Family Meals Together

I hope you’ve enjoyed a great summer despite the recent water issues in Cranleigh. I travelled to Italy on holiday to visit friends and family, where I had the chance to taste some classic family recipes which you can now savour.

Aubergine ParmigianaServes 4

A great Italian classic, great as a starter or a main with a fresh salad on the side. The secret of this recipe is to leave the catted aubergine with salt overnight or at least for 4-5 hours. This process removes all the bitterness from the aubergine and gives the dish a much sweeter flavour.

3 large aubergines
250g mozzarella cheese
100g grated parmesan cheese
100g plain flour
400g chopped tomato
200ml of any frying oil
Salt and black pepper


  1. Start by slicing the aubergine and add salt to remove the bitterness, preferably the night before or at least 4-5 hours before. Rinse in cold water and leave to dry.
  2. Place the aubergine in a frying pan with oil on a medium heat until they boil. Pass the sliced aubergine in flour and fry until they are a lovely golden colour.
  3. Place the fried, sliced aubergine on a plate with a few sheets of kitchen paper to
    absorb the excess oil. In one small sauce pan add the chopped tomatoes with a few basil leaves and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes. If the sauce is acidic to taste add a pinch of sugar to help regulate the
  4. Once the tomato sauce is ready, start to assemble the parmigiana. Take a
    medium ovenproof dish, sprinkle a couple of spoons of the tomato sauce and add a layer of aubergine with the diced mozzarella on top, parmesan cheese and more tomato sauce. Repeat as many layers as possible in the same order.
  5. Preheat the oven at 200c. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut into portions (for starter or main course) and plate. Allow 10 minutes before serving, cooling the mozzarella cheese which
    can become very hot. Enjoy!!!

Recommended Wine: Primitivo d’Apulia (Italy)

Potatoes TartServes 4

My sister in-law Cristina Dallara is a great cook. In August, we spent a week together with our families and she delighted us with some great food. This dish particularly impressed me with very simple ingredients, it is easy to make and tastes absolutely delicious. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you Cristina!!!

1.5 Kg Potatoes
300g grated parmesan cheese
2 Eggs
300g Gouda cheese
200g ham


  1. Peel and boil the potatoes, then mush the potatoes. Using a large mixing bowl add the mashed potatoes, parmesan cheese and 2 eggs. Mix it all together and separate in 2 equal halves.
  2. Take a large baking tray, place ovenproof paper in the base and cover with oil to prevent the tart from sticking. Pour 1 half of the mix, lay the gouda cheese on
    top, add the sliced ham and the rest of the gouda cheese.
  3. Now pour the 2nd part of the mix into the baking tray making sure to cover all the surface. Use a spoon and spatula to spread evenly. Sprinkle the parmesan on top of the tray to give it a lovely gratin.
  4. Preheat the oven at 200c and cook for 15 minutes. Place under the grill for
    5 more minutes to gratin. Serve hot and enjoy.

Recommended Wine: Malbec (Argentina)

Naughty TiramisuServes 4

This is a naughty adaptation of the most famous Italian Dessert. When deciding after dinner if you want a dessert or a drink this will make everyone happy.

400ml strong black coffee,
2 tsp brown sugar
4 tbsp vodka
4 tbsp kahlua
500g mascarpone
600ml double cream
3 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp instant espresso coffee powder
300g savoiardi sponge fingers
50g dark chocolate for dusting cocoa powder


  1. Mix the black coffee, brown sugar, vodka and 3 tbsp of the Kahlúa in a shallow bowl. Mix the mascarpone in a separate bowl for 2 minutes to break it up, then beat in the double cream, icing sugar and
    vanilla with electric beaters until it forms soft peaks. Spoon out 1/3 of the cream into another bowl. Mix the coffee powder with the rest of the Kahlúa and stir in to make a coffee cream.
  2. Dip the sponge fingers briefly into the vodka-coffee mixture, then put a single
    layer of the fingers in the base of a large serving dish
  3. Spoon over 1/2 of the plain cream, then finely grate over a generous layer of dark chocolate. Layer on more soaked sponge fingers, and spoon over the coffee cream then another layer of grated chocolate. Add another layer of fingers then finish with the rest of the plain cream. Chill for at least 4 hours then serve. Dust with cocoa powder to finish.

Recommended Wine: None! There is already enough alcohol in the Tiramisu to make you happy!

by Simone Conti

Enjoy these recipes? You can read more of Simone’s meals HERE

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Cranleigh Magazine