Being half Italian it’s obvious that I would have a love of Italian food. When I was a kid my mother would make a variety of Italian foods but because she also spent a good portion of her life after the war living in England we also had just as many English style meals like my favorite, Roast Lamb and Yorkshire Pudding.
One of her specialties was gnocchi which she would make from scratch on the kitchen table. My job was to run each little dumpling across a fork to make the ridges. This was always our favorite meal as kids although because it was made from scratch she didn’t make it that often. I guess it made it more appealing to us because of that.
Our diet was made even more varied by the fact that my father was Croatian and although I can’t remember eating too many Croatian meals, I do remember eating a variety of German cuisine since he spent some time in Germany and loved German food.
So what all this means is that I love European cuisine – give me some salami, a piece of cheese and a nice piece of Italian bread and I am happy.
Which brings me to tonights dinner. Every now and then we won’t cook a meal but instead we will just load the table up with a variety of foods to make up what you might call an antipasto but instead of having it before the meal, we have it as the meal.
Tonights meal included pate, Italian crusty bread, pickled onions, Gruyere cheese, brie, blue cheese (or stinky cheese as we call it), Danish salami and stuffed olives.
We also made up a plate of Insalata Caprese which is basically an Italian salad made up of tomatoes, basil and bocconcini.
This is such an easy salad to make and is fresh and tasty. You can make it in one of two ways – mixed in a bowl or arranged on a platter. As you can see from the photo we didn’t go to any trouble making it look pretty. If I had known before hand that I was going to put it on the blog I would have done a better job but if you had guests over you would be better arranging it in a circular pattern with alternating overlapping tomato and bocconcini.
3 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 pound bocconcini ,sliced
bunch basil, chopped roughly
sea salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil
Arrange the tomatoes in a circular pattern on a plate alternating with the slices of bocconcini. Sprinkle the basil, salt and pepper over the top. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top. Serve.