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War Scraps – June Recipe

The theme this month is “war time recipes”. I was in Italy when WWII was going on, and I remember the meals we had at home when bread was not available and the fresh pasta my mother used to make was made with cake flour (not from durum wheat) – which was always grossly overcooked. However, we also had some great meals that even now I often make for myself. Below is a typical 3 course meal we all enjoyed.

Serves 4

MINESTRA DI PATATE E FAGIOLI

(Bean and potato soup)

 

We grew our own potatoes and borlotti that usually lasted for the winter, in summer we had to buy them  from the farmers.

 

Ingredients:

  • 400g potatoes
  • 200g dried borlotti beans (or 1 tin of kidney beans)
  • 2 sticks of Celery, tinly chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion, thinly sliced
  • 30 ml oil (or any fat/oil left over from roasting or
  • frying)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper

 

Preparation:

  1. Soak the beans overnight which will roughly double their volume in water
  2. Place the soaked and drained beans in a suitable saucepan and cover them with water.
  3. Add salt to taste and the bay leaves, boil for 10 minutes then simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Wash, peel, and roughly chop the potatoes; keep in water
  5. In a separate saucepan, heat the oil/fat and fry the onions and celery
  6. Add the potatoes, fry until mixed and then add the beans and water
  7. Bring to a boil and then simmer for a further half an hour
  8. Correct the seasoning to taste
  9. Serve with grated cheese (we used well-seasoned dry ewe sheep cheese)

 

SALAME, FORMAGGIO, POLENTA ED INSALATA DI RADICCHIO

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(Salami with cheese, polenta and radicchio salad)

 

The farmers were very helpful to my parents, selling their goods at a reasonable price. This, I suspect was due to the fact that my mother was the Head Teacher at the local state school and my father taught the piano-accordion to some of their children.

 

Ingredients:

  • 200g Salami, sliced
  • 200g Parmesan cheese in small lumps (we used the sheep cheese I mentioned above)
  • 120g Maize flour
  • 200g Radicchio, washed and drained
  • 50 ml of salad dressing (40ml oil & 10ml vinegar, Salt, and pepper)
  • Half sweet green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium sized carrot, grated
  • 30g onion or leek, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper corn (not available from 1942 to 1945)

 

Preparation:

The polenta

  1. Boil 800 mls water with a little oil in a nonstick saucepan
  2. Very slowly add the maize flour and stir with an appropriate whisk until it begins to thicken
  3. Lower the heat to a simmering point and continue stirring, with a wooden spoon this time
  4. This should take around 15 to 20 minutes to cook

 

The salad

  1. Tear the radicchio with your hands into a bowl
  2. Add the chopped sweet pepper (also called Capsicum), the sliced onion, and the grated carrots
  3. Pour the dressing and adjust the seasoning: mix well

 

N.B. depending on the season, other salad items could be added: tomatoes, green beans, cucumber, finely sliced cabbage, and basil.

 

To finish

  1. Arrange the sliced salami on the outside of a serving dish
  2. Place the cheese pieces in the centre, decorate with fresh basil or parsley

 

The polenta, when cooked can be poured onto a plate. The Salad can be served with the rest of the meal or at the end.

 

 

MELE CON MIELE E CONFETTURA DI PRUGNE

mele

(Baked apple with honey and plum jam)

 

The apples we used were the eating variety as cooking apples were not grown in my region of origin. Plums, the ones used for prunes, were abundant and used to make an excellent jam sweetened and preserved by a powder purchased at the chemist that, to these days I do not know the composition: the jam was very good.

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eating apples
  • 100g set honey
  • 100g plum jam
  • 20g butter

 

Preparation:

  1. Remove the cores from the apples with a potato baller
  2. Place the apples onto an oven tray
  3. Into the holes, place first 5g of butter then a dessert spoon full of honey, before filling the remaining space with jam. It does not matter if there is spillage
  4. Pour the remainder of honey and jam over each apple
  5. On the tray, pour half a glass of red wine and half of water
  6. Bake in a hot oven at 160ºC until the apples are soft (test with a skewer)
  7. Serve with vanilla ice cream

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