Thursday, 15 September 2011

My Italian Family Cookbook Lawrence Dallaglio Review

I am ashamed to say I was sent this fabulous cookbook a couple of months ago now and have yet to review it, not because I haven't used it, far from it, infact it already has that 'always reached for trusty receipe book' look about it, but simply because my blog has been one of the things to suffer in the midst of all the work I have been doing.
Anyhow getting to the point, My Italian Family Cookbook, by Lawrence Dallaglio, an England Grand Slam and world cup winning rugby player. Aside from rugby, Lawernce Dallaglio has a huge passion for food who grew up in an Italian household with a father who loves cooking also. Together Lawrence and his father, Vincenzo have produced a beautifu; cookbook full of easy to cook, delicious family favourties from snacks through to main courses, soups, stews, pies, and puds. Best of all the reciepes all use fresh produce (mostly) and are healthy and tasty. Even t'husband has eaten some of them and he hates Italian food.

The first thing I cooked was the meatballs with diavola sauce. It says preparation time is 15 minutes, I think the first time I did it it took me 30 minutes but I have made them a number of time since and have also used the same reciepe to make them into burgers, and it does probably only take 15 - 20 minutes to make them once you know what you are doing. 

These are so simple:

500g lean mince
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped basil
4 spring onions chopped
zest of lemon
100g breadcrumbs
pinch of ground cinamon
salt and ground black pepper
little olive oil
300g jar Dallagio by Sacla' Diavola sauce
grated parmasen cheese if desired.

Boil your pasta, mix mince, herbs, spring onions, lemon zest, breadcrumbs and cinamon together in a bowl, I found using my hands made this much easier, then roll them out into balls the size of wallnuts (or make 4 good size burgers). Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the meatballs until golden. Ass the sauce to another pan, heat and add meatballs, then put on top of the pasta.

How easy is that? If you want to see loads more reciepes like this one, then get yourself a copy of the book, I can also recommend the spagetti with bacon and tomato sauce, spagetti with prawns and garlic which both my boys love, and often asks for. I did try the fritters with onions and peas but they were a bit of a disaster and the boys were not impressed with my culinary skills that day, probably not to do with the reciepe, more to do with my cooking ability.  I am quite bad with receipe books, as once I find a few meals I like we tend to stick to them. I did also make the milanase chicken for friends and it was yummy with some good wine, salad and garlic bread.

The first time I made the meatballs, I was slightly disappointed as I took ages mixing my mince with the herbs and onions and breadcrumbs etc to mke sure it was well combined, only to then find out I had to use a jar of sauce and I kind of felt cheated after all that work that I had not made the sauce myself. The other problem I had was I couldnt actually find the sauce the book recommends (300g jar Dallagio by Sacla' Diavola sauce) so I used some arrabiata (spelling there?) sauce and it was quite disappointing to tell the truth. Since then whenever I make the meatballs now I actually make my own sauce up now from a reciepe I got off good old google! If I ever find the right sauce and its kind of become one of those obssessions where I check anywhere new for it, then I will try it.

I would really recommend this book to anyone looking for slightly different meal ideas, even though it does recommend alot of the salca sauces and sometimes I think it can be quite nice to make yur own. It has certainly changed our eating menus and privded some much needed change and none of them are difficult or tend to require silly ingredients you cant get (other than diavola sauce!!).

Please note these are my views on this book, I have not been paid any money for writing it.

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