Last week was dominated by all things Italian and pasta were the stars of the show. First and best of all, a blogger's dream: one of my own recipes appeared in the London Metro, Pappardelle with Broad Beans.
Secondly, a meeting with one of my favourite food experts, chef and all-around nice person, Antonio Carluccio.
This happened during the 160th birthday Cirio's celebrations. Mr Caluccio didn't disappoint, he was warm, friendly, funny and a twinkly performer. He talked about his "mof-mof" principle: Minimum of Fuss, Maximum of Flavour. Explained that in his almost 60 years of promoting, cooking and eating genuine, regional Italian food, he had never done any product advertising. But then Cirio tinned tomatoes PRs came along and asked him to collaborate over this special anniversary. He accepted because, the brand reminds him of his mother's cooking, of his place of birth on the Amalfi coast; this leads me neatly to Capri and.....
The Caprese Spaghetti, a recipe which I had torn from a discarded Evening Standard magazine that very same week. The dish caught my eye all the wrong reasons: the props were well positioned and the dish wore the colours of summer and the Italian flag with its tomatoes, basil and mozzarella balls. It also contains a large fennel, a vegetable often misused or underused. Fennel, in my opinion, needs to play second fiddle, otherwise, it can be overpowering.