Monday, November 16, 2015

Christmas Light Switch On

It feels as though Autumn is making way for Winter now, there is a definite chill in the air and at the end of last week the shop was too cold for short sleeved t-shirts. Just in time really, as the Eton Christmas Light Switch on is on Thursday (19th November). Carols in college chapel from 6pm (restricted space so tickets are required which you can get from shops on the high street, like Tastes Deli), processession to Jubilee Square led by Father Christmas, his faithful reindeer and the children from the Eton Porny Primary School. More carols, mulled wine, mince pies, snow etc etc. The lights will illuminate at 7pm. Here are some photos from last year to get you in the mood.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Perfect Pasta

Yesterday Tastes Deli, in Eton, was visited by a lovely couple, stocking up on the spaghetti they brought from us a few weeks previously. It being the best spaghetti they'd found, of course. While they were here, they admitted to reading this blog. I wasn't sure there were any real people out there reading along. Very motivating for me! What better way to repay loyal readership than a blog post about their favourite spaghetti! So here it is ....

Rustichella d' abruzzo Spaghetti was one of the first things I stocked at Tastes Deli. It should have been here on our opening day, but if I remember correctly, was delayed in transit somewhere and actually arrived two days later. It rapidly became a firm favourite with our regular customers and we sold that first case within a month. It retained its space on our pasta shelf for many years, while other products came and went. Then in September 2012 the importer we used discontinued the spaghetti. I bulk bought a lot before it disappeared, but eventually my stocks ran out. It wasn't until February this year that I found a new supplier. Rustichella spaghetti returned to Tastes Deli and is selling better than ever.

Why, you may ask? It's just spaghetti. Well... this is no ordinary spaghetti. 

Rustichella spaghetti is cast from bronze dies (the pasta dough is forced through small holes on a bronze disc to create the strands). This gives it a very rough surface, ideal for absorbing sauce. It is air dried for 56 hours and made from just two ingredients: Durum Wheat Semolina and Water. It has a wonderful springy texture when cooked, which takes about 9-11 minutes.

Just recently I was given a copy of the Rustichella catalogue. Possibly the most beautiful product list I've ever received. Packed with stunning photographs and delightful illustrations. It even has waxed paper between some of the pages like an old fashioned photograph album. It's also a really interesting read, with lots of detail on the history of pasta. Did you now pasta dates back to ancient Rome and Greece and it is believed the Arabs introduced died pasta cooked in boiling water, during the conquest of Sicily? According to the catalogue this particular spaghetti was first produced in 1924, is rough-textured, yellow to white in colour with a solid consistency and slightly bran-like taste. So now you know!

Rustichella spaghetti was the spaghetti of choice of Heston Blumenthal in his In Search of Perfection series (episode 7, the pasta part starts around 21 minutes in if you can find the episode). So for anyone looking for the perfect spaghetti bolognese recipe then a pack of this pasta and his recipe for sauce is a great start. Delia Smith's Ragu recipe in "Complete How to Cook" came to me very highly recommended by a customer, and I've managed to impress every time I've made it at home. It doesn't seem to be on Deli Online, but there is a similar recipe listed (it doesn't include any chicken livers which I'm sure are in the original). The spaghetti is also delicious with a simple pesto dressing, or sometimes I pour over a jar of Olive Branch Aubergine and Basil paste

I've just started a pinterest board for spaghetti recipes. I'll be trying some out over the next few weeks, but one which caught my eye immediately used cauliflower  (the romanesco cauliflowers are in season right now!).