“Tray-baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives” from “Gino’s Italian Escape”

Kirstin: This was incredibly easy to make.

Tom: And it’s incredibly delicious too.

Kirstin: He didn’t suggest any carbohydrates to go with it, so I made some focaccia.


Miles: Yessss! I love focaccia!

Kirstin: But what do you think of the chicken, Miles? Try having a little piece of pancetta with each mouthful of chicken.

Miles: I’m not so sure about the chicken.

Kirstin: I shall just have to cook this more so they come around to our way of thinking.

“Tray-baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives” from “Gino’s Italian Escape”

“Brill Roasted with Sweet Pepper Sauce” from “Gino’s Italian Escape”

Or, in Italian: “Tagliata di Pesce con Salsa di Peperoni Dolci”

CBAMFishSorry, faithful readers. There’s no dialogue for this recipe, as it was one of those nights those with children will be familiar with: everyone was at a different place at a different time. But even amid the chaos, we could decide that we liked this very much.

Yes! Fish with breadcrumbs again!! I’m beginning to think that we’re riding some sort of food trend here. First, it was Gwyneth Paltrow in “It’s All Good.” Then it was Jamie Oliver in “Save with Jamie.” I may have even made a few of my own variations between testing those two recipes. Now it’s Gino’s turn.

It’s very much like the other two recipes, though, in Gino’s favour, he did use butter in his version. Hooray for sensible amounts of butter! I have found, in my experience, that butter makes EVERYTHING better. I’m all for healthy eating, but if you’re willing to throw some butter in there, I’m all for that too.

Unfortunately, our lovely fishmonger– called, aptly enough, The FIshmonger– didn’t have brill on this particular Friday, so I had to get the turbot instead. Turbot can be a bit pricey, as it’s not the bargain that trout can be, but it’s a lovely fish that’s not at all “fishy”, so the boys (and their friend), really liked this, especially when used with the aforementioned butter and breadcrumbs.

The red pepper sauce was really easy to make, and really gave the dish some interesting flavours. Without it, I think it would have been a bit bland, though things can always be livened up with vegetables and other side dishes.

Would I make this again? This is beginning to seem like a silly question for a fish-with-breadrcumbs recipe. Obviously, the answer is yes, because I’ve already made a version of this multiple times this year. Would I make this version again? Definitely yes. Maybe next time we’ll all be able to sit down together to enjoy it.

If you would like to try this recipe for yourself, Google Books has helpfully downloaded the entire Gino book. Click through this paragraph to see the recipe.

“Brill Roasted with Sweet Pepper Sauce” from “Gino’s Italian Escape”

“Spaghetti with eggs, pancetta and pecorino romano” from “Gino’s Italian Escape”

Tom: I like this, and I particularly like that this is a purist’s interpretation of carbonara in that it has no cream.

Georgia: I like that it’s like spaghetti, but it’s not. It has extra pancetta yumminess.

Kirstin: I watched him cook this on a rooftop in Rome and he goes on about the sizzling pan and all sorts, which isn’t in the book, but is in my favourite version of this recipe from the Zuni cookbook.

Miles: I like that it’s spaghetti. But I can’t seem to twist any onto my fork`1

Tom: Look Miles. Would you like some help?


Miles: NO. I can do it!

Tom: Put more pieces on your fork, Miles. Expect half of it to escape. I’m having seconds!

Ella: What are lungfish?

Miles: They are amphibious fish. They can breathe above and under the water.

Ella: Are mermaids amphibious?

Miles: Yes.

Kirstin: And just for the record, can I say how much I dislike that I am trying to photograph food in the dark again? Grrr…

“Spaghetti with eggs, pancetta and pecorino romano” from “Gino’s Italian Escape”

“Onion, Tomato and Pancetta Soup” from “Gino’s Italian Escape”

CBAMSoupOr, in Italian (as it is in the book): Zuppa di Cipolle e Pancetta

Maureen: As you can see, the boys have opted out of this one.

Tim: Why is that?

Nicholas (10): I am just not in the mood for soup. I think I have to be in the right mood so I would like it, and today is not that day.

Andrew (14): I’m with Nicholas. I don’t feel like having soup either. So I’ll have pasta.

Maureen: Well, I think it’s great. Perfect for a blustery autumn day.

Tim: You know what this reminds me of? French onion soup.

Maureen: That’s funny. He says in the introduction it’s his favourite soup recipe EVER and is a variation on an onion soup recipe.

Tim: I really like it.

Maureen: So do I. This could *almost* be a meat-free Monday special if you took out the pancetta, but I think I like having the pancetta in as it gives you a bit of a yummy surprise every few mouthfuls. I’m sure you could make it without the pancetta, but I don’t know if it would be as good.

Tim: Yes, I know what you mean. But it has a lot of onions, so it’s nice to have other things in there as well.

Maureen: I also have to tell you that I added one more can of chopped tomatoes than called for in the recipe. It just looked a little sad to me with just one can in there, so I went for another one. I’m glad I did.

Tim: We should have this again.

Maureen: Agreed. Maybe the boys will be in the mood for it next time, so they can have it too.

Google Books has helpfully catalogued this book, so if you’d like to give this soup a go, you can find the recipe by clicking through this sentence.

“Onion, Tomato and Pancetta Soup” from “Gino’s Italian Escape”