Bigne, cream puffs, are associated with the festival of St Joseph celebrated in Italy on March 19. It is their Father's Day. To be honest they were never served in our family's village but they are common in many parts of Italy. Our mums make bigne for special occasions and have become more frequent since the arrival of ready baked Pavone Profiterols.
So all you need is to make the cream and melt chocolate for the topping and you're done. The profiteroles come in 2 sizes small and giant.
Lemon Crema Pasticcera (lemon flavoured Italian cream)
Cut each profiterole in half and fill with this traditional crema . Then cover with chocolate
6 egg yolks
150 g of sugar
70 g plain flour
A splash of milk
3 cups of milk
Over a low flame mix eggs, sugar, flour and milk until it forms a paste. Then gradually add 3 cups of milk all the while stirring the mixture. Add chopped lemon rind and stir until mixture thickens. Remove from stove and allow to cool.
Chocolate Sauce Topping
75 g quality dark chocolate chopped roughly
1/2 cup cream
1/2 tbsp butter
In a small saucepan over low heat combine chocolate, cream and butter. Heat for 5 minutes, stirring continuously until chocolate is melted and sauce is combined. Remove from heat and set aside. Pour over profiteroles when cooled.
We love finding out the history of traditional dishes and festive occasions celebrated by our parents and grandparents when they lived in Calabria. Such knowledge connects us to them and by extension to our own culture and identity.
So when it came to Father's Day it was interesting to learn that in Italy it is celebrated on March 19 as the Feast of San Giuseppe -the father of Christ himself. Of course there is a special meal attached to this festa and pasta e cecci was it, followed by fried bacalla. Pasta with chickpeas is not given the attention it rightly deserves. Not only is it wholesome but it is seriously tasty. Fried bacalla is gathering more recognition in the mainstream however for us - it has always been special. The challenge is finding quality bacalla that does justice to its distinct flavour and texture. We trust you enjoy this special meal - anytime of the year - and savour the taste of its history and significance.
Pasta e Cecci
Chickpeas 5 cups (cooked) For the best result, we recommend you prepare your own rather than relying on the canned variety. Leave dried chickpeas (500g) to soak over night in cold water. On the next day, change the water and boil for approximately 1 hour. Check the legumes after 30 minutes as cooking time may vary depending on the size of the chickpeas. Drain and allow to cool. If you don't want to use all of the chickpeas they freeze well.
Sugo (tomato sauce) This recipe requires a simple and traditional sugo.
Passata 720ml we recommend Mangia! Manga! passata
Onion, medium finely chopped
Garlic clove, small chopped
1/2 cup of olive oil
Carrot, small shredded
Continental parsley, 1 tablespoon finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, heat olive oil and add garlic, after 30 seconds add onion, parsley and carrot. Allow to simmer until onion becomes translucent (approx 5-8 minutes). Then add passata, salt and pepper and allow to simmer on a medium flame for 30 minutes.
Boil pasta until al dente. When cooked, drain but not completely. Add pasta and chickpeas into sauce and mix well on a low flame for approx 3 to 5 minutes. This will ensure that all favours are well combined. If the pasta mix becomes too dry you can add a bit of boiled pasta water. Serve with a good parmesan.
Bacalla Fritto (fried cod)
Our first book, Mangia! Manga! provides a number of bacalla recipes and detail on how to prepare it. High quality bacalla is difficult to come by in Melbourne so you will have to rely on word of mouth.
Once you have left it to sit in water for 3 to 4 days to remove the salt, you simply coat in plain flour and pan fry. The cooking process is very simple indeed - it is finding good quality cod that is the challenge.
This dish is easy to make and perfect for those cold winter evenings; it combines a heartier tasting vegetable with a pasta fix. The pasta can be either orecchiette or bucatini. The addition of potatoes and anchovy are optional - but they add a layer of crispy saltiness that complements the sweetness of the tender broccoli. It is important to use a quality imported pecorino and to be generous with it!
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus extra if needed for drizzling), 2 potatoes, cut into 2 cm dice, 2 garlic cloves , finely chopped, 4 anchovy chopped fillets, freshly ground black pepper and salt, 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets, 500g dried pasta ( orrechiete or bucatini), 1 cup grated pecorino
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over high heat.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the potato and fry for 5-7 minutes until golden. Add the garlic, anchovy and a few grinds of black pepper and continue to cook for another minute, stirring to mix all the ingredients together. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon salt to the pan of boiling water, then cook broccoli for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove the broccoli from the pan with a slotted spoon, then place in the frying pan with the potato mixture.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 7 minutes or until al dente, then drain, reserving some liquid; about 1/2 cup (125ml) should do.
Place the frying pan over a medium heat and add the pasta to the broccoli and potato mixture. Stir to combine well and, if too dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water and a splash of olive oil.
Serve in bowls with a generous shrinking of pecorino and a few extra grinds of black pepper.
If you are a lover of pork try this distinctly leaner, sweeter and slightly 'gamy' flavoured meat for something different.
A ragu (slow cooked meat sauce) is the perfect winter meal. Cinghiale (wild boar ) hunted in the hills of Calabria is a much unknown southern Italian traditional ragu dish.
Commercial wild boar comes from NSW and is of a very high quality. The key is to allow time for the wild boar to slow cook in a quality tomato sauce.
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped continental parsley
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 springs of thyme
1kilo wild boar meat
500ml red wine
2x 720 ml Mangia Mangia Passata
pinch of pepper and nutmeg
salt to taste
800 grams of tagliatelle pasta
Heat oil in large deep dry pan then add onion, garlic, parsley, and thyme. Fry on low heat until onion is translucent ( approx 8-10 minutes). Add wild boar and cook until slightly sealed for about 5 minutes. Add the wine, Mangia! Mangia! passata salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir to combine and leave to cook on a low heat for 2-3 hours.
When sauce is ready add to cooked tagliatelle pasta and combine. Serve with good quality parmesan cheese. Buon Appetito.
Special Event at All'antico Trattoria
Mangia! Mangia!'s Teresa Oates, owner of All'antico Trattoria
is proudly hosting:
A 'Pig Season' Pranzo
A special Sunday Pranzo (lunch) celebrating the traditional food of our beloved maiale (pig) season - a much anticipated yearly ritual and an unforgettable taste sensation.
Date: Sunday June 5
Cost: $120 per person. Includes 4 generous courses with matching wines
Address: All'antico Trattoria 94 Burgundy Street, Heidelberg VIC
For Bookings phone: (03) 9459 8852
Salumi platter including a selection of our homemade salumi and olives served with our olive foccaccia
Our housemade Tagliatelle served with a ragu of pork bones from salami day
Our Salsicce Calabrese (home made sausages with red capsicum paste & fennel) served with a fennel, orange and pomegranate salad
Honey and torrone semifreddo
** All courses will be served with matching wines
We love mum's olive bread - eaten on its own or dipped in olive oil - it really is the complete meal.
Recipe makes 2 loaves
30g fresh yeast, 4.5 cups of plain flour (plus extra for dusting), 2 cups of warm water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil (plus extra for brushing), 1 teaspoon of salt, 40 pitted olives of choice.
Place warm water in a bowl, add yeast and stir to dissolve. Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture, olive oil and salt and mix together with your hand to form a stretchy dough. Cover with tea towel and thick blanket, then set aside in a warm spot for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until double in size.
Dust a clean work surface with flour and generously oil two baking trays.
Divide the dough in half. take each portion of dough and flatten it out, then divide the olives between the two pieces of dough and press into each piece. Knead the dough a little to mix in the olives, then form each piece into a log shape.
Place the dough on the prepared trays. Cover with a clean tea towel, then set aside in a warm spot for 30-40 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius fan-forced.
Bake the loaves for 40 minutes, then remove them from the oven and brush with olive oil. Reduce the oven temperature to 150 degrees celsius and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Enjoy!
Romolo, Teresa's father was taught this recipe from his mother back in their village in Calabria, Italy. Olives were a staple in their diet - an important food supply. So when he came to Australia, the first tree he planted in his backyard was an olive tree - a symbol of food security and peace of mind.
This recipe is easy to follow. Aromatics such as garlic and dried oregano are added to the olives just before serving, rather than being preserved with the olives. This enhances the flavour of the olive without it being overpowered.
In our first Mangia! Manga! book, there are many olive recipes offering different olive experiences together with a rich selection of traditional preserves for you to try.
Makes about 8 litres
Ingredients: 5 kg large green kalamata olives, 8 lemons, 500g salt, 3 cups boiling water, 1 cup regular white vinegar, light extra virgin olive oil for drizzling, 3.75 litres cold water
Special equipment: 1 large plastic bucket, 15-16 x 500ml jars (sterilised)
Dressing: extra virgin olive oil, sliced fresh red or green chillies, sliced garlic cloves, strips of lemon zest, dried oregano, freshly ground black pepper
On a firm surface such as wooden table or chopping board, smash the olives one by one with the bottom of an empty glass jar or bottle to split the olive flesh to expose the stone, taking care not to completely crush the olive.
As you are splitting olives place in bucket with water. Prepare water in bucket by slicing 2 lemons in quarters and squeezing juice into water and adding squeezed lemon quarters. Once all olives have been split, cover with inverted plate, wide enough to ensure olives are covered and submerged in water. Water should be at leat 10cm above plate. No olives should be floating on water.
Leave the olives to soak for 4 days. Changing water and lemons every day around the same time. Store the bucket in a cool dark place away from direct sunlight. After 4 days drain the olives and discard lemon pieces.
To make the curing solution, place the salt and boiling water in a bucket and stir until dissolved then add the cold water. Once the water has cooled to room temperature add the white vinegar.
Pack the olives tightly into the jars and carefully pour over to cover all olives. Drizzle a little olive oil to seal the olives and then seal the jars. Leave them to cure in a cool, dark place for at leat 4 months. The olives are ready when all trace of bitterness has gone.
Olives will last in unopened jars stored in cool place for up to 2 years. Once jar opened the olives will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
To dress the olives, drain well and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds, transfer to a serving bowl and coat with olive oil. For each 500ml jar of olives, add one to two sliced chillies, two or three slices of garlic cloves, two strips of lemon zest and one teaspoon of dried oregano. Mix through and leave to marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. Dressed olives do not need to be stored in the refrigerator, but should be consumed within 2 days.
Buon Appetito !
These biscuits are made at both Christmas and Easter. They have a soft and crumbly pastry shell with a delicious hidden centre of either jam or Nutella
Makes about 40
1/2 cup (165 g) Nutella
1/2 cup (160 g ) jam
Icing sugar mixture for dusting
300 ml pure cream
3 1/3 cups (500 g) self -raising flour, plus extra for dusting
125 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 egg yolk (from a 70g egg)
1/2 cup (100g ) caster sugar
Preheat oven to 170 degree celcius fan-forced and line a baking tray with baking paper.
For the pastry, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon, then knead lightly to form a smooth dough. Shape into a ball, cover the bowl with plastic film, then place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out to about 5 mm thick. Put a plate, roughly 18 cm in diameter, onto the dough and use a zigzag pastry wheel or sharp knife to cut out circles. (You will get about seven circles of pastry once you've gathered up the trimmings and re -rolled).
Cut each circle into six triangles. Place a scant teaspoon of Nutella or jam on the widest part of the triangle. Fold over to encase the filling, then continue to fold until you get to the tip and curl the ends to form a crescent shape. Place on the prepared tray and repeat with the remaining dough and filling
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks then dust with icing sugar to serve.
These biscuits will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
8 figs halved
1 tabs caster sugar
200g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
2 tabs milk
Line a 23cm cake tin with paper and butter.
Arrange fig halves cut side down around the edge of tin. Sprinkle 1 tabs caster sugar over figs.
Beat together butter and sugar until pale add eggs one at a time then add vanilla.
Fold in sifted flour with milk.
Pour batter over figs and bake in 180 degree oven for 35-40 mins or until cooked.
Leave to cool and serve with extra sliced figs.
Summer sees the abundance of plums, prunes and Italian nectarines (photo on right ) hanging from our mums' carefully nurtured fruit trees. We love to pick and eat on the spot - and the surplus is cooked into sweet homemade jam. Today it's lovely to see the kids picking the fruit with their Nonna and learning where they come from.The jam can be made from a variety of fruits including plums, prunes, nectarines and cherries (remove the stone). This recipe is a standard process you can use with all such fruits. I
photo by Simon Griffiths
Makes 6-7 x 500g capacity jars
2 kilos of stone fruit washed, halved and stones removed
2 kilos of white sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
Place all ingredients in a large heavy-based saucepan over a low heat and bring to a boil, stirring from time to time to ensure the fruit does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Simmer over low flame for approximately 90 minutes or until a small teaspoonful of jam sets when placed on a slice of bread.
Place hot jam into sterilised jars and seal.
Store in a cool, dry cupboard for up to 1 year. Once opened keep refrigerated for up to 3 months.