Salt, Pepper and a Dollop of Cream

One Woman's Journey through Her Cookbooks

An Informal Italian-style Supper

Last night my lovely cousin and her husband joined us for supper. As you know, I spent some time during the week pouring over my cookbooks deciding on what to serve. I felt in the humour for a French or Italian themed supper and in the end opted for Italian. I had the best of intentions of serving something elaborate involving aubergines but as always, fate threw a spanner in the works with my eldest deciding on a last minute sleep over with Granny so my time plan and menu were now effectively kaput.

I had already decided on a starter of antipasti with a selection of breads and melon; that part of the menu didn’t change. For the main course, we had lemon roasted chickens served with baby potatoes, grated raw beetroot and orange, tomato and cucumber salad, and a mixed green salad with dressings on the side. My cousin kindly brought a lovely dessert of individual pavlova, filled with cream and mascarpone and topped with strawberries and blueberries. I’d never had it before with mascarpone and it was delicious!  I was actually glad of the change of menu as the evening turned out to quite warm and my aubergine dish would have been too hot in retrospect.

I’m afraid I’ve no photos of the main course or dessert as the company was too entertaining and taking photos didn’t even enter my head {not that I would take them anyway as I consider it bad manners to my guests}. So, all I’ve to show you are the starter and a tart that I made to eat with a cuppa.

The tart was French {what happened to my Italian theme I hear you say?}, a tarte aux fruits with crème pâtissière. This was the third time that I’ve made this tart from one of my favourite cooks, Claire Macdonald and I love it. It’s made with a vanilla biscuit pastry base that doesn’t need rolling as you literally press the pastry crumbs into the tin with your fingers – perfect given my history with pastry! The base is then cooked and filled with a vanilla-flavoured crème pâtissière and topped with seasonal fruits before being brushed with warmed apricot jam to add a glistening tone.

It was a lovely evening with wonderful company and wonderful conversation, and to be honest, the food was an aside rather than centre stage and that’s how it should be as it’s friendships and family that matter the most. But do give mascarpone cream pavlova and the tart a try if you can.

Buon appetito!

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