Friday 2 March 2007

A Sicilian Invasion.....

Dario announced yesterday that he wanted to come round and cook dinner - he does it from time to time, because his kitchen isn't set up to accommodate visitors. Since he's from Catania, his menus are always focused on Sicilian specialities - and the process of making dinner is generally punctuated by a number of phone calls back home to check exactly what he's supposed to do next! As a paleopathologist - just finishing his Phd on Sicilian mummies - conversation over the dinner table tends to feature much discussion of body parts and the relative merits of different embalming techniques......

Last night, he made two different kinds of pasta. One was a Pasta alla Sarda: bavette, with a sauce made from sardines, wild fennel, raisins, saffron, fried onions and anchovies. The other one was a spaghetti with a pesto of pistachio. Both were excellent, but the alla sarda was particularly good - a subtle and complicated sweet-and-sour flavour, that suggested arab influences from long, long ago.

Having announced on arrival that he hadn't given any thought to a starter or a dessert, I raided supplies and for the first course we cut into the Rabbit Terrine I made last week, and which I was keeping for when Laura and Giovanni come to dinner tonight (leaving still enough for at least another eight servings, so no problem there). For dessert, we had clafouti, using a couple of Pears that were hanging around in the fridge. Since paleopathologists - apparently - aren't supremely organised in the kitchen, the fact that Dario was only preparing one course meant that the team of sous chefs was just about able to keep on top of the chaos as he progressed, and a splendid time was had by all!

Tonight's menu:

Rabbit and Lemon Terrine. (Which I'll call a Pate, and serve accordingly....)

Pot Roast Pork with Radicchio de Treviso (See below for the recipe).

Three-Chocolate Terrine, with Mint Creme Anglaise.

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