thursday night in turin, i’s mum cooks dinner for us. to start with there is a moreish artichoke soup with a small dense pasta and crusty bread. i love the informal dining culture in italy where bread sits on the table cloth and it doesn’t matter if there are crumbs. the second course was really tender and finely minced beef wrapped in savoy cabbage along with a side salad of chicory, walnuts, raisins and oranges dressed with olive oil. the sharp taste of chicory was made mellow with the fruitiness of orange and raisins. the walnuts added a nutty oily taste. for dessert there was home baked caramel custard and plenty of muscat to end on.
on a sunny saturday afternoon we drive up to asti to lunch with ray. an extended lunch starts with dates, flattened and stoned, topped with mascarpone and a walnut. a refreshing salad of oranges, peeled and cut into rounds, dressed with a fruity olive oil, pepper and orange follows the dates. the first course was lasagne. i haven’t had such an excellent lasagne since my mum’s in a little over a decade. dessert was an assortment of almond paste pastries – pignoli are balls of almond paste rolled in pine nuts and pistachio’s, discs of paste topped with flaked blanched almonds and cannoli, a bottle of muscat with cantucci and vin santo.