“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”

“Guacamole” from “Food”

If you would like to try Mary’s version yourself, the recipe can be found here in Google Books.

Oh, guacamole. How I love you.

When we were newlyweds, I thought that making guacamole was the height of culinary talent. I made it pretty frequently too. But sadly, guacamole fell off our culinary radar. These days guacamole is not part of our regular rotation of meals, which I think is a shame. (I did make it during the Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals month, but the post doesn’t even mention the guacamole. I think this was down to the fact that the dessert was so epically bad.)

I was inspired to make Mary McCartney’s guacamole only because I found some perfectly ripe avocados reduced at the local store. Any veteran guacamole maker will tell you that ripe avocados are the only way you will end up with a successful guacamole. It doesn’t work with avocados that aren’t ripe yet, and therefore are impossible to mash to the right consistency.

So how did Mary McCartney’s recipe compare? At first, I thought she reinvented the wheel, for telling us to use Tobasco sauce rather than chopping up a chilli to give the guacamole a kick. But then I looked up my old standby guacamole recipe in “The New Basics Cookbook” and they said to do the same thing. Like I said, it’s been a long time since I made it for myself.

Regardless, it was a good solid recipe and it did the job. I’m not sure you can actually be novel when it comes to guacamole. But it sure is a fine way to perk up a summer night.

Apologies that this post isn’t in the usual format. But we spent all of the dinner talking about Team GB’s gold medal haul and Team USA’s position on top of the leader board in the Olympics, and not about the food. Once the Olympic hoopla is over, I’m sure normal service will resume.

“Guacamole” from “Food”

“Tagliata with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes” from “Feast”

Thanks to our friends at the Food Network, you can find the recipe for these dishes here on their website.

Andrew (12): This is very nice.

Maureen: Yes, but we have this all the time, though. We love having this on the grill in the summer. We love having it on the grill pan the rest of the year. We love this dish, full stop.

Nicholas: Yes, this is good.

Maureen: Have you actually eaten the meat?

Nicholas: Yes!

Maureen: Wow. Is that because you’ve had it before and you know you like it?

Nicholas: Yes.

Tom (age undisclosed, but he gets a Senior Discount at the cinema): The meat is very good. Did you marinate it?

Continue reading ““Tagliata with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes” from “Feast””

“Tagliata with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes” from “Feast”

“Early Autumn Cornish Pasties” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

Andrew (12): I like this very much. I can’t fault it in any way.

Tim: How does it compare to Goddard’s Pies? (Editor’s Note: We faithfully buy Goddard’s Pies every weekend for lunch at Greenwich Market. We especially love the cheese and onion. Not a Cornish pasty, but delicious just the same.)

Andrew: Goddard’s Pies are very good, but these are also very good.

Nicholas (8): Goddard’s Pies are better.

Andrew: You’re digging your own grave!

Tim: It’s Halloween! He’s getting into the spirit of things by digging his own grave!

Maureen: I like it a lot more than I thought I would. I wasn’t sure about baking the skirt steak– I didn’t think it would cook completely– but it worked.

Continue reading ““Early Autumn Cornish Pasties” from “Jamie’s Great Britain””

“Early Autumn Cornish Pasties” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

“A simple stew of onions, beer and beef” from “Tender Volume I”

Kirstin: I was quite excited about using Trappist beer in a recipe! Two bottles! But I failed on many levels. I didn’t have the right cut of beef, I had small onions, not large, and apple jelly — where does one find apple jelly? You make an apple sauce, but apple jelly needs to go in with the beef? I couldn’t find any.

Tom: Well, I thought the apple sauce went rather well with the stew.

Kirstin: It did, didn’t it? I wouldn’t normally go for that sort of thing.

Continue reading ““A simple stew of onions, beer and beef” from “Tender Volume I””

“A simple stew of onions, beer and beef” from “Tender Volume I”

“Porchetta” and “Summer Crumble” from “Forever Summer”

Kirstin: We decided to cook this tonight because we love porchetta.  We go to Tuscany every year, and we buy porchetta from those vans in the market.

Anna: So this is a nice meal to have now that you’re back in wet England.

Tom: They have a whole roast pig, covered in crackling. And they chop it up and put it in buns. With lots of herbs and salt and oil.

Kirstin: I don’t know who can eat those buns. They are really hard. But the porchetta is so good! And they hack through the entire pig, so you get bits of liver and kidney. You have to go through it and say no, I don’t want to eat the gall bladder.

Anna: It’s a good thing you went to medical school!

Peter: I love a bit of spine.

Tom: How did this compare to other porchetta recipes? Continue reading ““Porchetta” and “Summer Crumble” from “Forever Summer””

“Porchetta” and “Summer Crumble” from “Forever Summer”