A few of my favourite things, burratta, bottarga, Sardinian ham, Volpaia vinegar and Capezzana olive oil – and these are just a few. We love Italian food and wine, and if you haven’t been already you should try to make a visit to ‘Olivino’ – the most wonderful supplier of such treats! With the prospect of a bank holiday weekend looming what better excuse to stock up.
My shopping list :
Olivino’s Sardinian ham – quite delicious – stop being pretentious about the stuff from Parma – this is different but equally good if not better in my eyes, and importantly – if you are a careful caretaker of the family purse – extremely good value. The fennel salami is also sublime.
Burratta – yuumm – I don’t imagine this is too good for your heart but it is heaven – basically a cream injected mozzarella – you will never look back! Serve with rocket, vine cherry tomatoes and basil.
Bottarga – is smoked cods’ roe – shave into pasta with butter -it makes the most exquisite typically Sardinian dish.
Volpaia vinegar – my larder always has their red and white variety and Mauros’ own recommendation ‘Oro di Modena’ which is like a white balsamic.
The shop has a superb Italian wine selection, wonderful Sardinian cheeses, Olivinsarde – is a really punchy blue, and for those who don’t want to cook, ready made lasagne and numerous other edible delights.
And now for something completely different – sausage rolls! Hardly glamorous, and a far cry from the simplicity of Italian food. I wouldn’t lie, this is messy play at its height – but the outcome is well worth it. No doubt you will read this and think ‘nice idea, but frankly will stick to the nasty shop bought, newly taxed equivalent but without the mess’ – yet for those who have the energy and desire, these are perfect Blighty picnic fare. My husband, a hard and fast Italophile, has even been known to say he married me for my sausage rolls – not entirely sure what this says about the rest of my cooking repertoire. Less said!
Sausage Rolls with leek, apple, sage and chilli
1 roll of pre-rolled puff pastry
500g of good quality sausage meat
1 leek – finely diced
1 apple – finely diced (skin can be left on)
1 good pinch of red chilli flakes
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage
A few fennel and poppy seeds
1. Put the leek, apple and chilli in a saucepan and cook off in a little olive oil until softened and slightly caramelised.
2. Add the above concoction into the sausage meat and mix thoroughly together with a good grind of black pepper and pinch of Maldon salt.
3. Lay out the puff pastry and make a sausage shape with the mixture, pull the pastry over tightly using egg wash to seal the seam, fork the edges and brush the top with more egg wash – scatter with poppy seeds, sesame seeds and /or a few fennel seeds. Cut into desired size.
4. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180 for about 20 minutes or until golden on top and the pastry has all been cooked.