Carina Contini for Scotsman 8th June 2019
June is one of my favourite months. In advance I’ll apologise to all my children’s school teachers as despite the light bright mornings our family slow down. The end of term is fast approaching, we’re usually late for school despite all our best efforts to get there on time. It’s a slow down in anticipation of gearing up big time for the summer. Ballet classes will be stopping, after school clubs will be stopping, and we seem to have a little more time. It always feels Mediterranean. Everything is just a little slower, a little more relaxed and a little more happy.
Fingers crossed we’ll also be eating outside just a little more. As I’ve said before, I’ve never cracked BBQ! I cook inside and eat outside if the weather allows.
My favourite day to eat outside is a Sunday. The children’s job is to set the table, tablecloth of course, and lunch lasts the day. It really changes our family dynamic. Inside they can’t wait to leave the table to head up to their rooms, but outside it’s almost like we all get rooted to the grass and just don’t want to leave.
Eating together has so many benefits. Quality time to talk as a family around the table can create memories and more importantly solve problems.
A little aperitivo, a little antipasto, a little wine, a little pasta, a little roast and a little Limoncello, a little of the troubles in our world put to rest, and I’m more than a little happy.
Prosciutto e Mozzarella
Two of my favourite Italian things. Prosciutto and Mozzarella. Recipes are a funny word when you have food with such distinctive flavours, no recipes is really needed. Just enjoy
2 slices Prosciutto di Parma
1 mozzarella di bufala
4 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
4 leaves of fresh basil
1 tablespoon EVOO
1. Share the mozzarella between two plates
2. Place the prosciutto on top and scatter the tomatoes and basil
3. Dress with a little salt and oil
Spaghettini with Tomatoes, Capers and Olives
50g Taggiasche olives, de stoned
50g salted small capers, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drain and pat dry
400g Pachino tomatoes
2 cloves of fresh garlic finely sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
1. In a large frying pan, add extra virgin olive oil. Add the garlic until soft
2. Add olives and capers and toss in the oil
3. Next add the tomatoes and cook under a hot heat, move the pan often to prevent the tomatoes sticking. If the sauce is looking to dry, squash some of the tomatoes to release their juices.
4. When the tomatoes start to look creamy add parsley and season with Maldon salt.
5. Boil the pasta and add to the tomatoes with a little of the cooking water from the pasta to help emulsify the sauce.
Chilli Lemon Chicken
Roast chicken in the summer can be eaten hot, at room temperature or cold with some delicious salads. Can’t go wrong with a chicken. But make sure you choose a good one. Free range and preferably organic.
1.5kg free-range or organic chicken
4 garlic cloves, skin left on
1 unwaxed lemons, cut into chunks and pips removed
Large handful of fresh coriander
6 green chillies, stalks and seeds removed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. Wash and dry the chicken trimming any excess fat from the neck or the tail of the bird.
2. Place the chicken, breast skin side up, onto the tray.
3. Blend the garlic, chillies, coriander and lemon with the olive oil until you have a paste. Spread over the chicken. Season with salt and black pepper. Drizzle with a little extra oil if required.
4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Roast for 30 minutes in the preheated oven so the skin becomes lovely and tasty, then lower the oventemperature to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and cook for another 1 hour or so,until the legs of the chicken come away from the body easily.