#14 FOOD NEWS: Dhruv Baker’s caponata, skint or spree! Italian tomatoes in London

KEEPING AN EYE ON ALL THINGS BRITALIAN

Every monday

 

Italian tomato in London update

Mums toms banner

Well mummy ‘E’ has done an amazing job nurturing the little Italian seedlings – some are standing up to a metre tall, standing proud and now seemingly happy to be in an English garden. Placed in every conceivable spot; some in tubs, some in shallow earth, in deep earth, in ‘rooty’ earth – they’re everywhere!

Inset banner strip

At the moment the soil of Staines looks to be bearing up to the rich soil of Pollino National Park, Italia. Little yellow flowers have even started appearing – a true sign tomatoes are on their way! But will they taste the same as their Italian brothers and sisters? To be continued…..

Previous Italian tomato in London posts Food News 1 and Food News 4

Skint or spree: Olive oil

Should you cook with it? Drizzle it? Dip into it? Well the truth is all 3! But save the best stuff for dipping and final drizzles.

Skint?

Extra virgin olive oil by Sainsbury’s
£1.85 for 500ml

Image for Sainsbury's Olive Oil, Extra Virgin 500ml from Sainsbury's

I was actually hoping it would be another supermarket, I wouldn’t want anyone thinking I was biased (!) but even Yottam Ottolengi agrees (GuardianWordofMouth). A fair price for a great product. Light enough to cook with, it makes a great healthier alternative when shallow or pan-frying.

Spree!

Emozioni Extra virgin olive oil
£15.50 for 15ml

Premium olive oil

An olive oil that looks more like a gorgeous A-list beauty product is certainly a treat. The olives are hand-picked at the premium moment and the oil extracted within a few hours to enhance nutritional properties and flavour. Liquid gold-literally. It’s enough to make a foodie weep but so might the price! www.emozionifood.co.uk

Dhruv Baker’s Caponata 

Caponata banner1

When MasterChef winner Dhruv Baker’s Spice: Layers of Flavour landed on my desk, it felt like I had access to a secret diary of spice. Full of classic recipes from around the world, each with a spicy twist – from chilli heat to more fragrant and complex flavours. You won’t be bogged down with lots of words – it’s the perfect way to learn about spice, simply make a recipe and eat it! Then turn the page and try the next one.

The cumin and fennel seeds add a lovely aromatic flavour to this Sicilian stew.

Caponata final1
Serves 4
4 tbsp light olive oil
2 large aubergines, cut into 4cm cubes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
20ml red wine vinegar
100g green olives (Dhruv recommends the ones stuffed with anchovy)
4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

1 Heat a large frying pan and when hot add the olive oil and the aubergines. When the aubergines have started to colour, after about 10 mins, add the cumin and fennel seeds and cook for a further 5 mins.

step banner caponata

2 Add the onion and garlic and stir-fry for another 5 mins. Add the vinegar and olives and stir well; cook for another 5 mins then add the tomatoes. Leave to cook over a medium heat for 10 mins.

3 Scatter over the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot or cold (See Britalian Tip).

Spice: Layers of Flavour, Dhruv Baker, RRP £25. Available at http://www.amazon.co.uk for £23

Britalian Tip
Eat on its own with crusty bread or as an accompaniment, I served mine with grilled seabass fillets squeezed with a little lemon juice.

 

#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

crop1

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).

photo 5

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.