
120g of pancetta (or streaky bacon)

For the salsicce e friarelli ( sausages and broccoli)
375g Chipolatas sausages (or any sausages preferably with herbs or a chilli kick)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chilli powder (you could also use chopped up dry chillies)
1tbsp powdered dry sweet peppers or paprika (or you could use chopped up oven roasted peppers)
1/2-3/4 glass white wine
350g Tenderstem broccoli (or wild ‘Friarelli’ broccoli if you can find it)

1 Preheat the oven to 200’C, 180’C fan, gas 6. Grease a baking tray with the olive oil, then add the chopped potatoes, onion, rosemary and garlic. Drizzle over the olive oil and toss to coat. Scatter over the pancetta (or streaky bacon) and roast for 35 mins.

potatoes bacon

2 For the sausages and friarelli, heat the oil in a large lidded frying over a medium heat, add the sausages and fry, turning occassionally, until browned. Add the chilli and powdered dry sweet peppers and half a glass of white wine, allow to simmer for a few mins, then add the broccoli.  Cover the frying pan and cook on a low to medium heat for about 5-9 mins.

broccoli sausage pan

3 Check the broccoli is starting to tenderise and maybe add another quarter a glass of white wine if the base of the pan is starting to dry up.  When the sausages are cooked through, halve, if liked, then divide between four plates with the broccoli and serve with the potatoes.

sausage

Marvellous Martini

martini crop

Any exhibition that lets visitors climb into a Martini glass Dita Von Teese-style is a must for me. 8 public figures and characters including James Bond and Elizabeth Taylor will each be represented by an art installation. Legends of Martini, Royal Academy Senate Rooms is on until 31st August. Free entry. Tasting sessions £15. For session times visit the Belvedere website.