This salad is very simple and takes moments to prepare…it’s got all the classic Italian flavours of fresh lemon, parsley, olive oil and balsamic vinegar with tender octopus, which I buy ready cooked from my Spanish deli in Portobello Road or my local fish monger in Primrose Hill but you can also use the jars of it in olive oil that some supermarkets and delis stock. It’s a perfect starter to a pescatarian dinner, or just as a light supper with crusty bread to mop up the dressing.
spaghetti al pesto
Home made pesto is so infinitely superior to the store-bought jars, it’s a totally different beast. This authentic Italian recipe is one of the easiest, quickest, and most delicious sauces for pasta. All you do is stick the pasta on and put the pesto ingredients in a food processor, although pesto is traditionally made in a mortar and pestle. The first time I had this wasn’t with my Italian family, it was in an Italian restaurant in Hamburg when I was a teenager and I vividly remember thinking it was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten and it’s perfect for a date night.
pandoro or panettone bread and butter pudding
Get your elasticated waist bands ready…this is a really indulgent dessert….but worth it because it’s truly delicious but definitely on the naughty list. Pandoro or panettone Italian cakes are perfect for a good old fashioned bread and butter pudding, as they are rather bread-like and lend themselves totally to this recipe, Pandoro particularly as its baked in a star shaped tin, so it looks very Christmassy when it’s sliced into star shapes. It’s also a delicious way to use them up if there’s loads in your larder at Christmas or afterwards or when you fancy doing something a bit different with them and want to turn them into an even more scrumptious dessert. It’s Italy meets England in the best possible way…and great for making with kids. You can get them to saw up the Pandoro into star shapes for you.
250g of Pandoro or Panettone (I use the baby size ones)
30g approx of butter at room temperature
140ml of double cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of white caster sugar
Icing sugar for dusting