#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!

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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.

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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.

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Marvellous Martini

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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.

 

#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)

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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

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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.

#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

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