Last month we chose Jamie’s Italy for our Virtual cookbook club. I won this cookbook at an online recipe contest and cannot thank them enough for gifting me this book. One look at the book and I knew I was in for a treat. Jamie shares his experiences of his travels through the Italian countryside, eating and meeting people. The description and some candid photographs with locals take you to the quaint Italian villages and instantly connects you with the food of ‘real’ Italy.I have tried many recipes from the book by now. I have been making my own pizza dough for years now. I tried the pizza dough recipe from Jamie’s Italy and the crust was fantastic. This recipe uses semolina flour along with bread flour which makes the crust crisp and chewy. I have tried some soups,salads and side dishes.I am yet to explore the pastas and desserts. Some key ingredients like artichokes, fennel bulbs aren’t easily available where I live. Hope to find them in Mumbai on my next trip so that I can try the other recipes from the book. It’s a must have cookbook if you are looking to explore Italian cuisine beyond the usual popular dishes.My other Virtual cookbook club friends have tried some recipes from the book and have posted their reviews.
I came across this book few months ago in the cookbook club which I am a part of since last 3 years. When I was going through the pages I was taken aback because of a picture, suddenly the image of Italy (Sicily to be specific) splashed in front of my eyes which I had after reading Mario Puzo. I randomly picked up a recipe and kept the book away immediately. The recipe (rotolo di zucca e ricotta) and other recipes too from the book came out well. It was something beyond the conventional pastas and pizzas that I knew of.
So this month, when this book was announced for the virtual cookbook, I thought of giving myself a chance again. I decided to be very methodical this time reading almost all the pages & trying few recipes if not all. Gradually I found myself in Italy. This book is not a mere collection of recipes and photographs; it tells you about ‘the unique sense of tradition and village spirit’ of Italy.
What I liked the most is the fact that the Italians still use the barter system i.e. they swap food items as and when necessary (not regularly). I think this is because almost everyone in Italy let it be the kids or the local market stall holder, have intricate knowledge about the food and the ingredients going in a specific recipe. E.g. a 7 year old asking for a specific part of the meat and instructing Jamie to use Rosemary in the prep, the girl and her old grandmother accompanying & instructing the author. The Italians start working in the kitchen at a very young age. Jamie narrates a very interesting story of an old man & the sea water he asks for to boil his noodles.
There are similar stories & lively people whom we meet in this book. The book and of course the author gives us abundant minor details like cooking tips, what to buy, from where to buy, which place to visit if you are in Italy, various websites (this I liked more as most of the times we don’t give due credit to the deserving person). The recipes of course (few simple, few intricate- categorized course-wise) are piquant & engaging.
Did I tell you it is his sixth book about Italy & the 7th one recently published? So it won’t be wrong if I call it Culinary Chronicle of Italy.
P.S. Please check pg.208 meat section intro, for the image, read Jamie’s explanation why he decided to put it there, his reasoning about why should we ask the source of our meat, what it had been fed upon. I changed my perception after reading that.
Shaila: Prawns and Parsley frittatas.
Made for Sunday’s breakfast with really fresh prawns . Basic flavours come from parsley and lemon rinds . I suppose the lemon rinds , which I used,were not very flavourful so …Overall not very impressed.
Fichi Secchi ( dried figs)
I tried this recipe using my slow cooker .It was a super hit. Juicy-chewy-Sweet & Sour. Yummy.Second time I used OTG at very low temperature. Works equally well.Great addition in your breakfast or “cheese + figs “with wine.
Lakshmi : The recipes in this book are very doable. I have tried the pizza recipe a number of times. The proofing time is very less but it works very well.
The rice tart is different and interesting. The tart shell recipe is perfect.
Priya : Spice stuffed potato cakes
Wanted to try this specially to see how the tamarind filing tastes. To my delight the mint, tamarind and chili filing brings about a great mix of flavors.
I know it is very late for the announcement of the next cookbook but we have chosen The Bangala Table (on popular demand) for September. If you would like to join us please mail/message me or comment on this post or post your review on your social media platforms and tag me. I shall post a review in the 1st week of October (promise 🙂 )