Garofalo_Julia_2

When deciding what to cook at the Garofalo Pasta stand at the Salone del Gusto it made perfect sense that I should bring a little of Britain with me. And what gourmet item did I choose? The good old British banger, that’s what!

The recipe I chose was Creamy Sausage Pasta, from my forthcoming cookbook, which is a real hearty and filling dish just perfect for this time of year in England. The sausages are cut into large bite-sized pieces and are cooked in a large frying pan. Bits of sausage stick to the pan turning sticky and brown and then onions are slowly fried in the same pan, soaking up all that delicious flavour. The pan is then deglazed with cream and stock, which forms the sauce. A touch of thyme and seasoning is added and then it’s mixed in with al dente pasta. It’s a real homely dish, simple and rustic. Rob and I love it but what would my Italian guests make of it?

Before I could find out the event organisers and I first had to work out how we were going to get hold of the right kind of sausages in Turin. At one point there were thoughts of bringing the sausages with us but we would perhaps have had some explaining to do at customs. I feel nervous enough walking through as it is (please tell me I’m not the only one who gets a guilt complex just for being there?); goodness knows how I’d have felt with 30-odd sausages stuffed into my holdall! The ‘sausage situation’ (as it had now become known) was getting critical. But just as I was starting to worry I’d have to start making my own we got word from Turin: we could get sausages at the deli Eataly, hooray!

So, rather large case packed (what to wear, what to wear!) Rob and I took ourselves off to the airport and landed in Turin on Thursday morning. I was very much looking forward to the Salone del Gusto but nervous at the prospect of cooking and talking at it; this was my first time ever cooking at an event. I felt very honoured to have been asked by Garofalo Pasta, along with a few other bloggers from Italy and one from America who also had cooking slots.

On arrival at the hotel we were met by the British organisers of the event and, once checked in, we went along to take a look at the Garofalo stand. It looked fantastic and seeing the kitchen and seating area waiting for guests did nothing to calm my nerves. However, the genuinely lovely people at Garofalo did. I was introduced to the Italian chef who would be helping me with the cooking who was also very lovely but we quickly realised this would be an interesting collaboration given that he could speak no word of English and I none of Italian! Thankfully we had a translator on hand to help us out.

Once we had gone through the recipe and plan for the cooking slot Rob and I went off to take a look around the Salone del Gusto, which you can read about in Part 1.

The following day we all went off to Eataly and met up with one of the Italian organisers from Garofalo to buy the sausages. I was completely blown away by the deli; there was so much choice of good-quality ingredients. Walking around taking it all in I was like a child in a sweetshop. Take a look for yourself:

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See what I mean?

The sausage situation was easily sorted out here; we found some huge, plump sausages full of good-quality meat. The day was saved!

I arrived at the stand early to start cooking with the chef so that the guests would have the food as they arrived and I could cook a portion and talk as they ate. It was great fun cooking with the chef and quite amusing when we tried to communicate through fumbled gesturing and pointing at things.

As the guests started to arrive and I was hooked up with a microphone my nerves really started to kick in. Adrenaline rushing I took to the ‘stage’ in the kitchen area and took in the 30 or so guests eating my food as I was introduced. They seemed to be enjoying it…phew! Heart in mouth I started to talk and cook, with the warm and friendly translator by my side bridging the language gap.

Apart from a moment when I realised I had put the onions in the pan before browning the sausages (which I managed to work around without having a total meltdown and letting anyone know something was up) it all seemed to go quite well. There was a great atmosphere and with the applause came people coming up for seconds which, as I’m sure you’ll all agree, is guaranteed to make any cook beam with happiness. What I enjoyed the most was seeing little children tucking into the sausages and pasta, and the greeting and chat I had with the adorable little girl of one of the Italian Garofalo Pasta representatives, bowlful of pasta in hand. ‘Is it good?’ I asked and as she nodded and put another piece of sausage into her mouth my heart melted.

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I’ve just got back from Turin in Italy where I was invited by Garofalo Pasta to cook at the Salone del Gusto. The internationally renowned event is a celebration of slow food which attracts food lovers, buyers and producers from all over the world. This was the eight time the event, which is run biannually, has been held and with guests from over 160 countries it’s an incredibly abundant festival.

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The Marketplace is home to over 200 exhibitors, which have been selected in collaboration with Slow Food’s regional and international offices. It is split into three pavilions, with two representing the whole of Italy and the third dedicated to the rest of the world.

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Rob and I walked around over the two days we were there, exploring the stalls and sampling produce but it was impossible to take everything in; there was so much! We ate well at lunchtimes, devouring the most flavoursome risotto (with a great bite to it, as you’d expect) and a deliciously savoury and herby porchetta sandwich, the memory of which is making my mouth water. And wandering around we took in an incredible array of cheeses and meats, oils, wines and spirits, herbs, pasta and rice, fruits and vegetables. It was so vast and seemingly never-ending (had I died and gone to heaven?). I only wish I could have taken a suitcase full of goodies back to England with me.

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In part 2 I’ll tell you all about the excitement, fun and nervousness of cooking for around 30 – mainly Italian – food lovers at such a gastronomical event. Would my nerves get the better of me? What would the Italian foodies make of my British pasta dish? And what was the sausage-saga and how did it end?

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In the Bag Logo September 10

Wow, the bag is back with a bang! After a little hiatus the food blogging event, ‘In the Bag’, which I run with my co-host Scott from Real Epicurean, started up again in September and what a response we had! We challenged you to come up with a dish using mushrooms, nuts and herbs and just look at what you came up with:

Antics of a Cycling Cooke_Curryapple_crumblesAs_Strong_As_Soup

CookwitchBack_To_The_RootsArleganBetter_Raw

Real_Epicureanlite_biteLondon_Foodienyo_cozinheiro_este_algarve

Girl_Interrupted_EatingRachels_BitePapunettehippressurecooking

Live_To_EatLittle_Bit_In_LondonPauline_Knows_Great_WineThe_Larder

Sangi's_Food_WorldTilt_ProjectStart_Again_At_ZeroSweet_Artichoke

Wayfaring_ChocolateSearching_for_Spice

Click on any picture to go straight to the blog it came from.

Thank you to everyone who entered:

Antics of a Cycling Cook
eCurry
Apple Crumbles
As Strong as Soup
Cookwitch Creations
Back to the Roots
Arlegan
Better Raw
Real Epicurean
Lite Bite
London Foodie In New York
o cozinheiro este algarve
Girl Interrupted Eating
Rachel’s Bite
Papunette
Hip Pressure Cooking
Live to Eat
Little Bit in London
Pauline Knows Great Wine….
The Larder
Sweet Artichoke
Sangi’s Food World
Tilt Project
Start Again at Zero
Wayfaring Chocolate
Searching for Spice

I hope I haven’t missed any entries but if I have do please let me know using the contact form.

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I bought the array of winter squashes you see here at the weekend, from the little farm shop around the corner from my house. I was so delighted to find such a cheery selection that I bought more than I needed, but can you blame me; don’t they look fabulous? Anyway, they won’t go to waste; they can be roasted, made into soup, stuffed and baked, put into risotto, even made into cake – the only limit is your imagination.

Since I bought them they’ve been sitting in my kitchen quite happily, beaming their cheeriness and making me smile every time I walked past them. This has been a busy week for me so I haven’t turned my attention to cooking them until now, but tonight I decided that roasted squash was just the thing I needed and so I selected a few to cut into pieces and tumble into a roasting dish. That wasn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be though; you see that little dark green one and the one in the bottom corner that looks a little like Gonzo the muppet’s nose? They were a bugger to cut. I got my knife stuck trying and so had to call Rob to the rescue. Do be very, very careful when trying to cut up these thick skinned ones.

When they were finally cut into pieces I scooped out the seeds using a metal spoon but left the skins on for roasting. Then I drizzled over olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper. I wanted to add something and so decided to grate over a little nutmeg, which turned out to be a lovely addition. It was really was quite intoxicating as I inhaled it and I found myself thinking of the darker evenings, crisp golden leaves on the pavement, and the Pumpkin King from A Nightmare Before Christmas. I’m looking forward to his annual visit to my house this Halloween.

I’m ready now to wrap myself up in autumn.

Roasted Squash

Roasted Winter Squash Seasoned with Nutmeg

The number of servings will depend on the size and number of squashes you use.

A selection of small winter squashes
Olive oil
Freshly grated nutmeg
Sea salt and black pepper

Parmesan cheese to serve (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c.

Carefully cut the squashes into medium sized pieces, leaving the skin on, and then scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon.

Put the squash into a roasting tray, drizzle over some olive oil and toss them in it then season them with salt and pepper and a little grated nutmeg.

Roast the squash for about 50 minutes, until the flesh is soft. Note: if you cut the squash into smaller pieces they’ll only take about 35-45 minutes.

The squash is delicious as it is but if you like you can generously grate over some Parmesan cheese before serving. Eat the delicious flesh but not the skin!

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I can’t give a better introduction to Dan and his blog than he does in his own words: “I wouldn’t call it so much a peek as a full blown expose of your innermost culinary pretentions and ambitions. You’re effectively rolling over and exposing the soft paunch of your underbelly and asking to be caressed. You’re a culinary whore!”.

Read on, my friends, read on!

Name: Dan (Essex Eating)
Blogging since: January 2009
Location: Was Leigh on Sea in Essex, now Bristol.
Blog address: www.essexeating.blogspot.com

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Ok, I’m 36. I grew up and lived in Essex, worked in London. I’ve just recently moved to Bristol and I love eating, drinking and cooking. I’m currently errr unemployed (I was made redundant in April), and I’ve been taking some time out to think about what I want to do next, something food related hopefully.

How would you describe your blog?

My blog is pretty much a diary of what I’ve been up to food-wise, which restaurants I’ve eaten in, the food I’ve cooked at home. There’s no real format to it, it’s just what interests me – and hopefully the people who read it as well!

I try to not take it too seriously and make it humorous.

Where do you find inspiration for your cooking and blogging?

All over the place really. I’ve got a huge collection of cookbooks, heaps of them. Twitter is a big inspiration, as is my Girlfriend Elly who owns a café and catering business in Bristol – she’s a wicked cook, and I always try to make sure I write about the restaurants I eat at (I eat out pretty often).

What do you like the most and the least about blogging?

I like getting feedback on what I’ve written; I love readers to comment – good or bad (but preferably blind worship – ta). I also really like that you get to meet some fantastic people and there’s a real social scene around it, especially in London.

The thing I like least, is feeling like you need to write something but just not feeling inspired – it should never feel like work. Apart from that, it’s pretty much all good!

Do you have a favourite recipe you’d like to share?

My favourite recipe, errr I guess it needs to be one of my own…and as autumns approaching fast – how about a nice simple warming one?

Mince+Tatties

Enough for 4 people. 40 Mins cooking time.

You’ll need:-
For the ‘Mince’

500g Good Minced Beef
3 Carrots – peeled and finely chopped.
1 Large Onion – finely chopped.
1 Stick Celery – finely chopped.
500Ml Beef Stock.
2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
Dash of Tabasco Sauce
1/2 Tbs Marmite
Salt+Pepper
1 Tbs Porridge Oats.

For the ‘Tatties’

Potatoes – Desiree or Maris Piper, about 400g per person.
Knob of Butter
Salt+Pepper (I prefer White Pepper in Mash)

In a large Saucepan on a high heat brown your Mince with some Salt+Pepper.
Add the Onions and Celery to the browned mince, and cook until softened – 5 mins or so.
Stir in the Carrots, then add the Stock, the Worcestershire sauce, The Oats and a dash of Tabasco Sauce.

Bring to the boil – and then simmer for 30 mins.

5 Mins before the end – add your Marmite.
(I know not everyone likes it, and it seems a bit of a strange addition- but it doesn’t taste of Marmite – it adds a real richness – try it.)

Add Salt+Pepper to taste.

Your Tatties – will take about 25 mins – so get these in some salted boiling water about the same time you start simmering your Mince – and it will all be done at the same time.

Mash your drained potatoes with a Large knob of Butter, salt and pepper.

Serve a dollop of Mash with the Mince on the side.

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Foodies of the World Cover

‘A Slice of Cherry Pie’, is featured in the book ‘Foodies of the World’, published by The Slattery Media Group in October 2010.

The publication is a collection of profiles and recipes from the best blogs around the world and it covers an international spread of cuisines, courses and recipe styles, as well as profiles of the bloggers themselves, who come from all corners of the globe.

Containing stunning photography, styling and images, this is a high-quality cookbook with real food from real people.

For more information and to purchase a copy of the book visit The Slattery Media Group website.

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