Lots of things gloriously in flower: wisteria - for the first time since it was planted (it must like having been transplanted from Via Fucini) azaleas...lilacs...arum lilies...wonderfully scented orange blossom...climbing roses on the entrance pergola...
Saturday, 23 April 2011
To the San Lorenzo's for dinner on Saturday, where they excelled themselves in producing an Indian menu that rivalled Mumbai's finest (in small.....since we had Pilau Rice, Aloo Gobi, and Chicken Tikka Masala). Our contribution was an offering of Peshwari Naan - a successful experiment, and childishly satisfying to make, since they swell up gratifyingly when cooked and look exactly like they should, at the first time of trying.
The first half of the evening resembled a Feydeau farce, as the SL's dining room is at the fulcrum of their apartment, and has half a dozen doors which open into it. Through which a dizzying array of people appeared and disappeared with great frequency, as we sat at table: a pint-sized neice, who'd been left with them for the afternoon, and appeared to have been forgotten by her parents; a teenaged daughter (and assorted friends) who was getting ready to go out to a party, (which, since this involved trying various clothes and different hairstyles, could have been the same person or an entirely different one each time she - or they - reappeared); and a brother-in-law....who eventually arrived to retrieve his abandoned offspring. To add to the theatrical effect, Paula wore a sari, and Paolo an increasingly thunderous expression, as yet another door opened, to intrude upon his carefully prepared menu. All ended well, as the extras gradually peeled off, and calm descended upon an excellent dinner.
For five Peshwari Naan.
Ingredients: 250g Plain Flour; 2 tsp Sugar; half tsp Salt; half tsp Baking Powder; 120 ml Milk; 2 tbs Olive Oil; 30g Slivered Almonds; 1 tbs melted Butter. Filling: 70g Ground almonds; 35g Raisins; 1 tsp Sugar.
1. Combine Flour, Sugar, Salt, and Baking Powder in a bowl. Separately, mix together Milk and Oil, and pour into a well in the centre of the dry ingredients; using a fork, gradually draw the dry ingredients into the central pool of liquid, until all has been combined into a sticky ball of dough. Knead (either by hand or using a dough hook) for ten minutes or so, until the dough has become a soft, smooth ball.
2. Place in an oiled ball, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place to 'prove' for an hour.
3. Divide the dough into five equal pieces and on a floured surface roll each piece into a circle approximately 10" in diameter.
4. Combine the filling ingredients in the food processor and briefly work until reduced to a fine powder.
5.Cover half of each dough circle with the powdered filling, leaving about an inch free round the edge, then brush the exposed edge with water, before folding each circle over, to enclose the filling fully.
6. Roll each semi-circle out to make a tear-drop shape. Sprinkle with slivered Almonds, and place on a baking sheet under a hot grill for one or two minutes, until the Naan swells and the surface is spotted dark brown.7. Before serving, brush each Naan with melted Butter.