Something other than food…almost

You can tell when I am comfortable, relaxed and in my happy place because I cook…… a lot.

As I come to write another post on our life in Italy the first thing that springs to mind is the stuffed quail I made last week; the same stuffed quail with sage leaves, soffritto and honey, wrapped in a speck blanket and served on a lemon and cavolo nero risotto which Alex so kindly put in his ‘Top 10’ favourite meals. This made me happy along with seeing him clean up the little bones on his plate like no-ones business. Although Max pretty much inhaled the quail it was only rated in his ‘Top 60’ all time dishes…….who has a top 60 anyway??

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Today I thought I’d like to talk about everyday life, I promise we do things other than eat (ha,ha who am I kidding!).

About three weeks ago Max came home from school all excited and happy and asked if he could join the local basket team (basketball is called Il basket). Before I could say anything, he whips out a screwed up piece of paper with an address on it and tells me this is where we needed to go. Three weeks ago I said I’d look into it and he was happy with that…….I didn’t look into it. I was scared of what or how to say to a perfect stranger “Oh Hi, I was wondering if my son could come and play basketball with the team…what days do you play? and training is at??”

I have to admit my Italian is getting better but not to the point of stringing so many words together and getting all the o’s, a’s and i’s in the right place- I panicked!! Each week he would remind me and each week I had an excuse as to why we weren’t going…….’I tried to find the building but couldn’t?’……..’Honey it’s too late, we won’t get there on time’. Yes I felt bad, pathetic and what a bad mum I am but speaking a language I barley understand is intense and stressful. Finally I had had enough of myself (this happens a lot) and decided to hell with it, I’ll get Google translate on my phone and take it from there.

As soon as I decided I would take the plunge doors seemed to open. One of the mums from school asked me if Max could play and I should come down (in Italian), I said ‘yes, OK’. Max was beside himself and handed me another screwed up piece of paper with more directions as to where Il basket was being played- it was time!

I pretty much felt sick as we were getting closer to the courts and Max said to me “So you ready mum? I think the coach speaks a little English” (nervous smile appears).  Max meets up with a mate and we follow him to the courts, I then ask where their allenatore (coach) was. His mate ran off a bunch of words at rapid speed, smiled and then left to get changed and I was lost for words. A lovely woman came over a few minutes later and I asked if Max could da provare (to try out) and she said of course, please sit. I sat (feeling pretty chuffed seeing as I only just looked that up on Google translate about two minutes before I spoke) and Max went out to play. After another 5 minutes the coach came over and told me in a beautiful mix of Italian and English that he could come and try 4 games, if he likes no problem then you pay and play! Woo hoo.

I learn’t a big lesson this day. I may be scared of speaking and looking like an idiot but no-one cares. I have found my Italian community nothing but helpful, patient and happy to see me try to get involved with local events and everyday living. Ok I still can’t follow conversations and I put o’s where i’s should go but that’s OK because I’m actually doing something and getting results, I mean Max is playing basket and he couldn’t be happier!

Yes I do enjoy being in my kitchen and cooking but I am also enjoying the subtle everyday events that can slip on by if your not paying attention….I’m wondering how my Italian would go with a few glasses of prosecco? Maybe we need tho throw a little cocktail party with the locals?

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Porcini dinner party

I promised myself I would make the most of everything whilst spending a year in Italy. It’s almost like making a bucket list consisting of all things Italian and why not?  Aim high and see what happens!

Ever since I tasted my first fresh porcini mushroom about a month ago I have been wanting to eat more of them as often as possible. We decided to have a porcini dinner party with other mushroom lovers to really celebrate the fact that a) we don’t have to sell a kidney to buy them (hence the reason this was my first fresh porcini); b) embracing what the season has to offer, right here and now.

I was bursting to make a few dishes but I didn’t want the others to miss out on all the fun so each couple made their own dish to bring which is a great idea for a dinner with friends in my opinion. Shelly isn’t really a mushroom lover, in fact she cannot stand the texture of the fungi, so I left it up to her to decide what she would like to bring.

The dinner menu consisted of the following

Arrival: Antipasto platter and prosecco

Acquacotta

Tagliatelle tossed with porcini, garlic and parsley

Slow braised beef with rosemary

Cavolo nero sauteed with chickpeas, chilli and caramelised onions

Polenta and thyme chips

Porcini and long beans braised with tomato and lemon

Roast pumpkin, feta, pomegranate and arugula salad

Dessert: Fresh orange slices served with mascarpone and a burnt orange syrup

A lot of food right?

Two of the guest were vegetarian so I wanted to have variety and lots of flavour, and OK I might of been a bit excited to be cooking for more that 2 adults and 2 kids…..if I was to be honest. I have decided to do a photo collage to put the night into prospective otherwise I could run the risk of boring you all to death with description after description of the dishes so please sit back and get your creative juices flowing because you might just be throwing your next dinner party after reading!

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The antipasti plate was kept pretty simple seeing as we had so much food to taste. Some beautiful new season artichokes, to-die-for San Daniele prosciutto crudo and this mind blowing, pick-yourself-up-off-the-floor blue that Shelly and I spotted on our most recent trip to the markets. It is a blue that has been aged in Mirtillo rosso, it was out of this world good and with a little grissini it was demolished within minutes while sipping local prosecco. It is at this point I should declare my love for prosecco and if the following pictures are not as sharp as usual than I am sorry but it is a price I pay for my own pure enjoyment.

Once we had the boys and their friend set up in the other room with home made pizza (FYI you can buy the best pizza dough ready made at the supermarket for just over a euro and it is delicious) juice boxes and a movie we were ready to sit down for our first course- Acquacotta made by the fabulous E!

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E used the recipe from The River Cafe cookbook and we were all smitten. She uses porcini in her base flavour which brings a beautiful richness to this soup. Before serving you grill a piece of Toscana pane (bread without salt), place it in the middle of the bowl and then ladle over the soup and finish with olive oil and parmesan cheese. I think I would of been happy to just eat this and continue with the local wine samples, alas we had a few more dishes to go!

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Brava E!

If I can’t make porcini and risotto then it has to be with fresh pasta. I sauteed the porcini with some finely chopped onion, salt and pepper then cooked them until they started to brown. Once brown I added a good slosh of veggie stock and reduced it down to almost nothing then added enough cream to reduce and coat the pasta (took about 3-5 mins to reduce and thicken). Just before I was about to serve the dish I added chopped parsley mixed with freshly minced garlic to the cream sauce and poured it over the pasta. It smelt fantastic and tasted just as it should- of porcini, garlic and parsley, simple but yummy.

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It was about now that I wanted to have a little nap, however, I was poured a splash of vino rosso and the conversation started getting interesting so I was back on track. As I was pulling dishes out of my trusty toaster oven Shelly whipped up her delicious salad and our work was done…

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Polenta chips are a great starch if you want to make a few dishes ahead of time, they heat up in a hot oven perfectly!

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Not to mention how well they pair with braised beans….Ross is excited!

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The chickpeas were a hit and couldn’t be simpler. First caramelised onions in a bit of butter then add some garlic and chilli flakes at the same time you add the greens and sauté until they are wilted and easy to toss. Add in a tin of chickpeas, salt and pepper then toss to combine. I added about half a cup of water and a half lemon (throw in the whole thing). Put it in a baking dish, cover and place in a slow oven until needed (about 30min). All the juice was absorbed but it doesn’t matter if there is still liquid. The flavour is hot and bitter lemon which I love and thankfully so did everyone else.

It was about here when we were all feeling a little full, surprise, surprise! This was the reason I decided on a very simple dessert. If you didn’t want the mascarpone then you could have orange slices…….Yeah, that didn’t happen. With a good pause between courses the dessert was attacked.

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I absolutely love dinner parties, it is a great way to spend an evening with friends that doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet and if everyone contributes a dish the only big decision you have to make is who house will host the next one!

When was your last dinner party?

Sant’ Ambrogio Market

For a while now I have been wanting to walk into town for a bit of exercise and to re-visit my old stomping ground (I remember there were a lot of fabulous shops along the strip of road that took me to my old supermarket) and to hit the food markets. For the summer months it was way too hot to even think of going on a 40-minute walk into town. However, now the boys are in school, I have mornings free and my friend Shelly is also up for morning market visits, and so we finally wandered into town last week.

It seemed like a very quick walk, we hit Sant’ Ambrogio in about 40 minutes which also included the obligatory coffee and pastry stop off (when living in Firenze!). Shelly is very passionate about the organic movement and she had found a farmer a few weeks back who grows organic produce and wanted to go back to him. We have talked about the organic movement quite a bit and if I am honest, I don’t think a lot of the farmers in Italy use chemicals quite as much as Australian and American farmers and I am more than happy to shop around picking up produce that looks good and smells like it is the real deal, I haven’t been disappointed yet.

The farmer was very nice and his produce didn’t look like other organic farmers I have seen, where the bugs have got to veggies first and you get the second best parts but pay a premium. No, this was good looking produce, I’m sorry to say I didn’t get any photos of the produce…….. I was too busy buying! How about a market shot instead?

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The other surprising fact with this organic farmer was it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I bought some polenta, carrots, potatoes, peppers, cavolo nero, eggplant and something else for the glorious price of 12 euro! I have since cooked all my veggies and made some polenta and can happily report they were all delicious, flavoursome and have me thinking I need to go back for more.

I went a little crazy in the outside section, it was pretty hard not to considering there was a man selling gorgonzola & olives and an Asian lady with all her Asian produce; by the time we went into the covered section I had already blown a hole in my purse. However, this did leave me time to window shop and take photos.

As soon as we walked in through the doors I was drooling over this pasta store. Vibrant colours of pesto and homemade pasta were staring at me…what had I done, how could I not remember the inside section!!???

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Shelly highly recommended the lemon ravioli which I was already eying off along with the fungi porcini parcels and ragù di carne….heaven without the coin is somewhat of a wet blanket; however, I won’t be so narrow minded with my next shopping trip!

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Shelly pleased as punch with her purchase…..and I love that they write the cooking time on the packet, so you don’t ruin all the hard work that has been put into making the pasta.

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Cheese was our next destination, you could just follow your nose to this store as it was pungent and mouthwatering. I’d just bought a lovely piece of pecorino the day before so I wasn’t so miffed I didn’t purchase some of the offerings this time round.

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While Shelly was asking the lady about the organic cheeses on offer I was poking my head around looking at the meat counter which always catches my attention. I looked a little further and this is what I found….

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It was concealed in it’s own compartment and looking like something from a Doctor Who episode! I know it looks VERY unappetising but I couldn’t stop looking at it and wondering what all the bits were (it’s the chef in me). It did help me figure out what I was eating in a restaurant a few weeks ago, though part of me wishes I still didn’t know but the texture of tripe is kinda hard to disguise. I know, I know, I can’t finish the blog with this as my last offering to you so here is another rose from my blooming garden to wipe the eyes clean….

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The gelato search begins…..

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a few regular readers about posts I could write and low and behold the most requested was a search of the best gelato shops in Florence. I’m not one to deny myself….readers of the best that Florence has to offer so I decided today was a great day to start my quest. 

The first gelateria I wanted to visit was my local (and one I haven’t been to in a while due to sick kids). It is in Coverciano (on the number ten bus route) and is not hard to miss due to the big cow out front (you drive past it on the bus!).

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Mordilatte is a little slice of heaven. I like it even more because it is a bit of a hike from our place (guilt cancelled out) along a very busy main road and I figure, if we all make it in one piece then we deserve what ever flavours we desire! Today was a good day for a walk due to minimal traffic….which is almost unheard of!

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When I first visited Mordilatte I was a little dubious as I thought the moulds of gelato looked a little too processed and thought it might be average and run of the mill gelato……oh how wrong I was!

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The flavours are bold, natural and intense, just the way gelato should be. We all get a bit starry eyed at the mounds of colourful gelato staring back at us; as you can see by Alex’s face the excitement is hard to hide!Image

Once flavours are chosen it is just a matter of time before you can delve into the creamy heaven you have been longing for.

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Alex and Max always, always go for the lemon and then change up the second flavour, today Alex gave the stracciatella a go and he was not disappointed. Happy as a pig in his pen!Image

There is a little piece of greenery out front where you can sit and tease all the passers by with your gelato dripping down your arms and face. The boys remind be of a couple old men comparing their choices.Image

I used to always have gelato in a cone, however, I have decided I no longer want to walk around with gelato stains on my blouse so now I go for una coppa. My flavours today were pistachio (all time favourite) and crema Catalina which was a rich caramel laced getalo that was extremely morish. You can tell the pistachio was excellent because it wasn’t fluro green. The nuts had been lightly roasted and that flavour came across in every single scoop. I always judge a gelateria on the pistachio- if they can bring out the beautiful flavour of the nut then I am one happy camper!Image

This is what you call gelato heaven…no words are needed.

This is one of my all time favourite gelato stops, there was one in Rome that was just as good, however, I have heard of at least two more in Florence that are suppose to be the ‘best’. Stay tuned for my next gelato experience…after all I’m just doing the leg work for your potential visits to this beautiful city 🙂

 

 

Clementine and cinnamon pancakes

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If only I could download some of this brilliant weather we are having today, then you could really understand what a perfect day it is here in bella Italia! I’m sitting at my outside table with Max eating popcorn in a  beautiful, sunny 24 degrees with a slight breeze and lots of insects buzzing about trying to gather the last of the pollen before the cold snap comes ( I am wondering if Max will ever put on a t-shirt!?).   I have just picked Max up from Italian school where I believe the only thing he is truly grasping is Italian swear words! Actually that isn’t true, everyday he comes out with something new or asks his dad what such and such means…..if only I had that skill!

Anyway, I’ll get right down to business and talk about breakfast. A family favourite of ours on the weekend is home made waffles, I have owned a waffle iron ever since we moved to the States and it is a kitchen gadget I love. You can make your own flavoured waffles; serve them with different sauces, ice cream, syrups…you name it a waffle can handle it. While I decided against bringing my beloved waffle iron with me I have missed the sweet mix of flavours I use to concoct for our weekend breakfasts, which is why I have started playing around with pancakes.

I have finally figured out the right flour to use (cake flour with a rising agent in it) so my pancakes now actually look good and taste good too. Of course butter and maple syrup are a classic favourite but when you can buy a tiny bottle over here for the same price as a trip to Paris I have decided to look for alternatives when it comes to family pancakes (the amount of syrup the boys pour on their pancakes would work out to be the same price as a return trip to Sydney!).

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Clementines have just come into season and they are the cutest little clementines I have ever seen. They are a little larger than a golf ball, have no seeds and the flavour is sweet yet sharp….not like clementines I remember from home. I made these before the ebola virus sorry rotavirus invaded my family and they were an instant hit with everyone. They also freeze really well and are great as an after school snack for the boys when they need a quick fix. I am also loving them because they are not full of sugar and take a few minutes to defrost when popped in the toaster.

I just use the basic pancake recipe of 2 cups self raising flour; 2 eggs; a bit of sugar (never measure but maybe 1/4 cup) 1 teaspoon cinnamon and milk (again I don’t measure just add a glug, stir and keep adding until I have a good consistency.

The cinnamon gets mixed into the flour with the sugar before I add the eggs. Once eggs are added I whisk to break the yolks then I squeezed in the juice of two clementines and finish the rest of the thinning with milk. Cook as per usual and enjoy!

Max has requested these again now he is all better so I think that is a good sign they will be featuring quite a bit this year. To make a quick syrup to serve with these you just squeeze a few more clementines into a small saucepan with half the amount of water to juice, add approx. one tablespoon of sugar per clementine and then put it over a medium heat until sugar has dissolved. I’ll just have to work out a few more flavour combinations to keep it exciting and I am also wondering if I’ll find all the ingredients I need for cinnamon buns as I’ve been dreaming about them for a few days now!

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Alex insisted I post this picture to show how good they really were “I’ll take a picture of my plate mum, just so people know they really were good”…..why would he think you wouldn’t believe me?

The magic of chicken noodle soup

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We are still in the throes of the rotavirus, however, with a few emails back and forth with my good friend Sue I think I could be coming out of the worst of it…..fingers are well and truly crossed!

What with lemon water sipped through out the day, pasta with a drop of olive oil and what I now call my magical chicken noodle soup, I think we are turning a corner. I say this with confidence as it has been 26hours with NO VOMITING!!!

It might not look like much but this broth packs a punch of goodness and high levels of flavour. Max took his first sip last night and said ‘Ohh, this is delicious!” That could be because it is the first thing he has eaten in a few days…or because it really is delicious.

Stupidly simple, and I was at my wit’s end with this bloody virus so I threw it all together before I walked out the door to relax with friends for a couple of hours and have some freedom and fresh air on Sunday!

I chopped one large onion, 2 carrots (peeled), 2 celery sticks (this turns out to be a lot of veggies).

Heat up a couple tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat, add veggies and saute for 2 minutes then add 5 smashed garlic cloves (husks on no probs) and a good chunk of fresh ginger (about 6cm piece, peeled and chopped).

When you can smell the intoxicating smell of garlic and ginger add about 5-7 stems of thyme.

Place 4 chicken Marylands in , stir to combine and saute for a further 2-4 minutes then add enough cold water to just cover the chicken pieces and bring to a boil.

Once boiled, skim off all the yucky impurities (the foam that looks hideous), reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for a further 15 minutes.

Remove the Marylands and shred the meat off and place back into the soup. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper accordingly.

I bought a packet of plain Asian noodles at the market so I boiled them off separately (just so the soup will last longer in the fridge), place the noodles in a serving bowl and pour over the broth.

This tastes better after a day of rest (don’t we all) but still delicious if needed ASAP. I like to add a few pinches of dried chilli flakes to mine and I am certain this got my boys to a renewed level of health. Just a little heads up for the wintery months to come.

Ciao

Ribollita…..autentica

It’s a wet Saturday in Florence today and that is ok with me. Last night our landlady invited me to go with her to the supermarket to do some grocery shopping. I took full advantage of shopping with a car and bought up big! It is fun going grocery shopping with her because I get talked at in Italian and grocery items get explained to me in Italian, so even though I don’t understand half of what I am told, I end up understanding what something is or where it is from and more importantly what is the best- eg she made a bee line for the pecorino romano and told me this was a must….I didn’t disagree!

With the grocery shopping done and dusted the night before it meant a glorious sleep-in for Nic and I. Actually, I won’t say sleep in, more of a lay in listening to the rain.  I was over excited saying the boys were fully recovered from tummy complaints and woken at 6am by Alex letting me know he might have eaten too much dinner last night as he ran to the bathroom…..oh dear.

It has been a lovely quiet morning reading to the kids, Alex has some how managed to talk me into reading him the second Hunger Games book to him (I haven’t read the first one) and I am totally absorbed in the story. We seem to sit for hours at a time drifting into the Hunger Games world. Around 12.30pm Nic asks about lunch and I respond with- I have no clue! I was just about to look in the fridge when I hear the familiar cry of,

“Cammmillaaa, Cammmillaa CIAO! I ‘ave ribollita for YOU!”

My lovely landlady is standing at the gate with a ceramic dish of homemade ribollita!

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She then goes into detail about how I should reheat it (I needed Nic to catch everything as I only understood about half). With lots of grazie e tante from us she wondered back home  no doubt to feed her husband his lunch. We couldn’t believe our good fortune and even better the boys weren’t eating, so more for us!

Instructions were to chop an onion

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Sautee in olive oil until golden

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add in ribollita and salt, heat and serve

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The soup was incredable, such rich, deep flavours you didn’t want it to end. I served it with a few slices of proschutto crudo and marinated olives and it was a lovely side to such a rich, comforting soup. I will ask her the next time she makes it to invite me over so I can learn the correct Tuscan way, because once you have experienced something so rich and morish you want to revisit it often and winter hasn’t even kicked in yet!

TGIF

It’s Friday, the sun is shining, BOTH kids have walked themselves to school and I finally have the place to myself for half a day and all I feel like doing is crawling back to bed.

What a week it has been, and I’m not talking all glories and wonder, more along the lines of:

“Mum my tummy hurts……no, here…..HERE” and then 10 minutes later he is out the door waving a wooden sword at anyone who comes by.

One hour later,

“Mum my tummy hurts” where my response is “Mmmmm, ok have a drink of water, maybe you need to go to the toilet”

“You always say that!”

But of course the tummy only decides to take it to another level at 2 in the morning!! Sadly this conversation happened all week and then before I knew it, I had both boys down and out with bodily fluids pouring out both ends and very little sleep going on. A quick trip to the Doctors office was fun. We missed the first bus downtown due to explosive eruptions, however, managed to keep everything in place for the next hour- Thank god!

I love it, when I went into the doc’s office with both boys and explained the situation he then turns to me and says,

‘So what are you hoping to get out of this visit today?’

WHAT??? 

I stared at him for a bit and then said in my least sarcastic voice, ‘I want something to stop the bodily explosions they are having….perhaps a cork? Enough is enough and when I have to air the house out and scrub the floor at 3am, I’m thinking you really need to help me here, that’s what I want out of this visit today, thank you’.

And with that he looks at me with a crinkle in his brow and says “Hmmm, you had to air the whole house out? well I can understand you wouldn’t like that”…….and what I felt like saying but managed to find some sense of control was-

“No I didn’t bloody well like that at 3am and I also want a full nights sleep but I’ll settle for drugs for these two if you don’t mind!” I’m wondering if my patient smile got that message through?

Anyway, we got the meds, we got home without any mishaps and I am happy to say the meds worked really fast and I had one back at school yesterday and the other went back today- YIPPEE!! I can now get back to the piles of laundry I have waiting for me and hopefully a few blue patches of sky will hang round long enough to dry it.

On a happier note the roses growing in my garden are absolutely flourishing with all the rain we are having so I am taking my cup of tea out into the garden to sit and stare at the decadent colours on display before I start to hose down the germ infested house. And if there is anything I have learnt from this experience it’s to be hard core with the boys washing their hands more than usual because after a google search on Doc MD I find the rotavirus is down to them not washing their hands properly!! Now where are those roses…..

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Pumpkin and bean agrodolce

I’m a big fan of sweet and sour flavours and I don’t just mean the Asian kind. Granted sweet and sour pork is a big family favourite and couldn’t be simpler to make, however, I am talking of the Italian variety. Mario Batali, a fantastic NY chef who lives and breathes Italian cuisine first introduced me to pumpkin agrodolce a few years ago in his book Babbo (A restaurant I am hankering to get to one of these days!!). I cannot remember exactly what his recipe state but I plucked around in my memory and worked with what I had.

My good friend Sue gave me a bag of whole dried chillies from her mother-in-laws chilli bush the other day and I was really wanting to try them out (they are delicious BTW Sue!) So I decided to make a chilli pumpkin side dish to go with the roast beef I was making for dinner. The boys swear and declare they HATE pumpkin and the only way they will eat it is in soup form and then it is declared their favourite soup, go figure!? I decided I wouldn’t waste the pumpkin on them, however, when I came to preparing dinner in my pretend kitchen I discovered I didn’t actually have enough pots and pans for my dinner proposal and needed to re-think the whole meal. In the end I came up with an agrodolce sauce that is dead simple, tastes absolutely delicious on the night, cold the next day on crunchy toast or as part of an antipasti platter so really everyone should know how to make this very easy, yet tasty sauce.

You can use any type of bean for this dish, I just happen to have these lovely big flat beans hanging around in the fridge which I top and tailed and cut in half, I then cut the skin off the pumpkin and cut it into chunky pieces because they need to hold their shape for about 30 minutes of cooking time. 

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So to start, chop up an onion and about three small cloves of garlic, nice and thin. Heat up a medium saucepan on LOW-MED temp with a good glug of olive oil- the olive oil is going to help make the sauce thick and tasty so if you only put a drizzle in your saucepan then it won’t carry the flavour around as well, plus it’s not like your eating it all yourself so do not feel guilty!

When the oil is warm add onion only and saute for about 5 min on low heat, then add garlic and saute for another minute. Add a tin of whole tomatoes and chop with your spoon to break the tomatoes up then add about a teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. Add cut-up pumpkin and whole chillies, stirring to combine. When the pumpkin is coated add about a tablespoon of honey and 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, stir to combine then bring to a boil (if not already).

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Add your beans, coat with sauce then place a lid on top and gently simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice so it doesn’t stick to the pot. You may want to adjust your vinegar and honey depending on how you like it.

The beautiful thing about using whole dried chillies is they only flavour the dish with a hint of warmth, yet when you serve yourself the chilli for dinner you get the heat burst- perfect for a family meal!

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The sweet and sour flavours meld beautifully with a traditional roast meal and I know it also works well with snapper (fish) salmon and pork. You can also use the same cooking method and add ginger with the garlic to turn it up a notch and this is especially yummy with white fish. 

The best part about this sauce is it so yummy the kids can’t resist it. Of course they rolled their eye when they saw the pumpkin but lo and behold every bit of pumpkin and bean was devoured so I think it must be a winner.