Venice on Thames

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I’ve been cooking from Polpo this week and it’s been delicious, although it has been making me think rather too much about going on holiday to Venice again. The recipes are very much little Venetian restaurant, tucked away on a side street type thing, the sort where perhaps the locals go more than the tourists, who are looking for pizzas (although there are some pizzette recipes in the book which I didn’t get to try this week but look gorgeous).

However I don’t think I made a single recipe from this book that I didn’t adapt in some way; I think that is probably a good thing, the book was inspiring me and encouraging me to play but it was also to do with the fact that I made a few of the salads from the book and as they were all like for six people and considering, I, as the only salad eater in this family, was very much making it for one, I needed to make some short cuts when downsizing the ingredients.

The photo above was a rocket and parma ham wrap, the meat of choice in the recipe is bresola but parma ham and rocket is one of my all time favourite combinations. The panini below, which was a mash up of two separate panini recipes in the book, has to be the most perfect sandwich ever, basically peperonata from a jar, mozzarella, parma ham, rocket, toasted, it is gorgeous and I have been adding peperonata and rocket to pretty much every sandwich I’ve eaten, toasted or not toasted all week. I love peperonata but I normally make it, so therefore don’t make it often and I certainly wouldn’t make it just for a few spoonfuls for a sandwich filling, so finding this jarred stuff is amazing, a jar is never ever going to leave my fridge again.

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Then there was a butternut squash risotto, I cheated considerably here as it was for one, so I used some frozen butternut and consequently didn’t go as far as making my own butternut squash skin flavoured stock, but it was still gorgeous and I am all for using frozen butternut squash, as seriously injuring my hand whilst attempting to cut up a fresh one seems almost inevitable.

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Then there was two variations on zucchini salad (courgette salad just does not sound the same). One where the courgette was raw and the other where it was cooked, both were delicious and again heavily short-cutted. The cooked courgette one included instructions on how to make the most gorgeous chilli and herbed breadcrumbs and I would so have made that if I’d had my food processor with me, I will definitely try making again (properly this time), as I think even making the breadcrumbs inexcess, they’d keep in an airtight container for a while.

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I particularly liked the salads, they were sooo quick to make (even the one where you had to cook the courgette first) but they just felt so much more special than a run of the mill empty a bag of supermarket salad onto a plate type job, so they’re a really treat if you’ve only got 5 – 10 minutes to prepare something. And I am now forever always going to dress my rocket in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and a little sea salt, yum.

Thanks to my sister for getting me this book for my birthday!

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