I can’t believe this is post number 200. When a friend at work started this blog for me back in October 2012 (which is just as well, as I had no idea what to do), I never knew where it would go. At first it was just an easy way to direct people who often asked what I thought of various restaurants or if I had some suggestions for a group venue or special occasion. But I’ve really enjoyed putting recipes on here as well, and I now often find its quicker to check them here than trawling through my notebooks and cookbooks. I’ve also discovered lots of other blogs that I never would have otherwise, and made some blog-friends, some who I’m sure I’ll meet along the way, and others I will just have to wonder about. I am totally chuffed when someone tells me they tried one of my recipes, like a Japanese friend who made the very traditional Italian zucchini fritters; or another who went to visit someone on the Sunshine Coast and found the trifle I had once made waiting for her there, her friend had seen the recipe on my blog. My gorgeous boys always find it hilarious to try and photo bomb the food pics, but I hope one day they will look at this and remember things that mummy used to make or places we visited together.
One of the things I’ve really grown to enjoy is putting together the monthly In My Kitchen posts, which the big hearted Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial hosts each month. Its a wonderful look into kitchens around the world. Here’s what you’ll find in the Napoli kitchen of late.
Some beautiful Don Antonio pasta from Salt Meats Cheese. I loved this place when I first visited back in January 2013; they’ve expanded a lot since then, not only selling lots of kitchen goodies, but now serving up some hearty Italian food ready to eat and running a variety of cooking classes. This pasta is real artisan pasta made “al bronzo” – which means that the pasta dough is extruded through bronze shapes. It has a beautiful texture and I noticed “holds” the sauce well.
With the spirals one Sunday I made one of Il Marito’s favourites – pasta forno, or baked pasta. This version has cubes of eggplant, mozzarella, and peas. I diced the eggplant first, coated it in flour and lightly fried it. Cook up some plain tomato pasta sauce, cook your pasta al dente, then toss them all together (I also usually beat up a couple of eggs and toss it through so it all holds) and then bake. It can then be sliced up like lasagne. For the non vegacquarians, you could add cubes of leg ham or prosciutto.
On another night it was a quick mid week dinner with the spaghetti, I lightly cooked some spring onions, cherry tomatoes and tuna, tossed in the spaghetti and some parmesan and basil. This is something I can have on the table in ten or so minutes and is delicious if you have some good quality tuna on hand.
In my kitchen you’ll find a turkey (well not any more). Last year after Christmas Eve mass, we went up to Thomas Dux to get a few last minute things, and this one lone turkey was sitting there. It was an organic one too, and 70% off. I put it in the freezer and recently turkey craving hit so I decided to cook it for me and my boys one Saturday night. It was only a “little” turkey – 3 kilos, compared to the usual 5 kilo plus birds we have at Christmas, so it cooked in an hour and forty minutes or so. Delicious. Having leftover turkey the next day made it feel like Boxing day.
Every Sunday morning in my kitchen there is homemade sourdough bread that I make using my starter La Figlia, daughter of Celia’s starter Priscilla. With three hungry males in the house, there’s been a supply-demand imbalance of late, so I used 1.5kg of flour this time and made three loaves instead of my usual one kilo and two loaves. We’ve stopped buying sliced bread.
In my kitchen you’ll find dragonfruit. I love it and don’t see it often, but have come across it in a couple of grocers recently. Whenever I am travelling in Asia I gorge on dragonfruit, mangosteen and rambutans – yum!
In my kitchen you’ll find semolina and a few other things I picked up at the Oriental and Continental Food warehouse in Artarmon (pictures on my Facebook page). My mother-in-law put me on to this place years ago. There is every manner of nuts, unusual flours, spices, oils, as well as catering stuff. A lot of it is bulk size as they are a wholesaler, but there are a variety of products in smaller quantities. It is hard to find both coarse and fine semolina, so I always buy it here, and at $2.50 per kilo, its a bargain.
And finally in my kitchen are two pear frangipane cakes, care of Francesca’s recipe at Almost Italian, waiting to be dusted with icing sugar. I made these on Easter Sunday to take to my in laws and my parents, something sweet – other than chocolate – but not too heavy to share after a lovely meal.