Monday, 21 January 2013

Italian Treats

Being a total foodie and lover of all things Italian due to my Italian Grandma, her and my mum put together an amazing hamper full of delicious treats for my Christmas present. I've been steadily experimenting with them throughout the month and can't wait to get around to trying out the rest. I thought I'd share a selection of some of my favourites with you.

I have yet to try out the olives, but I think they would go perfectly in a big sauce or stew type dish, or cooked with beef and cherry tomatoes in a Nigella-inspired Beef Pizzaiola, after a nibble or two of course. 

The Wild Rocket pesto has been used in a lot of things recently - stirred into veg as a flavourful side dish, drizzled over home-made pizzas, and spread onto baguettes with cheese to serve with pasta. I adore pesto anyway, and the rocket gives it an extra, subtle tang. I have a feeling that the sun-dried tomato paste used in place of normal tomato purée will bring out even more rich flavour in sauces.

The 'Lievito Pane Degli Angeli' (literally translating to Yeast Bread of Angels) is a raising agent that can replace baking powder in recipes, but is made that extra bit better by also including vanilla flavouring, and therefore smelling absolutely amazing! I could quite happily just sit and smell the packet all day... but when I do bake with it, it adds a wonderful lightness to my usual cupcakes. 

The pasta is tiny star shapes that would be perfect in soups. I've been meaning to start making soups for the past couple of years now and still haven't got round to it, so hopefully having these in the cupboard will push me to finally get on with it before Winter is over.

This nougat is by far the best I have ever had. Tom and I couldn't believe just how delicious this is - soft, squidgy nougat with huge crunchy chunks of almond, with strips of rice paper on the top and bottom - amazing!

A friend of my Grandma's brought this to England from where she's from in Italy, making this an extra special treat. 

And for a place to get started, I received the Quick Cook Italian book, which includes 3 ways to cook different dishes using similar ingredients, such as tomato risotto, tomato and rice soup, or tomato and rice salad, offering even more flexibility depending on the exact ingredients and time you have available. Basically, even more recipes! So far I've tried out lemon and rosemary pork with a cannellini bean salad, and chilli and lemon cod; both were straight forward to cook and tasted incredible.

The latest Nigella Lawson cook book is also brilliant. It's actually the first one of hers I've got hold of and I'm already in love with it. Whereas I tend to avoid 'celebrity' cook books, due to the recipes seeming too complicated with fancy ingredients, this book is perfect for everyday meals. The Italian Tray bake with Tuscan fries is already a favourite with my fiancé. 

A huge thank you to my family for getting me these, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect gift! :)


  1. love the tiny pasta - I remember my nonna making us soup with pastina in it. and love nougat! I have to make a trip to my local italian store soon!

    1. That's what my Grandma does so I really want to try having a go myself :) I love Italian shops, I really wish I had one local to me, that will have to be my priority next time I move ;) x


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