Ok, that’s it today my hope for good weather has officially faded and I am one sad Italian foodie. The 2 teasers on Tues and Weds make it even harder. The thing is the weather affects how busy we are in the summer, when the sun is shining everyone feels like eating out and forgetting about the soggy packed lunch and slaving in a hot kitchen over dinner so they just order take-away. We have a few tables out the front of the shop and I’d say they’ve only been out about 4 times this year whereas last year they were out the majority of the summer. I love when they are out and people are dining al fresco as there is a great buzz around the place and for one fleeting moment I often feel like we could be in Italy.

I got all excited in April with our mini heatwave and decided to apply for a wine license, customers often ask us for wine especially on hot days as there is nothing nicer than a glass of chilled vino or prosseco “al fresco”. I can’t imagine we will have huge sales as we have such limited seating but it would still be nice to offer the service. We often get a passing tourist calling in for a pizza slice and look astounded when I tell them we can’t serve beer. They can’t believe it, in most European countries you can buy alcohol anywhere especially where pizza is served. I was so delighted with the prospect of the “Cafe Bar License”, it would have been a breath of fresh air but of course it was not to be! We have a Spanish girl working for us at the moment and they even serve beer in McDonalds in Seville.

I’ve really noticed since having the princess how badly an alternative to the pub is needed. That’s what I love about the local cafes in Italy, everyone brings their kids and it’s a real social environment of all ages. You can have everything- coffee, food, beer, wine, cocktails, ice-cream. When we’re in Atina we go to the same bar about 4 times a day, we go for cappuccino in the morning and then normally for an espresso after lunch and dinner and a few beers at night! I’d love to see more Tapas bars opening here too, I’ve only seen one in Cork – La Boqueria and one in Dublin.

Here’s another recipe from Aldo Zilli’s book and it is one of the tastiest dishes I have had in a long time and would definitely recommend giving it a go:)

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 6 large mushrooms – they call them breakfast mushrooms in Superquinn
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs- we didn’t have any (I forgot) but it was fine without them.
  • 100g dolcelatte cheese – Superquinn have it in stock. You can use gorgonzola or another blue cheese if you cant find it. The dolcelatte works well though as it is a milder blue cheese.
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 40g grated parmesan cheese.
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat- leaf parsley.
  • sea salt and black pepper.

WHAT TO DO:

 – remove the stalks from the mushrooms and finely chop. Place the mushrooms on a tray stalk side up.

 – mix together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, breadcrumbs and mushroom stalks. Season and spoon this mixture into the centre of each mushroom. He says to grill for 5 mins but I put them in the oven first for 10 mins at 200 degrees and then grilled them.

 – meanwhile, put the dolcelatte and cream in a pot and melt over a low heat.

 – spoon the dolcelatte mixture over the mushrooms and sprinkle loads of parmesan cheese on top and grill until golden. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

 

BUON APPETITO!

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