Wednesday 24 January 2007

Back to Italy....

A change of pace. Back to Italy for a few weeks, and not Waitrose and Jack O'Shea, but Maurizio, Sergio and Antonella (who has the preferred fruit and vegetable stall in the market, and who's real name I discovered only recently is in fact Alessandra - but since she's been Antonella for the past five years, I'm afraid she's rather stuck with it now!). A rather grotty flight yesterday, enlivened by only a BA sandwich (the letters can be taken to refer either to the name of the airline or the quality of the sandwich - equally appropriate in either case), and the fact that the plane was struck by lightning as we were coming in to land. Highly dramatic, for those of us who noticed, and generally reassuring, in that nothing untoward happened as a result.

We got home to discover - depressingly - that the only thing available for a pre-dinner tipple was a rather iffy bottle of Lambrusco (I'm not sure how it had even ended up in the fridge) rather than the more usual Prosecco - however, it was rendered drinkable by the addition of a little Creme de Peche de Vigne , and we settled down to spit-roasting a leg of New Season Lamb, to be served with Garlic Sauce, and Celeriac braised in pork fat; Cheese Souffle to start, and Apples baked in the Venetian style to finish (stuffed with amaretti and sultanas, mixed with a generous helping of Dark Rum - delicious!). Although the weather here is better than in London, winter is still somehow more noticeable, and I can sense a raft of home and hearth type menus coming up.....

Today's menu:

Squid with Peas and Tomatoes. I'm not sure where this one came from, but it 's simple and quick and very good. The full recipe is given below.

Branzino (Sea Bass), baked in the oven, served with an anchovy butter dressing. Saute of Fennel and Radicchio de Treviso - the flavours of these two vegetables offset each other splendidly, and the texture perfectly balances the creaminess of the fish fillets .

Chocolate and Apricot Tart.

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