My sister (and her partner) visited on the weekend with the sole intent of eating and drinking. Fair to her, she was prepared to do much of the cooking (though this didn’t actually transpire). She too is a foodie and so part of the enjoyment of the weekend was planning, shopping, preparing and eating food (while consuming much wine).
She was keen to do a traditional Italian meal – lots of courses – beginning in the afternoon and extending into the evening. We spent a lazy morning perusing recipes and came up with a vague plan but decided we’d see what produce was available at the grocer’s
and take it from there. Essentially it was to be an antipasto platter, an insalata, primi (a pasta dish), a fennel and radicchio salad and a secondi (spatchock dish with a grain).
What we ended up with was:
- An antipasto platter consisting of some lovely salumi (pure pork) and bresola;
- Insalata caprese with a beautiful Italian buffalo mozzarella and lovely tasty tomatoes and basil, simply dressed with virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and served with some freshly baked ciabatta. My green grocer in Haberfield has the best tomatoes in Sydney. He often gets produce straight from the local Italian growers. We’re lucky because the best Italian bread in Sydney also comes from Haberfield;
- Spanish chipolata sausages (they looked so good we couldn’t resist) with green Sicilian olives;
- Freshlinguine pasta very plainly dressed with chopped anchovies, garlic, chillies and zested lemon (heat some olive oil in a pan, add chopped garlic, chilli and anchovy, gently sauté then add a few spoonfuls of pasta water. Then add drained pasta and zest of a lemon and some chopped parsley – too easy and very delicious);
- Radichhio and fennel salad;
- Baby chickens cooked with caremelised lemons and served with red grapes (both fresh andslow roasted) toasted almonds, parsley and Israeli couscous;
- Cavalo nero and baby cos lettuce with shaved parmesan and … oh, I can’t really remember what else was in that…
Desert, we decided, was beyond us.
And so we began to prepare and cook. The idea was that we would have one course, eat, drink, sit, and then prepare the next course. And so on, gradually eating our way through the evening.
I have to confess we only got as far as primi and were felled. Fortunately all was not wasted as the rest of the menu hadn’t been prepared and we could continue the next day. A new take on progressive eating. Which we did, beginning with some cheese and a lovely French Chablis and then the radicchio salad, the chicken with couscous and the cavalo nero.
Our capacity to become consumed by the idea of the food we were going to prepare and eat far outweighed our capacity to actually consume the food. But it was a great weekend and we did eat (and drink) extremely well.
And now for that diet…..