Monday, 19 November 2007
This is my gorgeous Nonna, Livia. Yesterday we held a lunch to celebrate her 80th birthday! As well as the family, we invited some of their friends (including The Three Widows, who speak very little English) over for a summery buffet meal, eating at a long table under the loggia.
As you can see, it was quite the colourful feast. In the foreground in the above picture is the roast chicken (two kinds of stuffing), potato salad, a sliced green olive toscano loaf from Phillippa's, green salads and prosciutto e melone.
I'd had a big night on Saturday and arrived chez Mum and Dad a little late, but still had time to prepare the insalata caprese and the prosciutto e melone platter - the prosciutto was just the right thickness (not insubstantial, but not leathery) and we were lucky enough to pick the juiciest, tastiest melon I've had in ages. Prosciutto e melone, along with salade nicoise, are just about my very favourite heatwave dishes!
The other dishes served up were (starting at the top left of the above picture and working our way down) spinach pie from Continental Deli located next door to Glenferrie station (the Continental is home to the best dolmades I have EVER eaten) accompanied by two kinds of relish, insalata caprese (using bocconcini rather than pure mozzarella balls), fresh shaved beetroot and tomato salad, salad of fagioli from Nonna and Nonno's garden with Spanish onion, and in the foreground the platter of vitello tonnato (poached veal in tuna sauce - for the uninitiated it may sound bizarre, but don't knock it til you've tried it!).
All the guests tucking in to the lunch...
My Nonno - looking amazing for 86 years of age!
Of course, Nonna made her sensational crostoli. She gets them just right: not starchy or at all oily, but sweet and crisp and velvety at the same time. They're the only crostoli I eat (yes I am spoiled...) - I once tried a crostolo at Brunetti's and it was horribly oily and greasy!
In addition to the crostoli, we served up two tartes aux framboises from Laurent.
It goes without saying that every good Italian meal finishes with a brutally strong espresso...