#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

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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.

 

Father’s day menu: The recipes

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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

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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!

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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