Cookbook Challenge Week 3: - Jamie Oliver's Italy

Tuesday, 14 April 2015
This week's challenge was a little late - in the run up to going on holiday, time disappeared.  This time, the 'winner' of the random number generator was Lucy from Baking Queen 74.  I love her recent recipe for pistachio and marzipan rolls.  She's been trying to earn that hallowed position since the beginning of my cookbook challenge - persistence wins out.

Jamie's Italy is one of the books I have made a few things from - I love Italian food and Oliver is probably my favourite celebrity chef - or at least my shelves seem to suggest that's the case.  Now, the reason that it took a long time to actually get this one done is that it takes a long time to make.  I needed an evening where I could spend the time sorting it out.   The polenta takes about an hour to cook and needs regular stirring.

The night I made this was one where nothing really seemed to be going right.  D has been going to sleep a lot later in the holidays and Roo has been finding the evenings a little more tricky since we came back from our holiday.  She finds it a little difficult to get back into the routine when it's changed.  I also think she's been finding it exhausting having D around all the time - I can't say I blame her.  He's a whirlwind!

I'd love to say that the recipe worked perfectly but it didn't really.  I chose not to deep fry the polenta as it's just not something I do.  I tried shallow frying and it didn't work.  I forgot to mix the parmesan into the mixture and instead sprinkled it over the top.  This made a bit of an odd crust that just came away in the frying pan and left the polenta a bit tasteless.  Roo has eaten pretty much everything she's tried and even she was a bit disgusted with it.

I served with a tomato sauce that I created myself.  Nothing particularly special but it did help to flavour the polenta a bit more.

For this sweat half an onion for six minutes until it goes translucent.  Add a crushed garlic clove and a finely sliced red chilli and cook for a further two minutes.  Add a tin of tomatoes, a tablespoon of tomato purée and half a tin of water and allow to simmer over a low heat for about an hour - this should leave you with a jammier, thicker sauce.

Phew.  I'm rather glad that the next cookbook challenge (that I still have to catch up with!) is for white baps.  Almost seems far too easy.

Next week's challenge is all chosen - Gate Gnocchi.  I'll let you know when the next one is up.  It'll be over on KneadWhine's Facebook page.  Hoping to see you there!

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