Tag Archives: tuscany

Spreading it about a bit.

The Italians have a knack of turning the simplest of ingredients into the most wonderful things to eat. Probably because for a long time in rural Italy, sparse ingredients were all they had. So spaghetti with cheese and pepper, pizza topped with simply tomatoes and mozzarella have become classics. And bread, sliced and toasted and topped with simple, natural bits and pieces. Bruschetta and crostini, now a popular start to a meal, almost certainly derive from a time when the slices were less dainty (and probably not so fresh), and made a handy and hearty snack for agricultural workers. If they were lucky they may have been topped with a bit of cheese or cured meats, or perhaps simply salt and olive oil, and garlic. (It used to be said that garlic is the peasant’s spice cupboard.) I’m rather partial to garlic, so I guess that puts me in my place! Continue reading

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We’re game if you are…

I’ve increasingly noticed fresh hares for sale in good butchers in this country over the past couple of weeks. The display of their pink, lean, muscular frames, considerably bigger than the wild rabbits sold alongside, reminds me of the macellerie or butchers’ shops in Italy, where hare is both plentiful and popular. As the Italians are very precise about such things, you may see hare – lepre – on a menu in Italy also variously described as leprotto (a young animal), lepre dell’anno (a year old), or leprone when more mature. In any case, the meat is delicious, either roasted or marinated to tenderise and slowly braised to make a ragu. Continue reading

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