Bold flavours are what this week is about. Food with character, smack-bang flavour and bright colours. Don’t hold back. Give it heaps. Add that salt!
Monday’s recipe testing produced two beauties. Motivated by hunger – always a good way to start cooking as you will cook faster and more creatively on an empty stomach – I whipped up two utterly delicious dishes. I mean, they’re cracking, and I couldn’t stop eating them, and broke the golden rule of nibbling on them before I got them photographed (naughty, but soooo enjoyable). Char-grilled eggplant threaded through pasta is not new, but what I did is. I roasted off some tomatoes, squished them out of their skins and put the pulpy mixture in a pan with extra virgin olive oil and garlic and a couple of fork-squashed slices of eggplant, and there was the sauce. Simple, and simply mind-blowingly delicious.
Next, I had a bag of chicken nibbles and a few peppers to do something with. I had also bought my first box of new season jersey bennes (freshly-dug waxy potatoes). They cost a fortune, but never mind, they’re delicious, and the box was all for me. The chicken nibbles were not the anaemic bloated cheap type you get for ten a penny at the supermarket. I refuse to eat crap like that. These are Bostock’s organic free-range chicken nibbles (this New Zealand company is doing us proud – but wherever you are, you’ll be able to find something similar). They are reasonably priced, too. I love the result – a one-pan dish of absolute deliciousness. Wish I had leftovers but I gobbled them all up. Make them, that’s all I can say, BUT, read the recipe through, don’t go off piste (y’know, one glass too many HaHa!). Stick to the plan, stir them, and get them caramelised to the max with minimum charring (you need some charring for flavour).
Both of these pretty much fit into what I loosely term Italian casalinga cooking (home cooking), made just as my late Italian mother-in-law Rosa would make, and still how my sisters-in-law do to this day, using few ingredients, extracting maximum flavour, avoiding cooking in water where possible (loses nutrients), and seasoning food every step of the way, and creating bright and delicious dishes.
This is the third and final week of Italian Food in the World. New Zealand was added to the programme last year. Check out events being held in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Nelson and Queenstown Check out the programme Week of Italian Cuisine in the World
This week I’ve also reviewed a fab book on Catalan cuisine by Emma Warren. The pretty scrumptious looking Crema Catalana is from her book, as is the broad bean & pea salad. Radicchio, broad beans, peas, tarragon, ginger, sherry vinegar … Whoa! That caught my attention. There are plenty more interesting, surprising and gorgeous looking recipes in the book. Read the review here The Catalan Kitchen
And I’ve put up a post on radicchio. Radicchio Yes, you say it with a hard ‘c’. The rule is, if the ‘c’ is followed by an ‘h’ it makes a hard ‘c’. Radeek-io, as opposed to how we say radish (so don’t say radeesh-io). Got it? Easy when you know how.
And all of that.