Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Just as, in the delightfully ironic film, "Sideways", Miles is advised by Jack not to "drink 'n' dial", so I have a little notice on my desk reminding me not to "booze 'n' blog". Hence my absence for a few days, as I imbibed rather a lot of the good stuff during a celebration I held here on Sunday to mark my one year in Sicily. Guests were Linda, Franco, their daughter Chiara and Roberto and Roberta.

For the foodies amongst you, this was my international menu:
cocktail bites of asiago and fresh cherries and of asiago and mortadella
olives; fresh almonds
melon and berry coulis
crudités and artichoke dip
bocconcini di pollo [chicken bites wrapped in Parma ham and tied with blanched chives] [Lorenza de' Medici recipe]
sun-dried tomato bread [Sophie Grigson recipe]
Stromboli bread [Ursula Ferrigno recipe]
rice salad
pork chops with apples and a honey and mustard sauce [an American recipe]
rosemary-roasted potatoes
green salad [fresh from Linda's garden]
dessert cakes made by Linda and Roberta

Asiago is a mild, white cheese which is good for cocktail bites as it doesn't crumble. The idea of using fresh cherries - which are just teeming from the fruit lorries here at the moment - with it just came to me last week. It's a pretty combination.
I used to make coulis from raspberries in Britain but they are hard to find here. [I'm no gardener but I would guess that it's too hot.] So here's the substitute I came up with:
Berry Coulis: Defrost a 450 gr. pack of fruits of the forest. Mix in c. 2 tablespoons vanilla-flavoured icing sugar. [This comes in small packets here. In Britain you could just use plain icing sugar plus a drop of vanilla essence.] Add grated rind and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange. Put in pan, bring to boil and boil c. 1 minute. Cool, strain and chill well. - Not strictly Italian but it does go well with the wonderful Italian melons.
Many Sicilians believe that black pepper, as a seasoning, is bad for you, whilst red pepper is OK. Therefore I am having to adjust my recipes accordingly.
It is the custom here - and I think, a nice one - to bring a dessert when you are invited to eat at someone's home. So here I am, in the photo, surrounded by Linda and Roberta's gorgeous cakes and other goodies.

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