I have a vague memory of buying this cookbook, it’s certainly mine, as it has my name written very carefully inside in my teenaged script. It’s also very much a second hand purchase, probably from the Daylesford Bookbarn, where I would spend my allowance on second hand cookbooks whenever we went there for a picnic.
Like all Margaret Fulton cookbooks, her Italian Cookbook shows a love of food and a desire to broaden the Australian pallet. This particular book is from 1973, and is likely to be hard to find, which is why I’ve linked to bookshops.com.au, your best place to search for second hand books.
There were only two of us for dinner, so I only ended up making two of the recipes in this book. Both of them were amazing and recipes I would definitely make again, it’s certainly made me want to try more of the recipes so I can compare them to the ones I selected for this review. And I selected the ones I did because I had many of the ingredients, so shopping wouldn’t be long or expensive. Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
- 4 medium sized potatoes
- 30g butter
- 1 tablespoon strong stock
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- Peel and finely dice potatoes. Cook in butter until tender, about 7 minutes. Add stock. Turn into a greased baking dish, sprinkle with salt, pepper, melted butter and cheese. Bake in a hot oven for 10 minutes.
Notes on this recipe:
- The first mouthful of this was heavenly. It was the most amazing thing I ate yesterday, even better than chocolate and Whizz Fizz cones (which are a special, guilty, occasional pleasure for me). Yes this recipe is slightly evil, but it is OH SO GOOD.
- This recipe is also really really simple, apart from the finely dicing bit which I’m sure I would get faster at with practice. I will definitely make this again.
Chicken with eggplant
- 1.5kg chicken pieces (skin on, preferably boned)
- 4 small eggplants (or 1 really large Australian one)
- salt and pepper to season
- 250ml olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 250ml dry white wine
- 500g ripe tomatoes
- 125g streaky bacon
- chicken stock or water to moisten
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- Heat 85ml oil in a heavy flameproof saucepan and saute bruised garlic until brown, then discard.
- Add chicken to pan (in two lots if necessary) and fry until evenly golden all over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add wine and cook over a moderate heat, uncovered, until wine evaporates.
- Peel and chop tomatoes, discarding seeds. Add tomatoes to the chicken with finely chopped bacon. Cover and cook gently for 30 minutes. If sauce in pan is dry, add a little stock or water to moisten.
- Slice eggplant into small pieces. Heat remaining oil in a separate pan, add eggplants. Sprinkle generously with freshly ground pepper and fry 15 minutes, adding parsley for last 5 minutes of cooking time.
- Add to chicken in casserole, taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Stir gently to mix and allow to heat through. Serve very hot.
Notes on this recipe:
- This smelled so good when we were making it that I couldn’t wait to try it. When it was finally done, I was not disappointed, it really was delicious.
- I’ve rewritten the recipe slightly to skip a few steps that are superfluous (such a cool word). Other things you need to know about this recipe: You’re cooking the chicken in a fair amount of oil, and the chicken is likely to have some fat in it. When it comes to evaporating the wine away (I used dry sherry), you can’t evaporate the fat and oil (and nor do you want to). You’ll have to carefully judge when the wine is evaporated, and only fat and oil remain. So there will be some liquid at the end of this, and that’s ok – it’ll stop everything drying out.
- You don’t really have to peel the tomatoes, but you do have to deseed them.
- Eggplants are magical, they’ll soak up all the oil you put them into cook, and then as they cook they release all the oil again. My one complaint about this recipe is that it never said what to do with all the oil in the pan with the eggplant (discard, add to recipe), so we discarded it. It also doesn’t say at what temperature to cook the eggplant, and what to do with the fact that once it is cooked it will start to disintegrate. We ended up cooking ours for about 12 minutes before we decided it was just going to be impossible to remove from the pan if we let it cook any longer.